Best of the Tetons

Western Tanager

May 2018 Daily Journal for JH & GTNP

Blondie

“The Park Awakens!”

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Check Out These Popular Pages:  If I Had Only One (Summer) Day in the Tetons: and A Trip to Jackson Hole and May 2017:May 2016: | May 2015: | May 2014: | 

Temporary Closure: The trail running south alongside Sawmill Pond (on the Moose-Wilson Road) will be closed for roughly 5 days. A carcass was found along the trail with suspicions a Mountain Lion had made the kill. A Mountain Lion was reported the day before.

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May 23, 2018 – Wednesday

Licking Coyote

Licking Coyote: I took this shot yesterday afternoon and processed it in Lightroom after making yesterday’s post. It made me think of another experience with a Coyote along the Teton Park Road near Signal Mountain. I had seen a Coyote hunting near the road and got out of the truck in hopes of getting photos. It wasn’t too spooky and it let me get some nice shots. Passing tourists saw me stalking around with a telephoto lens, stopped and got out of their vehicle. They walked right up to me and were talking loudly as they approached. The Coyote moved back, of course. They asked me what I was seeing. I told them I was photographing a Coyote. “A Coyote?” the loudest one said, “We see them all the time in Texas”. They left and the Coyote was nowhere to be seen.

I spotted and photographed the Badger I posted yesterday while waiting for a Coyote to continue hunting. Without stopping to photograph a “common” Coyote, I would have easily missed the chance to photograph the Badger. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

The 100 Yard Rule(s)

If you find yourself anywhere near the Grizzlies, you need to have already this post.  Information on the page could save you a ticket since viewing rules in GTNP are different than Bear viewing in Yellowstone.

Rain Soaked Great Gray Owl

Rain Soaked Great Gray Owl: Seen along the Moose-Wilson Road just before lunch time. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Rain Soaked Great Gray Owl

Rain Soaked Great Gray Owl: This owl was farther out than I would have liked, but since I haven’t seen one in quite a while, it made a good subject for today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: Since early May, my back yard has been turning more and more green each day. After photographing for what seems like an eternity with rusty brown backgrounds, the new buttery smooth green backdrop is a welcome sight. Western Tanagers will eventually move on north, but right now, I have a nice group of a dozen or so coming to oranges and orange suet I put out for them. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: The overcast skies help light the male’s gorget. I shot this with natural light at ISO 2000 with a Nikon D5. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Young Cross Foxes

Young Cross Foxes: It’s baby fox time! Keep an eye out for them throughout the Park and JH area. This was taken with low light conditions: 1/160th second, F/6.3, ISO 2200.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

If you are interested in taking a Best of the Tetons Photo Tour with me, click the photo below! The tours help me pay for this site and allow me to continue to supply all of the free information! For inquiries, send an email to info@bestofthetetons.com. June has numerous open spots. Remember…book early for September…slots are filling fast!

Best of the Tetons Photo Tours

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May 22, 2018 – Tuesday

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak: Birds migrate through my back yard during the Spring and early Sumer. I know the window lasts only a few weeks, so I try to capitalize on the opportunity each year. Today, there was a light haze, perfect for the bird shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s OrioleNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: The newspaper had a story suggesting many dinosaurs were likely feathered and colorful—more birdlike than lizard like. Check out this article in the JH News and Guide: Jurassic Park’ dinosaur expert’s next big thing: holograms.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Elk Ranch Flats

Elk Ranch Flats: I spent the late afternoon at Elk Ranch Flats. Roads are still muddy and there’s at least one ditch crossing I didn’t want to try. There were several herds of Elk mingling around. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Coyote

Coyote: It appeared this predator was hunting for Chislers. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Badger

Badger: Also hunting for Chislers. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

The Grand and Bison

The Grand and BisonNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Cowbird and Bison Bull

Cowbird and Bison BullNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Elk Ranch

Elk Ranch: A few of the remaining structures from the old Dude Ranch. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ponghorn Buck

Ponghorn Buck: I’ve been intending on mentioning seeing Pronghorns back in the valley. I pulled over near the JH Airport for this shot, but have seen them in quite a few of the sagebrush zones. I could never get him to look my direction. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

 

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May 21, 2018 – Monday

Schwabacher Landing Pano

Schwabacher Landing Pano: Click this image to view it much larger. I was there early and took a lot of shots, but liked the later ones best. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Mormon Row Barn Pano

Mormon Row Barns PanoClick this image to view it much larger. The low cloud bank and moody clouds prompted me to return to a familiar subject. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Migrating Bison

Migrating Bison: Heading north along the east side of the park. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bison Cow

Bison CowNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

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May 20, 2018 – Sunday

Schwabacher Landing Sunrise

Schwabacher Landing Sunrise: The  cloud above the Teton Range rolled in just as I arrived at Schwabacher Landing. With no wind, the reflection pools make for some nice photography. I looked for Moose cows with newborn calves there, but didn’t see any.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Rim Lit Buck

Rim Lit Buck: Taken near Dornan’s at Moose Junction. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Rim Lit Buck

Rim Lit BuckNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Purple Lupines

Purple Lupines: This is the first clump of Purple Lupines I’ve seen this year, seen in the Moose Junction area. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Arrowleaf Balsom Root

Arrowleaf Balsom Root: Patches of Balsam Root are becoming much more common. Yesterday, I checked along the East Boundary Road. There are a few plants, but not clumped in large numbers yet. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Larkspur

Low Larkspur: This is the first of the Larkspur I’ve seen so far. My wife saw some Indian Paintbrush on the top of Snow King Mountain. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mallards

Mallards: Taken along Fish Creek Road near Wilson. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Paraglider

Paraglider: Paragliders are seen fairly often near Teton Village. Tandem rides are offered during the summer months. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

You REALLY need to read this page: The 100 Yard Rule(s)  Information on the page could save you a ticket—viewing rules in GTNP are different than in Yellowstone.

