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Steamy Crossing

January 2016 Daily Journal for GTNP & JH

“January can be a great month, but you have to be prepared for the cold temperatures.”

Daily Updates Archives:
2017: Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May:Apr:Mar: | Feb: Jan: |
2016: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan: 
2015: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2014: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2013: Dec: | Nov: Oct: | Sept: | Aug:

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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January 31, 2016 :

All's Fair in Love and War

All’s Fair in Love and War: If you pick up the new issue of Cowboys & Indians Magazine, you will see this photo and the one below in the Annual Contest: Photographing the West.

Rocky Mountain Sentinel

Rocky Mountain Sentinel:

February One-on-One Photography Excursions: Recently, someone sent a note asking if I offered One-on-One Photography Excursions in February. You betcha! I hadn’t updated some of the text on the Excursions page in a while, so I can see how it might have been unclear. I have openings in most of February still available. You can check out what I photographed in February (or any month for that matter) by clicking the appropriate month in the list near the top of the page. Here are links for the past two years:  February 2015:February 2014:  I should probably mention I offer the trips all year. September is probably going to be a good one and a couple of spots are already filled.

Morning in the Park:

Running Moose

Running Moose: This young bull Moose saw a bull moose crossing the sage flats and made a mad rush to get to him. Their long legs make it easy to clear the snow and sagebrush. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Approaching Springs

Young Follower: The big bull continued on towards the Kelly Warm Springs with the youngster shadowing him. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Willows at the Springs

Willows at the Springs: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Moose in Kelly Warm Springs

Moose in Kelly Warm Springs: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull in Kelly Warm Springs

Bull in Kelly Warm Springs: I’ve mentioned it in previous entries, but it is uncommon to see a bull with antlers this late in the year. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Wall of Spruce

Wall of Spruce: I took this shot near Windy Point on the Teton Park Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Afternoon:

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 30, 2016 :

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: I’ve been seeing this Heron all winter, but he’s very spooky. Watch for him north of the Visitor’s Center. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Frosted Statues

Frosted Statues: These are located in front of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Hard to believe we’d still be seeing a Bull Moose on the last couple of days of January. This one was north of Kelly, “pawing” the snow to get to the bitter brush. I saw another half a dozen moose in the open sagebrush zones near Ditch Creek Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Cabin Window

Cabin Window: Wet snow stuck to about any south facing feature. This cabin is in Kelly. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Snow Cover Spruce

Snow Covered Spruce: The JH Mountain Resort reported 17″ of snow overnight. I had to run the snow blower this morning, but we didn’t get that much in town. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Full Reach

Full Reach: Red Fox on the move in GTNP. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mallards

Mallards: Taken along Flat Creek from the observation platform. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 29, 2016 :

Weather Alert: The National Weather Service Office in Riverton has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the mountains and valleys of Teton County through 5pm on Saturday 1/30.

Aspen Silhouette

Aspen Silhouette: This morning, I took a drive out the Gros Ventre towards Slide Lake. A recent photo in the newspaper showed a Bighorn at the end of the road near the Slide Lake campground. I didn’t see any Bighorns today. I snapped this image while driving back into the Park. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Gros Ventre River Ranch Barn

Gros Ventre River Ranch Barn: Also on the Gros Ventre Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Grunge Wheel Rim

Grunge Wheel Rim: I am always drawn to old objects like this hub. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Coyote

Coyote: I haven’t been south to check on the Mountain Goats in a while, so I made the trip today. I found this Coyote crossing the highway. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: I only found 11 Mountain Goats this afternoon. They came down about half way so I was able to get a few decent shots. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Headed Down Hill

Headed Down Hill: There was a fresh layer of snow in the Canyon, with more predicted for the weekend. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

In the Rocks

In the Rocks: It has been a while since the last big snowfall, so it took the gamble of driving down to look for them. Typically, they don’t come down at all right after a big snow fall in January. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mountain Goat by the Rocks

Mountain Goat by the Rocks: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Snow Plow

Snow Plow: For anyone considering driving down the Canyon, I’ll throw out a few tidbits of caution: The roadway is a State Highway…not a Park! Truckers going 55mph and some of the redneck drivers going even faster have no patience for people parked in the road. The Highway Patrol and Lincoln County Sheriff are generally not as tolerant as GTNP rangers! The only safe place to park is at one of the pull outs, and even more so during a storm. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Eukanuba Stage Stop Sled Dog Race: If you are in town, the ceremonial kickoff for this race will happen on the 29th. Winterfest is underway in JH. Tonight, there will be the opening ceremony for the Sled Dog Race, followed by a Torch Light Parade and Fireworks on Snow King Mountain.

