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Clashing Rams

December 2015 Daily Journal for GTNP & JH

“Not that many photographers visit Jackson Hole in December. Too bad for them…the month is loaded with possibilities!”

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Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .


 

Watching Backyard BirdsIn the News!  Watching Backyard Birds: December Edition  

Click the link above to preview the December issue of Watching Backyard Birds. This one includes a nice spread about my setup and wintering birds. If you are a birder, this magazine looks like a “must have”. My section starts on page 18 and continues to page 22.

Here’s the link to their site: Watching Backyard Birds.  Much of the information used in the text came from this Feature Post: Attracting and Photographing Wintering Back Yard Birds:

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December 31, 2015 :

Custer and the Kid

Custer and the Kid: I spend a lot of time in the fall photographing the bull on the left. He has a distinctive “down tine” on his right antler—visible in this morning’s shot. There were numerous moose visible today, but not many close to the road. I saw quite a few mule deer around Kelly, some bison north of Kelly, and a Bald Eagle a ways off the Gros Ventre Road. Oh yes, it was -16°F this morning and the high for today will hoover around 1°F. Bundle up! Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Custer

Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Wagon Wheels

Wagon Wheels: Captured at the edge of the little town of Kelly, WY. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Torch Lite Parade and Fireworks

Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens: Composite of eight 3 second captures :

New Years Eve: Fireworks and More

  • Football: Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl on TV or stream on ESPN app.
  • Silver Dollar Showroom: Music 9:00 to Midnight
  • Mangy Moose Saloon: Music 8:30 to Midnight
  • Town Square Tavern: Music 10:30 pm to well after Midnight
  • Pink Garter Theater: Music 8:45 to after Midnight
  • Snow King Resort: Torchlight Parade begins at 6:30 and Fireworks afterwards
  • Grand Targhee Resort: Music at 9:00. Torchlight Parade at 5:30 pm and Fireworks
  • JH Mountain Resort: Torchlight Parade at 6:00 pm and Fireworks.

One-On-One Excursions Openings:  I have several open dates in January. The trips are designed to help people learn to use their DSLR cameras and help photographers find some of GTNP’s nice shooting locations. Of course, we are always looking for wildlife. Click the link for more information. (Golden Era Studios / Mike R. Jackson is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service and the National Elk Refuge.)

Happy New Year!

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December 30, 2015 :

“There are two kinds of computer users: Those that have had a hard drive fail and those that will.” I spent the day backing up files on my internal drives after one of them started squealing. The C drive has programs and the operating system, but it also has emails, contacts, and few important files I’d hate to lose. On Monday, the computer goes in for a new SSD boot drive. Feels like a Monday right now!

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: As I mentioned above, I have been spending a lot of my time going through shots from earlier in the year. I thought it might a refreshing break to include a vivid green image from early July to juxtapose with all of the recent snow photos. This was taken a few weeks before the new roof work began. If you happen to be interested, I am taking bookings now for Photography Excursions in the Summer and Fall months.

Wet Moose

Wet Moose: Another image from early November after a soggy rainy morning.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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December 29, 2015 :

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle: This is a fairly tight crop from a shot I took on the National Elk Refuge today. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bighorn Ram in Evening Light

Bighorn Ram in Evening Light: Bighorns were more visible today. A few small bands on the south side of the road—indicating they are not seeing wolves at the moment. I watched a group of four rams for a while and saw one head butt. I set up after the bash, but they didn’t butt heads again. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Eagle on Rock Outcropping

Eagle on Rock Outcropping: Same eagle…different rock. I took the two eagle images from inside my vehicle and over a bean bag. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Moose Updates: On my last trip out to Kelly, I saw a dozen or so moose. They were farther out than I like for photography. The snow in the area is getting deep. Their main food source when out in the sagebrush is a low growing plant called “bitterbrush”. As the snow gets deeper, they have to work harder to get to the bitterbrush and eventually move off the sage flats and back to the river bottoms to munch on willow branches again. By the last week of December, some of the bulls lose their antlers. It appears some have lost them already, but each year, a few of the bulls keep them into January.

