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Best of the Tetons

April 2016 Daily Journal for GTNP & JH

“A dynamic month of changes and transitions—loaded with wildlife opportunities!” 

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

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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April 30, 2016 : End of the Month!

Morning Fog

Morning Fog: This scene caught my eye from the highway as I was heading north this morning. I pulled over and took the shot from the National Fish Hatchery. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Cows

Elk Cows: Taken along the East Boundary Road, just north of the Kelly Warm Springs. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Group

Elk Group: Most of the Elk are off the National Elk Refuge now, with scattered small herds still in the southern end of GTNP. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Hunter Barn

Hunter Barn: This barn and old ranch house is at the far east end of Antelope Flats Road. The area is open to tourists and photographers, however it takes a bit of a hike to get to them. I liked the strata effect behind the barns, so I pulled over and took this from the East Boundary Road. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Crossing

Elk Crossing: The TA Moulton Barn can be seen in the distance as this cow Elk passed by me on Antelope Flats Road. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Moulton Barn and Clearing Clouds

Moulton Barn and Clearing Clouds: A band of clouds, like this one, dancing below the Grand is not really that common. Seems like they are either covering the Grand, behind it, or hovering lower. The tip of the Grand was only visible like this for maybe 10 minutes and then covered back up. I was the only one there! D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Teton Photo Excursions. Now’s a great time to book a six to eight hour One-On-One Photography Excursion with me for May, June and July!  Learn how to better use your DSLR camera and find some of the better locations in the Park. Click the link for more details and photos! I hope to still be offering tours next year, so check out this full page of opportunities most people never see in April! It’s a sneaky, sleeper month!

Northern Flicker Male

Northern Flicker Male: As I end the month, I am optimistic the Northern Flicker pair will raise a family of young in my back yard this year. They are still mating in nearby trees on a regular basis and spend a lot of time in the nest cavity. I can occasionally hear the male pecking away on the inside of the nest, but the heavy nest building seems to be over. I am staying out of the back yard as much as possible at the moment. This shot was triggered from inside on my Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500 at 380mm, 1/5000th second, F/5.6, and Auto ISO 2000. EV was -1/3.

Tomorrow, the Teton Park Road reopens, along with the middle section of Moose-Wilson Road. I’ll be starting a brand new May Daily Journal, so sign up if you want to get notifications by email!

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April 29, 2016 :

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk: I went out this morning primarily looking for baby Bison. None of the herds I could find were close, and I know better than to hike out to them. They are dangerous and unpredictable in general, but a mother with newborns can be even more aggressive than normal. I found this Hawk sitting in an Aspen tree in front of the Peach House on Mormon Row.  D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: Boy are these birds bright right now! This one was hunting for insects along Mormon Row Road. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: Same bird…down in the fresh snow hunting for insects. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Most of my “mission” on Best of the Tetons is to act as reader’s “boots on the ground”. I try to let people know what is going on in the park and the status of the animals and landscapes. This is a good example. It’s not a shot many people would hang on their wall, but it shows the status of the shedding fur. Some people won’t photograph a shedding mammal, but I like to have some shots of about every stage in my library of images. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 28, 2016 :

JH News & Guide Story: Roadside griz viewing picks up in Teton park.  The story indicates people are seeing 6 or 7 different grizzlies, with 399 still absent from the scene. Tom Mangelsen is not happy about most of the grizzlies being collared.

Bison: Red Dogs

Bison~ Red Dogs!: This isn’t much of a shot of bison, but I wanted to document the appearance of the first babies for this year. It is difficult to say if they were born in the last 24 hours, or earlier, but these two were still a bit wobbly. I hadn’t heard of anyone seeing them before today. Bison begin their rut in August—earlier than any of the other large game animals—so it should be of no surprise they are one of the first animals in the region to produce newborns. I usually begin looking for them about 2 weeks after the opening day of Yellowstone. Over the next few weeks, I hope to get better and more interesting images of them! D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Wind Turbine

Wind Turbine: The Park Service just removed the barricades on the north end of Mormon Row. Jackson Peak can be seen behind the old wind turbine at the homestead south of Ditch Creek. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Chambers Sheds

Chambers Homestead Sheds: Taken along Mormon Row Road. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Horse Shoes

Horse Shoes: These were hanging on one of the barns at the Chambers Homestead. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Gears and Chains

Gears and Chains: There are several pieces of old farm equipment near the fences at the Chambers Homestead. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Chisler

Chisler: Uinta Ground Squirrels are making use of some of the new foot bridges the Park Service added along Mormon Row last summer. A Red-tailed Hawk pair routinely patrols the area for the little critters. I’ve also been to Mormon Row late at night and found a Great Horned Owl sitting on the TA Moulton Barn.  D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Teton Photo Excursions. Now’s a great time to book a six to eight hour One-On-One Photography Excursion with me for April, May and the summer months! Learn how to better use your DSLR camera and find some of the better locations in the Park. Click the link for more details and photos!

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April 27, 2016 :

Elk and Buck Mountain

Elk and Buck Mountain: I was driving north at 5:30 am. The thermometer read out 24°F, but there wasn’t much wind today. Clouds covered the peak of the Grand, so I watched for other opportunities. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Crossing Kelly Warm Springs Outlet:

Elk Crossing Kelly Warm Springs Outlet: I saw a few thousand elk this morning, many of which were relatively close to the town of Kelly and the Warm Springs. Other small herds were sprinkled across the valley floor before first light. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Kelly Warm Springs

Kelly Warm Springs: This shot might have been more captivating if I could have included a herd of elk, but I like the way the light was just glancing off the two hills behind the steam. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark: It always “sounds like Spring” when you hear the familiar song of a Meadowlark. I would have preferred to capture this one while singing, but it never did while still on the top of the sagebrush. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Young Bison

Young Bison: Besides the large herds of elk, I also found a couple of mid-sized herds of Bison in the Kelly area. I waited until first light, and then captured a few of them. Along the Gros Ventre Road, I saw two White-tailed Deer, lots of Elk, a few Mule Deer, and three Moose. I also saw a couple of American Kestrels, several Hawks, and another Dusky Grouse. A Porcupine is still chewing away on a Black Hawthorn bush in the S curves near the Shane Cabin, but I have yet to find him. It must be feeding only at night. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: Tour buses are still taking people out to the Leks north of the John Moulton Barn. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Schwabacher Landing: I didn’t go that far north today, but I received a text from Steve Mattheis letting me know the gate is open to Schwabacher Landing now.

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April 26, 2016 :

Flicker Tossing Pulp

Flicker Tossing Pulp: The male Northern Flicker was in the new nest for a short period of time today. I’ve been staying out of the back yard lately, knowing the female is not as forgiving of sounds and movement. I saw them mating again today, and both of them are still digging out the nest and tossing the debris. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Afternoon Hike: Instead of making my normal rounds at Kelly and Antelope Flats Road, I decided to hike a couple of miles of the Snake River looking for Great Gray or Great Horned Owls. It was windy and overcast, so it felt like a good day to do it. I didn’t see any owls, however. I’ve been seeing a few American Kestrals lately, but I don’t have any shots of them. I also checked my Lightroom catalog to see when I might expect to see my first few Bullock’s Orioles. The earliest I’ve documented them is May 6th, and most years they start showing up around May 12-15th.

Great-Snowy Egret

Great-Snowy Egret: I also drove out to Kelly to see if I could find any Sandhill Cranes dancing around. As I drove over Fish Creek, I saw this white Egret. I drove to the back side of the Bagel joint and carefully approached the stream. I snapped off a few dozen images, then started noticing a third leg. It was as large as a Great Egret, but they have yellow beaks. Snowy Egrets should be smaller, with black beaks. Turns out it is a plastic statue! D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 25, 2016 :

Old Bison Bull

Old Bison Bull: I made a quick run out to Kelly and Antelope Flats in the late afternoon. Even though I did’t see them, I heard of a few Pronghorns back in the valley near the Mormon Row barns. I also heard of a Grizzly in the area. Bison herds are moving north right now, crossing Antelope Flats road in numbers while I was there.  D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk

Elk are also on the move, attempting to cross Antelope Flats Road in the late afternoon. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Trio

Elk Trio: D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: Herons seem to be quite skittish in GTNP. This one was hunting and didn’t seem to worried about me shooting from the window of my vehicle. Watch for them along the Moose-Wilson Road and Schwabacher Landing. Nikon D810 and Tamron 1500-600mm lens.

