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Long-tailed Weasel

January 2017 Daily Journal for GTNP & JH

January: “Winter Wonderland” 

Daily Updates Archives:
2017: 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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If you found this page and are looking for Winter info, click these popular pages:

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January 31, 2017 : Tuesday…End of the Month!

ParaBoarder

ParaBoarder: I’m not sure if this is the correct term for the sport, but it looked like these two guys were having a blast today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

ParaBoarder

ParaBoarder: Temperatures hovered either side of the freezing point all day, but the wind was howling. East/West roads were blowing in with snow from the stiff south wind. Almost all roads in the Park are ice covered and slick! The boarders were catching the wind along Mormon Row. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Tomorrow, I’ll be adding a new February 2017 Daily Journal.

Teton Photo Excursions

I have openings in early February, one in mid-February and one in late February. If you would like to experience Jackson Hole while it’s a Winter Wonderland, click the image above to get additional information and pricing.

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January 30, 2017 : Monday

Great Gray Owl in Cottonwoods

Great Gray Owl in Cottonwoods: I spent quite a bit of time this afternoon waiting for this owl to “do something”, but it stayed in the tree tops, and well out of normal reach. I can’t remember now if this was taken with the original Tamron 150-600mm lens or the G2 version, but I know it was taken with the D5 body. I had other chances to photograph a Kingfisher and even a Porcupine, but neither panned out. I am hearing of more and more people seeing wolves in GTNP, but they seem to be moving around a lot. I also heard second hand reports (originally given by a GTNP ranger) about a Lynx and a Wolverine being spotted in the north end of the park.

Site Issues: If you originally clicked on the home page at Best of the Tetons and are missing the right navigation bar, just click on any of the feature posts and it should appear on any of those pages. Hopefully, I can get that resolved soon, and it may work fine on your system? I signed up for SiteLock today, which will hopefully clean the site and make it faster to load and view. MJ

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January 29, 2017 : Sunday

Elk

Bull Elk: I spent more time checking out the valley today than normal. It paid off with a nice variety of subjects! This Bull Elk was grazing on moss in steamy Fish Creek (north of Wilson). Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: This owl was perched, looking straight down at the snow. It made a direct dive and crashed into the snow below. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: The hunter came up with a mouse. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Take Off

Take Off: After shaking off the snow, the owl flew to a nearby tree. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Hansen Barn

Morning Barn: I was worried about losing the beautiful light this morning. Instead of walking back to my truck to get a wider lens, I took this shot as part of three vertical images, stitched together in Lightroom. I didn’t use much of the bottom image, but at least I had it if needed. I made a quick trip to the National Elk Refuge, but the Bighorns were still too far away for my tastes. More than likely, I could have waited another 30 minutes to get close shots. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200 mm Lens.

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse: Ten or fifteen Sage Grouse were near the as I entered Kelly. I see them there and near the Kelly Warm Springs fairly often in the winter. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Bucks

Bucks: I found several nice buck Mule Deer just outside of Kelly. The young one apparently approached a little too close to the big buck. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer: A few White-tailed deer (mostly does and fawns) graze alongside Mule Deer. I seldom see White-tailed bucks, but they have to be around somewhere! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Buck Mule Deer

Buck Mule Deer: I photographed this buck on several occasions before the snow fell. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Buck Mule Deer

Buck Mule Deer: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

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January 28, 2017 : Saturday

Red Fox

Red Fox: I have been seeing lots of Fox tracks lately. This one was running around in the Moose Junction area. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500 mm Lens.

Red Fox

Red Fox: These images are fairly heavily cropped.  Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500 mm Lens.

Red Fox

Red Fox: Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500 mm Lens.

Mountain Goat Report: With the heavy snow pack, the Snake River Canyon Mountain Goats are staying high. Greg and Sandy, who drive the canyon almost daily, let me know they have been seeing only one “tagged” nanny close to the road, and occasionally another one high on the peaks. Maybe February will be better this year.