One-On-One Excursions Openings: I have an opening for a date in  the last few days of December if you are going to be in the area. There are several open dates in January. The trips are designed to help people learn to use their DSLR cameras and help photographers find some of GTNP’s nice shooting locations. Click the link for more information. (Golden Era Studios / Mike R. Jackson is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service and the National Elk Refuge.)

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December 28, 2015 :

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: There were a few Bighorns off the hilltops today. I’ve only seen wolves a few times along the normal viewing areas of Miller Butte, but a couple of people got to see them yesterday. The sheep are leery and staying higher on the rocks. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

It was -2o° or below in the Park this morning and -14°F on our home thermometer.

Just a Couple of Reminders if You Go to the National Elk Refuge:

  • Do not park or stop on the roadway (Use a pull out)
  • Do not let the sheep lick the salt and chemicals off your vehicle. (Fear of spreading germs within the herd)
  • Stay within 10′-15′ of the roadway. (You’ll see the boundary signs all along the roadway)
  • Don’t pet the sheep!

December 27, 2015 :

Setting Full Moon and Tetons

Setting Full Moon and Tetons: I chose to drive towards Kelly this morning, but the best sunrise shots were probably from places like Snake River Overlook. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Moose and Tetons

Moose and Tetons: My vehicle’s thermometer was reading -22°F this morning. I hiked through around 200 yards of deep snow to line up this shot. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mule Deer Buck

Mule Deer Buck: I was able to take this image from the road on the north edge of Kelly. There were quite a few Mule Deer visible today. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Street Light

Street Light: I took this shot from the highway while passing through town. Hoar frost is common on cold mornings with overnight fog. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Swan Pond

Swan Pond: There lots of swans crammed into a small area of open water at Boyle’s Hill. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: I drove over to the National Elk Refuge on my way home. There were only a few Bighorns down again today. Later in the day, I received a reliable report of a black wolf and a gray wolf on Miller Butte, chasing six sheep. I went back in the afternoon, but didn’t see them. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Evening Light on the Miller House

Evening Light on the Miller House and Teton Range: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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December 26, 2015 :

Incoming Swan

Incoming Swan: The temperatures dropped to -8°F here in town today, so I chose to stay home at sunrise. Bighorns have been staying high on the Butte for the past couple of days…wolves in the area? Flat Creek is frozen, so I headed to Boyle’s Hill for a few Trumpeter Swan shots. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Swans and Shadows

Swans and Shadows: I always like the long evening shadows at Boyle’s Hill. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Trumpeter Swan in Flight

Trumpeter Swan in Flight: Also taken at Boyle’s Hill. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Late Evening Shadows

Late Evening Shadows: Taken on the South Park Loop road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Fences in Shadows

Fences in Shadows: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Tetons

Tetons and Foothills: Clear skies and cold temps…the high was 9°F.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Small Barn

Small Barn: Snow changes everything. I’ve never stopped to photograph this little barn or shed.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Fences and Corrals

Fences and CorralsNikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 25, 2015 : Christmas Day

Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole

This morning, I created a new Feature Post called Christmas in Jackson Hole. The images were captured over the past couple of days and show a nice cross section of the valley at this time of the year. Nikon D819\0 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Sledders

Sledders: My two sons were in town for the Holidays. In the afternoon, we went to Game Creek and made a sledding path at a friend’s house. Nikon D4 and Nikon 28-300mm lens.

ChristmasSledding1

Flexible Flyer: My wife, Darla, flew by me on a retro style sled, perfect for the plowed driveway. Nikon D4 and Nikon 28-300mm lens.

Zeffy

By the end of the day, our dog was worn out. Nikon D4 and Nikon 28-300mm lens.

Check out the new Feature Post!  Christmas in Jackson Hole.

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December 24, 2015 : Christmas Eve

Snowman

Season’s Greetings from the Jackson Family! I had “planned” on making a new snowman in front of the Mormon Row barns this year and light painting it in a similar manner. Unfortunately, Antelope Flats Road closed very early this year and essentially eliminated that opportunity. I have been scoping out alternative locations to build one sometime this year. For now, I’ll just repost an earlier photo and wish everyone reading Best of the Tetons a heartfelt “Season’s Best Wishes to All”.