Note: Tourists coming out of Yellowstone’s South Entrance do not get GTNP rules and regulations or newspapers as they enter this park. I am not sure how the GTNP rangers are expecting this group to know the rules. There are no signs on the subject as you enter from the North.

 

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May 19, 2018 – Saturday

Elkfest

This is ElkFest Weekend: Antlers, gathered from the National Elk Refuge, are auctioned off on the east side of the Town Square, while antler vendors sell antlers, skulls, and horns along Center and Deloney streets. This was taken as people paused for the National Anthem. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

ElkFest

ElkFestNikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

ElkFest

Calm in the Midst of CommotionNikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

ElkFesth

ElkFest TexturesNikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Young Collectors

Young Collectors at ElkFestNikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Mountain Man Rendezvous

 Mountain Man Rendezvous: Numerous traders have rendezvoused at the Fairgrounds for the week, with more to come during the week. This event continues until the end of the Memorial Day weekend. The Old West Days parade will be held Saturday morning. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Loose Ends: There is some construction going on a the Chapel of the Transfiguration. Don’t expect that to be a good shoot for a while. A white trailer was there. Crews recently removed another half mile of iconic buckrail fencing south of Triangle X Ranch.

 

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: Things are turning green all around the valley now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Western Tanager

Western TanagerNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

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May 18, 2018 – Friday

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak: A recent arrival in my back yard. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

The Gros Ventre Road will be closed for up to five nights from Tuesday, May 29 through Saturday, June 2. The road will be closed between Gros Ventre Junction and Gros Ventre Campground from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. If rainy or poor conditions prevent grading and paving activities, the closure will be postponed to the following week. The closures will not affect traffic on U.S. Highway 89/26/191.

Spaulding Bay Road is open! I spent a few hours at a “Bear Jam” near Pilgrim Creek Road last evening. There were at least three Law Enforcement Officers in the area and easily that many Wildlife Brigade Volunteers telling people to move down, move across the road, get back in their cars, and generally protecting the huge gathering from the wildlife. It sometimes takes persevering through something I find unpleasant to get a few shots, but in general, I’d really rather be somewhere else. As the Spring season progresses towards the Summer season, I welcome any new road opening like the one to Spaulding Bay.. It’s a little rough in places, but you may find Bears, Deer, Elk, Owls, and many of the smaller critters taking advantage of the relatively quiet zone. There are three or four campsites near the lake, a boat launch , and restroom facilities.

Blondie and Cubs

Blondie and Cubs: A tight crop of a long distance shot, taken in the Colter Bay area as they moved from zone to zone. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Grizzly 399

Grizzly 399: Okay…you REALLY need to read this page: The 100 Yard Rule(s) – This one is too important to miss! I took this image from my window while parked on the side of the road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Park Rangers are EXPECTING all viewers and photographers to move back, EVEN WHILE IN YOUR VEHICLE, if a bear approaches within 100 yards.That means starting your engines and moving into the already congested travel lanes to “get away” from the bears.

Don’t expect this line to work: “I was parked 100 yards away initially and the bear approached me.”

100 Yards

100 Yards: I took this shot a couple of days ago while standing next to a Wildlife Brigade Volunteer.  He was using a rangefinder and telling us we were 99 yards from the bear. He was possibly a couple of yards in front of me. Unless I switch the same lens (Tamron 150-600mm G2) to a 1.5 crop body, this is the largest a Grizzly will fill a photo without cropping. I typically crop a lot of my images to save space on this journal page, but this photo should give you a good idea of what to expect. The other option would be to use my Nikon D850 (45.7 mpx) and crop a bit more. Some photographers are using a 1.5 crop body, a 1.5 teleconverter, with a 600mm prime lens. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Grizzly Crossing

Grizzly CrossingNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mother Moose

Mother Moose: The rules state you must stay back 25 yards from wildlife (200 yards from Bears and Wolves), but they also state you must stay far enough away to keep from stressing an animal. This was taken near Moose Junction at a distance of about 80-90 yards. I heard of another baby Moose on the trail to Taggart Lake. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Check out this post from May 19, 2017: Newborn Moose! It appears this one was right on “schedule”.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: This is one of our resident Trumpeter Swans that have been hanging around along Flat Creek lately. They “should be” on their nests now and then appear with their babies in June. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Great Gray Owls: A few reliable sources are telling us that none of the known Great Gray Owls are on nests this year. They didn’t produce babies last year either. Biologists are baffled and alarmed by the situation.

