Best of the Tetons, Great Photography Tours In Jackson, WY

December 2017 Daily Journal for JH & GTNP

“Short days with lots of possibilities” 

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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Check Out These TWO Popular Pages: If I Had Only One Winter Day in the Tetons: and A Trip to Jackson Hole

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December 31, 2017 – Sunday New Year’s Eve

Relaxing Grizzly

Relaxing Grizzly: Throughout the Summer of 2017, I took a lot of photos, uploaded them to my computer, and then picked off a few to post on this blog. It’s not uncommon to take 1,000 to 2,000 photos on a good day and even more when a Griz is posing and moving around. Ideally, I would cull and keyword the day’s shoots, but I’m usually worn out. By the end of the year, I ended up with around 150,000 images that need to be combed through and culled. That’s what I have been doing lately—taking advantage of the short days and long, cold nights. My MayPhotos folders had around 45,000 files. That’s now down to 17,000 files with a goal of around 4,500 images. This shot was taken on May 21st with a Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm lens, using a tripod for support.

I posted a slightly different photo of this Grizzly on Instagram. There’s a link in the navigation bar if you would like to see it or follow me there.

Black WolfBlack Wolf: As I was driving north, this wolf ran across the highway. It’s just a reference photo (screen grabbed from Lightroom), taken long before sunrise at ISO 102,400. I spent the rest of the morning hoping to see them again—closer and in better light!

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Taken at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ram on the Rocks

Ram on the Rocks: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Stretching Trumpeter Swan

Stretching Trumpeter Swan: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Stretching Trumpeter Swan

Stretching Trumpeter Swan: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Barrows Golden Eye

Barrows Golden Eye: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s JayNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Thanks for coming to Best of the Tetons in 2017, and please make it a regular stop in 2018. You can help me by scrolling down to the Social Media Icons at the bottom of the page and Sharing this December page! Cheers! MJ

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December 30, 2017 – Saturday

Snow King 2009

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parades in Jackson Hole: If you are already in town—or want a place to celebrate New Year’s Eve—be at one or both of the valley’s ski resorts for the festive Torchlight Parades and Fireworks.

The “glowworm” parade begins at Teton Village at 6:00 pm and is followed by a nice Fireworks display. You can probably go to that event, then book it to town and watch the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at SnowKing Resort. Riders don’t begin riding the lifts until 6:30 pm.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Taken at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. There are three Tundra Swan cygnets at the pond.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Boyle's Hill Swan Pond

Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond: Not a scene summer visitors would ever see. Click on this image to see it much larger. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld. (stitched pano- 5 images)

Mallards

Mallards: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Red Barn

Red Barn: One of the South Park barns. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Young Red Fox

Young Red Fox: Still going through my May photos. This one was taken on the 25th.

If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to info@bestofthetetons.com. I have numerous openings in January & February. You can also book now for a May Photo Tour!

Best of the Tetons Photo Tours

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December 29, 2017 – Friday

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Taken at the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Winter Red Dogs

Winter Red Dogs: Most baby bison are born in late May and early June. These two can’t be much more than a month old. Around 200 Bison have been hanging around Elk Flats during early winter instead of working their way south to the Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Resting Bison Bull

Resting Bison Bull: As usual, there is much more snow in the north portion of the Park. Jackson Lake is now frozen over. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Captured at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser Male: Seen along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Rippled Water

Rippled Water: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mallards

Mallards: This is actually a pano stitched from three horizontal images captured with a telephoto lens. The group was sitting on an ice shelf along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan Squabble

Trumpeter Swan Squabble: Captured at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan Squabble

Trumpeter Swan Squabble: If you catch it just right, Trumpeters can be quite animated. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Willow and Digger

Willow and Digger: Another shot from last May. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm lens, Tripod.

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December 28, 2017 – Thursday

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: I saw at least seven Bull Moose with antlers this morning. I heard a report of one that has already shed and another with only one antler. The clock is ticking on chances to see and photograph them this year! Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: The Moose I saw today were north of Kelly. Remember, Antelope Flats Road is closed for the season, so it’s a one way in and one way back out the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: In some years, this area would already be covered with two or more feet of snow. This year has been mild on the east side of the park, allowing Moose to continue feeding on Bitter Brush—mixed in with the Sagebrush. You’ll find much more snow at the base of the mountains on the west side of the valley. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

When we drove by the road into the Chapel of the Transfiguration on Christmas Day, it was still open. The two “two track” roads along the East Boundary Road are still open (Power Line Road & Warm Springs Road)

Willow and Digger

Willow and Digger: Still going through some of the 45,000 photos I took in May. It’s a month that doesn’t seem to get a lot of respect…call it a Rodney Dangerfield month, but I’ve always found it to be an exciting time to be in Jackson Hole. Better yet, the crowds don’t arrive until June. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm lens, Tripod.

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December 27, 2017 – Wednesday

South Park Barn

South Park Barn: I spent most of my day in front of my computer, culling old images and organizing the keepers. In the late afternoon, I made a quick trip out and about. Clouds were dark in the SE, so I tried to find a subject to put in front of it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

South Park Barn

South Park Barn: The weather reports call for a few days of snow and cloudy skies through Saturday. Friends report that skiing is getting better. Town is very busy during the Holiday week. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

I’ve been hearing of more Wolf activity in the southern portion of the Park and even a few sightings of Wolves on the National Elk Refuge. The Elk herds are getting larger each day. Watch for River Otters around the Jackson Lake Dam and a Red Fox or two hanging around Oxbow Bend. Mountain Goats have been hit and miss in the Snake River Canyon…mostly miss. Bighorns are dependable subjects on the National Elk Refuge. I’ve heard of a few sightings of Pronghorns on the Refuge, too. Last week, I saw a small flock of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches on Miller Butte. Remember: Don’t let the Bighorns lick the salt and chemicals off your vehicles and always park in a pullout!

SplendorTextures May

Splendor Textures: Back in May, Darla and I took a Carnival Cruise Line Tour to the Caribbean for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Prior to the trip, people suggested that I might either love being on a big ship for most of a week… or hate it. Quite honestly, I liked the experience. While moving from port to port, I spent a lot of time wandering around the Splendor’s decks looking for interesting textures and shapes. The ship was a “target rich” environment, and of course, it was huge! My Ship Textures folder still has over 1000 images.

Splendor Nebula

Splendor Nebula:

Splendor Slot Machine

Splendor Slot Machine: This is the subject used to get the Nebula image above it.

While a post showing some of the captures might not fit the mission statement on this site, a post might give you ideas of images you can capture when not still in wildlife or landscape mode. Watch for the post sometime in the near future!

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December 26, 2017 – Tuesday

Tractor

Tractor: I headed down the Snake River Canyon in hopes of see a few Mountain Goats. Never saw one, so I drove around Alpine Junction. This old tractor is at the Flying Saddle Resort. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Wagon

Wagon: Also found at the Flying Saddle Resort. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Taken at the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 25, 2017 – Christmas Day

Season's Greetings

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December 24, 2017 – Sunday – Christmas Eve

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: I spotted this GHO in the shade, then waited about 30 minutes for the sun to hit it. I hung around for quite a while, hoping it would open its eyes, but he kept them closed. While driving around this morning, my truck’s thermometer read -15° at times…coldest I have seen it yet. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Fences

Fences: Taken along Spring Gulch Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mail Boxes

Mail Boxes: Taken along Spring Gulch Road. I added a filter to this photo in Photoshop using Topaz. It needed a little punch. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: Last winter, my blind (a grill gazebo) collapsed under the weight of the snow. We bought a new one this spring. Today, I moved it to a good spot and wrapped it in camouflage tarp for a winter blind. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Clarks Nutcracker

Clarks Nutcracker: I’ve had at least one Nutcracker all winter, but it looks like three or four show up for the suet now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: Besides this regular visitor, I saw two Northern Flickers, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and even a couple of Townsend’s Solitaires. Three or four wintering Robins stayed back from the feeders, but seemed interested in the free food. Other back yard visitors include Chickadees, Eurasian Collared Doves, Black-billed Magpies, and a few species of Sparrows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: To be honest, this is the bird that prompted me to set up the Winter blind again. The Jay didn’t come around much with me in the yard, but is much more bold with me in the blind. He’s a regular visitor this year. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

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December 23, 2017 – Saturday

Snowman

Christmas Lights

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Moulton Barn

Lights

Christmas Tree

Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole, WY

Christmas in Jackson Hole

Christmas Lights on the Moulton Barn

Season’s Greetings from our family to yours! I picked off a few photos from earlier posts to start today’s entry. The three links have a lot more photos from Jackson Hole. It snowed overnight, so I’ll be out at some point. Check back!

South Park Barn

South Park Barn: Captured on Boyle’s Hill Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Spring Gulch Pano

Spring Gulch Pano: A two shot stitched image taken with a telephoto lens. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Abandoned

Abandoned: I photographed this old vehicle several years ago. I stopped again today during a winter flurry. This shot has a shallow “window of opportunity” before the bulk of it gets buried under snow. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Spring Gulch Road Open Again: Crews recently opened a one-lane bridge over the Gros Ventre River on Spring Gulch Road. A stop light controls access, with roughly a 3 minute rotation. A section of roadway roughly 2 miles long is still gravel, but the rest has been hard surfaced.