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Bison were close to the road this morning—just north of Kelly. They are having to clear snow with their heads to get to the grasses. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Fighting Bison

Fighting Bison: “Sparring” might be the more accurate description. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Christmas Eve Shoppers

Christmas Eve Shoppers: I went downtown this afternoon and captured a few images of shoppers and tourists. The plan is to create a Feature Post with images from downtown. Sign up to follow the blog! Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Spring Head

Crowned for the Season:

SunGlasses

Sun Glasses: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nutcracker

Giant Nutcracker: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ice Sculpture

Ice Sculpture: This abstract piece is almost straight out of the camera. I shot it through the snowman ice sculpture seen at the top of today’s entry. The yellow is part of a pedestrian crossing sign on the other side. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole

Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole: On many winter nights, trail lights are visible on Snow King, but the mountain did not have night skiing on Christmas Eve. King Tubes is now operational at the base of the hill. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

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December 23, 2015 :

Bighorn Lamb

Bighorn Lamb: It is easy to get caught up photographing the rams and the events of the rut, then pass up intimate shots of the expressive young lambs. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Snow Covered Lamb

Snow Covered Lamb: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ram in Falling Snow

Ram in Falling Snow: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

One-On-One Excursions Openings: I have an openings for most dates in December if you are going to be in the area. The trips are designed to help people learn to use their DSLR cameras and help photographers find some of GTNP’s nice shooting locations. Click the link for more information. (Golden Era Studios / Mike R. Jackson is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service and the National Elk Refuge.)

Santa on the Square will be held from 5:00-7:00pm on Wednesday, December 23 and Thursday, December 24.

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December 22, 2015 :

Wintering Moose

Wintering Moose: We had around 8″ of snow in town and maybe 10″-12″ in the Park. I went out hoping to find some snow covered moose or bison near the road, but most of them were a hundred yards out or more. This Cow moose and a young bull were near the Gros Ventre Junction. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Morning Swan

Morning Swan: A small opening in Flat Creek hosted a dozen Trumpeter Swans this morning. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

On the Ice

On the Ice: Both of the Swan shots were taken before the first light rays hit the area. They were active for 10 minutes or so, then moved to the ice and curled up to go to sleep. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Rams in Pursuit

Rams in Pursuit: A running ewe attracts a lot of attention. Waves of snow passed through the valley this afternoon but it didn’t stop the rut on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Approaching Ram

Approaching Ram: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ram Crossing Deep Snow

Ram Crossing Deep Snow: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 21, 2015 : Wyoming Winter Solstice

Today, we are receiving a big Winter storm! I guess that’s appropriate since the calendar says it is the first day of Winter.

Elk Herd

Elk Herd: These bull Elk were grazing just north of the town of Kelly. Several herds of Bison are also in the hay fields—staying off the National Elk Refuge. I saw quite a few moose, but none of them were close enough. The two dirt roads are covered with snow. I suspect both will be permanently closed as of tomorrow. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Head Butte

Bighorn Head Butte: I took this image this morning. By late evening, snow picked up considerably and winds were brisk. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: This photo give a better clue of the blowing snow. The rams were active and chasing the various ewes across the hillside. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Lightroom Mobile: I have been working with the new feature built into Lightroom CC 2015. I can create folders in LR with selected web sized images that get automatically synced to my iPhone and iPad. Also, photos taken on either of those get automatically added to a folder in Lightroom.