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January 27, 2017 : Friday

Scarlet MacawNew Feature Post: Costa Rica Scrapbook

Last night, I uploaded a new page about our recent trip to Costa Rica. During the winter months in Jackson Hole, many of the subjects are set against white, brown, gray and occasionally blue backgrounds. If you visit the Costa Rica page, expect to see plenty of summer greens and a blast of vibrant colors! Just what we need to break up the winter months!

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: I did a quick trip north at mid-morning following a foggy early morning. The highway north of the JH Airport is still covered with patchy, black ice. Nikon D810 and Original Nikon 70-200 mm Lens.

`Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from Spring Gulch Road. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200 mm Lens.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: When temperatures are low, Swans often hunker down like this. These two were along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

West Gros Ventre Butte

West Gros Ventre Butte: The valley floor, rolling hills, and distant Teton Range. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Cow Moose in Evening Light

Cow Moose in Evening Light: Taken along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Sled Dog Race

Sled Dog Race: Taken on the Town Square this evening. Nikon D5, Nikon 70-200 mm Lens, Nikon SB910 Strobe, Nikon SU800, and Radio Poppers.

Winter Feature Pages: If you are new, or relatively new, to Best of the Tetons, you might not have found some of the early pages about Winter in Jackson Hole. Of course, I am biased, but I’d suggest these pages are chocked full of information that could make your trip here better! Also, this site has a “Search” feature you might find helpful. Look for it at the very top of the page. In this case, I simply typed in Winter to find many of the links below.

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January 26, 2017 : Thursday

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher: I keep hoping for a good shot of a Kingfisher, but they are extremely elusive little creatures around here! I find them on small branches overhanging the valley’s small springs. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Taken at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Corrals

Corrals: Snow, drooping from horse corrals. This scene is common around the entire valley. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Keep an eye out for owls in the cottonwood river bottoms. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: This owl only dove once while I was there today. I managed to get a couple of fairly sharp images out of the sequence. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: I was hoping to see the owl crash through the deep snow to pull out a vole or field mouse, but this one hovered for a couple of strokes and headed back to a perch. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

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January 25, 2017 : Wednesday

New Snow

New Snow: It snowed heavily on our departure date two weeks ago, causing us to begin our adventure six hours behind schedule. While we were baking in the sun, temps dropped to well below zero. As we began our return, the Jackson Hole valley received another 12-20″. I snapped this image this morning before having to clear the snow and run the snow blower. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70 mm Lens.

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe: After being out of town for two weeks, I had quite a bit of paperwork and business to clean up. I purchased the tags for the new truck and did a quick trip to the National Elk Refuge. I saw quite a few sheep near the road, but they were mostly ewes and lambs. Most of the pullouts are plowed following the two days of snow. I didn’t see any of the Pronghorns, but I worry about them with the deep snow on the refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: I received reports of numerous sightings of owls along the country roads.  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: There wasn’t much sunlight today, so I had to make the best of what light there was. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Icicles

Icicles: The longest of the icicles above are close to five feet long. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

JH Winter Tidbits: Gasoline is holding at $2.28 to $2.30 per gallon at most stations for self-serve unleaded. The Pedigree Stage Stop sled dog race begins this weekend, with the ceremonial kickoff in downtown Jackson. There’s A LOT of snow in the valley now!

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January 24, 2017 : Tuesday

Back Home In Jackson Hole!: Early this morning, we were in San Juan, Costa Rica. By 10:00 pm, we are back in town. It was a wonderful trip — warm and relaxing! It appears I put around 11,000 clicks on my D5 over the two weeks in Costa Rica. It will take a while to go through the large group of photos, but I should be able to finish the new post soon.

Iguana

We’ve had roughly 15″-20″ of snow in the past couple of days. I hope to get out soon to report back here again, but first I have to shovel the snow off the truck! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

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January 19, 2017 : Thursday

 

Costa Rica Trip

Diocesis De San Isidro

Diocesis De San Isidro: Today, we made the trip east from Dominical to San Isidro. The road twists and turns to the top of the mountain, where we stopped for lunch. Beautiful! We dropped down the mountain to San Isidro where we went to a couple of markets. The highest peak in Costa Rica, Mt. Chirripó rises into the clouds behind the town. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70 mm Lens.