Antelope Flats Road Closed: Recent snow and drifting snow prompted the closure of Antelope Flats Road for the winter.

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December 22, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Jackson Hole is in the middle of a winter storm advisory. It was snowing lightly with heavy winds this afternoon. I counted over 70 Bighorns along Miller Butte today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram Lip Curl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 21, 2017 – Winter Solstice

Mother Moose

Mother Moose: I am going through files and ran across this shot from May 19. The calf is only an hour or so old. Happy Winter!

First Day of Winter – Winter Solstice – Shortest Day of the Year: Sunrise this morning was at 7:53 am and sunset will be at 4:50 pm. When I was at Snake River Overlook the temperature was 7°F. The weather report called for clear skies, which was perfectly accurate. I had hoped for a little bit more Alpenglow but it was still pretty at that time of the morning. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose

Solstice Moose: Found in Ditch Creek before first light. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose in First Light

Solstice Moose in First Light: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cirtter Tracks

Critter Tracks: In Ditch Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose

Solstice Moose: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose in Sage

Solstice Moose in Sage: Found along the East Boundary Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Solstice Moose in Sage

Solstice Moose in Sage: These are the kind of shots I am glad I have a zoom telephoto lens. This one was taken at 200mm. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Solstice Moose in Sage

Solstice Moose in Sage: These two were taken from roughly the same spot at 600mm. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Solstice Bald Eagle

Solstice Bald Eagle: Captured along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ram on Ridgeline

Ram on Ridgeline: I spent some time on the National Elk Refuge in the middle of the day. I could probably process and post 20 images from there today, but will include just this one. It’s definitely a long distance shot, but seems to have a lot of visual power. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl Stretching

Great Horned Owl Stretching: Unless an Owl is hunting, the experience is much like watching paint dry. During the daylight hours, their eyes are closed or mostly closed and they sit basically still for hours. I stayed with this owl for about an hour, took over a thousand shots that almost all look the same, and hoped for some “action”. He stretched his wing for a few seconds. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Just before I lost the last of the golden light, he perked up and rotated slightly on his perch, giving me a few slightly different shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 20, 2017 – Wednesday

Lonely Little Cabin 1

Lonely Little Cabin 1: The base of the mountains received around 2-3″ of snow overnight. My wife said they reported 4″ of snow on the slopes at Teton Village. I drove out to the National Elk Refuge just after lunch and took a few photos with the fresh snow. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Lonely Little Cabin 2

Lonely Little Cabin 2: I took these two shots from the road, changing positions slightly each time. The National Elk Refuge has a posted sign saying NO Parking on the Roadway, but they allow you to stop if no one is around—as was the case for these two shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Grasses

Grasses: Bighorns are feeding on grasses along the base of Miller Butte and attempting to lick salt and chemicals off vehicles that stop in the road or in the pullouts. Refuge officials are asking people NOT to let them lick their vehicles to help prevent the spread of pneumonia found in some of the sheep. The local photographers are helping people know about the rule, despite the lack of signage. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: When I first made it to Miller Butte, a herd of Bighorns were bedded down and covered with snow. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: I love the interaction between the Rams. There hasn’t been a lot of head bashing lately, but most of the Rams are quite interested in the Ewes right now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Lamb

Bighorn Lamb: I have a permit to take people out for photo tours on the National Elk Refuge. It doesn’t look good if the rangers see my truck with lick marks all over it! I was standing guard alongside my truck to keep them from trying to lick the sides. The Bighorns will often approach within only a few yards. The Elk Refuge officials aren’t as worried about closeness as they are in Grand Teton National Park, so it’s possible to get tight face shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 19, 2017 – Tuesday

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: In mid to late December, the sun rises in the southern portion of the valley, lighting the south side of the Shane cabins. Right now, first light is around 9:00 am. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Park Service has deemed these cabins as “ruins” and will not be making attempts to maintain them. That could change if enough people requested a review of the site’s status and importance. I believe they were built in the mid 1940s. You can see more photos at different times of the year on this old Feature Post: The Shane Cabins: Authentic Homestead in Grand Teton National Park Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: At some point, the Park Service closes both ends of Antelope Flats Road, cutting off vehicle access to the Mormon Row homesteads. This cabin is accessible all year, though snow shoes can be helpful after a few heavy snowfalls. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Shane Cabin

The Ernie Wright (Shane Cabin): Just about everyone around here calls this “The Shane Cabin”. It was built by Luther Taylor and leased to the production company by Roy Chambers. There are no historic signs or plaques at the site. Shane Movie Locations:

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Shane Cabin: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin Window: This image was taken twice. I focused on the wall in one and then again on the mountains. The two photos were merged in Photoshop. There are thousands of applications for this technique in Grand Teton National Park! Check out this old Feature Post:  Focus Stacking: Increased Depth of Field by Combining Multiple Images Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Captured along Flat Creek at the North edge of town. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 18, 2017 – Monday

Winter Sleigh Ride

The Dead of Winter: A few things have changed over the weekend! This page from 2014 highlights a few of them. Some zones have been closed, and a few important roads and access points become limited. This will be even more evident when the heavy snowfall arrives and snow plows pile snow to block secondary roads. Note: Currently, Antelope Flats is still open with access to Mormon Row. Also of note: The Elk Reduction Program ended in GTNP on the 15th. Without the gun shots, expect Elk and other wildlife to return to “normal” in the Park. There are still plenty of opportunities!

Remember to check out the New Feature Post!: Mormon Row: Historic Documentation

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House: Hmmm…I saw this photo when working on the new post. I started scratching my head and looking through my Mormon Row photos. Mormon Row: Historic Documentation

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House: While in the area today, I snapped off a few photos. It is a fairly non-descript structure—easy to neglect or overlook. After comparing the historic photo and a contemporary image, it is easy to see how much the volunteers and Park Service put into saving this structure for future park visitors. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Treescape

Treescape: I took this photo from Antelope Flats Road. Something about the variety of the shapes and the layering of the distant trees caught my eye. The wind was howling with light flakes falling. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Like the Chambers garage and pump house, most of these structures would have fallen in under the weight of the winter snows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ruins

Ruins: This structure, across from the Thomas Perry Homestead, didn’t make it before crews could reinforce it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 17, 2017 – Sunday

New Feature Post!: Mormon Row: Historic Documentation Wow…this is a labor intensive post! If you enjoy Mormon Row and the history of Jackson Hole, I am fairly confident you’ll enjoy the page. The historic photos, elevation drawings, and site plans came from the Library of Congress.

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: I was out very early for the sunrise, but the clouds didn’t cooperate. This is one of 34 Moose I saw this morning, along with several Bald Eagles, a large herd of Elk, and half a dozen Mule Deer. I keep hoping to be in the right place at the right time to see a pack of Wolves in the Kelly area. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: There are lots of Trumpeter Swans in the Jackson Hole valley again this year. This one was at the Boyle’s Hill swan pond. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Afternoon shot at Miller Butte. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 16, 2017 – Saturday

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: I spent the morning and middle of the day in the Snake River Canyon looking for Mountain Goats. I never saw one. When I made it back to Jackson, I drove over to the National Elk Refuge. A few of the nice Bighorn Rams were down at Miller Butte, but weren’t active. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Valley Notes: Today is the first day of the Sleigh Ride Tours on the National Elk Refuge: They will continue daily until early April, except for Christmas Day.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: I’m working on a new Feature Post about Mormon Row—filled with historic photos and drawings.

 

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December 15, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram on Ridge

Bighorn Ram on Ridge: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorns Against Rocks

Bighorns Against Rocks: Late afternoon activity on Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 14, 2017 – Thursday

Valley Notes: Tomorrow will be the last day of the elk hunt in GTNP, though it will continue for a while in the National Elk Refuge. The Bison hunt in the Refuge continues into January. We can’t get to those zones, so it doesn’t affect photographers or tourists. Today and tomorrow are the last two days to be able to walk down to Schwabacher Landing until Spring. Several other zones will close after the 15th—shown on the maps at the very bottom of this page.