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May 17, 2018 – Thursday

Fast Moving Storm

Fast Moving Storm: The initial entries for today are actually an extension of yesterday and last night. I drove north late in the day and began hearing thunder. I was hoping to get lightning over the Grand, but aimed where the action looked best. This was captured using a Lightning Trigger. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: This dark and moody shot was taken at Snake River Overlook. I was sitting in my truck with a rain jacket covering most of the camera and lens. The equipment was on a tripod just outside the door.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Blondie and Cubs

Blondie and Cubs: When this sequence happened, onlookers and photographers were being held back 90-100 yards, and skies were dark. For the most part, watching bears is much like watching paint dry. Most of the time, they are feeding with their heads down. Especially during dark periods, I drop the shutter speed. In these photos, was shooting a 1/320th second, and wide open at F/6.3, and of course at 600mm. I would have liked to be at 1/1000sec or 1/1250sec and at least at F/7.1 or F/8 to help freeze the action a bit better, but my “grazing” settings did fairly well. Blondie and the cubs were near Leek’s Marina Junction last evening. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Pelican

Pelican: As I was driving over the Jackson Lake Dam, I noticed three Pelicans. I turned around to get a few shots. The Pelicans were glowing against the dark, clear water. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Night at String Lake

Night at String Lake: I took the Teton Park Road home from Jackson Lake Junction. It was already late, so I decided to stay out for some night time shots. This shot was taken just after the first few stars appeared. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens F/2.8, Tripod.

Tree Line

Tree Line: The soft clouds in this photo were lit by the night sky pollution of the Town of Jackson and possibly a bit by the JH Airport lights. You’ll often notice a glow over the Tetons from the Victor/Driggs/Tetonia side of the mountain, but overall Jackson Hole has great dark skiesNikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens F/2.8, Tripod.

Night Trees

Night Trees: Also taken at String Lake. Yesterday, my alarm went off at 5:30 am and I didn’t return home until just before midnight. Instead of staying up all night processing images, I got some sleep and did last evenings photos and posts today. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens F/2.8, Tripod.

Afternoon Images

399 and Cub

399 and Cub: Seen near Pilgrim Creek in the afternoon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

399

399Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

399 and Cub

399 and Cub: 399 still has a collar, but I have been told it is not working anymore. Hopefully, it will fall off soon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

White Pelican

White Pelican: Seen at the Jackson Lake Dam. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

 

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May 16, 2018 – Wednesday

Chipmonk

Chipmonk: Instead of going too far north again today (in search of Grizzlies), I stayed a little closer to home, and instead of trying to get shots of the big animals, I chose to work with some of the smaller subjects. This little critter was along the Moose-Wilson Road. I also photographed a Red-naped Sapsucker. I watched for Great Gray and Great Horned Owls but didn’t see them. A couple of Moose and even a Black Bear have been spotted there recently. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Goslings

Goslings: The little tikes were at Flat Creek Wetlands on the north edge of town. I was trying to get shots of a Marsh Wren, but again, he wasn’t too cooperative. I managed to get a few shots of a Red-winged Blackbird and a Yellow-headed Blackbird, along with lots of Goslings and adult Canada Geese. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: My back yard is starting to glow with color. This is the first Tanager I’ve seen this year, but expect quite a few more over the next week. Other colorful birds include American Goldfinches, Buntings, and Orioles. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting: These are beautiful little birds. There are three or four males hanging around now, apparently waiting for the females and the rest of the migrants. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: More of these are showing up every day. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Mid-May Notes and Construction: Elkfest is this weekend on the Town Square. Mountain Men are setting up their tents at the Rodeo Grounds. They’ll be around until the end of Memorial Day. Memorial Day Weekend is the official kickoff for the summer season, which includes the Saturday parade and numerous other events. Each day, I see a few more wildflowers around the region. Expect delays of the Snake River Bridge near Wilson for a couple of days. The big construction project at the “Y” intersection is mostly completed, but there will be construction most of the summer at the bridge over the Snake south of town. Work continues on the Spring Gulch bridge over the Gros Ventre River. The delays at the Gros Ventre Junction roundabout have been minimal so far, but expect delays soon.

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May 15, 2018 – Tuesday

Arrowleaf Balsam Root Wildlfowers

Arrowleaf Balsam Root Wildlfowers: This isn’t a great photo, but it documents the first clump of these iconic early summer flowers I’ve seen this year. The gray in the background is Pacific Creek. I saw other clumps of Balsam Root along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Opening and Closing Dates for Grand Teton National Park

Facility First Open Day Last Open Day/Night

Roads and Pathways

Teton Park Road May 1 October 31
Moose-Wilson Road May 12 October 31
Signal Mountain Summit Road Mid-June, weather dependent October 31
Grassy Lake Road Mid-June, weather dependent Weather dependent
Two Ocean Road Mid-June, weather dependent Weather dependent
Paved Multi-Use Pathways Open

Visitor Centers & Ranger Stations

Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center March 5 October 31
Colter Bay Visitor Center May 11 October 8
Jenny Lake Visitor Center May 18 September 23
Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center June 2 September 23
Flagg Ranch Information Station June 4 September 3
Jenny Lake Ranger Station June 2 September 2

Campgrounds 

Gros Ventre (gtlc.com) May 4 October 13
Signal Mountain (signalmountainlodge.com) May 11 October 13
Jenny Lake (gtlc.com) May 4 September 29
Colter Bay (gtlc.com) May 24 September 29
Colter Bay RV Park (gtlc.com) May 10 October 6
Headwaters Campground (gtlc.com) June 1 September 29
Headwaters RV Park (gtlc.com) May 17 September 29
Lizard Creek (signalmountainlodge.com) June 15 September 2

Lodging

Signal Mountain Lodge (signalmountainlodge.com) May 11 October 13
Jackson Lake Lodge (gtlc.com) May 18 October 6
Colter Bay Cabins (gtlc.com) May 24 September 29
Triangle X Ranch (trianglex.com) May 22 October 7
Jenny Lake Lodge (gtlc.com) June 1 October 6
Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch (gtlc.com) June 1 September 29

 

Night Clouds

Night Clouds: Technically, this is a Monday shot, but I just processed it today. I took it from Mormon Row Road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Light Painters

Light Painters: There were a couple of photographers doing light painting at the TA Moulton Barn last night. They were using an extremely bright, cold colored light.