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April 24, 2016 : Sunday in the Park

 Grizzly 610 and Cubs

Grizzly 610 and Cubs: I spent the morning near Oxbow Bend. 610 and her cubs were several hundred yards out in a meadow and stayed there all morning. This won’t be a “wall hanger” image, but it documents them being out and about. Nikon D810 and Tamron 1500-600mm lens.

Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker: This nice looking bird was in the neighborhood. I had my camera set up for the bears and he flew into a tree just over my head. Nikon D810 and Tamron 1500-600mm lens.

Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker: You can see the holes this bird has already punched into the bark of a Lodgepole Pine tree. Nikon D810 and Tamron 1500-600mm lens.

Bison

Bison: I ran into a couple of herds of Bison near the road just east of the JH Airport. I shot these couple of tight shots from the window of my vehicle. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bison

Bison: Lots of texture and detail in the fur of an adult Bison bull! A few Bison have migrated to Triangle X, Cunningham Cabin, and Elk Flats. D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Other Reports and Comments: The road to Schwabacher Landing is still closed at the highway entrance. Cattleman’s Bridge and Pilgrim Creek Road are still closed and barricaded. The Forest Service Road at the north end of Pacific Creek Roads has been closed to both vehicle and human entry. The gravel pit road (just south of Spread Creek) is open for about 2 miles before you hit impassable snow banks. The Convenience Store at Colter Bay is now open for the season.

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April 23, 2016 :

Flicker Approach Sequence

Flicker Approach Sequence: The Northern Flicker pair were still busy working on their nest. It was overcast, with drizzle off and on in the middle of the day. This sequence was taken at 1/5000th of a second, F/5.6 at 400mm with a D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

The Approach

The Approach: This is the third image from the sequence above. I think the grain is tolerable at ISO 4000 on this image. I’ve been going back and forth between the Flickers and my quarterly bookkeeping. The Flickers are much more fun! Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Nikon D5 and 14 FPS: On my flight to Sanibel, I read over much of the D5 Users Manual. It mentioned the camera could take “up to 14 FPS”, that that meant no focusing and the mirror had to be up. At the time, I didn’t think I’d have much use for the feature. The Flicker shots proved me wrong. Better yet, I’ve been able to change the Pv button near the top/front of the D5 to go immediately into 14 FPS. Once the Pv button is changed, all I have to do is focus on a subject, press the Pv button and then fire away! So, next time I am anticipating a Trumpeter Swan flapping its wings, I can go into that mode and capture a lot more images than ever before. There are always premium positions when the wings are fully stretched in either direction. I anticipate using it if a Fox or Coyote is ready to jump when perpendicular to me. How about a runner coming out of the starting blocks, or the serve of a tennis player….maybe the swing of a batter! I like it!

Bears?  The local photographers don’t like me giving too many details about Grizzly and Black Bear sightings on this blog. Still, sightings get posted to Facebook and other social media sites daily—and sometimes while it is happening! So, I’ll just say I know a few people are seeing them in the normal zones. If you are in the Park, you’ll find out specifics by just being in the area. To be honest, I like getting a few shots of them now and then, but I never felt the occasional “chance” to see a bear is worth all the time it takes to sit in parking lots and along the roadways. The Rangers seem to be more relaxed about the viewing distances early in the year. The 100 yard rule is still in place, however. There are so many other opportunities that pull me into other parts of the park.

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AP Image

Image Link: The Associated Press

 

JH News & Guide: “Great American Eclipse to draw tourists to Cowboy State”. Do you have your motel booked for this August 17, 2017 event? “It’s the first total solar eclipse to be seen from the mainland U.S. in almost four decades” …and Jackson Hole is in the path for optimum viewing.

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April 22, 2016 :

 Early Spring on Mormon Row

Mormon Row Feature Posts:

I go to the old homesteads along Mormon Row regularly. We now have access to the barns and homesteads via Antelope Flats Road, but as of today, Mormon Row Road is still barricaded. Last summer, the Park Service did extensive improvements and maintenance, including replacing the roofs on the two Moulton barns, adding a restroom, a bus turn around, more and better parking, a couple of foot bridges, and a path between the two areas. Crews also removed some of the old wood that might have had exposed nails, but it is still a good idea to walk carefully around the zones. The list below might help you in your photography efforts on your next trip here! The photo above was taken this morning with a Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

April 21, 2011

Is Winter Over? This photo was taken on April 21st in 2011. It could happen again!

Flicker Update: The Northern Flickers were very active building a new nesting cavity over the past few days. It appears the nest building is over now. The female is sitting in the nest with about 3/4″ of her beak protruding from the opening. This is a totally new experience for me…also exciting! You can read more about Northern Flickers on Audubon’s site.  The page says the female lays 5-8 eggs and take roughly 11-16 days to hatch. Chicks leave the nest roughly four weeks after hatching. Males help with incubating the eggs.

Male Northern Flicker

Male Northern Flicker: Apparently, the male is still interested in enlarging the nest cavity. I saw him fly in a few times today. On the first day, I was zoomed in fairly tight on the flight area and clipped off some of the wings. Afterwards, I pulled back on the zoom, allowing me more elbow room, but it usually meant cropping the image. After getting quite a few nice ones yesterday, I upped the challenge of trying to get that perfectly timed shot as it reaches to grasp the tree. In this sequence, I clipped the tips of the wing since he came in a bit higher than normal. The shot I want is a split second later when it leans back and reaches out. The wings would have fit in the frame, too. At 14 FPS, I still only get three shots with a bird in flight in the frame. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 21, 2016 :

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: I spotted these two Swans in the pond north of Visitor’s Center as I was heading north out of town. The steam coming off the water made me to turn around.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Morning Take Off

Morning Take Off: There are a couple of pairs of nesting Swans along Flat Creek, but these two were just milling around.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mt. Moran and Passing Elk

Mt. Moran and Passing Elk: Elk, deer, moose, and bison are now scattered all over the valley floor.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird: When I stopped to photograph the Swans in the morning steam, I heard a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. I returned to the area on my way home and found a couple of dozen of them. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird: Technically speaking, the area just to the north and behind the multi-agency Visitors Center is called Flat Creek Wetlands. I should add it to the Alternative Places to Visit in JH page. A few people mill around the area, but far fewer than you’d expect. They seem to always be in a hurry to get into the actual park.   Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Wren

Marsh Wren: Today, I saw a bunch of Canada Geese, Trumpeter Swans, Mergansers, Cinnamon Teal, Coots, Wrens, Warblers, and at least two species of Blackbirds at the Flat Creek Wetlands.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: The male Flicker is still digging out the cavity in the tree trunk.  1/5000th Second, F/5.6, Auto ISO 1260, Manual Focus, 14 FPS, Nikon D5, Nikon 200-500mm lens trigger by Vello RFN-4s

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April 20, 2016 :

A Cloudy Morning in Jackson Hole

Dusky Grouse

Dusky Grouse: Last night, I checked the weather forecast for this morning. It read “Mostly Clear” for the sunrise hours, so I set my alarm for 4:45am. Wrong! It was very cloudy!  Yesterday, Adam Brubaker mentioned seeing Short-eared Owls around Ditch Creek Road and near the Airport. I drove up and down the East Boundary Road and half way up Ditch Creek Road and finally spotted two mid-sized raptors cruising the sagebrush. Their heads looked too rounded to be Northern Harriers, but they were a ways out and it was still relatively dark. When I saw them (whatever they were), I pulled to the side of the road to see if I could get a better look. This Dusky Grouse appeared out of the sagebrush. It approached the van and then me, looking like it was wanting to battle “something” this morning—even if the other contestant wasn’t another Dusky Grouse. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Sparring Bison

Sparring Bison: These two young bison were sparring just north of Gros Ventre Road.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bison Cow Portrait