Red Barn

Red Barn: One of the many barns and structures in Jackson Hole. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Snow Capped Tractor

Snow Capped Tractor: I’ve photographed this old tractor a few times over the years. Today, I liked the frosting of snow and the way the morning light was hitting it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorns

Bighorns: I missed these two head butting, but managed to capture a few with them interacting. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

The Chase

The Chase: The rut is in full swing along Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ram

Ram’s Head: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

 

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December 13, 2017 – Wednesday

Jackson Lake Sunrise Pano

Jackson Lake Sunrise Pano: (Click this image to see it much larger). To get a sunrise shot like this requires a bit of planning and a lot of luck! Even if the weather report calls for partly cloudy, you never know if the entire range will be covered. It’s about 45 miles from town to the dam, and the night time speed limit is 45 mph, so you have to get up very early (not so bad in December when sunrise is at 7:45 am). Today, the trip paid off. There was a break in the clouds in the east, allowing a few minutes of morning light to bathe the Teton Range. Soon after this shot, the mountains dulled. This was a crop of about 7 horizontal images, stitched in Lightroom. I was the only one there today! Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend: I drove around Willow Flats and Oxbow Bend looking for Moose and Foxes. Another short lived break in the clouds lit a few patches of the Oxbow. I am making this post at Noon, and looking outside, can report clouds and dark skies. I think most people around Jackson Hole are ready for snow to entice Winter visitors. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Coyotes

Coyotes: This is a tight crop of a long distance shot of three Coyotes on Elk Flats. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Captured near Elk Flats. The large herd I saw earlier were well off the road, but I found four or five others closer to the road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Windows

Windows: I like “broken patterns”…in this case, a missing pane of glass. Captured at one of the cabins along Elk Ranch. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorns in Snow

Bighorns in Snow: Afternoon snow on Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

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December 12, 2017 – Tuesday

Morning in the Tetons

Morning in the Tetons: Taken at Snake River Overlook. I had to wait about 10 minutes as roughly 200 Elk crossed the highway, making me a little late for this shot! Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Resting Bull Moose

Resting Bull Moose: This bull’s ear is severely cut. I saw him early, before the sun came up, then returned to the location to get first light on him. He bedded down quickly once the sun hit the valley floor. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Last Leaves

Last Leaves: Captured in Ditch Creek. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Stretching Swan

Stretching Swan: Captured along Flat Creek. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Stretching Swan

Stretching Swan: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Lightroom CC Classic: If you are a Lightroom user, Adobe just released an update. I loaded v.7.1 and installed it this morning. It seems to be much more spunky.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Wagon Wheels

Wagon Wheels: Long distance shot at one of the valley’s barns. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Landing Swan

Landing Swan: Captured at Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Captured at Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 11, 2017 – Monday

 

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: Instead of going to my normal haunts in GTNP, I decided to do some reconnaissance. I found a Great Horned Owl, but he was tucked too deep into the branches for a decent shot. This photo was taken from Spring Gulch Road as the morning fog was lifting. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: I processed this one to post on Instagram. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk: This raptor was resting atop one of the ranch gates along Spring Gulch Road. I saw an immature Bald Eagle just down the road, then waited for first light. A construction truck whizzed by and spooked it before I got a shot. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Approaching Ram

Approaching Ram: Captured on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: I found the owl again this afternoon. Still in a tough spot! I shot through the branches to get an image of his face. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 10, 2017 – Sunday

Grand and Morning Ducks

Grand and Morning Ducks: Captured near the Kelly Warm Springs. The low cloud bank at the base of the mountains divide this shot into two different zones. The shot was taken at 1/800 second which helped freeze some of the wings.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Sunrise was at 7:45 am today, with temperatures hoovering just above 0°F. A light breeze added an extra bite to the cold.

Alert Bull Moose

Alert Bull Moose: Taken in the sage flats north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Fleeing Moose

Fleeing Moose: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Sparring Bull Moose

Sparring Bull Moose: The cottonwoods in the distance run along Ditch Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Captured on the National Elk Refuge.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Snake and Grand Sunset

Snake and Grand Sunset: The sun is almost as far south as it will get for the year, lighting the south face of the peaks in the afternoon. I took these shots along the Snake River near Wilson. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Snake and Grand Sunset

Snake and Grand Sunset: Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Steel Cover

Steel Cover: As I was hiking out of the river bottom, I spotted this interesting design. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

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December 9, 2017 – Saturday

Coyote

Coyote: This morning, I made a loop around Kelly—mainly looking for Moose. The ones I saw were out in the sage. I heard a few Bison have been hanging around the Elk Flats area, so I headed that direction just for “something” to capture. I saw four or five canines running across the pasture and got to a spot as quickly as possible. I was hoping they were Wolves, but Coyotes would be fine for today. I wasn’t set up for speedy Coyotes, originally thinking I’d be seeing lumbering Moose or Bison. This isn’t a great shot, but hopefully it will be better prepared for what “might happen”. I talk about that all the time with my tour clients, but today, I didn’t follow my own advice! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison

Bison: Well…they were there! I would guess there are 150-200 in the area. The area can also have Badgers and Wolves. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Elk Ranch and Mt. Moran

Elk Ranch and Mt. Moran: Wolf Ranch Road and Elk Ranch Roads are still open, including the connector between the two. On cold mornings, the Snake River regularly generates a low cloud or fog bank, even on mornings when the weather reports call for clear skies. This morning my truck thermometer read 0°F. These are remnant structures from the old dude ranch at Elk Ranch. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Elk Ranch Cabins

Elk Ranch Cabins: As I mentioned a few days ago, I occasionally like to photograph familiar subjects from vantage points that omit the Teton Range. While I was “working” this area, I received a text letting me know that 399 and her two cubs were near the Pilgrim Creek bridge….so I abandoned these shots and headed that direction. It appears she may have crossed overnight and headed onward. Tracks at the end of Pilgrim Creek road access indicated Grizzlies had already passed through.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Frosted Aspens

Frosted Aspens: I shot this one mainly as a texture image. The fog and low clouds cling to and freeze on grass and branches—sometimes call hoar frost. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Oxbow Pano

Oxbow Pano: Click this image to see it much larger! I had to wait in the parking lot a while to get this photo. I drove back down to the river’s edge and when I returned, hoping to see more of Mt. Moran, the frost had begun to melt on the aspens. A Red Fox has been seen off and on around Oxbow. I saw lots of critter tracks in the area. The river is almost full frozen at the “Bend”. Keep an eye open for River Otters that have been known to show up there. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld (three shot stitched Pano).

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December 8, 2017 – Friday

Bighorns on the Road

Bighorns on the National Elk Refuge: I took this timely shot today before seeing this article in the JH News & Guide: Sheep showing signs of pneumonia. Refuge officials are asking people NOT to let the sheep lick salt and chemicals from their vehicles. It is common to see groups of Bighorns on the road going from vehicle to vehicle. They were trying to get to my truck, but I kept pushing them away. They found another vehicle to attack. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

 

Aging a Ram: If you view a Ram’s horns, you can usually see several distinctive divisions or segments. Similar to the growth rings on a tree, the divisions represent a single year. Several of the Rams on Miller Butte have six segments. There may be one or two with seven segments. Some “broom” the tips of their horns, but since they grow from the base up, the tips never grow back.

Broadside

Broadside: I took this shot on the 5th, but had already posted a lot of images that day. The youngster is probably 3 years old. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 7, 2017 – Thursday

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: This owl was tucked deep into the branches. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Power Station

Power Station: Something different captured in the late evening in Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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December 6, 2017 – Wednesday

If you were to scroll down to the December 1st entry on this page, you will find this paragraph:

“At this time of the year, I usually focus on Moose, Trumpeter Swans, and Bighorn Sheep—but also keep an eye out for chances to photograph Wolves, Foxes, Coyotes, Ermine, Owls, Pine Martens, Badgers, and so forth. There is a chance one of the Grizzlies will cross to and from the Gros Ventre River basin. Elk are being hunted and are generally elusive. Each day, more and more of them show up on the National Elk Refuge.”

My predictions have been spot on so far, though I haven’t personally seen the Grizzlies. I definitely saw Wolf tracks a few days ago, and several people have been seeing a Fox near Oxbow Bend. The Great Gray Owl was visible two days. Hopefully, we’ll see more of them soon. With the very cold overnight temperatures, some of the slow moving streams and pools are freezing, pushing Swans and Waterfowl closer and allowing them to stand on shelves of ice.

 

Morning Outing

Chambers Homestead

Chambers Homestead: Interestingly, I spotted at least 26 Moose today, but didn’t take a single photo of them. Most were too far and a few were just not that interesting. I spent most of the morning driving around along the East Boundary Road and Antelope Flats. Hard to ever say when one of the Grizzlies will come off Blacktail Butte, or maybe a pack of Wolves following a herd of Elk. I spotted a few Coyote and Fox tracks, so I know wildlife is a possibility at almost any time, or any place in the park. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld (three shot stitched Pano).

Moulton Barn and Low Clouds

TA Moulton Barn: I like to occasionally take photos of scenes that most people would never think were taken in Grand Teton National Park. I’ve taken quite a few similar photos over the years, but they seldom look the same. This morning, the low cloud was lifting while part of the barn was in shadows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: This photo falls in line with the other two. This shot looks much different with moody low clouds, long shadows, and the first light of morning. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Setting Moon

Setting Moon: I had to drive quite a ways up the East Boundary Road to get the moon near the Grand. This shot might have been better two days ago, but the clouds covered everything on the West side of the valley. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Oil Stain

Oil Stain: I stopped to take this photo a couple of days ago along the asphalt covered portion of the Moose-Wilson Road. I had already taken a few thousand images of a bull Moose in the pond, but I still like to photograph most anything that catches my eye. Later today, I’ll probably be back in “wildlife mode” at Miller Butte later this afternoon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Wildlife: I have been seeing around 35-40 Pronghorns in the valley. Yesterday, it appeared they were about the cross into the National Elk Refuge. Bison are in the Park, but not venturing into the National Elk Refuge (hunters are there waiting for them). I mentioned seeing 26 Moose this morning, mostly in the fields north of Kelly. A River Otter was spotted on a couple of occasions on the National Elk Refuge. Eagles and Ravens are seen regularly in hunt areas, feasting on elk gut piles. Bighorns are active now on the National Elk Refuge. I get random reports of Mountain Goats in the Snake River Canyon, but I like to wait until there is snow on the ground and rocks.