Homestead

Homestead:  Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Raven Portrait

Raven Portrait: I found this bird sitting on a dumpster near the north end of the Park. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Raven

Raven: Same bird in a natural setting. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Reflections

Reflections: I spent most of my morning looking for Grizzlies, but filled in some of the time taking other images that interested me. Seen at a pond near Leek’s Marina. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Tree Textures

Tree TexturesNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

 

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May 14, 2018 – Monday

Road Notes: Now Open: RKO Road, Bar-BC Road, Cattleman’s Bridge dirt road, Turpin Meadows Road. Many of the other side roads are still closed.

Moose-Wilson Road

Speaking of Roads…The Moose-Wilson Road recently reopened after crews added some drainage tubes. When you go there, expect to see these parking barriers spread along much of the roadway. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Moose-Wilson Parking

Moose-Wilson Parking: Over a span of .8 miles from the Sawmill Pond Overlook and south past the Moose Pond, expect to find a grand total of 5 parking spots—that’s if four people politely park in the one pullout. Rangers often take one or two of those during the Fall Black Bear seasonNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Lake Creek

Lake Creek: Taken quickly out the window from the one way bridge on the Moose-Wilson road. Lake Creek flows from Phelps Lake to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. It is clear, while most other streams are rushing with muddy water. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Robin

Robin: This bird struck a nice pose against the blue sky as I was walking around and taking parking barricades on the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: If you are up early enough, you might get a glimpse of the bulls. They move back into the forests not long after first light or after they see their first humans of the day. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane: I had to stop for this shot near the Jackson Lake Junction. There are lots of Sandhills in the valley right now, but most of them stay well off the road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Blondie and Cubs

Blondie and Cubs: I would have liked to bring home a card full of wonderfully expressive photos of the Grizzlies, but opportunities were extremely limited while I was in the Leek’s Marina area. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Blondie

Blondie: The trio spent most of their time deep in the shadows and thick underbrush, and when they were visible, kept their heads down feeding. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Teton Range

Teton Range: This stitched pano was taken in mid-day light from Togwotee Pass. A Grizzly sow has been sighted a times on the pass. Instead of waiting with the growing crowds inside GTNP, I decided to take my chances away from the rangers and tourists. It did’t work out for me today, but I have no regrets. There is still a lot of snow on Togwotee Pass, if you want to experience Spring down below and remnants of Winter in the high country. Note: The road to the restrooms and observation area east of Togwotee Lodge is still snowed in.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

 

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May 13, 2018 – Sunday  – Mother’s Day

Bull Elk in Early Velvet

Bull Elk in Early Velvet: This nice bull was posing alongside the road near Oxbow Bend.

Coyote

Coyote: Seen near Signal Mountain.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: Seen along Spring Gulch Road. The female is in a nearby nest.

Today: We had thick fog and low clouds early in the morning. I managed to get quite a few very nice landscapes while on the East side of the park. I suspect  the people that went to the river bottoms, such as Schwabacher Landing had a long morning of staring at a soupy white cloud.

TA Moulton Barn

T.A. Moulton Barn: Mystical low clouds and fog completely changed the mood along Mormon Row.

Bison and Morning Clouds

Bison and Morning Clouds: Taken along Antelope Flats Road.

Peach House

Peach House: On Mormon Row.

Cottonwoods

Cottonwoods: Taken along Mormon Row.

New Aspens

New Aspens: Taken along Spring Gulch Road in the early evening. Fresh Aspen leaves are vivid pea green right now and seem to glow when shafts of light hit them.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek.

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May 12, 2018 – Saturday

Road Update: The Moose-Wilson Road opened this afternoon.

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: A couple of days ago, I had an afternoon Photo Tour. The trip started at 1:00pm after an hour lunch. Most of my tours begin well before sunrise to get the colorful morning light and wildlife on the move, but an afternoon trip was my client’s only option. We made it to Snake River Overlook at around 5:00pm with what I would call “unromantic light”. Still, it had some interesting clouds. I took this handheld shot with a Nikon D850, which is what the client was using. Other than the crop, the photo above is “as shot”. The shot was captured with the histogram was “to the right”, but nothing was overexposed or blown out

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: Out of curiosity, I processed the image as a black and white. The otherwise bland shot transformed into something I didn’t really expect.

Ansel Adams 1942 Snake River Overlook

Ansel Adam’s Snake River Overlook: My B&W image above shares at least some of the characteristics of Adam’s famous 1942 photo—but there are a few differences. We, unfortunately, have to deal with 76 years of tree growth that blocks the bend in the river. Ansel probably labored for days to process his original film image. I labored around 5 minutes in Lightroom!

Snake River Overlook

For more information, maps, and additional photos, check out this earlier Feature Post!