Bison Cow Portrait: With low light conditions, I had my Nikon D5 set to 1/320th second, F/6.3 using a Nikon 200-500mm lens, and the camera set to Auto ISO. The resulting ISO for this image was 12,800. I shot this one from the window as the herd passed by me. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Miss Rocky Yawning

Miss Rocky Yawning: Taken in the back yard before lunchtime. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Flicker Approach

Flicker Approach:  My first Flicker “action shot” of the day. I hope to improve on this capture, but it is a good starting point. At 1/1250th of a second, I was able to freeze the tail feathers. It looks like most of the rest of the fixes involve depth of field issues (edit: but I was wrong!). Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Second Approach:

Second Approach: I have my focus set just to the front of the bottom of the cavity. On this approach, she landed just to the back of the hole. On the next tries, I will pull back on the zoom to give me a little more elbow room and that should also help some with the dept of field. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Flicker Pecking

Flicker Pecking: 1/25th second capture. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mid-day Approach

Mid-day Approach: I had another similar shot taken at 1/1600th second, but it still looked like I was getting motion blur. This one was taken at 1/2500th second at F/9 and ISO 1800. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Flickers at Nest

Flickers at Nest: Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Flicker Sequence

Flicker Sequence: (Click the image to see it much larger) By late afternoon, I began to dial in the action shots. By this time, I had advanced the shutter speed to 1/4000th second. The female seems to like to swoop in from the bottom while the male showed a pattern of coming in a bit higher. I switched from Portrait mode to Landscape mode. Lastly, I took advantage of a new feature in a D5 allowing me to capture images at 14 frames per second. These extra FPS helped fill in some of the “gaps” in a sequence. I checked, and this sequence actually had 14 frames within the one second period of time. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Final Approach

Final Approach: (Click the image to see it much larger)  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens. 1/4000 Second, F/9, Auto ISO 1250, 290 mm, Manual Focus, Mirror Lockup to get 14 FPS.

Flicker Cleanout

Flicker Clean Out: The nesting cavity is now large enough for one of the birds to enter and turn around. The male spent most of the day tossing out batches of pulp. He always had his eyes closed when releasing it. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens

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April 19, 2016 :

Moose Cow in Deep Sagebrush

Moose Cow in Deep Sagebrush: It’s easy to miss moose once they bed down in mature sage. Clouds were covering the tops of the Tetons this morning, so I spent it looking for wildlife. This Moose was near the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Alert Elk

Alert Elk: Prey animals take a few bits of grass, then look around for wolves and other predators. Most of them are leery of humans since they are hunted by them in the Fall. Wolves are a threat year round. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Group of Elk

Group on Ridge: These were photographed along Gros Ventre Road. There were Deer, Elk, Moose, and Bison along the roads today. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bison

Bison: This Bison was crossing the outlet at Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: These are northernmost set of buildings on Mormon Row. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: It’s easy to understand where they got their name! Mule Deer, like most of the other ungulates are now dispersing across the valley floor. This one was still hanging around the small town of Kelly in GTNP. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Norther Flicker Nest Building

Northern Flicker Nest Building Progress: Click this image to see it much larger! The pair of Flickers are still actively building a nest in my back yard. I initially took a few shots from inside my house, then closer from the deck firing the camera with a remote trigger. During a break period, I set up my 7′ tripod to shoot over my blind. It worked nicely! She is now past the hard shell of the tree trunk and making good progress on the softer pulp interior. She would bring out a beak full of pulp and scatter it in both directions. At the moment, I am using the new 25 point focusing zone on my D5. It covers an area similar to the 9 point zone on a D4, but has many more focusing points. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 18, 2016 :

Grand Reflections

Grand Reflections: If you follow Best of the Tetons very long, you’ll hear me talking about clouds and morning light. I set my alarm clock at a ridiculous time and head out in the dark, hoping for a few clouds behind the Tetons—but not cutting off the tops. More often than not, it doesn’t pan out exactly like I would have scripted it. Today, all the stars aligned and I was able to get a few nice shots before the wind picked up to ruffle the water. This was taken at Blacktail Ponds overlook during the short lived Alpenglow period. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Willows

Willows: I stayed with the scene for quite a while today shooting a variety of compositions and panoramic images. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Vista View

Spring Creek and Morning Light: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Buck Rail Fence and Spring Creek

Buck Rail Fence and Spring Creek: Taken near Triangle X Ranch. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Bull Elk on the Move

Bull Elk on the Move: Taken from the road and looking East towards Shadow Mountain. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Up North: After my early morning shots, I headed on North to check on the overall status there. The road to Schwabacher Landing is still closed, but it appears to be clear all the way to the parking area. The road to Lost Creek Ranch is still barricaded. The ice at Oxbow Bend is slushy and sloppy. It appears to be ready to sink soon. Jackson Lake is still frozen. The road back to Cattleman’s Bridge is still closed. The road to Cunningham Cabin is open. The Inner Park Road (Teton Park Road) and Moose-Wilson Road will open on May 1st. I’ve heard random reports of Grizzlies, a Black Bear, and Wolves up north.

Male Flicker

For What It’s Worth: D4, D5, D810, Nikon 200-500mm, & Tamron 150-600mm
I’m beginning to settle in with all of the combinations. I can’t say the newness has worn off the D5 and 200-500mm, but am beginning to select the best tools for my shooting. The D5 is a great all around body, but the D810 is probably better suited for landscapes and panoramic images. It captures at 35 mpx and does very well at low ISO settings. The D5 is better for action shooting, with a fast shutter speed and a very deep buffer. It’s also better for night photography and for shots with very high ISO. To be honest, I can’t see any degree of image quality differences between the Nikon 200-500mm and the Tamron 150-600mm lens on any of the three bodies. Lately, I have the D4 attached to my trusty 200-400mm lens and set up to photograph birds in the back yard. Flicker Image: Nikon D810, Tamron 150-600mm lens with fairly heavy crop (full image in the inset). Right now, they are pecking away at this new hole. They are still skittish, so I had to take this image from inside my back door.

Female Flicker

Female Flicker: Nikon D810, Tamron 150-600mm

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April 17, 2016 : Sunday

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: After a long week, I slept in and then hung around the house to do some Spring cleaning. This is “Rocky”, or resident Red Squirrel. She was being chased by the male yesterday. More than likely, we’ll have a new batch of little ones in the yard later in the summer. I only shot a few images in the back yard today. A pair of Northern Flicker’s are excavating a hole in a tree stump. I wanted to give them some uninterrupted time to work on it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco: These birds are ground feeders, found commonly in GTNP and the region. I don’t get that many opportunities to photograph one on a branch or stump. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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April 16, 2016 :

Grand Peak

Grand Peak: Yesterday…too many clouds. Today…no clouds! Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bull Elk with One Antler

Bull Elk with One Antler: Once the migration off the National Elk Refuge begins, a photographer or visitor has a chance to see more animals in GTNP in April than any other month. This group of elk was photographed before the sun came up near the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Migrating Bull Elk

Migrating Bull Elk: I think most of these are bulls. While one still has a nice sized rack, you can see several with ping pong sized bulbs of new antler growth and the one over the © has a larger new set of antlers. This group was ready to cross Gros Ventre Road just west of Kelly. There were lots of small herds and several large herds grazing during the morning hours today. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk On The Move

Elk On The MoveNikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Shaggy Cow Moose

Shaggy Cow Moose: I’ve seen moose with coats ranging to very shaggy or mangy to almost sleek. They’ll all have fresh new coats by early June. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Telephone Lines

Telephone Lines: The steam is from the Kelly Warm Springs.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Eagle

Eagle: Some people can distinguish a young Golden Eagle from an immature Bald Eagle by its beak. I’m not there yet! This one was sitting in a tree next to Gros Ventre Road.I received this info from Adam Brubaker in the comments below: “probably 4th year Bald Eagle. They can be difficult to tell apart. A good way to try and distinguish them is to look at their feet. Bald Eagle will have bare ankles, and Golden will have feathers all the way down their ankles.” Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Spruce Trunk