Afternoon Outing

Ram On Ridge

Ram On Ridge: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram on Hillside

Ram on Hillside: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram Pair On Slope

Ram Pair On Slope: With my zoom lens, I have tight shots of both Bighorns, but I pulled back and took a few “environmental” shots today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns by Rocks

Ram Pair On SlopeNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram with Rocks

Ram with Rocks: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram with Grasses

Ram with Grasses: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 5, 2017 – Tuesday

Wedding Trees

Wedding Trees: I was ready to photograph the moon yesterday, but it was much too cloudy. This morning, the moon was higher in the sky at first light. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Wedding Trees

Wedding Trees: The cloud in the middle of this shot blocked all views of the mountains while on the valley floor. I essentially got above the cloud by going up the Gros Ventre. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Ram on the Rim

Ram on the Rim: This ram was high on Miller butte—a bit out of my range—but I liked the stoic pose enough to snap off a shot. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Approaching Bighorn Ram

Approaching Bighorn Ram: This Ram was coming straight towards me for several shots before turning off to the right. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Lamb on a Rock

Lamb on a Rock: I was about to drive off when I saw this youngster on one of the boulders next to the parking lot. I jumped back out for a quick shot before it jumped off to join its mother. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Rams Bashing

Rams BashingNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Ram Chase

Ram Chase: This chase probably covered two miles before ending at the rocks below. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handhald with VC Off.

Ram Chase

Cliff Stopping Point: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 4, 2017 – Monday

Early Morning Moose

Early Morning Moose: Two of eight bull Moose seen early this morning north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull and Cow Moose

Bull and Cow Moose: Found on the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Bull with Aspen Reflections

Bull with Aspen Reflections: Same bull in one of the ponds along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose with Dripping Water

Bull Moose with Dripping Water: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns

Bighorns: A quick head butt on Miller Butte at the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Chases can happen unexpectedly and last only a few minutes. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 3, 2017 – Sunday

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser: Captured along Flat Creek. I am always watching for these beautiful ducks. Found one today!  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Two Rams

Two Rams: Captured at the base of Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

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December 2, 2017 – Saturday

Alpenglow at Mormon Row

Alpenglow at Mormon Row: Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Morning Light

Morning Light: Wait just a little while and the scene can change drastically.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Bull in Sage

Bull in Sage: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

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December 1, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram

Today is the first day of December, marking a change in accessibility in many areas of Jackson Hole. Check some of the maps below for details.

HunterBe Aware!: The Elk Reduction Program continues until December 15th in a few areas of Grand Teton National Park. If heading into any of the hunt zones, wear some orange!

At this time of the year, I usually focus on Moose, Trumpeter Swans, and Bighorn Sheep—but also keep an eye out for chances to photograph Wolves, Foxes, Coyotes, Ermine, Owls, Pine Martens, Badgers, and so forth. There is a chance one of the Grizzlies will cross to and from the Gros Ventre River basin. Elk are being hunted and are generally elusive. Each day, more and more of them show up on the National Elk Refuge.

Muskrat on Ice

Also of note, sunrise is at 7:30 and most daylight shots are over at 4:30. The sun is low in the sky in December and January, effectively allowing photographers to stay out all day. Alpenglow is best this time of the year for people willing to get up early.

Swans in Flight

November 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP. Remember, the first week or two of December will resemble the last couple of weeks of November. I takes a few days to begin filling the December Journal, so click the link to get a feel of what to expect. Also, check out the Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

December 1st Morning Outing

Moose In Gros Ventre

Moose In Gros Ventre: This morning, I spent a fair amount of my time in the Kelly and Gros Ventre area, watching for Wolves, Bears, Deer, and Moose. The Moose above was #21 I saw this morning, spotted in the Gros Ventre river basin. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Moose In Gros Ventre

Buck Mule Deer In Gros Ventre: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Elk on the Refuge

Elk on the Refuge: By the time I was heading towards town, most of the bull Elk had already bedded down, but I pulled over to document on the December 1st post they are now showing up. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Bighorn Group

Bighorn Group: Captured on the National Elk Refuge. The rut is getting underway with Rams much more interested in the Ewes. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: I kept waiting for this Ram to turn his head more in my direction. This shot shows how some of the rams “broom” the tips of their horns. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

 

Superintendent’s Compendium Amendment – Road Closures and Day-use Access . This GTNP page includes some of the recent area and road closures:
GTNP Superintendent’s Compendium . The Compendium has all the official rules for the park, including closure areas. The information below comes from a section of the Compendium.

Winter Closure Map

Winter Closure Map

From December 15th to April l the following areas are closed to all public entry unless authorized by written permit from the Superintendent (see map below).

a. The Snake River floodplain south along Highway 89 from the confluence of the Buffalo Fork at the Moran bridge to Ditch Creek, west along Ditch Creek to the Snake River, then west along the 4-Lazy-F fence line to Cottonwood Creek and north to the River Road, north along the River Road to the RKO Road and then NE along the Snake River to the Buffalo Fork confluence.

b. The Buffalo Fork River floodplain and the UhI Hill area defined as the following: starting section 21 (T45N, RI 13W) where the park boundary intersects the Buffalo Fork, then south along the park boundary to the intersection with the Elk Ranch Reservoir Road, then westerly along the Elk Ranch Reservoir Road to Highway 26, then north and east along Highway 26 to the park boundary in section 30 (Ti 14W, R45N), then south, east, and northeast along the park boundary to the starting point.

c. The Kelly Hill area (portions of Sections 1 and 2 in T42N, Ri 15W.)

Winter Road Closures

Winter Road Closures

Winter Closure Maps in PDF format:

 

Three Moody Minutes of Changing Light

The Historic Miller House is located on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, WY. I pass by it regularly during the winter months as I drive to see the Bighorn Sheep at the base of Miller Butte. Over the years, I’ve photographed it many times. A couple of days ago, I stopped when I saw interesting light patterns beginning to develop behind the trees and structures. This page contains six of the 80 images, taken over a span of only three minutes.

Signs posted along the roadway state visitors cannot stop their vehicles in the road, but Refuge officials say it is okay as long as no other vehicles are approaching in either direction. I took a series of photos out the window of my parked truck using a telephoto zoom lens at a distance of about 400 yards. I always turn off my vehicle when photographing out the window.

Miller House

This is the first shot taken at 2:54 PM. I would have set up a tripod if conditions were workable. It would help with consistent framing and composition across all of the shots, but there was no way I could have known the light would change enough to get this kind of variety. Furthermore, the closest parking spot was a hundred yard behind me. This event would have been long over by the time I parked and came back. Other than the raven flying through the scene and the threatening distant sky, this is a fairly boring and basic image.

Miller House

2:55 PM: In less than a minute a cloud began to darken the foreground, structures and trees—leaving a thin band of light on the foreground grass.

Miller House

2:56 PM: Foreground darkened even more and structures began to silhouette against the sunlit butte.

Miller House

2:56 PM: Within seconds, the barn on the right lit as some of the distant hillside darkened.

Miller House

2:56 PM: Bingo! The structures lit up while foreground grass and distant hillside went into shadows.

Miller House

2:57 PM: And then the interesting light was gone!

Modified Image

Miller House

If I were to print one of these captures, I would probably take it a step farther. Adding a little contrast in Photoshop can help make the scene even more moody and artistic without going over the top.

The Historic Miller House might not “trip your trigger” but I think it’s a worthy subject and it makes a great subject for this topic. Light changes constantly on days with patchy clouds. It occurs regularly everywhere in the country, not just Jackson Hole! If you scroll up to the top photo, you can see the “every day” shot most people take, but if you are lucky and at least a little patient, the same scene can become much more interesting or compelling. I love to be out when the clouds are sweeping above the valley. The challenge is to find scenes with interesting foreground, middle ground and background while Nature’s magic is happening. You might also enjoy seeing images on this page: Bands of Light

Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, 1944 by Ansel Adams: Check out this page… Ansel says he went to his spot four successive mornings before he nailed it.

The images on this page were captured using a Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens with VC turned ON. The first image was taken in Manual Mode at 1/640th Second, F/7.1, and Auto ISO 200. To take advantage of the VC while shooting over a bean bag, I dropped the shutter speed to 1/320th second at F/8 and Auto ISO varied the ISO from ISO 140 to ISO 200. I adjusted the zoom to roughly 220 MM on the set of images. Other Notes: I typically use a Nikon D850 for landscapes and have the D5 set up for quick “grab and shoot” wildlife opportunities. For these fleeting images, I simply did just that! The wildlife setup works fine for many landscape opportunities.