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: Female captured in my back yard. Overcast days, even with rain or snow, always make good photo days for the birds. The trick is to aim in directions where there is no white sky. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Northern Flicker

Northern FlickerNikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned SparrowNikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow: The sparrow was dining away on a sunflower seed when a pushy Cassin’s Finch tried to take over the branch. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: This is an extremely difficult bird to photograph on a sunny day! Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed MagpieNikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

 

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May 11, 2018 – Friday

Blondie

Blondie: Seen in the Pilgrim Creek area this morning. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

The South Entrance to Yellowstone opened this morning, which causes much more traffic along the main roadways. Many of the side roads are still barricaded.

Blondie

BlondieNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Grizzly Cub

Grizzly Cub: Blondie’s cubs are quite a bit smaller than 399’s cubs, born the same year. 610 should appear with a few cubs of the year, but I don’t have any reports of anyone seeing her yet. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Grizzly Cub

Grizzly CubNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

American Bison

American Bison: One of half a dozen bulls seen at Gros Ventre Junction. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch: This male is still morphing into its breeding plumage. I have three males in my back yard now. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Additional Back Yard Birds: Brown-headed Cowbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds are becoming common. Still lots of Juncos and Cassin’s Finches. I saw and heard my first Black-headed Grosbeak today, too.

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May 10, 2018 – Thursday

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes: Seen at Elk Flats after a morning of looking for bears. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting: Back at home, I managed to capture a few of the incoming songbirds. Some of the feathers on the head of this male are still turning blue. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch: I saw several males today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Green-tailed Towhee

Green-tailed Towhee: This is an elusive little bird, preferring the ground cover. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco: I included this image to show the green leaves. Juncos have been around for a couple of months. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Robin

American Robin: Robins are in full breeding color now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Bullock's Oriole

The first Bullock’s Oriole made an appearance today. I also heard my first Hummingbird. Things are picking up! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Blondie and Cubs

Blondie and Cubs: After getting skunked earlier today, I went back for another try. These bears were near Pilgrim Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Blondie and Cubs

Blondie and CubsNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Blondie and Cubs

Blondie and CubsNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

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May 9, 2018 – Wednesday

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Chambers Homestead Pano

Chambers Homestead Pano: Taken along Mormon Row as a four shot pano, then stitched in Lightroom. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird: Captured at the Visitor’s Center. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese: Seen at Flat Creek Wetlands on North Cache. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Gosling

Gosling: There is a lot of green now around town and even on some of the hillsides. Spring is definitely showing! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Back Yard Birding: Yesterday, I was fairly certain I saw a Lazuli Bunting. Today, I definitely saw one. Pine Siskens are back, along with a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers. I am anticipating seeing a few Bullock’s Orioles very soon and Western Tanagers a bit later.

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May 8, 2018 – Tuesday

Sunset

Sunset: The weather reports called for clear skies last night, but instead, we had plenty of clouds. I had planned on going out for the stars, so I left home just as the sun was beginning to set. That worked in my favor for the splendid sunset we received as a result of the “pesky” evening clouds. It’s fairly easy to change gears when the sky starts turning orange! I processed this one before going to bed, but didn’t post it. It’s 5:15am here right now, and I’m heading out for a morning shoot. I missed this morning’s clear sky, star show (the clouds eventually moved on through), so I am not in a huge hurry to rush out the door.

The South Entrance to Yellowstone opens tomorrow morning at 8:00 am. That’s good news if you want to go to Yellowstone, but with the roads opened, more people are traveling through GTNP. Any bear seen near the main roads will cause bigger and quicker bear jams. Right now, most people in the park are regional photographers and are usually respectful of the viewing distances, but the new crop will be less informed and usually well under equipped or bear and wolf photography. The ranger’s usually become less tolerant with the offenders and more strict with the rules as the crowds build throughout the season.

Baby Bison

Baby Bison: This morning was another one with lots of possibilities, yet things just didn’t pan out as I would have hoped. I found a small herd of Bison in the early morning light, but they were moving away from me. The herd had one baby as seen above. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Black Bear

Black Bear: Photography is a lot like fly fishing. If you had a good day one day, you can hardly stand to stay home the next day. None of the Grizzlies were seen (that I know of anyway), but this beautiful Black Bear made an appearance. I killed about an hour hoping it would get closer, or even in the open, but it stayed back and usually behind small shrubs and branches. This one was near Pilgrim Creek Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Finding Bears in Grand Teton National Park : This post from a few years back might help you understand which zones to cruise at various times of the year.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: This Heron often hangs out at Oxbow Bend and is generally more tolerant of humans than some around here. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Roads Still Closed as May 8 : Signal Mountain Road to the top, Spaulding Bay Road, Cattleman’s Bridge Road, Pilgrim Creek Road, Grassy Lake Road, Two Ocean Lake Road, Forest Service Road from Pacific Creek Road, RKO Road, BarBC Road, along with both two track roads off the East Boundary Road.  The roads have barricades, but I am fairly certain it is still legal to walk down them.