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January 18, 2017 : Wednesday

Costa Rica Trip

Costa Rica Beach

Beach at Dominical, Costa RicaNikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret: On the beach at Dominical. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

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January 17, 2017 : Tuesday

Costa Rica Trip

White-faced Monkey

White-faced Monkey: Still enjoying the warm weather in Costa Rica! This was taken at Manuel Antonio National Park. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Sunset

Costa Rica SunsetNikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

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January 16, 2017 : Monday – Costa Rica Trip

Self-guided tour at Hacienda Baru: (Near Dominical)

Sloth

SlothNikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Costa Rica Agouti

AgoutiNikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Costa Rica Iguana

Costa Rica IguanaNikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Hacienda Baru: We hiked around 5k of rain forest on your self-guided tour today. Their guides were all tied up with school kids, so we had to find our own wildlife. I am am sure there are zones we should have been looking up, while we were looking down and visa versa. Darla and our friends saw a Toucan high in the canopy. We saw quite a few small birds plus a few Great Curassows tucked deep in the forest. Along the beach, we as a nice group of Brown Pelicans and a few crabs digging in the sand.

Costa Rica Yellow-headed Caracara

Costa Rica Yellow-headed Caracara: This beautiful raptor was working the bank of the Baru River next to our residence near Domincal. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

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January 15, 2017 : Sunday – Costa Rica Trip

Costa Rica Iguana

Costa Rica Iguana: I guess these animals are common, but it’s my first one! Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

Costa Rica Iguana

Costa Rica IguanaNikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

Costa Rica Coastline

Costa Rica CoastlineNikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

Costa Rica Butterfly

Costa Rica ButterflyNikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

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January 13, 2017 : Saturday – Costa Rica Trip

My wife has been getting reports from Jackson Hole. Apparently, there hasn’t been new snow since we left and temperatures have been dropping to the -20s. It’s plenty warm, humid and green here in Costa Rica!

CostaRicaKingfisher_Jan14

Costa Rica Belted Kingfisher (?): We have Belted Kingfishers in Jackson Hole but I find them extremely difficult to photograph. I’ll have to wait to reference them with regional bird books. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

CostaRicaWhiteIbis_Jan14

Costa Rica White Ibis: I saw a lot of these along the Florida coast on our visits to Sanibel Island. Our Costa Rica condo is just off the Baru River. I got up early and photographed several species of birds along the shore. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica Heron

Costa Rica Tri-colored Heron: Also along the Buros River. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica Heron

Costa Rica Bare-throated Tiger Heron: I captured this one while the bird was fluffing his feathers. Otherwise, they are quite sleek. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica's Nauyaca Waterfalls

Costa Rica’s Nauyaca Waterfalls: We made a trip up the canyon to this beautiful pair of waterfalls. They are on private land, requiring an $8 (US) entry fee and a 4k (2.5 mile) hike in each direction. I carried my tripod and two lenses. This one was captured with a Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Zoom Micro lens with a five frame bracketed set. I used two of them to create an HDR composite in Lightroom. We were there during the middle of the day, so I didn’t have much of a chance to slow the shutter.

Upper Falls

The business offers a truck ride to the trail above the falls for $28 (US). I’d probably go there early to take the ride on the first truck to get the best light and be ahead of the big crowd.) Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

Costa Rica Brown Pelicans

Costa Rica Brown Pelicans: We spent the evening at the beach at high tide. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica Sunset

Costa Rica Sunset: Dominical is a popular location for the surfers. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica Moth

Costa Rica Moth: This jumbo insect flew onto our balcony tonight. Just before heading off to bed, I photographed it with the aid of a Nikon SB-910 strobe. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica Moth

Costa Rica Moth Detail: This is a crop of the previous image. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

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January 12, 2017 : Friday – Costa Rica Trip

Costa Rica Nesting Brid

Rufous-Napes Wren (?): We are on the second story of our flat near Dominical, Costa Rica. This morning, I noticed a pair of birds bringing food to chicks in an orange tree nest. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Western Kingbird