Most Best of the Tetons readers already know I offer One-On-One tours and training here in Jackson Hole. I am a licensed tour operator in both Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. If you are interested in a private tour with me, check out Teton Photo Excursions. If not sure, check out Client Comments!

Bull Moose: GTNP’s Boys of Fall

A collection of 2017’s Cast of Characters

Early Winter Moose

This is my 12th year of digitally photographing Moose in the Jackson Hole area. I know I am lucky to live in an area where I get to see them on a regular basis. In fact, some of them spend the winter in our neighborhood. Photography is generally good for Moose from mid-August through the end of December when the bulls shed their antlers. This page contains photos of some of the Bulls I’ve photographed in 2017. I am positive these are not all of the bulls, but it shows a fair number and it documents the variations you might see in GTNP.

Washakie

Washakie: This old bull has been frequenting the Gros Ventre for many years. Based on 2006 photos of him, I’d estimate him to be around 16-17 years old. Washakie has cuts in each ear, a scratch on the right side of his muzzle and distinctive brow tines. This post is being made on the 17th of November. The last photo I took of him this year was on September 21st—causing me to worry about him. In most years, he is out in the sage with the other big bulls by mid November.

Fremont

Fremont: The first time I saw this bull in 2017 was on October 10. He was on the move across from the JH Airport, heading towards the Gros Ventre. He’s a beautiful bull with distinctive tines and few cuts or secondary markings. Fremont took residence along the Gros Ventre, where I managed to take thousands of photos of him. He moved north to the Ditch Creek Drainage recently.

Jedediah

Jedediah: This is the largest bull I’ve seen in Grand Teton National Park, though other people report a larger one in the Willow Flats area. He has been hanging around Ditch Creek and the Science School Road over the past few weeks.

Twister

Twister: I’ve seen this bull quite a few times along the Gros Ventre and again near Ditch Creek. His left brow tine is twisted and his paddles are relatively thin.

Names? None of the bulls I saw this year have tags or collars, and as far as I know, none of them have official animal numbers (Like Grizzlies 399 and 610). I usually give them names to help me identify them from year to year. I apply keywords in Lightroom with the names, making it easier to find all of my “Washakie” photos. Obviously, anyone can call them any other name they wish, or no names at all!

Firecracker

Firecracker: I found this bull in mid-August along the Gros Ventre while he was still in velvet. I got photos of him stripping his velvet, and have been able to take photos of him regularly throughout the fall and early winter.

Faux Firecracker

Faux Firecracker: When I first saw this bull, I was sure it was Firecracker, but after studying numerous photos of each, I am sure they are two different bulls. These photos were taken along the Moose-Wilson Road.

Moose Wilson Moose

Moose-Wilson Moose: Another couple of bulls spotted in the pond on the Moose-Wilson Road.

Spatch

Spatch: This little bull seems to always be in the thick of things. One of his antlers resembles a spatula and has an additional spike.

Junior

Junior: Each year, I see several two and three year old bulls. This one is fairly distinctive with a long dewlap. His brow tines have two points on his left side and one spike on the right.

Junior Moose

More Juniors: Some of the small bulls show up for a day or two and then disappear.

Double Deuce

Double Deuce: Most bulls have something distinctive to help identify them. Some have twists in their tines as seen above. Others have thick paddles or nubby tines.

Uni Tines

Uni Tines: This bull’s brow tines are distinctive and a bit unusual. His paddles are thin, while his tines are long.

3 x 2

3 x 2: I only saw this bull along the Gros Ventre a few times. His brow tines resemble Washakie’s brow tines in some years. Notice the lack of dewlap under the bell.

Challenger and Mid-Sized Bull

Challenger and Mid-Sized Bull: The bull on the left showed up one day and challenged Fremont. In eleven years of photographing the area moose, it was the first time I got to see a full-on challenge, though it was short lived. The bull on the right is probably five years old. He should be a beautiful bull in a few years.

SlenderTines

Elk Tines: I added this bull the day after the original post. This is one of the most unique antler patterns I’ve seen.

West Bank Bull

West Bank Bull: As the season progresses, I expect to see more bulls assembling in the sage flats north of Kelly. One year, I counted 24 antlered Moose in the sage, and I am sure some of the others were bulls that had already lost their antlers. The bull seen here was photographed near the Wilson Bridge in August. I went back numerous times in search of him, but they can easily disappear in the developments and golf course on the West Bank. There are quite a few Moose along the Snake River, but access to them is limited.

Willow Flats

Oxbow Bend: Not that many years ago, we could find Moose regularly around Oxbow Bend and Willow Flats, but now only a few use the area. One is reported to be very large, however. I photographed this bull in late September. Some winter in that region, but I’d bet most of them move to the southern portion of the park. Other bulls can be seen on Togwotee Pass.


I counted 20 different bulls on this page as I post it today. I’ll try to add a few more as I can document them.

Photos on this page were captured with either a Nikon D5, D810, or D850. Most were captured with a Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.


Additional Moose Pages


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November 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

“Snow and a new cast of characters appears” 

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

Daily Updates Archives: ~
2018: June: | May:Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2017: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2016: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan: 
2015: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2014: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2013: Dec: | Nov: Oct: | Sept: | Aug:

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Check Out These TWO Popular Pages: If I Had Only One Winter Day in the Tetons: and A Trip to Jackson Hole

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November 30, 2017 – Thursday

Approaching Bighorn Ram

Approaching Bighorn Ram: This is a familiar “look” when a Ram approaches a female, and sometimes even another Ram. I did the Kelly loop this morning where I saw over 20 Moose. Most were too far out for a quality shot. This Ram was photographed at the the base of Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Rams

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

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Check out this post: Flehmen Response or “Lip Curl” in GTNP Moose Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Swans in Flight

Swans in Flight: I spent part of the afternoon at the Boyle’s Hill Conservation Pond. Lots of action! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Swans on Ice

Swans and Ice: This morning, my truck thermometer read 12°F and it barely broke the freezing mark at the warmest part of the day. Still water froze, pushing waterfowl into smaller zones. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Swans in Flight

Swans in Flight: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Today is the end of November. Tomorrow, quite a few areas of Jackson Hole will be closed to human travel.

Superintendent’s Compendium Amendment – Road Closures and Day-use Access . This GTNP page includes some of the recent area and road closures:
GTNP Superintendent’s Compendium . The Compendium has all the official rules for the park, including closure areas. The information below comes from a section of the Compendium.

Winter Closure Map

Winter Closure Map

From December 15th to April l the following areas are closed to all public entry unless authorized by written permit from the Superintendent (see map below).

a. The Snake River floodplain south along Highway 89 from the confluence of the Buffalo Fork at the Moran bridge to Ditch Creek, west along Ditch Creek to the Snake River, then west along the 4-Lazy-F fence line to Cottonwood Creek and north to the River Road, north along the River Road to the RKO Road and then NE along the Snake River to the Buffalo Fork confluence.

b. The Buffalo Fork River floodplain and the UhI Hill area defined as the following: starting section 21 (T45N, RI 13W) where the park boundary intersects the Buffalo Fork, then south along the park boundary to the intersection with the Elk Ranch Reservoir Road, then westerly along the Elk Ranch Reservoir Road to Highway 26, then north and east along Highway 26 to the park boundary in section 30 (Ti 14W, R45N), then south, east, and northeast along the park boundary to the starting point.

c. The Kelly Hill area (portions of Sections 1 and 2 in T42N, Ri 15W.)

 

Winter Road Closures

Winter Road Closures

Winter Closure Maps in PDF format:

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November 29, 2017 – Wednesday

Bull Moose Crossing Sage

Bull Moose Crossing Sage: If you were to scroll through the entire month of November, you might see what I mean when I say November is an underrated month by many photographers and tourists. Instead, it is one of the most productive months to view and photograph wildlife. Yesterday, I counted at least 25 Moose. Today I counted around 18 and had a chance to photograph three bulls fairly close to the road on the east boundary road and another three near the highway. Then throw in the large numbers of Trumpeter Swans, Elk migrating, and Bighorn sheep coming into the rut. Pronghorns are now showing up at the National Elk Refuge. Other people have been seeing Wolves and we got to photograph a Great Gray Owl a couple of days ago. I expect the first couple of weeks of December to be equally good! (Remember, I offer photo tours which help me keep running this site!) Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This bull was near the Jackson Hole Airport. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Highway Crossing

Highway Crossing: And…he crossed the highway. For most purposes, I’d typically shy away from road crossing photos, BUT they can be useful for photo composite projects and for painting resource images. When they are in the sage, it’s difficult to see the legs and lower anatomy. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Pair of Mallards

Pair of Mallards: Photographed at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond on Boyle’s Hill Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to info@tetonimages.com. I have numerous openings in November, December & January. Now’s a great time to book excursions for December. Bighorns should be butting heads and Moose are often visible in the snow covered sage flats. Most bulls will still have antlers at that time.