Cowboy Bar Sign

Cowboy Bar Sign: The owners of the Wort Hotel bought the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar a while back and have been doing some facelift work on the wood work and history old sign. The Cowboy and horse portion of the sign has been gone for a few weeks and now has a glossy new paint job. The crew is adding a rotating device for him, which could make for some interesting photos. Also, the old Jackson Drug is being renovated. From what I heard, the old neon sign was in storage in the basement during the years when the building was used for a rug gallery. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

 

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May 7, 2018 – Monday

Big Dipper

Big Dipper: This was stitched using three vertical captures in order to include the Big Dipper (over Mt. Moran). I took this shot 4:35 am, during the morning “blue light period” between 4:10 and 6:10 am. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Stars over TA Moulton Barn

Stars over TA Moulton Barn: The moon had about 1/4 coverage this morning…just enough to light the mountains.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Teton Range Reflectiuons

Teton Range Reflections: Four shot pano. Early morning at the Jackson Lake Dam. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Eagle on Ice

Eagle on Ice: I took this shot at the Leek’s Marina boat launch.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Eagle ih Tree

Eagle in Tree: This photo was taken at ISO 25600. It was handheld at 1/1600th second, F/7.1 with a Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Eagle In Tree

Eagle In Tree: This one was taken at ISO 6400. It was handheld at 1/400th second, F/7.1 with a Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. 

Grizzly 399 and One Cub

Grizzly 399 and One Cub: This is my first time to see 399 and her cubs this year. I captured quite a few shots with all three in the same frame, but each time, at least one had their head down.  Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Fence Crossing

Fence Crossing:  Today, the family was near “the Dump Road”.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Tripod.

Coyote

Coyote: It’s not often that a Coyote doesn’t look back at someone in a vehicle. This one never glanced way!  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

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May 6, 2018 – Sunday

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Seen near Elk Flats Ranch. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Osprey Landing

Osprey Landing: This male brought in a trout, then the female returned for a meal. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton BarnNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

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May 5, 2018 – Cinco de Mayo

Old Patriarch Tree

Old Patriarch Tree: I hiked out to the Old Patriarch Tree very early this morning. It was’t bad…the snow was frozen solid enough well enough to let me walk across it. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70 Lens, Tripod.

Old Patriarch Tree

Old Patriarch Tree: You might enjoy seeing this old post: May Day at the Old Patriarch. It has photos taken on May 1st (or within a few days of the 1st since 2008). You can see how the snow pack compares this year to some of the other years. I went to the area on May 1st this year, but the clouds were completely covering the Tetons as seen in the May 1st entry for this page.  Amazing!!!!!! Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70 Lens, Tripod.

Bison on the Run

Bison Crossing: Just up the road, there were several groups of tourists trying to take photos of specks (bison) at long distances. It makes sense if you figure they were the first ones they saw, but if they had driven another mile, bison were close on both sides of the road and even on the road. I was probably in the photo being taken with an iPhone from inside the car. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison on the Run: This group of Bison, along with a few Elk, were at Elk Ranch Flats. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Osprey__

Osprey: I took this image near the Snake River. Most pairs have now staked out their nests, but this female didn’t appear to be sitting on eggs yet. The burned edges were done in Topaz Studio. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Road Closures: If you scroll down to the May 1st entry, I included a list of the recently opened and still closed roads in GTNP. From all I have seen, they are all the same now.

399 and her two cubs appeared in the Dam and Willow Flats area yesterday, prompting a news story in the daily paper.

 

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May 4, 2018 – Friday

Backing Up! Last week, I bought a G-Tech Shuttle 24TB RAID drive for my images, files, and catalogs. Then, after feeling like I am putting all of my eggs in one basket, I ordered a G-Tech RAID drive to backup or mirror that one. It arrived just now, and the files are being copied to it. The 24 TB drive has an effective yield of 18 TB, so the 20 TB drive should hold all of the information. That’s one story. I have been told it would be a good idea to store at least one copy of my images off premise, or on the “cloud”. A few days ago, I signed up for Amazon Prime to get unlimited photo storage. It has a huge caveat. After 64 hours, it has uploaded .14 TB of 3.25 TB in just my Wildlife Folders. I also have a Landscapes Folder, Trips Folder, WildWest Folder, and Grunge Folder. At this rate, it will take over 46 days to upload the Wildlife Folder. Unless I can get access to a fiber optic line to upload, I don’t see this as a viable option for anyone with lots of images.

Morning Elk

Morning Elk: Captured just North of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Pine Marten

Pine Marten: Captured in low light conditions near Moose Visitor’s Center. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: Taken at Schwabacher Landing. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser: Also taken at Schwabacher Landing. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose: There can be a lot of bird and wildlife activity at Schwabacher Landing. Today was a waterfowl day. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

South Park Cabin

South Park Cabin: This old cabin is on the nature walk at the South Park Feed Grounds. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Barrow's Golden Eye

Barrow’s Golden Eye: Captured in the South Park Feed Grounds. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

 

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May 3, 2018 – Thursday

Jackson Lake Dam

Jackson Lake Dam: I spent my morning around Jackson Lake Junction, mainly hoping for a chance to photograph a Grizzly or two. While driving around the zone, I caught a few other subjects. I thought the golden light made the dam look moody, especially when accompanied by the snow covered mountains. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Townsend's Solitaire

Townsend’s Solitaire: This gray colored bird was resting near the dam, along with a pesky and elusive Belted Kingfisher. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Oxbow Bend and Clouds

Oxbow Bend and Clouds:  I didn’t see any Bears or Foxes, despite a fair amount of time and energy looking for them this morning. When I returned home, I heard a report of 399 and her two cubs milling around up north. Elk and Bison were plentiful in the Elk Flats area. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70 Lens, Handheld.