Sled Dog Race

Sled Dog Race: Taken on the Town Square. I used a strobe, which lit up some of the falling flakes. I removed a few of them in Photoshop. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens and SB910 Strobe

Spectators

Spectators: D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens and SB910 Strobe

Mushers

Mushers: D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens and SB910 Strobe

Cowboy Bar Sign

Cowboy Bar Sign with Snow: D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens and SB910 Strobe

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January 28, 2016 :

Moose in Willows

Moose in Willows: Taken along the Gros Ventre River. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose along GV

Bull Moose along GV: I saw half a dozen moose near the river’s edge, none of which had antlers. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Cow Moose Crossing GV

Cow Moose Crossing GV: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Taken not far from Kelly. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Fox

Red Fox: This fox was curled up sleeping not far off the road. It crossed just in front of me. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Fox on the Move

Red Fox on the Move: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Spruce with Hoar Frost

Spruce with Hoar Frost: Most of the valley was covered with morning fog. I captured this one just after the sun appeared. A light wind was blowing flakes off the trees. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 27, 2016 :

Hunting Cross Fox

Hunting Cross Fox: I spent most of my day behind the desk and in front of the computer, but got out long enough to find a fox. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Through Branches

Through Branches: I shot this in late evening light through some branches. I typically like “clean” shots, but this one seemed to work fine with all the corner clutter. I moved around to find a clean shot of its face. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 26, 2016 :

Hansen Barn

Hansen Barn: This barn on Spring Gulch Road stays in shadows for much of the morning. I photograph it fairly often if the sky and clouds are interesting. For this image, I added a few artistic, painterly effects. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Hardiman Barn

Hardiman Barn: This barn is in downtown Wilson. Portions of the complex are used by the Teton Raptor Center. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Fish Creek Ranch

Fish Creek Ranch: This nice old barn is a couple of miles south of Wilson on Fish Creek Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

This morning, I drove around the Wilson area checking for foxes, owls and other critters.

Afternoon in the Tetons:

Scratching

Scratching: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Afternoon Light and Red Fox

Afternoon Light and Red Fox: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Grand and Tipi Poles

Grand and Tipi Poles: On the way home, I stopped at Dornan’s to add a subject in front of the last light on the Grand. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Evening light seemed to last longer than normal tonight. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Sleeping Indian with Gros Ventre Trees

Sleeping Indian with Gros Ventre Trees: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 25, 2016 :

Moonset Over Death Canyon

Moonset Over Death Canyon: I couldn’t get to a good spot for the moon and the Grand this morning, so I stopped along the highway to capture the setting moon as it neared Death Canyon. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

First Light

First Light: The best clouds were everywhere BUT over the Grand this morning. The rose and peach colored light clipping the peaks of the mountains is still a glorious sight to see—especially following a winter storm! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Aspen and Clouds

Aspen and Morning Clouds: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Spring Creek

Spring Creek: Also taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. This one is stylized slightly in post production. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Afternoon:


 

Cross Fox Approaching

Cross Fox Approaching: I am hearing reports of Foxes showing up all around the valley now. Time to get out and find one! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Cross Fox on the Move

Cross Fox on the MoveD810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Cross Fox Hunting

Cross Fox Hunting: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Cross Fox Resting

Cross Fox Resting: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Fox Resting

Red Fox Resting: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Teton Theater

If you are not signed up to follow Best of the Tetons, you might have missed the new Feature Post call Jackson Hole Neon.

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January 24, 2016 :

Pair of Foxes

Pair of Foxes: These foxes were near Moose Junction this morning. I stayed with them until the Denver game. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Fox

Red Fox: I hated to leave—knowing they’d eventually get up. I am sure some people got the shots, but I figured I’d have plenty of additional chances throughout the winter. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 23, 2016 :

Moose Sculpture

Moose Sculpture: I saw this sculpture at the Craig Thomas Visitor’s Center at Moose and couldn’t resist taking the shot. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Refuge Bulls

Refuge Bulls: I took this shot out the window at one of the highway pull-outs. I saw a quick video of a huge bull roaming the refuge, taken by someone on a sleigh ride. It might be worth a future ride! It was dull and gray most of the morning and afternoon. It gave me a chance to finally finish my quarterly bookkeeping. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Winter Wildlife Opportunities For the Last Week of January:

  • Moose are moving to the river bottoms. A few bulls may still have antlers. Check the Gros Ventre and Pacific Creek.
  • Elk are plentiful on the National Elk Refuge and along the east slope of East Gros Ventre Butte near the museum.
  • Mule Deer are moving towards Kelly, into town and along the east slope of East Gros Ventre Butte.
  • Bison are currently in mid-sized herds north of Kelly and along Gros Ventre Road.
  • Bighorn Sheep spend their winter on Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge.
  • Pronghorns: I haven’t seen any this year, but they could still be on the National Elk Refuge.
  • Bears and many of the small critters are hibernating.
  • Otters: Keep and eye on Flat Creek and around the Dam.
  • Critters: Watch for Ermine, Squirrels, and Foxes. Foxes have been showing up in numerous areas. I heard a report of three of them in and around Kelly.
  • Wolves usually follow the Elk. A couple have been spotted on the Refuge and in the Kelly Warm Springs area.
  • Mountain Goats are occasionally seen at the mouth of the Snake River Canyon, but less often in January.