Tropical Kingbird (or possibly Great Kiskadee?): Similar to the Western Kingbirds found in Eastern Idaho. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Pair of Doves

Pair of Doves: These look a lot like the Mourning Doves we see in Jackson Hole in the Summer. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Costa Rica Vulture

Costa Rica Black Vulture: Similar to our Turkey Vultures. I found four or five of these near our residence. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

The Edge of the Rain Forests

The Edge of the Rain Forest: This is a typical view around here. Lots of green, plus a few surprises. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Tomorrow, we are heading inland. We’ll hopefully see a few waterfalls and some of the exotic birds. We booked a guided trip in the National Park of Manuel Antonio next Tuesday where we should find some monkeys. Please check back as often as you can!

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January 12, 2017 : Thursday

Touchdown in Costa Rica! I can’t say our trip was uneventful, but we made it here with most of my equipment. Our luggage with the tripod, chargers, and some cables went to Atlanta, but Delta found them and is supposed to deliver them on Friday.

Sunset at Dominical

Sunset at Dominical: After getting settled in, we went to the closest beach for a beautiful sunset. Nikon D5 and Original Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.

Sunest Surfer

Sunest Surfer: A few days ago, I was dealing with -23°F to -29°F. It was in the mid 80s today. Nikon D5 and Original Nikon 70-180 mm Zoom Micro Lens.750line

January 11, 2017 : Wednesday

On the Road Update: Despite a six hour flight delay getting out of Jackson Hole, we are now at the Los Angeles airport to catch a “red-eye” flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. Should be on the ground at 8:30 am and at the beach at Dominical by around noon!

Coast Rica: (Late Tuesday post) I know this site is focused on photography and travel in Jackson and the Tetons, but a trip to Costa Rica has been on my bucket list for quite a while. (Cuba us also on the bucket list). I’ve spoken with a lot of other photographers that have been to Costa Rica, and all of them rave at all of the photographic possibilities. And, of course, it’s cold here and warm there! My camera bag is packed…stuffed is probably a better term. I spent part of Tuesday with my insurance agent to make sure all of it is insured while out of the country. I have a little paperwork to finish, then wait and hope our flight is able to take off in the morning.

We’ll be back in Jackson around the 25th, but in the mean time, I hope readers will still return to this site to see some of the photos I post from Costa Rica! Watch for Macaws, parrots, lizards, frogs, birds (one site says there are 50 species of hummingbirds), monkeys, iguanas, and exotic insects and butterflies. And, there’s the ocean and the rain forests.

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January 10, 2017 : Tuesday

Ravens

Ravens: Another messy day in the Tetons! We started out with weather advisories and closures, some of which were lifted. As far as I know, US Highway 89/191 between Moose Junction and Moran Junction is closed due to snow and blowing snow. Late in the afternoon, I made a quick run to the National Elk Refuge. I saw a few Bighorns on the hillsides, but none close to the road. A few dozen Pronghorns were bedded down in a low area. The ravens above were around 40 yards out with a layer of blowing snow between my truck and them. The top Raven was hoovering over the other one.

Golden Eagla

Golden Eagle: Neither of the photos I am posting today are “portfolio” shots…just record shots to document the winter conditions. This raptor was roughly 75 yards out.

Costa Rica?: Darla and I are scheduled to fly out of the valley at 7:00 am tomorrow. Still dicey.

Your Help?: This site is growing, but I can always use your help in spreading the word! Please “Like” and “Share” pages, or simply tell people about Best of the Tetons!