Spruce Trunk: I drove by this trunk today. The streaks of light and the highlights on the left side prompted me to turn around and take a few shots. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: I spent some time in my back yard this afternoon. I wrapped my blind and readied it for this year’s songbird migration. This Red Squirrel posed nicely on the top of a stump. It took me a while to realize this was a larger male “looking for love”. I’ve been noticing courtship behavior with Northern Flickers and Black-billed Magpies and even Northern Harriers. I’m watching for dancing Sandhill Cranes, but so far have only seen a couple and heard a few. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

House Finch

House Finch: These birds spend part of the Winter here. Cassin’s Finches will be arriving in large numbers in May. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck: A pair of Mallards have been coming to my yard for four or five years. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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April 15, 2016 :

Kelly Elk

Kelly Elk: I got up early today “thinking landscapes”. That was based on the overnight and morning weather reports of “partly cloudy” skies. Unfortunately, most of the tips of the Teton Range were covered up. There were another thousand or so elk leaving the Refuge and grazing in the hay fields NW of Kelly. I took this shot actually IN Kelly. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Cows

Elk Cows: Also taken in Kelly and looking towards the NW. There were lots of elk along Teton Village road late yesterday, too. They are much less skittish than the ones leaving the Refuge. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bull Bison

Bull Bison: I took this image yesterday afternoon, but didn’t download it until now. It is cropped quite a bit, but I liked the overall texture and feel showing flakes from a lateWinter storm. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: I kept hoping the clouds would blow off a bit and reveal the top of the Grand. Instead, the clouds got thicker! Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Winter snows have helped age the new roof from last summer. I took this shot from Antelope Flats Road. Mormon Row Road is still barricaded, but you can walk to the south barns and homesteads on the new packed pebble path connecting the two areas. The road is very muddy at this time. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: This is a tight crop of a Bull Elk and its new antler growth. Most of the big bulls shed their antlers, while you can still see antlers on some of the spike bulls. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Afternoon:

Grand and Clouds

Grand and Clouds: Taken over the top of Blacktail Butte. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

West Side

West Side of the John Moulton Barn: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk: This hawk was hunting Chislers at the Mormon Row barns. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Chisler

Chisler / Uinta Ground Squirrel: Taken at the base of the John Moulton barn. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Clouds

Clouds: John Moulton Barn…looking towards the Northeast.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: Taken along Mormon Row. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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April 14, 2016 :

Bison at First Light

Bison at First Light: Late yesterday, I found seven bison leaving the Refuge. I found them again this morning in better light on a ridge not far from where I saw them earlier. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bison and Gros Ventre Tree Line

Bison and Gros Ventre Tree Line: The bulls I saw still had a thick layer of Winter fur.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bison Bulls

Bison Bulls: From what I could tell, the bison were all nice sized bulls. There should be many more leaving the Refuge soon. Bison are one of the species of animals I never approach. They can run very fast and can be aggressive. All of my close-up shots were taken from inside a vehicle. These images were taken at a distance of 80-100 yards. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Moose on the Move

Moose on the Move: I probably saw at least a dozen moose this morning. This one was either spooked by something near Ditch Creek or was simply on a mission to get farther north. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Migrating Elk

Migrating Elk: Elk are still leaving the National Elk Refuge in large numbers. They are scattered all over the southern end of the Park right now. This was taken just north of Kelly, looking towards Blacktail Butte. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Moose in the Kelly Warm Springs

Moose in the Kelly Warm Springs: This bull was heading east and a fairly brisk pace.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Kelly Warm Springs

Kelly Warm Springs: I expected this bull to move through the pool, but instead made a turn towards the road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Passerby

Passerby: Taken near the Rest Room at the Kelly Warm Springs. This shot gives a fairly good feel of the size of a Wyoming moose. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 12 and 13, 2016 :

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This is a combo post with photos from yesterday and comments today. I did a quick Kelly loop yesterday and found this bull moose near Ditch Creek. I have lots of photos of moose, but wanted to include this one showing the new antler growth. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark: I liked the location of this Meadowlark in the tree branches, however when it raised its head to sing, it was cut off by the branch overhead. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Local Area Comments: Grand Targhee Ski Resort closed last weekend. Some skiers will be working “the Pass” but the area’s commercial resorts are finished for the season. There are probably still a few Snowmobile opportunities at Togwotee. I believe a couple of entrances are opening this weekend in Yellowstone. The Inner Park Road and Moose-Wilson Road in GTNP will not open until May 1st. As of this morning, the bike path along the National Elk Refuge is closed. They open it early on some years if the elk have left the refuge…that could be any day.  Each day, I see more bikes and a few large campers rolling around the valley. Our version of Spring is kicking in.

Wildlife: I heard of a few Bison leaving the Refuge, but didn’t see any herds myself. Elk have been leaving in large numbers, and wolves are following them. I’ve heard of several sightings. I’ve also heard of a few Grizzlies being spotted and photographed now near Oxbow. I haven’t heard of any baby Grizzlies, yet. I haven’t seen any Pronghorns yet, but expect to see them soon. I checked the pond north of the Visitor’s center, mainly to see if any of the Yellow-headed Blackbirds had arrived. None yet! I saw a few Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and a pair of ducks I’ll have to look up. We had drizzle, clouds and wind part of the day, with occasional breaks of sunlight.

Spring Weather: We can get a big snow storm in April, May, June and even July! We “usually” get at least one in April, and that can offer unique opportunities to capture animals and landscapes. I’m usually out during any snow storm, hoping to get the wet, heavy snow sticking to bison and moose. Spring also ushers in possibilities for lightningand rainbows.

Bison Leaving Refuge

Bison Leaving Refuge: This is a “record shot” showing a few Bison leaving the National Elk Refuge this afternoon. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 11, 2016 :

Hansen Barn and Fog

Hansen Barn and Fog: I headed up Spring Gulch Road this morning. Heavy fog usually means no shots with the Teton Range for at least a few hours. On those mornings, I like to look for alternative opportunities. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Lucas Barn and Fence

Box L Barn and Fence: Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Spring Gulch

Spring Gulch: Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Lucas Barn and Fog

Lucas Barn and Fog: Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Taken of Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Taken of Antelope Flats Road. Even at this time of the morning, the clouds and fog still covered the Grand. Fog usually burns off, but it is not guaranteed the peaks will be visible. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

I was hoping to find a few Elk crossing with the fog, but didn’t find them this morning.

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April 10, 2016 :

Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whet Owl: After lunch yesterday, I decided to make an impromptu trip to Idaho Falls (around 90 miles). The goal was to find a bunch of rusted old farm tools and gadgets….a treasure hunt?  I found all I could afford! Afterwards, I headed north out of town to look for owls. I found a Great Horned Owl, but not in a great place for good shots. This little Saw-whet was tight in the branches. I had to shoot up at about 45° through a bunch of twigs and still had to crop heavily. I believe there were a few Long-eared Owls around, but never got close enough to even get a record shot. On the chance I might see some Short-eared Owls, I stayed until almost dark, but I didn’t see any. There were lots of Coots in the channels, and a couple of large flocks of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. I expect them in the next few days just north of the Visitors Center. John Moulton Homestead. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Rigby Sugar House

Rigby Sugar House: This place has a lot of potential if you like “grunge” photography. I’d like to be there for a morning shoot.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Ririe RR and Grain Elevators

Ririe Railroad and Grain Elevators: I left Rigby (Home of the Television) and headed towards Ririe, ID. I’d hate to say I was speeding, but I didn’t exactly lolly-gag to Ririe. I was watching terrific lightning storm to the north. I was wanting to find something interesting as a foreground subject and then hope for a few bolts of lightning. I wanted a long exposure, so I set Manual Mode at ISO to 100 for 13 seconds at F/3.2. (The first few were at F/5.6, but I kept opening the aperture as the ambient light dropped). I had my Vello RFN-4s attached to the 10 pin connector, then triggered the camera. That helped reduced vibration some, but really it was just a convenience. As soon as the camera clicked at the end of an exposure, I triggered it again. As a result, I took quite a few shots with NO lightning, but still captured three or four with a bolt or two. I have a Lightning Trigger, but it was at home at the time.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

I didn’t return home until after 10:30 pm. I was up at 5:00 am yesterday… and that was following a couple of days of getting up early and staying out really late. I set the alarm for 6:00 am this morning, but when I saw the dark skies and heard the pitter-patter of morning rain, I stayed home and processed a few of yesterday’s images. I might still get out and look for Yellowheads or other birds entering the valley.