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December 20, 2015 :

Elk Refuge Sleighs

Elk Refuge Sleighs: Saturday morning, I saw a string of horse drawn sleighs making their way across the flats on the National Elk Refuge. I pulled over and took a few long distance shots. It appears the tours are underway. You can read more about it on this page: Sleigh Ride on the National Elk Refuge:

Bull Elk in Snow

Bull Elk in Snow: Taken near Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ram on Diagonal Rocks

Ram on Diagonal Rocks: Taken on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Wind and snow across a wintering Bighorn. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

December 20 Wildlife Opportunities: Moose, Elk and Bison can now be seen in the hay fields and sagebrush flats North and NW of Kelly. Without the Elk hunt, they appear more relaxed. I also saw several small bands of Mule Deer at the edge of Kelly and along the road towards the campground. Bighorns are common on the National Elk Refuge. Ducks and Swans are usually along Flat Creek and at Boyle’s Hill, but the creek can freeze overnight and push them out of view. Hawks and Eagles are seen, but not close. A large flock of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches have been at Miller Butte. I’ve heard mixed reports on the Mountain Goats near Alpine Junction. Some people are seeing a few on random days.

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December 19, 2015 :

Shane Cabin Sunrise

Shane Cabin Sunrise: We had a beautiful sunrise this morning. Vehicle access to the Mormon Row barns via Antelope Flats Road is closed, but you can still get to the “Shane Cabins” on the Gros Ventre Road. There is a lot more info and a map on this popular page: The Shane Cabins: Authentic Homestead in Grand Teton National Park  Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Muskrat on Ice

Muskrat on Ice: This little critter was working along Flat Creek in town. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Taken at the base of Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ram and Ewe

Ram and Ewe: It would be all too easy to drive by and miss these two Bighorns. When not against snow, they blend in perfectly. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 18, 2015 :

Impact

Impact: This is a crop of one of the Bighorn bashes from this afternoon. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Split Second Before Impact

Split Second Before Impact: Taken on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ram

Ram: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 17, 2015 :

Full Moon Falls on Christmas for the First Time Since 1977 (The Weather Channel): If the sky is clear enough, you might consider being out early the day after Christmas. Normally, I try to get to the Mormon Row barns for the December full moon, but Antelope Flats Road is closed for vehicles already. In case you missed it, I posted a new Feature Post yesterday called: Mormon Row in Winter. It had a few tips and suggestions, along with a few photos, about getting to the barns after the gates close. 

Cowboy Bar

Cowboy Bar: I posted a few shots from the Town Square in last night’s entry, but didn’t include one of the Cowboy Bar. Last night, I added a cross filter to the front of the lens for a few shots. A little of that effect goes a long ways, but the only way you ever know is to try it! Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Ram's Heads

Ram’s Heads: On the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Bashers

Bashers: You never really know when two rams will decide to bash heads. They close their eyes just before impact. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Poser

Poser: This ram has yet to “broom” the tips of his horns. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Star Wars Fans

The Force: I drove to Movieworks today and picked up a ticket for the 7:00 pm showing of the new Star Wars movie. I went back at 4:30 to make sure I would get a good seat. These fans were already in line. The fan in the teal jacket had been sitting in front of the theater since 10:00 am (Temps were in the single digits most of the morning). I sat in my warm van for about an hour while they stood in line in the cold, then got in line when people started arriving. My wait in the line was only around 35 minutes, and only two or three people behind these guys. Oh yes, you should love the movie if you like the original ones.

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December 16, 2015 :

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: I made two trips to the National Elk Refuge today. They were scattered both times and showed little of the action I witnessed yesterday. Light was nice for a few minutes, then dulled. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Antler Arches with Lights

Antler Arches with Lights: Just before dark, I drove back to the Town Square. This time, I added a star filter for some different effects. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Hanukkah Menorah

Hanukkah Menorah: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Arch with Shoppers

Arch with Shoppers: I shot this one from the NW corner using a longer lens. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Street Light

Street Light: Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Bokeh

Bokeh: Taken with the lens intentionally out of focus. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Adjusted Bokeh

Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Additional areas of the valley closed to human entry and activity today. These links will give you lots of details and specifics.

Winter Closure Maps in PDF format:
Winter Travel Map Jackson |  GTNP Winter Guide  |  Greater Snow King Area | Larger Snow King Area | Gros Ventre Area | Cache Creek Area | Game Creek Area | Leeks Canyon | Russ Garaman | Post Office Area | Horse Creek Area | Pinedale to La Barge

The Elk Hunt is now over in our area, including inside the National Elk Refuge. Bison are being hunted in the Refuge, keeping many of the elk close to the highway.