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January 9, 2017 : Monday

Banking Swans

Banking Swans: Overnight, we had rain and drizzle, causing all kinds of weather related closures and delays. It was a mess! By late afternoon, traffic was moving again, but it was slushy and slick. I drove to Boyle’s Hill for a few photos of the Trumpeter Swans. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Winter's Ghost

Winter’s Ghost: Photographing an adult Trumpeter Swan in flight against a white Winter sky is not that unlike trying to photograph a Winter Weasel or Ermine on a field of snow. There’s not a lot of contrasting area for the camera’s auto focus to grab. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

The Line-Up

Preparation for Flight: This group left the open water and trekked across the ice. After spreading out, they took off into the wind. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

Hopefully the storms won’t affect our Wednesday attempts to get out the valley for our Costa Rica trip. We connect through Salt Lake and Atlanta…neither of which are a given right now. I am doing the tourist “pre-travel” routines, including prepping my camera bags for the trip. At the moment, I am planning on taking a Nikon D5 body, Nikon 24-70mm lens, a Nikon 70-180mm zoom micro lens, and my original Tamron 150-600mm lens. With this combination, I’d only need one charger, one kind of batteries, one style of cards and one card reader. The CamRanger will probably get packed for stack focusing flowers and plants. And, I’ll probably take one SB-910 strobe and the SU-800 unit.

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January 8, 2017 : Sunday

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: Yesterday morning, our home thermometer read -23° F. This morning, it read 21° F … for a one day swing of 44°! My first shots were taken at 7:30 am. The first shot from yesterday’s post was taken at 7:49 am. The Alpenglow period started at roughly 7:40 am. The image above was taken at 8:08 am. If the clouds behind the Tetons were darker or better defined, I probably would have stayed at SRO longer. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70 mm Lens.

Rockefeller Parkway Sign

Rockefeller Parkway Sign: I’m sure there are lots of readers of Best of the Tetons that never get to visit the area in the Winter. As you can see, the changes are drastic! On my way back from Flagg Ranch yesterday, I stopped to take this shot to include on the blog. During the Winter, our valley experiences “inversions”. Cold air settles in at the valley floor, yet it can be reasonably warm higher on the mountains. While it might have been -20°s F below, it was 9° F at this spot. Skiers often go up the mountain to the warmer weather and not ski all the way to the bottom again until it is time to leave. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Morning Outing

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: I spotted this nice looking 6×7 bull grazing along the highway near the National Museum of Wildlife Art.  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Bull Elk at Gate

Bull Elk at Gate: Eventually, the bull crossed the road and followed the fence line to the open gate at the sleigh ride entry. Today, the elk were all feeding in a line after the feed truck went through the Refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Raven and Mouse

Raven and Mouse: As I was driving north out of Kelly, I saw a small mouse scampering across the road. I was in the process of slowing down to get some shots of the little critter when an opportunistic Raven swooped down to catch it. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Bison at the Kelly Warm Springs

Bison at the Kelly Warm Springs: Three cow Bison were milling around at the Warm Springs junction. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Spring Crossing

Spring Crossing: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Pine

Pine: Something about the clean simplicity of this scene caught my eye while I was “up the Gros Ventre”. This shot was taken near the Atherton Creek Campground. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Today’s Wildlife: There were a couple of Moose in the Gros Ventre River bottom plus two in the “S” curves approaching the Shane Cabins. Three Bison were around the Kelly Warm Springs. There’s a winter kill near the highway, just south of the Gros Ventre River, but the carcass is on the other side of the 6′ fence. One Bald Eagle was in the area plus lots of Ravens. I counted 50+ Mule Deer along the highway north of town. The National Elk Refuge has a lot of Elk on it this year. Flat Creek is still frozen, cutting chances to see Swans and Otters there.

Teton County Fair

Teton County Fair: For the past month or so, I have been aggressively culling my images for 2016. I ran across this image I hadn’t noticed earlier. The flags at the top of the Circle of Fire ride were standing straight out from the stiff wind and rain was pelting the few remaining tourists. Taken July 30th. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70 mm  Lens.

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January 7, 2017 : Saturday

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: With no wind, -25° F didn’t seem that bad! I lasted through the Alpenglow period, then took a quick break during the gray period.  The warm truck, warm steering wheel, and warm seats felt great! When the first light began hitting the peaks, I went back for another round of sunrise photos. This is a “stitched pano” image created from six vertical orientation images using a 35 mpx camera. The resulting file is quite large! Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70 mm Lens. (Click this image to see it quite a bit larger)

Pano Parts

If you are interested, this page explains more about the steps: Panoramic Images: Tips for Getting More of the Tetons in a Shot

Bison

Bison: I had heard a couple of reports of Red Foxes being seen regularly at Flagg Ranch, so I decided to head up there today. I got an early start for the sunrise at Snake River Overlook, then found two bison bulls at Elk Flats. They were pushing through the deep snow to get to grasses underneath. I kept going north towards Flagg Ranch. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Frost Tetons

Frosted Tetons: This was taken up Pacific Creek early this morning. Clouds rolled in later in the day. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200 mm Lens.