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April 9, 2016 :

Migrating Elk

Migrating Elk: Taken near Kelly this morning. I saw around a thousand of them near the Warm Springs last evening. There were 15 moose about a mile north of these elk. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Also taken near Kelly. At 1/1250th second, it is fairly easy to freeze a moving animal. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Taken along Spring Gulch Road.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Tetons

Tetons: Taken last night near the Shane Cabin. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Stars

Stars: Taken at the Shane Cabin. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

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April 8, 2016 :

Lacrosse

Lacrosse: Nikon D5. I like to go to the local soccer fields when I have a new lens, body, or accessory. Yesterday, the high school Lacrosse team was practicing and going through drills. This image is the actual JPG (Basic), straight out of the camera. Click on it to view it full size. I’ll eventually delete all of the images from yesterday, but the point is to find a subject that lets me experiment freely and work out the bugs, without feeling like I lost important, once-in-a-lifetime shots. The new Nikon D5 has at 25 point group that replaces the old 9 point group and a 75 point group that replaces the 21 point group. The extra focus points are supposed to help with action shots. The Nikon  D5 has a new setting for helping focus on erratic action, and the new 200-500mm lens has a “normal / sport” switch. Yesterday, I shot with the D5 in the predawn hour at ISO 100. Some people are complaining about it being more grainy at the lowest ISO settings than a D4, but if so, it is minimal. I would have never noticed it on the images yesterday. I put the new “touch screen” to use yesterday morning while in LiveView. It allowed me to compose and focus on a difficult scene while my camera was just above water level. The D4 is 17 mpx while the D5 is 21 mpx and it has a slightly faster frame rate. The buffer is more than doubled…now something like 200 images in a burst and the recovery is faster with the new processor and cards. The new “Store Points by Orientation and TYPE” is potentially a big improvement, even though it will probably not get a lot of press.  Each day, I find new features, or at least begin to understand how to implement them into my daily captures. Shooting Data: NIKON D5,  Nikon 200-500 at 240 mm, 1/1250 Second at f/11, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV,  Auto ISO 560

Golden Eagle on Carcass

Immature Bald Eagle on Carcass: This large raptor was feeding on a winter kill on the bike path. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Coyote

Coyote: Taken from Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse: Also taken along Antelope Flats road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse: I took close to a thousand images of this grouse. I kept hoping to see it strut, but I think I found it a little too late in the morning. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse: I sat in the van for the grouse captures. They were not at all concerned with me today. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Additional Signs of Spring: I saw my first Osprey on a nest yesterday and Tree Swallows overhead in town. I saw a Northern Harrier near Kelly this morning. I saw the Sage Grouse this morning. They are around all winter, but are doing their mating dances and displays now. Aspens are in the puff-ball stage (not the correct name) and grass is turning green in lots of areas.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee: After lunch, I set up my trusty Nikon D4, Nikon 200-400mm lens, and old Arca-Swiss B-1 Ballhead, and a very old aluminum Bogen tripod. The perch is a young aspen in my back yard, pruned on all lower branches by one of our wintering moose. I am hearing a Belted Kingfisher on the creek nearby. I’ve seen it once in my yard. My Mallard pair are back. Magpies and Ravens have been around lately, along with an occasional Clark’s Nutcracker. Bullock’s Orioles should show up in about a month. Nikon D4 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Mtn. Chickadee

Mtn. Chickadee: Nikon D4 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: This female came to the yard while I was grilling a hamburger. Nikon D4 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

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April 7, 2016 :

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Blue hour at Schwabacher this morning. The area opened on April 1st, but the gate is still locked. NIKON D5, Nikon 24-70mm lens,  Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100,

Beaver Dam

Beaver Dam: I walked down with Randy Isaacson. We didn’t see any beavers, but saw a muskrat, Canada Geese, and a couple of Trumpeter Swans. I’d like to go back on a morning with a few more clouds. Snow is melting fast! NIKON D5, Nikon 24-70mm lens,  Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100,

Upside Down

Upside Down: Reflections in one of the Beaver ponds. NIKON D5, Nikon 24-70mm lens,  Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100,

Morning

Morning at Schwabacher LandingNIKON D5, Nikon 24-70mm lens,  Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100,

Night at Mormon Row

Night at Mormon Row: I took this shot last night, after hiking up the muddy road to the TA Moulton Barn. NIKON D5, Nikon 70-24mm lens at 24 mm, 25.00 Second at f/2.8, Manual Mode, 0 EV,  ISO 2500,

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April 6, 2016 :

Grand Peaks

Grand Peaks: I headed North this morning. I have a couple of reliable reports of at least one Grizzly sighting way up north. They said the bear was heading south when they saw it last. I figured I might have chances to see some Snowshoe Hares, Otters, Foxes, Swans, Geese, Coyotes, and possibly Wolves or Grizzlies. I also wanted to get a feel of how much snow is left in the northern part of the park. This shot was taken near the Buffalo Fork River on the Highway. I added a Topaz BW filter, which gave it a distinctive tobacco color and I added some vignette darkening. The splotches are from a texture brush used to paint away some of the vignette effect on a layer. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Road Reports:

  • Antelope Flats Road : Open
  • Mormon Row Road: Plowed but barricaded
  • Chapel of the Transfiguration: Open
  • Blacktail Pond Overlook: Open
  • Moose-Wilson Road: Still open to Death Canyon road
  • Teton Park Road: Open to Taggart Lake Trailhead
  • Gros Ventre Road: Open to Atherton Creek Campground.
  • Pacific Creek Road: Open all year to the houses. Two Ocean Lake road closed.
  • Pilgrim Creek Road: Partially Plowed but barricaded
  • Colter Bay: Most roads plowed, some barricaded
  • Leeks Marina: Plowed and Open
  • Road to Lost Creek: Plowed but barricaded
  • Cunningham Cabin: Sorry…I forgot to check
  • Cattleman’s Bridge road at Oxbow Bend: Snowed in.
  • Grassy Lake Road: Closed
  • Uhl’s Hill and Wolf Ranch Road: Closed
  • Schwabacher Landing Road: Locked but you can hike in as of April 1st.

Elk on Ridge

Elk Migration: I have been watching for this kind of opportunity for the past week or two. These bulls don’t have huge racks, but they’ll do! This was taken at the pullout with the Welcome to Grand Teton National Park sign. Of course, Sleeping Indian is in the background. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure: I drove all the way to Flagg Ranch where the road into Yellowstone is barricaded. This image was taken from there, looking back towards the northern end of the Teton Range. I left just a bit of the roadway. This image was given the same effects as the first one, but without the vignette effect. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: Taken from the upper parking lot at mid-day. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose: Taken at Oxbow Bend.  Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Canada Gees in Landing Formation

Canada Geese in Landing Formation: I stopped at Oxbow mainly to inspect a few large sets of tracks leading to the edge of an open area, then back. It gave me a chance to try out the settings from Sanibel for birds in flight. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Tracks

Tracks: Maybe someone here can identify the track patterns above. One set came from the island at Oxbow, then it looks like they went right back to the same area.

Sanibel Osprey

Sanibel Osprey: Watch for Osprey here soon. This Osprey had three fairly large chicks waiting for food. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Sanibel Bike

Sanibel Bike: This shot was lit with a small flashlight. This is a good time of the month for light painting. Night skies will be very dark with a new moon cycle beginning! Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 5, 2016 :

Lone Photographer

Lone Photographer: Clouds covered the top half of the Teton peaks this morning. I took the opportunity to look for alternative angles. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: These were taken within the first few minutes of morning light on the valley floor. Sunrise is at 6:56 am now. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: You can get a good idea of the snow pack in this shot. Sage Grouse are on the leks early in the morning. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Taken from Antelope Flats Road. Mormon Row road is closed to vehicle traffic, but you can still walk to that barn. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Peach House

Peach House: Front face of the John Moulton house on Mormon Row. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: The road to the Chapel is plowed and now open. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: Taken along Spring Gulch Road. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Elk Migration

Elk Migration: Taken on Spring Gulch Road. Large numbers of elk are moving off the refuge and into the surrounding mountains and river bottoms. Sleigh Rides on the Refuge are over for the season. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe: I dropped off some paperwork to my accountant, then drove out to the National Elk Refuge. There weren’t many elk visible, but there were 40-50 Bighorns still milling around. I saw a few Uinta Ground Squirrels. There are sprouts of green grass beginning to show on the Refuge already. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 4, 2016 :

Stars Over John Moulton Barn

Stars Over the Moulton Barn: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Crescent Moon April 4

Crescent Moon April 4: Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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Stars Over John Moulton Barn: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

I wanted to get out and capture some of the winter snow around the barns this year. It is difficult to hike into the area in the middle of the night during the winter—especially considering the potential for severe cold temperatures and biting wind chill. The road is open now, so access is much better. I don’t expect the snow pack in around Mormon Row to last too much longer.