Early Aspens Leaves

Early Aspen Leaves: At least a few Aspens are displaying their first Summer leaves now.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

 

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May 2, 2018 – Wednesday

Mormon Row Elk

Mormon Row Elk: The road connecting the Mormon homesteads and Gros Ventre Road is still gated. I took this shot looking South at the north gate. There is a LOT of wildlife still out in the hay fields, including coyotes, bison, and elk. I am watching for Long-billed Curlews to show up again. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

This Morning: I did a fairly large figure 8 this morning, starting on a loop south of town. I saw a few more Osprey than last time I was there. The South Park Feed Grounds are open again. I drove up Spring Gulch Road, out to Kelly, and then looped around to the Mormon Row barns.

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Uinta Ground Squirrel: Chislers have been out of their dens for a while now, and that brings in the Raptors and Badgers that feed on them. I’ve been seeing a lot of Badger diggings at the barns, so I stopped there today with the Tamron 150-600mm G2 to see if any were out. You might be more lucky than me today. Watch for Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, and Great Horned Owls in the barn areas. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Yesterday was the first of May. I loaded the May 1st entry with a LOT of focused information on Road Closures, Landscape Opportunities, and Wildlife Status. If you visited yesterday and only looked at the photos, I’d suggest taking a few minutes to read the reports.

Peach House Window

Peach House Window: There weren’t a lot of clouds over and around the Tetons today. This shot hints there are mountains in the distance, but the subject was really the deteriorating window. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Additional Reports: The rivers and streams are now flowing high and fast with silted, blown out water. Fishermen are now looking for lakes and spring creeks or heading to tailwater areas like the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The newspaper reported a Grizzly feeding on a Bison carcass on the north end of the National Elk Refuge. As of yesterday, it is possible to drive into some of the Refuge. Watch for Burrowing Owls in the sandy soil if you drive out. I haven’t seen them, but I know people who have. The Gros Ventre Campground opens again this Friday.

Jackson Peak

Jackson Peak: I included this photo today to show how yesterday morning’s snowfall has already melted. It was taken from the Mormon Row Road junction along Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Afternoon in the Park

Jackson Peak Pano

Jackson Peak Pano: Captured as two photos and stitched in Lightroom. I took this from Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: One of about a dozen nice bulls hanging around the roundabout construction zone on Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from the observation platform on Flat Creek.

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May 1, 2018 – Tuesday  – Mayday!

Grand Teton National Park is in the process of welcoming this year’s visitors—but it happens slowly! Many roads are still closed, but one of the major arteries, the Teton Park Road (aka Inner Park Loop Road) opened to vehicle traffic today. Moose-Wilson road between the Murie Center Road and Death Canyon Road will be closed to all users until May 13. Expect construction delays at Gros Ventre Junction all summer. The road to Curtis Canyon opened today, allowing antler hunters to access the National Forest.

Closed Roads as May 1 : Signal Mountain Road to the top, Spaulding Bay Road, Cattleman’s Bridge Road, Pilgrim Creek Road, Grassy Lake Road, Two Ocean Lake Road, Forest Service Road from Pacific Creek Road, RKO Road, BarBC Road, along with both two track roads off the East Boundary Road.

Recently Opened Roads: Schwabacher Landing, Dead Man’s Bar, Lost Creek Ranch Road, Teton Park Road, Antelope Flats Road, Northern portion of Mormon Row Road. The Murie Center Road is still open.

Recently Opened Facilities: The Visitor’s Center at Moose has been open for a month or so. The Convenience Store at Colter Bay Junction and the Convenience Store and Pizza Parlor at Dornan’s are open. Other commercial centers should open for the Mother’s Day Weekend.

Bison In Snow

Wildlife Opportunities for May 1: Most of the Elk and Bison have moved off the National Elk Refuge and have spreading out into the Park and Forests. Moose are moving from their wintering home on the Sage Flats into the river bottoms. A few Pronghorns are back in the Park. Grizzlies and Black Bears are reappearing, but April was much less productive this year than last year. May could be epic if Sows like Blondie, 610, and Falicia appear with two or three cubs each. 399 and her two cubs appeared for a day but hasn’t been seen in a while. 610’s sub-adult cubs have been seen off and on. Other random Grizzlies have been seen on sporadic timelines. A large Cinnamon colored Black Bear has been seen a couple of times. Wolves and Foxes were active for a couple of weeks in April, but it appears the females are in the dens. The valley is now loaded with Robins, Juncos, Starlings, Ravens, Crows, & Magpies. Osprey are on their nests. Hawks, Kestrels and Eagles are often visible. Owls are scarce but are reported to be mating and nesting this year after a terrible year last year. A few of the Bison cows have already delivered their young, often called Red Dogs. Throughout the month, watch for other babies. Moose calves are usually born at the end of May and the first week or so in June.

String Lake

String LakeNikon D850 and Nikon 24-70 Lens, Handheld.

The Landscape for May 1: We had a nice snowfall at the end of April, changing much of the area back to Winter for a few days. Rain and drizzle melted the snow around town. Grass is turning green in most areas in the south portion of the valley. Areas closer to the mountains like String Lake and Jenny Lake are still snow covered. The Northern portion of the Park has snow for now. Togwotee Pass was clearing for the first few miles from the base, but is covered from around Turpen Meadows Road to the summit. Jackson Lake is open the size of a football field at the dam, but is still frozen. It should drop soon. String Lake is about half open, but everything I could see of Jenny Lake is still frozen.