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend: This place looks a lot different in the Winter! I stopped for a quick shot out the window before heading farther north. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200 mm Lens.

Marshmellow Tops

Marshmellow Tops: There is roughly 2′ of snow at Moran Junction, then closer to 3′ of snow around Flagg Ranch. There rocks are along the Snake River as it crosses the highway near Flagg Ranch. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Raven and Fox Sign

Raven and Fox Sign: Last winter, the Park Service put up signs like this in quite a few areas of the Park. Apparently the signs didn’t accomplish the goal. The Park Service recently announced plans to systematically capture, collar, and tag “habituated” foxes around Moose Visitors Center, Signal Mountain Lodge and Campground, Colter Bay, and Teton Science School. I spent at least four hours waiting to see the foxes at Flagg Ranch today before hearing they had already captured two of them today. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Neighborhood Buck

Neighborhood Buck: This Mule Deer was grazing on some of the trees in my yard when I got home. I followed him up the street, where he stopped in front of a neighbor’s Christmas Tree. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

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January 6, 2017 : Friday

Frosted Morning

Frosted Morning: We have an electronic thermometer that transmits the temperature to a unit just inside our kitchen window. It’s usually the first thing I check when I get up. Today, it read -23° F. Even though I was up early enough to be out for sunrise, but knowing it’s often another 4°-7° colder in the park, I put the brakes on the early morning outing. I don’t think the temperatures got up past -4° F during the “warm” part of the day. I took this shot just after lunch time near Flat Creek. It was frozen, allowing a couple of Mule Deer to march across it as though it was solid ground. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Buck Rail Fence

Buck Rail Fence: These fences are common in many areas of the valley, even though the Park Service is removing many of them in the Tetons. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Tetons

Tetons: I took this shot from South Park Loop Road. East Gros Ventre Butte is the one in the lower right. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

The Old Shed

The Old Shed: Actually, someone may have lived in this structure at some point. Part of Munger Mountain is behind the house and some distant mountains from the Hoback region can be seen in the upper left. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Moose Cow

Moose Cow: I spotted two moose from the Highway south of town. Earlier today, a cow and calf were grazing next to some condos along Snow King Drive.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Cycler

Cycler: The Town of Jackson and Teton County are spending a fortune keeping the bike paths cleared in many areas of the valley. I saw this guy going through the trees, thinking he was a deer. I was ready for the running shot, but got this surprise. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Pronghorn

Pronghorn: I took this shot at the National Elk Refuge. There were roughly 40 Pronghorns in the area today, scattered in several smaller groups. They don’t travel through the deep snow as well as the Elk, Bison and Moose. As far as I know, the Bison hunt on the National Elk Refuge ended today in preparation for supplemental feeding of the elk herd. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Pronghorn

Pronghorn: Evening light on a young Pronghorn. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Half Moon

Half Moon: I replaced my Tamron G2 lens with my old one for some late evening shots. I took this one hand held with the old lens. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm  Lens.

Miller House and Grand

Miller House and Grand: Also taken with my old Tamron 150-600mm lens. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600 mm Lens.