Teton Range

Teton Range: The low cloud in this photo was obscuring views of the Grand while I was at the Mormon Row Barns. I left that area and headed towards Kelly. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Elk Migration

Elk Migration: Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Late Season Bull Moose

Late Season Bull Moose: I don’t ever remember seeing a bull moose with antlers in April! This morning, I spotted at least 21 moose along the Gros Ventre and north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

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April 3, 2016 :

Up at 3:00 am in Florida and on the ground in Jackson Hole at noon! …What a country! I’m uploading photos to my main computer right now and going through mail.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Nikon D5 and Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Back in Jackson Hole: I did a quick recon mission into the Park this afternoon. Snow is mostly melted off the valley floor south of the Gros Ventre River and even up to the Moose Junction in some areas. Antelope Flats Road is open, but Mormon Row is barricaded. Blacktail Ponds Overlook is plowed. I didn’t check the Chapel. Bluebirds are commonly seen now. No Ospreys yet. Elk were gathering at Gros Ventre Junction. Most appeared to be cows. I saw a few scattered Moose, but it was probably too early in the day to see many of them. I got a report of people still seeing Mountain Goats in the Snake River Canyon and a report of people seeing Wolves near Cunningham Cabin. I didn’t see any Bison around Kelly, so I guess they are still on the Refuge. The Moose-Wilson road was quiet, with only a Stellar’s Jay to break the silence.

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April 2, 2016 :

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: So far this year, I have been “owl-less”. I found this adult and two youngsters in a park at Cape Coral, FL. Everyone talks about some Burrowing Owls near the library there, but I never found the library, much less the owls! Actually, I was short of time and didn’t get to look too hard.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis: During the next month or so, White-faced Ibis migrate through Jackson Hole.  They look quite a bit like this Glossy Ibis I found at the Venice Area Audubon Society rookery. That’s a heck of a place to go if you are ever in the region. I went there two mornings in a row.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: I’ve had to cull a few images on the laptop to make room for the new images., There are still 14,000 images on the computer from our current Sanibel Island trip.  Wow! The Nikon D5, Nikon D810, Nikon 200-500mm lens, and Tamron 150-600mm lens all performed beautifully! I’ll add a few more photos and a lot more comments when I am in front of my home computer. It has been a wonderful trip. I bumped into a couple of friend/photographers from Cody, met a few local photographers, and even bumped into a Best of the Tetons reader at the rookery this morning. Small world!

Cormorant

Cormorant: You might also find Cormorants swimming around Oxbow Bend during the Summer months. MJ

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April 1, 2016 :

Great Blue Herons

Pair of Great Blue Herons: April Fools Day from Sanibel Island! Great Blue Herons can be found in Jackson Hole in the Summer. A couple of them hang around Schwabacher Landing in most years. A few are known to winter in Jackson Hole, but are usually spooky.

Jackson Hole Comments: The Ski Area at Teton Village closes on the 3rd of April. Antelope Flats Road is now open! The Inner Park Road has been plowed, and people can ride their bikes, hike, or roller blade the road during April. The road opens for vehicles on the 1st of May. Watch for elk, moose, bison, bighorns, and deer leaving the National Elk Refuge. The next few weeks should be very good!

Sunset

Sunset: Not exactly a view we see in Jackson Hole!

I have been adding a lot of photos on the new post about the Nikon D5 (and Nikon 200-500mm lens, etc.) on Sanibel Island.

We’ll be back in JH Sunday afternoon and will begin posting local photos again.

Save

March 2016 Daily Journal for GTNP & JH

“Look for an early Spring in 2016! March is always a month of transitions”

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

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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March 28, 2016 :

Gator

New Post Nikon D5 (and Nikon 200-500mm lens, etc.) on Sanibel Island

I have been loading the page with shots from our trip. Everything is lush and green here, in stark contrast to Jackson Hole right now. My wife received reports of heavy snow back home. Spring Break is in full swing in JH. The JH Mountain Resort will remain open for skiing until next weekend.

Reddish Heron

Please check in here and on the new D5 page. MJ

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March 27, 2016 : Easter Sunday

On the ground in Sanibel Island, FL

Brown Pelican Taking Off

Brown Pelican Taking Off: I downloaded the Nikon D5 manual to my iPad and was able to read through much of it on the trip. We made it to the condo at 1:30 am last night. I got up at 6:00 am and was out for the sunrise. There were too many clouds for a good sunrise, so I switched to the new Nikon 200-500mm lens.

Palette Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker: I saw a couple of these birds last year, but was never able to photograph one. They are high on my target list for this trip…so I am darned happy already!

White Ibis

White Ibis: The bird was just to the side of our condo. I did a quick run through Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve, but it was hight tide and pretty quiet.

The Nikon D5

Very impressive! I like the new touch screen feature for zooming, advancing and reviewing images. It also allows us to touch an area while in live view to set the focus. It should make video recording much better. There are a LOT more focus points…not sure how that affects things yet. Group Area Focus is a nice feature ported from the D800 and D810 bodies. I was able to use the L-Bracket from my D4, but it looks like I’ll need to replace it with one made specifically for the new design. It is difficult to access the USB3 port with the old bracket.

*The D5 came with a new Sony 32 Gig Series G XQD card and a new Sony Series G card reader. That new reader did not read either of my earlier XQD cards. One of them is a Sony Series S 64 Gig card and the other is a Lexar 1333x 64 Gig card.

Nikon 200-500mm Lens: I haven’t had a chance to do AF Fine Tuning with the D5 yet, but on first pass, it looks like this lens is fairly sharp with default settings. I brought the Tamron 150-600mm lens on this trip, along with my Nikon D810. I’ll have a week to work with all of the combinations. There are usually lots of “Birds in Flight” targets here.

I’ll make this entry, then start a new journal page for images from here. 

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March 26, 2016 :

Teton Range

Teton Range: After quite a few mornings with too many clouds, this morning had no clouds. I saw lots of moose north of the Kelly area.

Kings Highway Mailboxes

Kings Highway Mailboxes: These mailboxes are on Spring Gulch Road.

Perfect Light Camera & SupplyJust returned from Idaho Falls where I picked up my Nikon D5—just in the nick of time for our trip to Sanibel Island, FL. Over the years, I purchased my D4, D800, D810, and now the D5 (plus a few lenses) from Perfect Light Camera and Supply in Idaho Falls, ID. Nikon requires all retailers to charge the same retail price, so I’ve found it a great gesture to support our local (smaller) dealers….and I typically get my gear long before the masses that sign up on the long lists at the big online retailers. My contact at Perfect Light Camera and Supply is Christopher Balmer, the owner and a very fine photographer. Anyone on the staff can take your order and they can ship anywhere in the States. They came through again! Thanks Christopher!
Oh yes, I picked up a Nikon 200-500mm lens for this trip. Check back on the site during the week to see how it goes! MJ

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March 25, 2016 :

Trail Creek Ranch

Trail Creek Ranch: I wasn’t able to pick my D5 body today. Bummer! There’s a remote chance I can pick it up tomorrow before heading to Florida…not too optimistic at the moment. I did a quick trip out to Wilson this afternoon. There are always lots of “possibilities” in that area, but not always “probabilities”. This old barn is along “the Old Pass Road” just west of Wilson. I was watching for Moose, Foxes, Coyotes, Stellar’s Jays, Owls, and Showshoe Hares.