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January 22, 2016 :

Morning in Jackson Hole

Elk Refuge

Elk Refuge: Taken from the highway above the National Fish Hatchery. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Alpenglow

Alpenglow: Taken from the Welcome to GTNP sign and parking lot. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from the Highway. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Bison on the Run

Bison on the Run: Taken from the Gros Ventre Road. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Grand Peak

Grand Peak: Taken from the Gros Ventre Road. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Winter Cottonwoods

Winter Cottonwoods: Taken from the Gros Ventre Road. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Bulls

Bulls: D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Bull Moose Crossing GV

Bull Moose Crossing the Gros Ventre: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose in Frosted Willows

Bull Moose in Frosted Willows: Also along the Gros Ventre River. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Foggy Fence Line

Foggy Fence Line: Taken on Spring Gulch Road. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Hansen Barn

Hansen Barn: Also taken on Spring Gulch Road. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Afternoon: Light was just too beautiful to be sitting in front of my computer doing year end bookkeeping, so I loaded back up for a second trip.

Winged Scavengers

Winged Scavengers: Just before lunch time, I headed down the Snake River Canyon and stumbled on a Golden and Bald Eagle on a deer carcass. The maturing Bald Eagle landed in a tree fairly close to the road. I shot quite a while before noticing the Raven on the branch under him. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: There’s a lot of deep, soft snow in the Snake River Canyon now. I could find only three Mountain Goats close to the road. They were struggling to maneuver through the deep powder. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mountain Goat on the Rocks

Mountain Goat on the Rocks: This Billy was perched on a nice rock outcropping. There were two power lines running across the scene. I hiked around 100 yards trying to eliminate the lines, but there was no open spot. I removed the two lines in Photoshop for this one. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Cross Fox Waking Up

Cross Fox Waking Up: When I walked up to the scene, this Cross Fox was curled up and sleeping. I clicked a few shots before it stood up. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Hunting Cross Fox

Hunting Cross Fox: This is still a “Red Fox”…just a color variant. In a similar way, we have numerous colors of “Black Bears”. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Hunting Red Fox

Hunting Red FoxD810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Posed and Watching:

Posed and Watching: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Downhill

Downhill: I am fairly sure this is a male (regnard or dog). He hiked his back leg and marked numerous bushes and posts. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Normally, I don’t add this many images from a single day. Today was special—I had so many opportunities!

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January 21, 2016 :

Grand Teton Sunrise

Grand Teton Sunrise: I pulled over to take this shot from the highway near the “Welcome to Grand Teton National Park” sign. The low cloud probably obscured views of the Tetons from other locations. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

South Ridges

South Ridges: Taken from Ditch Creek Road. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

The Winter Ridge

The Winter Ridge Line: The low, dark ridge is Blacktail Butte with the southern portion of the Teton Range visible behind it. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Cow Moose

Cow Moose: Taken from the East Boundary Road with Blacktail Butte in the distance. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Cow Moose

Cow Moose: Similar shot, but zoomed in considerably. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: Taken from the road. I drove up the Gros Ventre Road looking for two Bull Moose with antlers. They were bedded down when I saw them. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This is one of three Bull Moose with antlers in the Kelly Warm Springs area. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose and Lit Peaks

Bull Moose: I liked the peaks lighting up and attempted to include them in the shot. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Tree Line

Tree Line: This row of trees is just to the North of the Gros Ventre Campground.  D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

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January 20, 2016 :

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe: Taken on the National Elk Refuge in afternoon light. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: I haven’t seen a lot of rut activity on my last few visits to the National Elk Refuge. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

National Elk Refuge

National Elk Refuge: There are lots of elk on the Refuge now. Cows and calves are mostly in the southern portion, while the bulls are hanging closer to the highway. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Historic Miller House

Historic Miller House: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 19, 2016 :

Running Bison

Running Bison: I missed the best of the sunrise by dealing with backups on my computer this morning. I went out as soon as I could and found a herd of Bison crossing the Gros Ventre Road. When this bull started running, the fur atop his head bounced up like some sort of African Tribal Mask. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Running Bison