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January 5, 2017 : Thursday

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Instead of looking for Bighorns, Mountain Goats, Elk, and Moose today, I spent part of my cold morning cruising some of the county’s side roads. I am always hoping to find a small critter (fox, otter, coyote, weasel, or ermine) or possibly some sort of raptor (eagle, hawk, kestrel, or owl). I spotted a lot of mule deer grazing the hillsides. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: There is a fairly large population of Mule Deer in town, south of town, and along the hillside north of town. Also watch for them around the town of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: I saw a couple of bucks today, but they were bedded down. There aren’t a lot of highway pullouts this time of the year and the Highway Patrol has little patience for photographers parked along the roadway. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: It was quiet at the National Elk Refuge. Elk are scattered right now, including a few on the ridges where bighorns often graze. Newspaper reports suggest the Refuge will begin supplemental feeding as soon as this weekend. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride

Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Rippled Snow

Rippled Snow: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Winter Barn

Winter Barn: Late evening light on a south park barn. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

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January 4, 2017 : Wednesday

Parade of Elk

Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

The Weather: Overnight, we received a small amount of snow, but missed the big blast that went south of Jackson Hole. Still, we received enough fresh snow to cover up old tracks and help identify new critter tracks.

Long-tailed Weasel

Long-tailed Weasel: After spotting this little Weasel next to the road, I pulled over to a safe spot, then followed it as it hunted along the snow covered sagebrush. Eventually, I was able to get a few okay shots. When it disappeared into a hole, I was roughly a hundred yards from my truck. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Elk Herd

Bull Elk: The two elk shots today were taken from the highway next to the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

WeaselWe’ve had rather flat light for most of the past week or so. I didn’t find this little critter until after 4:00 pm, so the sun had already dropped behind East Gros Ventre Butte. In these conditions, my camera’s auto focus was having trouble grabbing a white subject against a white blanket of snow—made worse when it was running.

evening lightHopefully, before the end of Winter, I’ll get lucky and find an Ermine or Weasel in either morning or evening light like this snow drift shot!

Weasels and Ermine: A lot of people consider any of the white critters like this an “Ermine”. In the heat of battle (trying to get the shot), I never really care what they are called. The goal is to get the shot! Both species turn golden brown in the summer, then white in the winter. The Long-tailed species are typically still called Weasels in their white phase, while the Short-tailed species are called Ermine during the winter.

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January 3, 2017 : Tuesday

Great Gray

Great Gray Owl: This is a heavily cropped, long distance shot from this morning. I watched the owl quite a while, hoping it would move closer, but I eventually gave up.  Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500 mm Lens.

Tractor

Rusting Tractor: I plan on going back some evening and light paint this old tractor in South Park. This afternoon, I parked near it and used the lights from my truck to add some warmth to an otherwise gloomy afternoon image. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200 mm Lens.

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January 2, 2017 : Monday

Mountain Goats

Yesterday, I posted several photos of Mountain Goats. I had a few questions after the posting. This page might supply you with more information: Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon: I’ve been hesitant to make a trip down the canyon to see the goats sound like a sure thing because it isn’t. That’s even more true in January when the snow is deep. You’ll likely get skunked, but then you may come home with several thousand images. The area is along a busy State Highway, with only a few pull outs, so it is NOT the same environment as either of the area’s National Parks. It can be a great place to photograph the beautiful ghosts of Winter, but you have to use a fair amount of caution. Yesterday, for example, numerous cars stopped in the highway, like they do in the parks. One pulled to the side, but left their door open into the highway to take photos. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Red Fox

Red Fox: Taken near the Kelly Warm Springs. Today, I had lots of “possibilities” in the Kelly area, but animals were just a little too far out. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Taken near the Shane Cabin. This nice sized bull still has his antlers, but stayed back in the thickets. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Kelly Buildings

Kelly Buildings: I saw a few frosty Bison at the edge of Kelly, but they were also out of range. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Taken on the National Elk Refuge. As it turns out, Bighorns on the Refuge are usually quite dependable through January. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Pronghorn

Pronghorn: One of the wintering Pronghorns on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Seen on private property along one of the county roads. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Another Winter Storm on the Way: This one might just brush by Jackson Hole, but the reports suggests we should see some additional snow tonight and tomorrow.

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MikeHow do you get those shots? I started posting photos to Best of the Tetons three and a half years ago. Not long afterwards, people began asking me, “How do you consistently get those shots?” The requests kept coming.

A couple of years ago, I started Teton Photo Excursions to legally offer One-On-One photography tours in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge.Instead of offering multi-participant “workshops”, I chose to offer One-On-One tours—customized based on client needs and requests.