Jenny Lake

 Jenny LakeNikon D850 and Nikon 24-70 Lens, Handheld.

Horses in Snow

Buffalo ValleyNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Elk Group

Buffalo ValleyNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Buffalo Valley Barn

Buffalo Valley Barn: Expect hillsides like this to be green within a few days. The recent snow was heavy and wet. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Cinnamon Teal Pair

Cinnamon Teal Pair: The Park offers a lot of wildlife possibilities, but it helps to not get too bogged down looking for a specific subject to show up. This pair of ducks was in courtship mode near the Jackson Lake Dam. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon TealNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: Captured near the Jackson Lake Dam. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain BluebirdNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens, Handheld.

While I posted a lot of images for this initial Journal Page, you’ll want to make Best of the Tetons a regular stop. I’ll be adding photos almost daily throughout the month! The first week or so of May should resemble the last week or so of April, so check it out:

April 2018 Daily Journal for JH & GTNP

If you like what you are seeing here, please share the page and let your friends know about it. If you are not already a subscriber, I’d love to have you! MJ


 

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Comments (15)

  1. So which would you recommend for the peer mentors and I for our Saturday shoot – Jenny Lake or String Lake? From your photos it looks like String Lake has some promise but Jenny Lake may still be completely frozen Saturday unless we get much warmer weather and some sun. As always, thanks for your guidance.

  2. Mike…always enjoy your posts. A question: I know you have or had the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 but you nearly always use the Tamron 150-600 G2. Just curious why you use the Tamron instead of the Nikon which gives you better light?

    Thanks!

  3. Hi Randy, I’d suggest String Lake. It has more access points, and remember Jenny Lake’s parking area is under construction. The reflections on String Lake would probably be more impressive than the frozen lake. You may need snow shoes at either, however, especially as the day warms. Good luck! MJ

  4. Hi Norm, I should probably be a bigger fan of the Nikon 200-500mm than I am, but I like several features on the Tamron better. 1:It is lighter 2:It has more range 3:It has the built in Area-Swiss foot 4:I think it focuses faster 5:I like the short distance focus lock a lot for close subjects like birds in my back yard 6:The Nikon 200-500mm takes a lot more twisting to go from 200-500mm than the Tamron to go from 150-600mm. So, even IF both are equally sharp, the five or six topics above give it the first choice for me. I like the Nikon 200-500mm when paired with my Nikon D500 to get the 750mm effective reach. I like the D5’s high ISO capabilities for morning and evening shooting, so it gets that nod. Hope this helps! MJ

  5. Luke

    Hi Mike,

    Appreciate all the updates. What parts of the area have the grizzlies been seen? Any tips on good spots for wildlife currently?

  6. Hi Luke, Actually, if you read the Daily Journals through the months, I tell you where I am seeing wildlife. Knowing they move around a bit from day to day, it doesn’t do much good to give the specific spot, but if you hear the bears have been seen along Pacific Creek Road, Willow Flats, the Dam Area, you should have a good idea where to search. Recently, I have been saying Bison and Elk are hanging around Kelly, but are moving north. Specific trees for Owls are worthless reports, for example. There are so many trees and they move around a lot. Hope this helps! Welcome aboard…MJ

  7. Luke

    Thanks so much for the response. I have been coming to your site almost every day for years, love the pictures and the insight. Will be in the Tetons this week and am hoping to be able to photograph grizzly bears in particular. Hope I have some good luck this week! Thanks again.

  8. Thanks Mike. I think I’ll advice the peer mentors to take a trip up to String Lake for sunrise on Saturday. I appreciate your honest and fair advice on cameras and lenses. I’m thinking of upgrading my Nikon DX camera and wonder about the comparison of the D500 to the D7500. You seem to be a big fan of the D500; how do you think it compares to the D7500?

  9. Regarding off site back-up: this is a good practice. I would suggest a third physical drive that you to keep somewhere else. I keep mine in a safe deposit box but a friend’s house across town would work as well. Also suggest you might want to consider rotating those drives.

  10. Hi Rick, You are right on the money! I’ll have to wait a little while to afford the extra backup drive, but I believe the safety deposit box was the direction I was heading.

  11. Great images and advice as usual. I’ll be there soon and hope our paths cross again. Btw, I was thinking of purchasing the 200-500 but now I’m not so sure. Your advice has always been spot on for me. Thanks!

  12. Kathy Harrison

    Hi Mike, We’ve tried twice to order a print from your website without success. Is it website working right? Thanks. Kat

  13. Kathy, I assume it is working fine. You might try viewing the page with a different browser and printing from there. MJ

  14. jeff birmingham

    Hay mike couple things i have ?? on. One with the guy light painting isn’t it against the rules/ law to light paint in the parks???? I think I remember you posting something about that a while back but i may be wrong. The other is have you ever drove the Ashton – Flagg ranch road looks like that would be a nice day drive with beautiful scenery. I was reading the Mother Moose post above I think you meant to say 100 yards not 200 but again i may be wrong. Don’t want someone to read it and get confused. We are headed your way on the 24 hope to see you around. Thanks for the Blog we LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

  15. Jeff, IF the flashlight rules are actually on the books, I haven’t heard of any rangers enforcing them. I’ve taken advantage of other people lighting the barns and I use the lights from passing cars. The Ashton Road doesn’t open until sometime in June. There are some very rough areas on the road which has caused me to only cross it a couple of times.

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