Schwabacher Landing Closed to Human Entry: Until today, people could have hiked down to Schwabacher Landing. That area is part of the river bottom closure. Most of the rest of the park is open to hiking, cross-country skiing, and snow shoe trips.

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December 15, 2015 :

Antelope Flats Closure

Antelope Flats Closure: Seems early to me, but the road is now closed for the season. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70vmm lens.

Teton Range

Teton Range: The news paper reported a foot of new snow at Teton Village during the last storm.  Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Hillside

Hillside: Taken near the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Wagons

Wagons: Taken at the edge of Kelly. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Sheep Herder's Wagons

Sheep Herder’s Wagons: Taken in Kelly. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Remnants of old Kelly

Remnants of old Kelly: Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: Finally! We received fresh snow and active Bighorns!  Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: This page has a few tips on capturing the action:  Bighorns of Miller Butte. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Evening Ram

Evening Ram: I love the evening light this time of the year! Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 14, 2015 :

Monday Morning Notes: The Elk Reduction Program (GTNP Elk Hunt) is now over! It is safe to move around the park without hunter orange. It snowed overnight. I had to finally pull out the snow blower, especially to remove the big berm left by the town snow plows. We are one week away from the Winter Solstice, so days are extremely short.

Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: One of this morning’s back yard visitors. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: This male waited for the Magpies to clear, then headed for the suet. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 13, 2015 :

Billy on Slope

Billy on Slope: There were lots of Moose in the sagebrush north of Kelly, but still in the hunt zone. The hunt continues through the end of today.  I headed down the Canyon looking for a few Mountain Goats. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nanny

Nanny: There were half a dozen near the road and a few more working their way down until the Highway Patrol came by and spooked them up the mountain. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nanny on Slope

Nanny on Slope: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 12, 2015 :

Need Less

Need Less: Some of the old sheep herder’s wagons in Kelly. I found roughly 30 moose this morning. The moose were several hundred yards off the road, and in the hunt area. At 6°F and with a brisk wind, I opted to stay in the vehicle and cruise around looking for other subjects. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Flapping Swan

Flapping Swan: Taken in the early morning on Flat Creek. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nanny Portrait

Nanny Portrait: My wife went through Alpine this morning, then let me know of about 40 Mountain Goats near the road. I drove down, but a Wyoming Highway Patrol office ran the herd up the mountain. Four of them returned to the rocks along the road, including this Nanny. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nanny Confrontation

Nanny Confrontation: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bill Portrait

Billy Portrait: Male Mountain Goats have thicker horns at the base, and are closer together. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Taken along Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Backlit Swan

Backlit Swan: Taken in late evening light from the observation platform on Flat Creek. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Software Updates: Over the “Black Friday / Cyber Monday” weekend, I updated several of my software programs and plugins.If you are interested, here are a few comments:

Photoshop: Recently, Adobe released a new version of Photoshop CC2015. Adobe did a minor “face lift” to most of the tired old tool icons. I’ve been looking at the same ones since 1990 or so. The new icons are similar, but of course, different. When you open Photoshop, you may see a new start screen containing a page of recent documents. If you don’t like the screen, don’t panic! Just go to the Preferences and uncheck Show “start” Workspace When No Documents Are Open. When you enter Photoshop next time, it will bypass that page.

On1 Photo 10: I am not sure if I have version 9 or 8, but I went ahead and upgraded it. Most of the suite has been overhauled, and there are lots of new features. I’ve been watching a lot of their tutorials. They added the option to access most of the suite through Photoshop’s Filter pull down menu, which seems better than going File>Automate>. On1 is a bit of a hybrid now—suggesting you might not need Photoshop anymore, yet still integrating with both Lightroom and Photoshop. Some of their instructors say they are using On1 to import photos to quickly view, cull, and keyword new photos before taking the keepers to Lightroom. It definitely “views” the images faster, but the Browse utility seems to still need some interface work. I’m staying with PhotoMechanic for a while longer.

Aurora HDR: If you are a Mac user and also like HDR, you might want to check out this new program. It is currently on sale. The example photos are stunning, so at least go take a look.