How and Where? Some clients are interested in learning how to use their gear. Some are more interested in where to be for good landscapes and where to look for wildlife. Of course, most trips are a mixture of the two. As seen in the photo above, I typically set up and shoot right alongside my clients. Check out some of their Comments!

I am currently taking reservations for 6 hour Winter excursions and 6 or 8 hour excursions throughout the rest of the year. Check out Teton Photo Excursions for more information.

(Note: It says One-On-One, but I take two people on a trip for the same price).

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January 1, 2017 : Sunday

Teton Village Fireworks

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display at Teton Village: I made it to Teton Village at about the time the first fireworks blasted into the night sky. Skiers with torches had already make it down Apres Vous slope to celebrate the new year.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: I started my first day of photography for 2017 in the Snake River Canyon. Four Mountain Goats were reasonably close to the road, and with a few fresh flakes falling.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Mountain Goat

Winter in the Snake River Canyon: At this time of the year, Mountain Goats are occasionally seen along the roadway in the Snake River Canyon near Alpine Junction. Out of curiosity, I checked my Lightroom catalog. My first Mountain Goat photos were taken there in 2006. For the first several years, they were seldom seen December and January, then became were common in February and March. A Game and Fish official told me there were around 165 Mountain Goats in the area…that was a couple of years ago. It is still a bit of a roll of the dice to drive down there in January, but you might get lucky on any day! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

Mountain Goad

Portrait: Some of the Mountain Goats are clean and white, while others are still mud stained. Some still have matted fur and a few have ear tags and tracking collars. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2 Lens.

For more info on the Mountain Goats, check out: Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon: 

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Quick January NotesAt least for the first few weeks of the year, watch for Bighorns still in the rut on Miller Butte. Consider a Sleigh Ride on the National Elk Refuge to get up close and personal shots of the Elk. People are reporting seeing Wolves and Coyotes around Kelly, the Gros Ventre, and on the National Elk Refuge. Most Bull Moose will have already lost their antlers, but watch for a few bulls still sporting them. Most have move off the sage flats and are now back in the river bottoms or have moved towards town. There are at least 25 and possibly up to 180 Pronghorns on the National Elk Refuge. This is also the time of the year to keep an alert eye for smaller critters such as Foxes, Badgers, Coyotes, Pine Martens, Ermine, Weasels, Otters, and Mink.

Best of the Tetons Notes: I’d like to extend a special thanks to all regular readers and posters! I hope to keep making the posts regularly throughout the year. During the middle week or so of January, my wife and I will be heading to Costa Rica for some time in the sun. During that time, I won’t be able to do daily reports from Jackson Hole, but will try to add a few photos from there, and I hope to have a few Feature Posts ready to fill in the voids. Thanks again! Mike Jackson

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Comments (8)

  1. Mike Schneider

    Happy New Year!

    Mike…..thanks for all your work keeping the blog updated! It’s become a daily read for me.

    All the Best in 2017!

    Mike Schneider

  2. Marcy Starnes

    have fun in Costa Rica – get some great bird shots

  3. Jackie Ireland

    Hope you get the chance to post from Costa Rica, can’t wait to see what you might get, Thanks for all the wonderful updates.

  4. Miguel

    Happy New Year! Hopefully I will visit the Tetons in 2017.

  5. Jim Beevers

    Love your great shots Mike. Wish I was there.

  6. Kathy Harrison

    Your weasel is our new favorite JH critter! We wish you a happy 2017 and a great trip to Costa Rica…hope the weather cooperates with your departure. Lynn and Kat

  7. Brian perkes

    So excited for your Costa Rica report, it’s on my bucket list as well, and I plan on checking that off the list in March of this year. We will also be staying in Dominical, so I’m excited to see your photos and gain some advice on the area before our adventure. Have fun and enjoy the warm weather.

  8. jeff c birmingham

    Love the costa pics!!!! BUT YOU NEED TO GET BACK HOME I’M IN BAD NEED OF MY JH FIX!!!! Hope y’all are having a great time i’ll be there in march.

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