Teton Photo Excursions

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November 27, 2017 – Tuesday

Lone Tree

Lone Tree: I was out long before sunlight hit the valley floor. I took this photo from Ditch Creek Road (often called the Teton Science School Road). Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Long distance shot taken from Ditch Creek Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Elk on the Run

Elk on the Run: An exhausted herd of Elk were trying to make it to the safety of the National Elk Refuge this morning. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Elk Herd with No Place to Go

Elk Herd with No Place to Go: It took this photo at 460mm from the East Boundary Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Roadside Hunter

Roadside Hunter: This hunter took a legal shot from 10 yards off the road, wounding one of the cows from the herd in the previous photo. It was probably a 50 yard shot. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Frosted Leaves

Frosted Leaves: After witnessing two elk being killed, I decided to try the solitude of the Moose-Wilson Road. I found a Moose calf in a pond, but it moved on by the time I parked and walked back. The morning weather report said it would be 25° colder today than yesterday. Most of the valley was frosty for the first hour. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorns Rams

Bighorn Rams: Captured at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Bighorn Rams and Ewe

Bighorn Rams and Ewe: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

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November 27, 2017 – Monday

Bighorns on the Refuge

Encouraging Sustainable Winter Wildlife Viewing on the National Elk Refuge: Click the link for a printable version of the Refuge’s Winter Wildlife Viewing Guide.

The Rams seem interested in the Ewes right now, but I haven’t seen much serious rut behavior. I would expect the chases in the next week or so. This photo was taken a couple of days ago. Currently, we are getting some drizzle and rain with snow in the forecast for later today and tonight. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: I captured this shot yesterday at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond just West of Jackson. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld.

Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens: You possibly noticed I have been shooting the G1 version of my Tamron 150-600mm lens for the past few days. I had a tour last week and let my client try out my G2 lens. We did the AF Fine Tune adjustments and he began shooing with it. After reviewing his captures, he placed an order for the G2 lens. While in town, I let him continue to use it and I used my G1. I’ll be using my G2 again now, but I didn’t see a lot of drop off using the older one.

399 and other Grizzlies: 399 and her two cubs have been reported by hunters on Blacktail Butte feasting on elk gut piles. Other hunters have reported seeing large Boar Grizzlies in the Gros Ventre River bottom, also taking advantage of the feast during the hunt. Wolves have also been reported in the same areas.

JH NEWS & GUIDE: New fee schedule would sink tourism

Public Comment Period is still open on a couple of proposals for our National Parks. If passed, a commercial tour into GTNP in a “sedan” (6 passengers or less) would add $170 to go through the gate during the “peak 5 month season”. New fee schedule would sink tourism. Click the link to get more information, including links to the two proposals. Public comments ends December 25th. This proposal could put my very modest tour operation out of business, and that business helps me pay to operate this site. The $170 would either need to be added to the cost of a tour, or small operators would have absorb the costs. If prices are too high, people would likely not take the tours.

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November 26, 2017 – Sunday

Jackson Town Square

Antler Arches: The town recently lit the four antler arches and large spruce trees for the 2017 Holiday Season. I went there early this morning and took a few shots before heading into the Park. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Antler Arches

Antler Arches: This was roughly a four second capture. I clicked to start it, waited roughly 3 seconds, then twisted the zoom ring to create the hyperspace trails. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Mt. Moran Reflections

Mt. Moran Reflections: These shots have a cost. Aside from the few dollars of gas, the currency is “sleep”! After leaving the Town Square, I drove to the gate at the top of the hill that blocks vehicle traffic to Schwabacher Landing. I gathered the necessary gear and double timed it to the reflection pools about 1.25 miles down the hill. This morning, most of the Alpenglow was at the north end of the valley. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Mt. Moran Reflections

Mt. Moran Reflections: Normally, I think of getting photos of the Grand when at Schwabacher Landing, but if the color is over Mt. Moran, it’s easy to switch gears! Alpenglow is fairly common during November, December, and January with the morning sun in the south. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Teton Range Reflections

Teton Range Reflections: If things go well, a sunrise yields quite a few different versions of essentially the same view. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Teton Range Reflections

Teton Range Reflections: It looked like the entire range was about to light up, but right after this set of pano images, the sun light faded and things turned murky gray. Actually, I like this shot knowing people will probably see the Grand first, then follow the mountains to Mt. Moran. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Additional Schwabacher Landing Notes: A River Otter swam through the reflection pool, then crossed the rocky remnants of a Beaver dam, and kept on going. There were plenty of Elk and Wolf tracks along the river. Access to the river bottom at Schwabacher Landing ends December 15th.

Ice Patterns

Ice Patterns: How about something different? As I hiked back out of Schwabacher Landing, I stopped to photograph this interesting natural pattern of frozen water. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Swans in Flight

Swans in Flight: Captured at Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond in late afternoon. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld.

Pair of Trumpeters

Pair of Trumpeter Swans: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld.

Landing Swan

Landing Swan: Also at Boyle’s Hill. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld.

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November 25, 2017 – Saturday

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook: Up early and at a good spot for the Alpenglow period. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Moose in Sage

Moose in Sage: Captured north of Kelly. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Resting Bull Moose

Resting Bull Moose: Seen near the Gros Ventre Junction. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Moose in Pond

Moose in Pond: Feeding bull Moose along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Spotted on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Seen near Skake River Overlook. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Scratching GGO

Scratching GGO: Needless to say, today was a good one! We had a great sunrise, followed by a variety of wildlife subjects. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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November 24, 2017 – Friday

Barrow's Golden Eye:

Barrow’s Golden Eye: It was cold, dark, and windy here most of the morning. I did a quick loop to the normal areas and didn’t take photos. Around 35 Pronghorns were gathered in the hay fields west of Kelly. Hunters and rangers were scattered all over the place. I saw a few moose, but were too far away for my preference. I checked Miller Butte, but only saw a few Bighorns on the far West end of the Butte. This Golden Eye was spotted along Flat Creek.

Changing Holiday Seasons: Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror, but the Christmas Holiday season is just now hitting on all cylinders. Merchants and residents are decorating in earnest. Tonight, at 5:30 PM, the town will officially light the Town Square. I noticed the lights will be amber white this year. The lights have been blue/violet some years. The lights usually stay on at night through the end of February or so.

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November 23, 2017 – Thanksgiving!

Turkey Dinner 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner 2017:

Happy Thanksgiving from Best of the Tetons!: Sincere thanks to all readers… and warmest wishes to all the great people I’ve met over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving

I left the house in the dark this morning—hoping for a good sunrise experience. Got it!  The scene was silent and absolutely stunning! This is a five or six shot pano, stitched in Lightoom. Wish you could have been here to experience this sunrise! Click this image to see it much larger. Nikon D500 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Almost Dark

Almost Dark: This is actually the first photo I took this morning. With such low light, the exposure was 25 seconds at F/7.1 and ISO100. You might notice I used the D500 and not the D850 this morning. Actually, that was a mistake made in the darkness. I grabbed the wrong one! It worked out to my favor, I guess, because I don’t have an L-Bracket for the D850 yet and several of the pano sets were vertical captures. Nikon D500 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

SRO Pano

SRO Pano: At this time of the morning, settings are constantly changing, along with constant changes in the color and light quality. This is one of my favorite times of the day when there is snow on the Tetons…they seem to glow. Click the two Panos to see them much larger. Nikon D500 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Bulls on the Move

Bulls on the Move: This isn’t a great photo, but it shows the herds moving from the sagebrush to the river bottom. I shot this over the back of my truck, handheld. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Buck Mountain

Buck Mountain: This peak is south of the Grand peaks. Morning light often changes to amber if only for a short period before turning bright white. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Taken at the National Elk Refuge. There were quite a few ewes and lambs, but only one nice ram when I was there. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ewe and Lamb

Ewe and Lamb: When rams are not present, I usually turn to the ewes and lambs. They can often be entertaining. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Cygnet

Cygnet: If wildlife is too far off the road, I know I can usually get a few shots of ducks, geese and swans. This was taken yesterday at Boyle’s Hill. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 22, 2017 – Wednesday

Gaggle of Geese

Gaggle of Geese: A flock of Geese on the ground is a “gaggle” while a flock in flight is called a “skein” of Geese. I never knew that until today when I was searching the Internet to find out how many geese it takes to make a gaggle. These Canada Geese were along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

In the news:

B&H had XQD cards again: After Lexar left the market, the fast Sony XQD cards have been in short supply or almost impossible to get in 64 or 128 gig sizes. XQD cards work in the new D850, D500, and D4/D5 bodies. I noticed last night that B&H now has supplies of the larger capacity cards again. B&H also shows a new XQD/SD USB3 combo card reader—coming soon.

Lexar cards may have new life:  The company was acquired by a Chinese flash storage company, Longsys in September.