Downtown Pano

Downtown Pano: This is a two image “stitched pano” taken with a Nikon D810. Click the image to see it quite a bit bigger. In the December 11 entry, I included a single image taken at about the same time. It was cropped to appear somewhat like a panoramic image. Panos and HDR: A couple of updates earlier, Adobe added the Merge to Pano along with Merge to HDR. Both create DNG raw files without ever leaving Lightroom.  Now, I import the pano or HDR parts into my Mac laptop first and let it grind away at creating panos and HDR files while I work on my PC. When completed, I move a copies of the DNG files to my desktop PC and import them into Lightroom. I delete all of the pano parts and only have to store the new DNG raw files. Other than removing the annoying light in the center of the image, the image above was processed 100% in Lightroom.

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December 11, 2015 :

Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn: Winter snows should help age the new roof. Mormon Row is still open, with only minimal snow covering the road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ditch Creek

Ditch Creek: Taken from Mormon Row looking East. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Winter Wheel

Winter Wheel: Taken along the road at the Bed & Breakfast on Mormon Row. Hunting in GTNP ends Sunday night. Access to Mormon Row will probably have a short window, depending on how much snow we get next week. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Fence Posts

Fence Posts: Looking south along Mormon Row Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Ram on Miller Butte

Bighorn Ram on Miller Butte: Recent snowfall has changed some of the landscape on the National Elk Refuge. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Take Off

Take Off: Flat Creek is now clear of ice. I took this photograph from the observation platform on the north edge of town. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Swan Pair

Swan Pair: From what I understand, Trumpeter Swans mate for life. When the creek is clear, they fly in and out of the area at random times throughout the day. At this time of the year, the sun disappears behind Saddle Butte at about 3:30 pm. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Night Time In Jackson Hole

December Nights In Jackson Hole: Some of the neon has been out on the Cowboy Bar cowboy for a few weeks. Today, I saw Sager Signs in town repairing it. I went back to the Square this afternoon for a few shots. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

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December 10, 2015 :

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: I counted at least 18 Moose scattered in a football field sized area of sagebrush this morning. We had some fresh snow overnight, so everything had a nice, wintry feel. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm

Sparring Bull Moose

Sparring Bull Moose: The Elk Hunt continues in some sections of Grand Teton National Park, including the area the moose were in today. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Ram and Ewe

Bighorn Ram and Ewe: Captured during a very brief moment of sun and light snow on the National Elk Refuge. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ewe and Lamb

Ewe and Lamb: It is usually possible to get similar shots on most days at Miller Butte, I I chose to include this one because of the flakes of light snow. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighrons

Bighorns: More light snow. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Young Ram

Young Ram: This young “ram” possesses horns not much larger than the ewe he’s chasing. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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December 9, 2015 :

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker: I did a quick drive to the Elk Refuge after lunch, only to find them scattered in small clusters and well off the road. I came home and set up in the back yard and waited for a few “customers”. This female fed on suet, while Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees feasted on black oil sunflower seeds. Yesterday, I went out to add some seeds and noticed a Sharp-shinned Hawk on a branch at the edge of the yard. Last evening, I heard a Great Horned Owl in a nearby tree. I looked for it, but didn’t find it. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

The weather continued its unseasonably warm temperatures, mixed with gusty winds. My wife and I are headed to Buffalo Valley for dinner with friends. I’ll get a good idea of the status of the upper valley on the way up. The next few days call for clouds and snow with high temperatures dropping each day.

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December 8, 2015 :

Side Attack

Side Attack: I drove to Miller Butte (on the National Elk Refuge) after lunch and spent roughly an hour there. I came home with over 1000 captures on my D4. On just a quick run through, I marked over 40 as worthy action shots I’d someday need to process. In other words, it was a productive day! D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Leaper

Leaper: The rut is in full swing now with numerous ewes coming into season. Younger rams like this one pressure the larger ones, but are quick to retreat. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

On the Rocks Again

On the Rocks AgainD4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Awkward

Awkward Moment: Yesterday, I was soaked on one side by the blowing, wet snow. When I left the refuge, I assumed it would snow all night and be a winter wonderland today. Instead, it warmed up overnight and melted much of the snow in town and on the Refuge. The mountains may have received heavy snow accumulations, but I didn’t go north. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Shooting Info: I set my D4 to Manual with Auto ISO. With overcast skies, I had to adjust the shutter speeds of between 1/640th second to 1/800th second, even though I could have preferred to be faster. I was shooting at F/8, though I might have like to be at F/11. ISO bounced around at between ISO640 and up to ISO2000.