Young Moose

Young Moose: I found this moose feeding on the underwater vegetation in Fish Creek, just north of Wilson. She appeared to be on her own. I saw a Belted Kingfisher nearby, but didn’t have a chance for a shot. If you haven’t seen this page, you might find a few areas to visit slightly “off the beaten path”:  Outside the Park: Alternative Places to Visit, Hike, Fish, and Photograph

Teton Photo Excursions. I am now booking trips for April and May (and any month for that matter). I am expecting a big month with animals leaving the National Elk Refuge. Click the link and let me know if you are interested!

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March 24, 2016 :

News Flash!!!!!! The Nik Collection of desktop photo editing software is now 100% free!!!! Back “in the day”, it would have cost you around $500 for the collection. MJ

Moose in Snow 4-100-f8-1600

New Feature Post: Moose and a November Snow Storm. I uploaded this new post today, showing how you can adjust the shutter speed to affect the amount of streaking in blowing snow. Check it out!

Holding My Breath! On Saturday, my wife and I get on a plane to Ft. Meyers, FL and then on to Sanibel Island. I called Perfect Light Camera earlier today. It sounds promising that my Nikon D5 is being shipped tonight, and if things go in my favor, I should have one tomorrow night. That will give me time to read through the manual and practice with the body on the flight. FWIW, I opted to go with the XQD version over the CF version. That decision was based on the pending D500 slots that will be offered in either XQD or SD, and not CF. I am sure there a lot of differing opinions on this topic.

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March 23, 2016 :

Mamma Moose

Mamma Moose: I took some people out for a tour today. The stars aligned and we found animals just about everywhere. We saw around 20 moose in the GV Junction area and in the sage flats north of Kelly. This moose became very focused on something. We looked to see a Red Fox trotting down the road towards us. I’ve heard of Foxes in the Kelly area, but haven’t seen one with my own eyes until today.

We found Bighorns on Miller Butte, Geese in the Kelly Warm Springs, Geese and Swans north of the Visitor’s Center and lots of Swans at Boyle’s Hill. Bluebirds, Robins, and Black-billed Magpies were also common today.

Red Fox in Shadows

Red Fox in Shadows: My client just sent me an image he took with his Leica camera that is much better than this one. Oxbow and the mountains looked good once the clouds pulled back.

Afternoon in the Park

Kelly Red Fox

Kelly Red Fox: I drove back out to the park this afternoon and was able to get at least a record shot of the Red Fox near Kelly. Across the road, I saw at least two coyotes mousing out in the fields. I also saw my first Meadowlark of the season next to the Kelly Warm Springs…another indicator of Spring. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Gros Ventre Elk

Gros Ventre Elk: There was a herd of around a dozen elk huddled in the hay fields north of Kelly. I drove out the Gros Ventre Road past the park boundary and found around 40 elk on the ridge line. It appears at least some of the elk are beginning to move off the refuge. Could get good fast! Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Pepe Le Pew

Pepe Le Pew: This is a unique find! Okay, it’s only a striped skunk, but they are not easy to find and not too easy to photograph if you do! Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: This beautiful adult raptor was perched on a snag along the Snake River. I was able to take the photo from the window of my vehicle. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 22, 2016 :

Fall's Companions

Fall’s Companions: This is a new composite image I just added to TetonTextures.com. The bull on the left is one I call Washakie. I originally thought the one on the right was Elvis, but tines at the tip of the antlers are not long enough.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: This area is closed to all human activity until May 1st. I have been going through photos and ran across this one from early November.

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March 21, 2016 :

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Antelope Flats road was still locked this morning, so I hiked in to the area. I wouldn’t have know the top of the Grand and much of the range was covered with clouds, since I left home in the dark. I spent most of my morning along the road closer to the TA Moulton barn.

Facing South

Facing South:

Fence Post Still Life

Fence Post Still Life: This one is stylized—mostly using negative Clarity in Lightroom. I think a shot like this has a lot of possibilities…maybe seen again on TetonTextures.com!

The Park snow plow operator was out early today. He was coming out as I was walking in to Mormon Row at 6:30 am. He passed me as I was about 200 yards in. He unlocked the gate, drove through, and then locked the gate behind him. The entire road is plowed including Mormon Row Road.

Cross Fox: As I was driving North in the dark, I saw a Cross Fox on the highway near Moose Junction. Another person reported seeing one at the south end of Blacktail Butte a while back. I haven’t had any news on the attempts to capture the one with the broken leg.

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March 20, 2016 : Spring Equinox

North Country TrapperNorth Country Trapper:
This is a small crop of a larger image I added to TetonTextures.com. Subject matter on that site can be “all over the place”, but this project is based here in the Tetons. Teton Textures allows me to spread my wings, experiment, and work with a lot of the third party filters and plug-ins as I composite my images. Check it out! Sign up to follow that site if you like what you see!

Equinox: We’re halfway to the shortest day of the year! Jackson Hole still has a lot of snow on the ground, but there are plenty of initial indicators that Spring is on its way in the Northern Rockies. The Town Downhill races are ongoing today on SnowKing, along with the “Pond Skimming” this afternoon. As I write this at 9:20 am, it is still 10°F. If you go to the Pond Skimming, be aware some of the skiers try spray watchers and photographers with a sharp “hockey stop”…stay back!

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day: This little Bighorn lamb has some out of control fur on the top of its head. There were 40-50 Bighorns off the butte today on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Shaggy Evening Moose

Shaggy Evening Moose: Late in the day, I drove to Snow King to see if the Pond Skimming action was over. It was. The snow graders were already busy plowing down the snow at the Tube Park in preparation for next week’s Hill Climb weekend. I drove out to Kelly and then up to Antelope Flats Road. The gates are still locked there. I saw a dozen or so moose this afternoon, including this one near Gros Ventre Junction.

Golden Trunk

Golden Trunk: There were quite a few big tracks coming out of the Gros Ventre river bottom today. I walked down to get a low shot of this old spruce trunk. Some of the tracks were wolf tracks, plus a few deer and small critter tracks.

B&W Trunk

B&W Tree Trunk: Definitely a different look.

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March 19, 2016 :

The Forests Have Eyes

The Forests Have Eyes: Lately, I have been busy building the new site for Teton Photo Excursions. Unfortunately, Teton Textures hasn’t received the time and effort I would like to give it. The image above is a new addition there. The page includes some information about the filters I used and some of the steps.

It is a beautiful day here in Jackson Hole…assuming you like bluebird clear skies! Later this evening, the Zack Brown Band is performing at the Jackson Hole Mountain Restort. Many of the tickets were distributed for free—they went fast. The newspaper suggests 15,000 people will be there, and I’ve heard people say it could actually be closer to 25,000.

March MadnessLast night, I logged into KelbyOne to watch a new video by Dave Black on light painting and night time star photography. In one of the shoots, he was lying on his back trying to focus and compose on a half buried old wagon wheel. I was thinking how much easier it would have been to set up a CamRanger, then compose, focus and shoot from a comfortable position. It has been a while since I had mine out and working. I thought I’d pull it out, charge all the batteries and make sure it worked with my iPad. I took this test shot from our kitchen counter using a D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens. Worked fine!

Bird Feeder Test Shot

Bird Feeder Test Shot: This is a test shot using the same gear. With the PT Hub, I can sit in a chair on the deck, then pan, focus and shoot. I don’t think the setup is great for action shots, but it’s nice to have the equipment and know it is working. Nikon D810 and Tamron 70-200mm lens.

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March 18, 2016 :

PreSunrise

Pre-Sunrise: There’s a period of time in the early mornings about 30 minutes before the first hints of light hit the valley floor when the snow show white and the sky is a beautiful hue of blue. Sometimes, there are hints of purple and magenta in the sky. That gives way to a murky gray period before the clouds begin to pick up morning color. With the gate still locked, I had planned on hiking out to Mormon Row…about 3/4 mile along Antelope Flats road. There was a slight breeze and the thermometer read -8°F. I like to see the top of the Grand in my landscapes, but decided to start hiking out. Sometimes a cloud like the one above blows off. I made it about 300 yards and realized how cold my fingers were already. I decided I didn’t need more barn shots today, and turned around. I was darned cold when I made it back to the van, and the heat from the warm vehicle was quite welcome. I don’t know how the early Mormon settlers made it through the winter each year. Nikon D810 and Nikon D810 and Tamron 24-70mm lens.