Running Bison: I used the motion blur filter in Photoshop for this one. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bison Cow and Calf

Bison Cow and Calf: I had great light for part of the morning. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Teton Range

Teton Range: Clouds were thick over the Grand, but the range south was open. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Moose

Moose: I chose to spend my morning with the passing Bison. Eight moose were gathered near Ditch Creek Road, including two bulls with antlers. They were moving away from me at the time, so I didn’t stay for attempts at better shots. I headed back for more Bison shots. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 18, 2016 :

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: After lunch, I did a loop out to the National Elk Refuge. There were numerous Bighorns down, but the bigger Rams were well off the road. I spent some time at the Mac store, then headed home and gave the back yard birds some fresh food. It didn’t take long for this male Downey Woodpecker to appear. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: This female Red Squirrel is also quick to show up when there are sunflower seeds and peanuts. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: After lunch, I did a loop out to the National Elk Refuge. There were numerous Bighorns down, but the bigger Rams were well off the road. I spent some time at the Mac store, then headed home and gave the back yard birds some fresh food. It didn’t take long for this male Downey Woodpecker to appear. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 17, 2016 :

Bison

Bison: Captured from the Gros Ventre Road and looking north towards Blacktail Butte. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Many of the bulls have lost their antlers. Keep an eye out for the bulls with late antlers such as this one was on the East Boundary Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Resting Bull Moose

Resting Bull Moose: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Elk Pair

Elk Pair: Taken from the Elk Refuge Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Elk Group

Elk Group on the National Elk Refuge. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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.)

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January 16, 2016 :

Artistic Icicles

Artistic Icicles: I took this image yesterday in Kelly and then applied a few artistic effects this morning in Photoshop. I still like capturing the large animals and fiery sunrises, but these little treasures are dependable subjects if you stop to look for them. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Snowy Moose

Snowy Moose: We had snow flurries most of the day. I found this moose a few miles north of Kelly. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Winter Aspens

Winter Aspens: Taken along the Moose/Wilson Road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

River Otter and Cutthroat Trout

River Otter and Cutthroat Trout: Captured on Flat Creek just after sunset. I’ve always found it amazing that a mammal can out swim a fish! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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.)

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January 15, 2016 :

Trumpeter Swan Trio

Trumpeter Swan Trio: There was some open water on Flat Creek today. Besides the Swans, we saw Mallard ducks, Mergansers, and Golden-eyes. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny and Kid

Nanny and Kid: Mountain Goats were visible in the Snake River Canyon this afternoon, but the few we saw were higher up the side of the mountain than yesterday. The area had received a nice new fluffy layer of snow. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Passing Snow

Passing Snow: I am always watching for patches of amber mixed in with the banks of snow. They are not exactly easy to spot, but the off color helps once you get the hang of it. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Additional Wildlife: I spotted numerous Moose north of Kelly and a few along the Gros Ventre River. Bald Eagles are fairly numerous in the valley at this time. A few Mule Deer were grazing near Kelly, along with a mousing Coyote. I am still keeping my eyes out for River Otters on Flat Creek when it has open water. Bighorns were visible on Miller Butte, but not close to the road when I was there. The Bison hunt is ongoing on the National Elk Refuge. A few of them were grazing off the Gros Ventre Road. Of course, there are lots of Elk on the National Elk Refuge.

Icy Take-off

Icy Take-off: Taken at Boyle’s Hill in late evening light. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Just the Door

Just the Door: I desaturated most of this shot but the rustic door on this old sheep herder’s wagon in Kelly. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 14, 2016 :

Nanny and Kid

Nanny and Kid: Yesterday afternoon, I drove down the Snake River Canyon to check out the Mountain Goats. I found several small groups of them scattered along the first couple of miles of the mouth of the Canyon. I bumped into Daryl Hunter, who drives the canyon regularly. He told me he has been seeing them often, though sometimes only high on the rocks. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Snow: The weather reports suggest we will be in a snow and snow showers pattern for the next few days.

Shoshone Elder

Shoshone Elder: The original image for this piece was featured as a full page in Cowboys & Indians magazine a couple of years ago. Last night, I dug it out and gave it some artistic treatments as seen above. (Click the image to see it much larger and see all of the details). I plan on doing a lot more of this kind of work throughout all of 2016. You can see some additional textures and shapes mixed in with this image. Over the past five or six years, I’ve taken thousands of “textures, objects, and shapes” to work into my base image.