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December 7, 2015 :

Bighorn Pair on Rocks

The mountains are probably getting a new layer of snow today. As of early afternoon, I am only seeing a few flurries in the valley floor. It is considerably warmer today. I drove to the National Elk Refuge at lunch time and found some sporadic action along the Butte. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Turnabout

Turnabout: This ewe apparently got fed up with being chased and turned on the ram. 4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Afternoon Snow

Afternoon Snow: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Young Rams

Young Rams: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Downhill Chase

Downhill Chase:

BW Chase

Chase: This might look like I used a lot of Photoshop filters on it, but I just desaturated it in Lightroom, then did a few contrast and sharpening style adjustments. The blowing snow created the diagonal streak. At 1/50th second exposure, there was some motion blur as I followed the trailing ram.

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December 5, 2015 :

SleepingIndian

Sleeping Indian Sunrise: Taken from the Gros Ventre Road. (click the image to see it larger) D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

The Grand

The Grand: I spent part of the sunrise period looking for bull moose. Yesterday, I heard they were on Ditch Creek Road. Today, they were on Warm Springs Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Sparring Bull Moose

Sparring Bull MooseD810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Sparring Partners

Sparring Partners: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Quick Retreat

Quick Retreat: Sometimes the gentle sparring turns a bit more violent.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Eye to Eye

Eye to EyeD810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Mount Moran

Mount Moran: Taken at the upper parking lot near Oxbow Bend. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Teton Peaks

Teton Peaks: Taken from the Jackson Lake Dam. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Snow Trail

Snow Trail: Taken near Willow Flats parking area. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Trumpeter Swan in Flight

Trumpeter Swan in Flight: Taken at Boyle’s Hill.  D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Boyle's Hill

Boyle’s HillD4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Take Off On Snow

Take Off On Snow: Also taken at Boyle’s Hill.  D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 5, 2015 :

Mountain Goat on Ledge

Mountain Goat on Ledge: I was planning on being out for sunrise and maybe some Moose, but ended up going down the Canyon. I only saw five goats today, and of the five, three had either tags or collars (or both). Two of them were on rock faces, and a little snow helped with the look. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

On the Rocks

On the Rocks: A friend saw a few more Mountain Goats on his way down the canyon at around noon and again on his way back up at 4:00pm.   D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Pine Grosbeaks

Pine Grosbeaks: I found these berry eating birds in Alpine. Males have a red head, while females have more yellow or burnt gold. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: I spent part of the afternoon at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. The rut is “on”. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

The Vertical Climb

A Vertical Climb: Both Bighorns and Mountain Goats can display some amazing dexterity on the rocks. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Old Bighorn Ram

Old Bighorn Ram: This venerable old Ram has a swollen nose, but looks great when looking towards you. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Evening Lamb

Evening LambD4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Evening Light

Evening Light: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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December 4, 2015 :

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook: I checked the weather report last night. It called for clear skies just before sunrise, then clouds developing at sunrise. I set the alarm for 6:00am, noting sunrise would be at 7:38am . I made it to Snake River Landing just as the first hints of pink hit the clouds. Some days it works out! D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

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December 3, 2015 :

Bighorns

Bighorns: The Bighorns on the National Elk Refuge were more visible today than yesterday. I heard a rumor of a wolf passing through, which would have changed their recent behavior. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Rams

Rams: Once a Ewe begins coming into mating season, she attracts groups of Rams. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Rams Near Rocks

Rams Near Rocks: Earlier, Bighorns were spending most of the day feeding on the grass near the roads, but with the rut in progress, more of them are hanging around along the rocks. Much better! Actually, the Ewes are hanging close to the relative sanctuary of the rocks.  D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

D4 or D810? I typically include the information the body and lenses I use for each image. When there isn’t a lot of action, or possibility of action, I prefer to use the high pixel count of the D810 (36mpx). Lately, the bighorns have been running, chasing, and bashing, so I switched to the D4 to get the high frame rate and large buffer.