DxO acquires Nik Collection assets from Google: Promises new features in the future.  DxO’s dedicated Nik Collection site

Elk on the Run

Elk on the Run: This small herd of Elk was running for their lives along the fence on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Elk on the Run

Elk on the Run: Hunters in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge are only allowed to “harvest” cows and anterless elk, but these bulls don’t know it! All of them had been running a long time, evident by their tongues hanging out. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Ram's Head

Ram’s Head: I was parked in one of the legal pullouts on the National Elk Refuge when this nice Bighorn walked by. Some rams “broom” their horns as they get long enough to block their vision. Their horns grow from the base up, like human fingernails, so once broomed, the tips never grow back. Like rings on a tree, Bighorn rams can be aged by the yearly growth divisions in their horns. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

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November 21, 2017 – Tuesday

Bull Moose Entering Water

Bull Moose Entering Water:  For the most part, today was a two subject day. I spent much of the morning with a group of Moose along the Moose-Wilson Road, then Bighorns on the National Elk Refuge. I ended up with just over 3,600 photos from the day. Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Cow Moose

Cow MooseNikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose by Water

Bull Moose by WaterNikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Young Bull Moose

Young Bull Moose: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Calf on the Move

Calf on the Move: This is a young bull, now showing small antler nubs. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose in Pond

Bull Moose in Pond: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns Bashing

Bighorns Bashing: Yesterday, I mentioned the Rams were assembling, but weren’t bashing heads. Today, a group of them began to establish dominance. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns Bashing

Bighorns Bashing: These were shot at 1/1600th second, F/8 with Auto ISO. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Gathering of Rams

Gathering of Rams: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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November 20, 2017 – Monday

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Captured near the Kelly Warm Springs. Around 200 Bison are hanging around in the area. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram with Falling Snow

Bighorn Ram with Falling Snow: Snow was in the forecast for most of the day, but didn’t actually roll in until late in the day. The flakes give a different look to the normal scene. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Ram Heads

Ram Heads: At one time, there were 14 Rams bedded down near the road on the National Elk Refuge. Around 35 ewes and lambs headed up Miller Butte. Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Rams

Rams: After a bit of a wait, the group stood up and did a little posing. Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Rams

Rams: I didn’t see any of the Rams bashing today.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens,Handheld.

Mountain Goats: I’ve received a few reports of Mountain Goats showing up near the mouth of the canyon near Alpine Junction. Keep and eye out for them!

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November 19, 2017 -Sunday

Wedding Trees

Wedding Trees: First light on the Teton Range. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Morning Range

Morning Range: The low cloud bank blocked views of the Teton Range until mid-day but the mountains are sometimes more visible from the east side of the valley. This is a three shot stitched pano. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose in Winter Sage: Taken in the sage flats north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Sparring Bulls

Sparring Bulls: Well…there’s a bit of a mismatch, but the bulls seem to willing to spar. Nikon D5 and Nikon 300mm FL Lens, Handheld with VR On.

Teton Range in Mid-Morning

Teton Range at Mid-Morning: Taken near Snake River Overlook. Nikon D500 and Tamron 400mm Lens.

Red Fox

Red Fox: Seen near Oxbow Bend just before noon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Frozen Oxbow Bend

Frozen Oxbow Bend: This could still be a nice sunrise spot if there is early colorful Alpenglow light. I was there at noon with “unromantic” light. Nikon D500 and Tamron 400mm Lens.

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe: This ewe was headed downhill along Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. More are showing up day by day…possibly 100 there now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Bighorns have black tongues, as seen on this Ram. I haven’t seen, nor heard of much head bashing, but it could happen soon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Check out this post about the Bighorns:  Bighorns of Miller Butte

Rams

Rams: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 18, 2017 – Saturday

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: Alpenglow across the Teton Range. The road is still open to the Chapel, but they usually plow the entrance in after the first few snowfalls. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: Needless to say, I was the first person there today. I had fresh snow, low clouds, and nice morning light! Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Ermine

Ermine: I found this little critter along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This bull was one of four bulls moving across the snow covered sagebrush near the Science School Road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

SlenderTines

New Feature Post: Bull Moose: GTNP’s Boys of Fall This new page shows over 20 of the area Bull Moose. I just added this new bull to the page.

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November 17, 2017 – Friday

Winter Barn

Winter Barn: The weather report called for partly cloudy skies, but it was very cloudy! I saw roughly 20 moose, but none of them were close enough to photograph on my quick morning trip. Bison were on the road near Kelly, but it was way too dark to try to photograph them. I drove down Mormon Row and stopped to photograph this winter scene. More snow is on the way. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Wagon Wheels

Wagon Wheels: Taken at the Moulton Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Boys of Fall

Boys of Fall: I came home early today to try to finish a new Feature Post about the different bull Moose I photographed through the fall and early winter. I a fairly certain you will enjoy it, so check back! If you are not already a subscriber at Best of the Tetons, just enter your email address and hit the Subscribe Now button.

Bighorn Lamb

Bighorn Lamb: One of the little lambs along Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 16, 2017 – Thursday

Misty Elk

Migrating Elk: This group of bull Elk were in the sagebrush south of the JH Airport, apparently trying to make their way to the safety of the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Migrating Elk

Migrating Elk: I took a few photos of the group, then drove around a while and checked on them again on my way home. They were bedded down in the sage. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

As you can see in the photos above, Jackson Hole is getting rain and snow. I’d bet it is snowing in the northern end of the Park.

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November 15, 2017 – Wednesday

Nikon D850 Notes: Out of the box, the D850 shoots at 7 FPS at full 45.7 megapixels. Not bad! After adding a MB-D18 battery pack, and using EN-EL 18b/a Lithium-ion batteries, the frame rate improves to 9 FPS. This option was particularly attractive to me knowing I have two chargers for my four En-El 18 batteries. (One charger and two batteries were part of my Nikon D4 system). To use the grip and larger batteries, you also need a BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover. A Nikon D5 can shoot at 12 FPS, but 9 FPS is plenty respectable. I tried my old Nikon D300 L-Bracket, but it doesn’t fit. I’ll have to use a generic Arca-Swiss base plate for a while. The L-Brackets are not yet available from RRS. B&H lists them for $195.00—coming soon.

Springs Creeks

Springs Creeks Pano: You’ll probably want to click on this image to see it much larger! It was stitched using three Nikon D850 captures near Blacktail Ponds Overlook. Note: The river bottom will close on December 15th. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Springs Creeks

Springs Creeks: One of the many small spring creeks along the Snake River. I captured this one bracketed with two stops difference in each of the three images, then merged them to a DNG in Lightroom before processing. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Two Bucks

Two Bucks: These two buck Mule Deer sized each other up before the larger one charged the smaller one. Notice the down turned ears on the larger buck. These two were near the Snake River Bridge at Moose Junction. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Captured in the afternoon from the observation platform on Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck: During breeding season, the beak on the male Ruddy Ducks is powder blue. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 14, 2017 – Tuesday

Ram

As a licensed tour operator on the National Elk Refuge, I regularly receive literature and documentation about the Refuge. Part of our mandate is to help educate visitors about the wildlife and the programs. I received these two important links today that might help you enjoy the area more—and possibly keep from getting a citation. National Elk Refuge: Winter Wildlife Viewing and National Elk Refuge: Bighorn Sheep Viewing

Pneumonia outbreaks have been hard on Bighorn populations. The disease causes them to cough and wheeze, seen occasionally on the National Elk Refuge. The Refuge discourages letting the Bighorns lick the salt and chemicals from vehicles—comparing it to letting someone with a cold lick a sucker and then offering it to the next person to lick the same sucker.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: This critter spends all winter in my back yard, taking advantage of the steady supply of seeds and nuts. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: About half a dozen Magpies frequent my house for the suet and seeds. The blue in its feathers show up best on overcast days. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Log Cabin

Log Cabin: Late in the afternoon, I made a trip out to the National Elk Refuge. Normally, I pass this little cabin by, but today, the light was hitting it just right, along with filtered light on the distant hills. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Bighorns: On my way out, I didn’t see any Bighorns, but on my way back, I saw at least 40 bighorns coming off Crystal Butte and onto the Refuge.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: I drove out the road on the National Elk Refuge to Flat Creek where I took this shot of Sheep Mountain. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 13, 2017 – Monday

The Morning Peaks

The Morning Peaks: The weather report didn’t indicate too many morning clouds, so I wasn’t in a hurry to be out. They were actually pretty nice! Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Prairie Homestead

Prairie Homestead: A shot taken from Antelope Flats Road of the Murphy Barn and homestead. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: At this time of the year, the early morning sun is directly behind my back on both of the Moulton Barns. I had to remove a little of the shadow of my head in this shot. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Bull Moose in Sage

Bull Moose in Sage: This bull was moving across the sage, but stopped to pose for a few seconds. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Buck Mile Deer

Buck Mile Deer: I spotted this nice buck in the Moose Visitor’s Center area. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Flying Trumpeter Swans

Flying Trumpeter Swans: Taken at the observation platform on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Landing Trumpeters

Landing Trumpeters: Two adults and one trailing Cygnet. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Stretching Swan

Stretching Swan: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Bird Feeders

Bird Feeders: I spent part of the day working on my feeders. Raccoons come to the back yard during the night, eating the seeds they can get to. Hopefully, this setup will keep them from climbing the post to get to the food. The yellow post is a painter’s pole, connected to an aluminum cross bracket via an adapter I bought at B&H Photo & Video. You might also enjoy these posts about my setup. Back Yard Birding in Jackson Hole: & Attracting and Photographing Wintering Back Yard Birds:

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November 12, 2017 – Sunday

Morning Clouds at Mormon Row

Morning Clouds at Mormon Row: The Grand was just beginning to show through the low morning clouds at the John Moulton Barn. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Hunters and Park Rangers were thick this morning, but the Moose and Bison were well off the roads. Clouds and light was interesting this morning, so I clicked off a few shots. I keep watching for Badgers at both homesteads after seeing fresh diggings. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Dripping Moose

Dripping Moose: The same moose was in the same pond on the Moose-Wilson Road this morning., It was much colder and there was a breeze…my toes are just about thawed! Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Dripping Moose

Feeding Moose: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Barrow's Golden-eye

Barrow’s Golden-eye: Captured along Flat Creek on the north end of town. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: These Jays usually prefer conifer forests, but there is plenty of cover in my neighborhood. I had a Steller’s Jay in the back yard several years ago, but at the time, it was molting and I didn’t get great shots. Hopefully, this one will hang around all winter. The Red-breasted and White Nuthatches were in the yard, too. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Stellers Jay

Steller’s Jay: Late afternoon shot. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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November 11, 2017 – Veteran’s Day

Feeding Bull Moose

Feeding Bull Moose: Another great November morning in Grand Teton National Park! I got to spend over an hour photographing this bull Moose feeding in one of the ponds along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Feeding Bull Moose

Feeding Bull Moose: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Feeding Bull Moose

Feeding Bull Moose: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Besides the Bull Moose, there were hundreds of Bohemian Waxwings polishing off the remaining berries along the Moose-Wilson Road. On the way home, I did a quick run out to the National Elk Refuge. I didn’t see a single Bighorn today.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: Captured in my back yard. A Stellar’s Jay was in the yard earlier. That prompted me to grab the camera and tripod. I didn’t see the Stellar’s Jay again, but was in the right place to get a few photos of the woodpecker. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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November 10, 2017 – Friday

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Showing off his new antler jewelry. Captured along the East Boundary Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Sparring Bull Moose

Sparring Bull Moose: Morning exercise. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Chambers Homestead

Chambers Homestead: Taken along Mormon Row. I liked the low clouds and beautiful blue sky. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: The Tetons were covered with clouds this morning, but the sky in the north was spectacular. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Murphy Homestead

Murphy Homestead: Remnant corrals help balance this kind of landscape. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

The Window

The Window: At the John Moulton Homestead on Mormon Row. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Afternoon Light

Afternoon Light: I took this photo at 3:58 pm from the Gros Ventre Road looking East. By 4:30, plan on much of the valley being in shadow of the Tetons. Speaking of time, I notice I forgot to set the clocks back in my three bodies after Daylight Savings Time. Unlike our computers and phones, we must do that manually! Nikon D850 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 9, 2017 – Thursday

Teton Range

Teton Range: Taken from an overlook about half way up Shadow Mountain. You would need a 4-Wheel Drive to get up there. Nikon D850 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Moose with Mt. Moran

Moose with Mt. Moran: Taken on the sage flats with the Teton Range as a backdrop. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Moose in Sage

Moose in Sage: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens,Tripod with VC Off.

Barrows Golden Eyes

Barrows Golden Eyes: Taken along Flat Creek. These were a little out of my range, but I liked seeing three males together. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Trumpeter Swan Take Off

Trumpeter Swan Take Off: Also captured along Flat Creek. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Rams

Rams: This morning, I counted 7 nice looking Bull Elk settling in for the Winter on the National Elk Refuge. This afternoon, there were at least eight rams gathered on the south side of Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. It seems early, but I guess the high mountain snow pack is pushing them down well before Thanksgiving this year. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Back Yard: This afternoon, I walked onto the deck and saw a Northern Flicker feeding on suet, then noticed a White-breasted Nuthatch working its way down a tree trunk. As I was putting out some additional sunflower seeds, I saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a House Finch, and lots of Chickadees. A Downey Woodpecker has been coming around regularly and I suspect there are a few Hair Woodpeckers in the area. Eurasian Doves, Black-billed Magpies, and Clark’s Nutcrackers are regulars, too.

399: I’ve received several reports of Grizzly Sow 399 and her two cubs in the southern portion of the Park. Better yet, reports suggest she has finally lost the collar! Elk are now moving around and you’ll occasionally hear distant gun shots. 399 and her cubs will be looking for gut piles and kills.

Rams

Rams: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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November 8, 2017 – Wednesday

Bull Moose in Winter Sage

Bull Moose in Winter Sage: One of several bulls in the sage this morning. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: The morning bath and stretch on Flat Creek. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Ram

Ram: Captured at Miller Butte this afternoon. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Captured along Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Swans On Ice

Swans On Ice: Temperatures dropped to 14°F this morning, freezing some of the calmer waters. This group was about 150 yards out. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 7, 2017 – Tuesday

Low Morning Clouds

Low Morning Clouds: Three images stitched in Lightroom for a jumbo pano. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

The Hunt: With the Elk Reduction Program ongoing in GTNP, I dug out my orange. I threw a bright orange stocking cap on my dash and the vest in the back seat. I am now getting waves from the passing hunters. Scroll down to the November 2nd entries to view the map showing the hunting areas inside the park.

Red Fox

Red Fox: Captured on the Moose-Wilson Road. You might notice that some of the specs suggest that I was shooting “handheld”. That might be a bit misleading if you know I am often shooting out the window and over a bean bag or foam insulation.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Red Fox

Red Fox: My truck thermometer read 16° F for much of the early morning. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Swans

Swans: Almost all of the white specks you see in this record shot are Trumpeter Swans. I counted over 40, and I am sure there were a lot I couldn’t see. In November, Flat Creek is a good spot to get shots of them flying in, taking off, and squabbling. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Bison and Tetons

Bison and Tetons: Taken along Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D5000 and Tamron 118-400mm Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Take-Off

Take-Off: In the afternoon, I counted around 100 Trumpeter Swans along Flat Creek on the North end of town.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

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November 6, 2017 – Monday

Common Merganser

Common Merganser: Female captured along Flat Creek with overcast skies and occasional light snow. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Unknown Duck

Female Ruddy Ducks: I found three of these little divers on Flat Creek this morning. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose?: Something doesn’t look quite right on this Goose. Check the photo below…  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose: This looks more like the Canada Geese I am used to seeing around here. I photographed both at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Richard Pontius suggested I search for Giant Canada Goose: I found this page with more info: Giant Canada Goose, Branta canadensis maxima.

Head color and pattern.

  • B. c. maxima typically shows more exposed white on the cheeks than other forms. The white patch in B. c. maxima extends higher up the cheeks and toward the crown than in other subspecies and in contrast to B. c. moffitti, this patch contacts the base of the bill.
  • Most B. c. maxima individuals have a white band on the forehead between the black crown and bill. It should be pointed out that B. c. moffitti and other Canada Goose subspecies as well as some Cackling Geese can have this band which, therefore, is in and by itself not diagnostic.
  • B. c. maxima has a proportionally larger and more massive bill than B. c. moffitti.

Bighorn Ewes and Lambs

Bighorns: Local photographer and friend, Bianca Thomas, sent me a note saying she photographed two Rams on Miller Butte yesterday. I went out three times today, finding this group of seven in the afternoon. Steve Matheis told me he saw an Ermine along the Moose-Wilson Road.

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November 5, 2017 – Sunday

Setting Moon

Setting Moon: I pulled over along the highway to capture this shot of the moon before the clouds covered it for the morning. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Bands of Light

First Light: Taken along the East Boundary Road as the first light skipped across the valley floor. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Four Bulls

Four Bulls: Bulls are gathering now and seem less interested in the cows. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Sparring Bulls

Sparring Bulls: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull At Water

Bull At Water: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Trumpeter Swans

Overhead Swans: Trumpeters are beginning to move back into the valley. Around 150 winter in Jackson Hole. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Resting Bull

Resting Bull: Taken near the East Boundary Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Some of the Trumpeters will be showing up at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond soon. This one has a leucistic coloration known as the Mearl or Silver Swan. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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November 4, 2017 – Saturday

Spring Gulch Bridge

Spring Gulch Bridge: Heavy spring runoff washed out the Gros Ventre River bridge on Spring Gulch Road. I snapped this reference shot today to show the progress. The south section is completely gone. Nikon D850 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek: By about noon, the rain and drizzle began to change to snow. After checking Flat Creek for Trumpeter Swans, I did a quick run up Spring Gulch Road. Signs along the highway alert travelers of the bridge closure, so there isn’t a lot of traffic on the road. There have been two rough sections of gravel road for years, but to my surprise, the southern section has been recently hard surfaced. Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Lucas Barn

Lucas Barn: Several of the old homesteads along Spring Gulch Road have been sold and are now being sliced up by developers. I photographed this from the roadway as the snow thickened. I suspect there will be a time in the not too distant future that chances for some of these photos will be impossible to get. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.