Signs of the Season

Signs of the Season: I was going through some of the photos from yesterday. I thought the bedded moose was a cow, but after seeing this photo, I can see it is an anterless bull. By the middle of January, I’d expect to see very few bulls with antlers. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee: There have been a lot of Chickadees around all winter. At this moment, most of them are Black-capped Chickadees, but a few Mountain Chickadees are mixed in. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 13, 2016 :

Chapel Icicles

Chapel Icicles: The weather forecast was for partly cloudy skies, but they apparently didn’t factor in the valley fog. This was taken at the Chapel of the Transfiguration and lit with a 2 million candle power flashlight during a long exposure. D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens 

Pair of Gros Ventre Moose

Pair of Gros Ventre Moose: Moose are moving off the sage flats and into the river bottoms. This pair was near the Gros Ventre River. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bison Crossing the Gros Ventre

Bison Crossing the Gros Ventre: The Bull Moose perked up and watched this Bison cross the Gros Ventre. Bison hunting season on the National Elk Refuge will be over soon. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Foggy Moose

Foggy Moose: Same bull…watching the Bison cross the river and then up the bluff. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Resting Bull Elk

Resting Bull Elk: I found half a dozen bull elk in the cottonwoods around Kelly. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: Also near Kelly. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: I did a quick reconnaissance run down the Snake River Canyon in the afternoon. There were Mountain Goats in several areas.   D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Nanny

Nanny: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

On a Ledge

On a Ledge: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

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January 12, 2016 :

Sunrise

Sunrise: Taken on Ditch Creek road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Sun Pillar

Sun Pillar: D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens 

Standoff

Standoff: This was taken at a long distance, but I found it interesting to watch. The elk was aware of the two coyotes, but not scared of them. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Winter Horse

Winter Horse: Taken on Spring Gulch Road. I believe this one belongs to Brad and Kate Mead. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Snowy Barn

Snowy Barn: Also taken on Spring Gulch Road.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Farm Scene

Farm Scene: This is the Box L Ranch on Spring Gulch road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

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January 11, 2016 :

Young Bighorn

Young Bighorn: It was very cold here again today, with bluebird clear skies. I checked the National Elk Refuge after lunch and found plenty of Bighorns around Miller Butte, but they were scattered and seemed to be just grazing or resting. The winter sun is still low in the sky. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Trumpeter Swans and Mallard Ducks

Trumpeter Swans and Mallard Ducks: Bill Long from the Wyoming Wetlands Society (.org) was at the Swan pond on Boyle’s Hill Road. He invited me to come down to the feeding area with him today for some unique angles. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Inbound Trumpeter

Inbound Trumpeter: Three Swans flew in while I was there, including H39. Wintering Swans from the Jackson Hole area have been banded with “H” tags. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: The stretching swan above is a Cygnet. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Custer Portrait

Custer Portrait: I spent the evening watching the Alabama/Clemson football game and going through some of my recent photos. Here’s one from the 3rd of January. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 10, 2016 : Sunday in the Park

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: The low cloud enticed me to pull into SRO for a mid-morning shot. D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens 

Red Fox

Red Fox: Sundays are always good for just roaming around the park, including going farther north than I normally go during the week. I found one Red Fox—beautifully outfitted in her heavy winter fur. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Resting Fox

Resting Fox: Sometimes it takes “just sitting around” for a few hours to get images of Foxes. This image gives a bit of a clue. They curl up in a ball regularly and stay that way for up to an hour or longer. Sometimes, they are visible when resting, but of course many of them will never be seen. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Raven

Raven: While waiting, I usually take advantage of capturing some of the other creatures and occasional landscapes. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Running Red Fox

Running Red Fox: I always like to keep my shutter speed at 1/1000th second or higher in case one of the foxes takes off. Occasionally, I’ll slow it down in hopes of some sort of motion blur capture. Those are usually more difficult and less productive…but worth a try. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Coyote in Deep Snow

Coyote in Deep Snow: On my way to the north part of the park, I saw a couple of coyotes “mousing” but they were way too far off for much of a shot. This one was close to the road on my way home, and light was much richer. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Approaching Coyote

Approaching Coyote: Yesterday afternoon, I managed to photograph a Wolf near Kelly. During the middle of the day, I photographed Foxes today, and then this Coyote in afternoon light. I didn’t get all three species of Teton canines in one day, but I did within a 24 hour period! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Coyote on the Road

Coyote on the Road: The coyote was working both sides of the highway and ran down the road for a long distance. I pulled into the turnout at Elk Flats to get the two shots above. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Fat Tire Bikes

Fat Tire Bikes (Snow Bikes): These two ladies are training for a triathlon they’ll compete in later in the year. I photographed them from the same pullout. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Moose with Sleeping Indian

Moose with Sleeping Indian: Last shot of the day…I captured this one just north of the Gros Ventre Junction. Within a minute of this shot, the afternoon light diminished on the valley floor. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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January 9, 2016 : Afternoon in the Park