Homework: I’ve had to spend some of my time during the past few days taking care of business. Today, I finished dealing with the paperwork required to take people out to the National Elk Refuge through the winter months. I’m still working on my new health insurance paperwork. All of this will free me up for some extra time in the field once the snow begins again.

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December 2, 2015 :

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: If nothing else is happening…go to Boyle’s Hill and photograph Swans! That’s always in the back of my head. Today, I drove to Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge twice, hoping for more head bashing by the Bighorns. None were near the road. The few I saw were on the far west end of the butte or on the top of it. Flat Creek is frozen on the north side of town. There are 12-16 resident Swans at Boyle’s Hill. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Trumpeter Swans in Conflict

With so much of the rivers and streams frozen, wild Swans are attracted to the open water at Boyle’s Hill. That can cause all kinds of conflicts in such tight quarters.  I prefer these images with a little natural light, but clouds in the west moved in and dulled the evening rays. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

The Weather Forecast calls for a little much needed snow on Friday and Saturday. It has been very cold here lately. I believe I got a little frostbite on the tips of my toes recently.

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December 1, 2015 :

Town Square with Streaks

Downtown Lights — kicking off the Holiday Season. All three are Ski Resorts are open.

As always, the first week or two of a new month will look a lot like the last week or so in the previous month. Check out November.  I’ll continue to add new photos and comments to this page throughout the month.

Two Bull Moose

Two Bull Moose: Taken along the East Boundary Road. A hunter had fired a shot earlier and the moose were moving quickly to a new zone. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Approaching Bull

Approaching Bull Moose: Taken from the window as the moose readied to cross the roadway. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

December Barn

December Barn: Low clouds, high clouds, snow on the peaks and a historic old barn…what else could I expect! Antelope Flats Road should remain open until at least the end of hunting season. Mormon Row is still open, but could be barricaded at any time if the snow builds up. The new restroom appears to be completed. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: No need to modify the new barn roof. Snow is covering up the new wood. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Farm Equipment

Farm Equipment: Taken at the Chambers Homestead on Mormon Row. I took several hundred photos there today. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Pulleys

Pulleys: Also at the Chambers Homestead. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Bashing Rams

Bashing Rams: This pair of rams were going at it before the sun hit the rocks. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Early December Wildlife: Bighorns will be in the rut for all of December. New parking spaces and upgraded roads on the National Elk Refuge will help with photography and viewing there. The Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides will start sometime before Christmas. Moose are still roaming the sage flats north of Kelly. The Elk Reduction Program will remain in effect in some areas for the first two weeks of the month. Flat Creek is home to numerous species of waterfowl, muskrats, occasional otters, and Trumpeter Swans. Foxes, owls, ermine, badgers and coyotes are sometimes easier to spot against the white terrain. Mountain Goats have been seen with some degree of regularity in the Snake River Canyon. Eagles are more common this time of the year as they scavenge on leftovers from elk, deer, and bison kills.

Just the Fence

Most Recent Feature Post!: Grand Teton National Park’s Buck Rail Fences. Here’s your chance to submit a photo to Best of the Tetons and make comments about the disappearing historic buck and rail fences in GTNP!

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Comments (3)

  1. Richard Hanks

    As always, great stuff.

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Mike. Thank you so much for all that you do throughout the year. It is such a treat to be able to see all of the seasons that the Tetons have to offer through your wonderful photography!

  3. Hi John,
    Thanks for the comments! Between the changing seasons, changing animal activity, and variety of outdoor events, JH always seems to be hopping. I am fortunate to live here to enjoy it, and if showing a few photos brings some cheer to people in other parts of the country, it’s even better! MJ

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