Refuge Sleigh Rides

National Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Two of five bucks grazing along the highway across from the National Elk Refuge. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: I did a quick loop into the Moose area. I haven’t been trolling that area much this winter so I was surprised to see the road open to the Chapel. In most previous years, the road is blocked with a large snowbank. D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens 

Chapel
Chapel: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Winter Spring

Winter Spring: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. I had heard reports of a couple of Bull Moose in Sawmill Ponds. There were lots of people out getting exercise at Taggart Lake Trail Head and at the turnaround at Death Canyon. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Howling Wolf

Howling Wolf: This is one of five or six Wolves in the sagebrush this afternoon. You can see the North end of Blacktail Butte in the distance. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Gray Wolf

Gray Wolf: I don’t see wolves very often here in the Tetons. This one was about 100-150 yards off the road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Painterly Gray Wolf

Painterly Gray Wolf: Post processed using several filters.

Fence Shadows

Fence Shadows: Also on Ditch Creek Road in evening light.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Evening Wagon

Evening Wagon: Taken at the edge of Kelly as the sun was dropping behind the Western clouds. D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens 

Additional Wildlife: There were a few Bison scattered around at the south end of the Park. The Bison hunt on the National Elk Refuge lasts another week. I saw several Bald Eagles this afternoon, along with a Belted Kingfisher on the Moose-Wilson Road.

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January 8, 2016 : Birding Day

Immature Bald Eagle

Immature Bald Eagle: I made a trip out to Kelly and then all the way up the Gros Ventre to Slide Lake. I found this eagle, and saw lots more, along the Gros Ventre River. The Bison hunt is still underway on the Refuge and I am sure the birds are feeding on leftovers. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Grouse

Sharp-tailed Grouse: This grouse was sitting in the top of a cottonwood along Ditch Creek. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: There are patches of open water along Flat Creek now. I saw a dozen Trumpeters taking advantage of the feeding areas. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Stepping Swan

Stepping Swan: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Raven

Raven: Well, I think it’s a Raven. It was flying over Flat Creek. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Barrows Golden Eyes

Barrows Golden Eyes: I also saw a few Common Mergansers and numerous Mallards this morning. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

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January 7, 2016 :

The Computer is BACK! I just returned from the Computer Clinic. My desktop computer now has a 500 Gig SSD boot drive (replaced a 500 Gig SATA drive), and a 2 TB SATA drive (replaced a failing 1 TB D drive), and a new video card (fan was squealing). While at the shop, they upgraded the BIOS. At least initially, it seems to all be working fine! Working on the MacBookPro was fine, but it’s nothing like seeing images on the 30″ Apple Cinema Display on my main system.

Bighorns

Bighorns:  Jackson Hole was cloudy again this morning. I waited until the clouds thinned some, then made a quick run to Miller Butte. One Ewe had the attention of five Rams. She hung close to the rock faces for an hour or so. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Bighorns

Bighorns: Some of these rock scenes remind me of Bev Doolittle paintings. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Bighorns

Bighorns: Things often slow down for 30-45 minutes before erupting with action. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Bighorns

Bighorns: A running Ewe usually catches the attention of numerous Rams in the area.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

The Chase

The Chase: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

The Clash

The Clash: This is a tight crop of one of the few bashes I saw today. I cut the one of the right off. With good light, I was able to keep the shutter speed at 1/1000th of a second at F/9 or so. Auto ISO varied at between ISO 400 and ISO1000 which is usually fine on a D4 or D810. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Ol' Timer

Ol’ Timer: This is the classic approach by the biggest Ram at Miller Butte. This one has a very old scab on his muzzle that is more swollen this year than in previous years. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Ol' Timer

Ol’ Timer: I like to photograph this ram when looking straight at me or maybe a tiny amount to the side. The scab is still visible, but the swelling is less obvious. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Rams in Pursuit

Rams in Pursuit: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

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January 6, 2016 :

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: At least for a short period, light hit Miller Butte and the Bighorns. I had to wait about 30 minutes for it to happen, but I think it was worth the time. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens 

Ram Portrait with Snow

Ram Portrait with SnowNikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Foraging for Food

Foraging for FoodNikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Ram with Snow

Ram with Snow:  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Back to the Cliffs

Back to the Cliffs: There were numerous Bighorns on the south side of the road this afternoon, indicating they are not too concerned about Wolves. I heard people had seen Wolf tracks along the East boundary line of the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nikon D5: Nikon officially announced the new D5 yesterday. I’ve had one on pre-order since Halloween, so I should be high on the list to get one when they come out. The specs look interesting. My desktop PC is still in the shop. The technician told me my internal D drive was beginning to fail, so it is getting a new one.

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January 5, 2016 :

Feeding Ram

Feeding Ram: A few Bighorns were off the butte on the National Elk Refuge this afternoon. I caught this ram during a very light snowfall. I haven’t been seeing a lot of rut activity lately, but I am not sure it’s fully over.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: After feeding, this ram climbed the rocks and found a nice resting spot overlooking the valley. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: This female was interested in some of the suet in my back yard. Male’s have a patch or red on the back of their head. Normally, I’d try to include it, but this pose works out fine on a female. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red Squirrel

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

My desktop PC is in the shop getting a new SSD drive on the boot drive, so am posting from my MacLaptop. Hopefully, it will be back up and running tomorrow. I spent a couple of hours on the phone with Apple today, trying to work out some details using Photos and iTunes when trying to sync with an iPad.

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January 4, 2016 :

Icicles

Icicles: After a long weekend, I needed to take care of a little business homework today. Once “cabin fever” set in, I did a quick trip to the National Elk Refuge, but didn’t shoot. I went to Boyle’s Hill for some swans, but a cloud dulled the scene and I didn’t take photos there either. Still, there are always plenty of subjects worthy of a photo, such as these icicles. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Free Event Sunday, Jan. 10: Ross Crandall presentation of Craighead Beringia South’s research on Eagles at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Crandall will give an overview of his organization’s research, noting how elevated blood lead levels in eagles and ravens correspond with area hunting seasons. He will also discuss the voluntary non–lead initiative on the National Elk Refuge and have ballistics gel on hand to compare fragmentation between copper and lead bullets. More info here.

WinterFestJackson Hole:  January 29-February 15, 2016. Click the link for more info!

Corey

Corey: I took this shot a few years ago when my son was competing in the Half Pipe. He now coaches kids in the Half Pipe in Park City. I dug out the photo and did spent some time in Photoshop tonight to come up with a multi-layered composite image. To get a better idea of what’s going on in the image, click it to see it much larger. MJ

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January 3, 2016 : Sunday in the Park

Upper Cache Creek

Upper Cache Creek: When I got up this morning and looked outside, all I could see were clouds. I didn’t hurry to leave the house, but started seeing color in the Southeast corner of the valley. I stopped at Flat Creek to take a couple of shots in that direction, all the time thinking the Tetons must also be ablaze. I spoke with someone later in the morning that said the Tetons never lit up. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Sunrise

Sunrise: The first shot was taken with the Tamron telephoto of just the Jackson Peak area. This one was taken from about the same place using a 24-70mm lens to get a lot more of the sky and clouds. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Coyotes

Coyotes: These two coyotes at the Kelly Warm Springs seemed spooked by something. Apparently wolves were in the area and had been howling. Later I heard there was a Mule Deer kill in the area, which was also attracting large numbers of eagles and ravens. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: This was one of the eagles found along the East Boundary Road near Kelly. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Steamy Crossing

Steamy Crossing: Custer was in the same place I left him yesterday. Just about the time first light was about to hit the area, he began a southerly trek across the sagebrush. I caught these couple of images of him as he crossed “warm springs”…the outlet of the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Moose and Fog

Moose and Fog: Custer was about to exit the irrigation ditch in this shot. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Teton Moose

Teton Moose: Bison are usually in this area, but were not around this morning. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Teton Range

Teton Range: Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Approaching Moose

Approaching Moose: Eventually, Custer made his way to the Gros Ventre Road. I set up thinking he’d follow the abandoned irrigation ditch and cross again in front of the Tetons, as other moose have done over the years. Instead he turned and strolled in my direction as seen in this shot. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: There were around 20 vehicles parked along the GV road, along with a lot of photographers waiting for the moose to cross. These two mule deer continued to feed without paying much attention to the activity or the passing moose. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Old Ford

Old Ford: I’ve been watching this old vehicle all winter and waiting for just the right amount of snow. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

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January 2, 2016 : Saturday in the Park

Frosted Bison

Frosted Bison: I was out on a photo Excursion today with a wonderful couple from Arkansas. She was using a high end Canon camera and Sigma Sport 150-600mm—so hopefully her shots will be excellent. Bison were crossing the road after spending the morning in the Kelly fog. Temps ranged in the -16° to -22° for quite a while before warming up to a blazing 6°F in the late afternoon. The cold temps and overnight fog frosted much of the valley in the Kelly area. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Custer in Frosted Sagebrush

Custer in Frosted Sagebrush: While we were photographing this nice bull Moose, we could hear the distant howls of a pack of wolves. Some people reported seeing them from the Shane Cabins. Custer was just north of the road heading out to Slide Lake. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Approaching Bison:

Approaching Bison: A small herd of Bison magically appeared near Ditch Creek and walked directly towards my van. My client shot out the window and I stepped out to shoot over the door sill. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Swans in Action

Swans in Action: Taken at Boyle’s Hill just after lunch. There are quite a few Trumpeter Swans, Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks sharing a small patch of open water. Occasionally, a few will isolate themselves from the rest of the wintering birds. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Four rams were grazing half way up Miller Butte and occasionally near the rocks. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Grand Evening Light

Grand Evening Light: Taken along Spring Gulch Road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Also taken along Spring Gulch Road just after the sun cleared the Teton Range. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

This is a nice cross section of the subjects we found today. I could probably add two or three more of each subject. Each day in the Tetons is different, but there are almost always good possibilities.

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.)

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January 1, 2016 : Happy New Year!

Torch Lite Parade and Fireworks

New Years Celebration at Snow King Resort: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens: Composite of eight 3 second captures :

MooseIt can be -10°F to -30°F at daybreak! Throw in a little wind, and it can be deadly cold! I tend to stay close to my vehicle this time of the year. Hand warmers can make short periods of time in the cold at least bearable. Even with the possibility of extreme cold, Jackson Hole offers some unique opportunities during January and February. Days are short and access is limited. The sun is low in the sky all day, so it is possible to take photos during much of it…and…the reflected light on the snow often fills in shadows with glowing light.

Winter Wildlife Opportunities:

  • Moose will be shedding their antlers soon if not already. Watch for them north of Kelly and along the river bottoms.
  • Elk are plentiful on the National Elk Refuge and along the east slope of East Gros Ventre Butte near the museum.
  • Mule Deer are moving towards Kelly, into town and along the east slope of East Gros Ventre Butte.
  • Bison are currently in mid-sized herds north of Kelly and along Gros Ventre Road.
  • Bighorn Sheep spend their winter on Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge.
  • Pronghorns typically migrate to Pinedale and Big Piney, but a few have been wintering on the Refuge.
  • Bears and many of the small critters are hibernating. Watch for Ermine, Squirrels, Otters, and Foxes.
  • Wolves usually follow the Elk. A couple have been spotted on the Refuge.
  • Mountain Goats are occasionally seen at the mouth of the Snake River Canyon, but less often in January.

Refuge Sleighs

Refuge Sleighs: After lunch, I drove to the National Elk Refuge to look for Bighorns, but I didn’t see a single one off the butte. Wolves must be in the area, but I didn’t see them. This image was taken from the parking area of the National Museum of Wildlife Art as two of seven sleighs were returning to the warming hut. It was 1°F at 1:00 pm today. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Elk Refuge

Elk Refuge and Winter Sleigh Rides: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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Check back on this page often! I add photos and comments (almost) daily!

 

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Comments (9)

  1. Happy New Year Mike and thanks for all of your hard work and great images.

  2. Mike a very happy 2:)16! Keep on enthralling us with your wonderful documentation & photographs of your beautiful land.

  3. Chittaranjan and Tim, Thanks for taking the time to make a comment! I hope 2016 will be a great one for everyone visiting Best of the Tetons. Cheers, MJ

  4. Todd and Jackie Ireland

    Love the moose in Kelly warm spring, and the straight on shot of the buffalo is awesome. Thanks for sharing, love the blog.

  5. becky leppert

    I check your site everyday, I really enjoy the pictures. I’ve been to JH several times, I know most of the place where you take your pics. I have a sony a65 and I’m going to Yellowstone, I was wondering if I can or should take my camera, I am worried about the cold & condensation. what is your opinion

  6. Becky,
    Heck yeah! Take your camera! You can go from warm to cold with no problems. If you stay out for a while, then wrap your camera in a sweater or plastic bag before bringing back to a warm vehicle or building. No problems if you let the equipment warm slowly. The cold will be harder on your batteries. Most of us carry the spare in a shirt pocket to keep it warm. And, resist the urge to blow in your camera lens or viewfinder while out in the cold. Cheers, Mike Jackson

  7. jeff c birmingham

    Man i haven’t been home two weeks and i’m missing JH BAD!!!! I’m glad to have run in to you this trip mike guess i missed the wolves by one day. Sure do enjoy your day by day post n pics it helps make the time go by between trip. We will be back in late my in hope of some bears. till we get to move i have to settle for 3-4 trips a year. GREAT PICS AS ALWAYS!!!!!! keep up the great work i can’t wait to see what you find next!!!!

  8. Congrats Mike on the two images in the latest issue of Cowboys and Indians. Outstanding work.
    Tim Vaclavek

  9. Hi Tim, Thanks for the note. This is the first I’ve heard of the selections. I only entered four, so getting two of them printed is a fairly good outcome. Now I am anxious to see which two they picked! MJ

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