Ridgeline

Ridgeline: Taken from Gros Ventre Road. There were at least 8 moose within a hundred yards of the Gros Ventre Junction this morning. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Peaks and Clouds

Peaks and Clouds: Taken from Gros Ventre Road south of the Airport. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

WidgetBanner350 You might notice this new banner in the navigation bar. I had to renew my Commercial Use Permit with the National Park Service recently, and in the process, I changed the name from Mike Jackson’s One-On-One Photography Excursions to simply Teton Photo Excursions. I created a new site specifically for that endeavor, which includes a lot more photos and a special new page called:  A Photographer’s Trip to Jackson Hole. Even if you never plan on taking a photo excursion with me, you might like the page.

I could probably still squeeze in a trip next week before we head to Sanibel Island. I hope to be shooting with a new Nikon D5 while down there, so please keep checking in even if I am not here in the Tetons.

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March 17, 2016 : St. Patrick’s Day!

Visitor's Center

Craig Thomas Visitor’s Center: I was out early, again hoping to get to the Mormon Row barns, but the gate is still locked on Antelope Flats Road. A barricade is still in front of the entrance to the Chapel of the Transfiguration. I took this shot of the Visitor’s Center at Moose. The close snow is lit by the running lights on my vehicle. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Green River Lakes

Green River Lakes: I was thinking about posting a lush, green meadow scene today to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. In the process, I saw a folder called “Green River Lakes” and pulled this photo out instead. This is in a remote area of Wyoming—not often visited by tourists just passing through the state. We used to take the kids camping there on some of the long weekends. In 2012, I drove down in the afternoon, then slept in my van to be up early for this shot. Squaretop Mountain is in the distance.  Click Here to see a map via TPE.

Wildlife: This morning, I saw a few moose around Gros Ventre Junction and along Gros Ventre Road. There were around 50 Bighorns along the road on the National Elk Refuge. The Refuge sent a note telling tour guides they will be reducing supplemental feeding, except along the highway. The Sleigh/Wagon rides will continue operation until April 2nd.

March One-on-One Photography Excursions: I have several openings available in March. You can check out what I photographed in March (or any month for that matter) by clicking the appropriate month in the list near the top of the page. Here are links for the past two years: March 2015 :March 2014:  I should probably mention I offer the trips all year. September is probably going to be a good one and a couple of spots are already filled.

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March 16, 2016 :

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: It snowed overnight here in Jackson Hole. I made the executive decision (gamble) to go down the Snake River Canyon to look for Mountain Goats. After a big storm, they often stay high, but if they come down during or after the storm, the shots are often memorable! I tell myself that anyway. On my first couple of passes, I didn’t see a single goat. There’s an Elk feed ground just south of the small town of Alpine. Lacking goat subjects, I drove the couple of extra miles and found a few elk fairly close to the road. Alpine also has a lot of Robins milling around right now, plus quite a few Dark-eyed Juncos. I suppose a lot of them will be in Jackson soon. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Goats Before the Storm

Goats Before the Storm: I finally found three Mountain Goats with reasonable range. They were just bedding down when if found them. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Goats in the Storm

Goats in the Storm: Within just a little while, a storm front moved through. I took a few shots and headed back to the vehicle…looking a lot like a snowman after 30 minutes standing in this storm. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Hog Island Barn

Hog Island Barn: This quaint little barn has been holding itself together for decades just south of Jackson. The farmer recently sold his property to the Teton School District to eventually be used for a new school. I am afraid this old barn’s days are numbered. Maybe I should add it to this page: “Don’t it always seem to go? You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Robertson Barn

Robertson Barn: Back in 2013, I drove up to the old barn.  Mr. Robertson pulled up is his tractor. I asked if I could take some photos. The reply went something like, “That old barn?….yep, take the photos if it makes you happy.” It’s not in great shape, it’s not the prettiest barn in the valley, and it doesn’t have the Grand as a backdrop, but it’s still a historic structure!

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March 15, 2016 :

Incoming Sleigh

Incoming Sleigh: Each morning, a couple of wagons and extra horses make their way across the pastures on the National Elk Refuge. The crews prepare for the tour that run through most of April. Earlier in the year, they were using sleighs. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Miller House

Miller House: Another shot of the historic old Miller House on the National Elk Refuge, taken just after the first light hit it.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Ewe and Lamb

Bighorn Ewe and Lamb: I initially drove out to Antelope Flats, hoping the gates would be open. Nope! Same for the Chapel of the Transfiguration. We had snow overnight and gusty winds, causing some areas to drift. I made a drive out to the National Elk Refuge to see if the Elk were clustered up again, and to have a remote chance to see a few wolves. I found 20-30 Bighorns instead. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ram's Eyes

Ram’s Eyes: My Tamron lens focuses to about 7.5 feet or so. This ram was wanting to lick the salt and chemicals off my sludge covered van, but I had to stand between it and the van to stop him. It gave me a chance to get some intimate shots of them today. The Refuge is asking people to keep the Bighorns from licking salt. They are worried about the spread of diseases. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Elk Feed Truck

Elk Feed Truck: I’ve never been able to get much of a shot of the feed trucks on the National Elk Refuge until today. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 14, 2016 :

Wapiti En Masse

Wapiti En Masse: (Wapiti is another name for Elk) I drove over to the National Elk Refuge before lunch and ended up staying a couple of hours. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Elk Herd

Elk Herd: There were several thousand Elk bunched up on the hillside south of the roadway, patiently waiting for an opening to cross the road and up Miller Butte. I probably only managed to get half of them in this one capture.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

En Masse 2

En Masse 2: I am not exactly sure how to photograph that many elk and do it justice. I waited for a couple of them to raise their heads in this shot. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Running Elk

Running Elk: Eventually, a group of them made a break for Miller Butte. This small grouping had one of the few bulls in it so I concentrated on them. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Ribbon of Elk

Ribbon of Elk: This is the leading edge or point to the long ribbon of Elk that crossed in front of me.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Elk on the Ridge

Elk on the Ridge: Vehicles came through and split up the big herd. About half of them stayed on the south side and headed back up Crystal Butte and the other half crossed Miller Butte and onward. All things considered, the “spectacle” of seeing so many Elk on the run was probably better than the photos I captured. Worth the trip today! There were also quite a few Bighorns grazing at the other end of the Butte. I didn’t see any of the larger rams close, so I headed on home with about 500 morning elk shots on the card. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 13, 2016 :

Soggy Barn (Raw)

Soggy Barn (Raw): Today was a mixed bag of clouds, wind, snow, sleet, and rain. The sun even found a few openings in the clouds to shine on parts of town. Today, I found another “waterfowl” resource. Check out the pond at the National Fish Hatchery. At this time of the year, you can drive right up to it and park in one of the nearby parking spots. I saw several pairs of Barrows Golden-eyes, a few Mallards and possibly a couple of Cinnamon Teal. The day was gray and dark so it was difficult to pin down the color of the ducks. The barn above was taken on Spring Gulch Road on my way back into town, taken through a barrier or rain, sleet, and snow. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Soggy Barn Adjusted

Soggy Barn Adjusted: Here’s the same image after a few tweaks in Lightroom. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm

Bluebirds,Hawks and Critters: All of the Bluebirds I saw a few days ago were males. I’ve started seeing a few females now. I saw a Red-tailed Hawk today along the National Elk Refuge. If flew off when I stopped. It is also time to start seeing Uinta Ground Squirrels and Yellow-bellied Marmots again. Kerry Singleton on the Teton Photography Group recently posted her fist Marmot image of the year.

Daylight Savings Time: Wyoming is still part of the country following the Daylight Savings Time platform. I set the Date/Time in both cameras today to make sure they are accurate.

Upcoming JH Events: Next weekend in the Town Downhill with racers seeding down SnowKing Mountain. A week later, is the SnowKing Hill Climb. One March 26, the JH Ski and Snowboard Club hosts the Pole, Pedal, Paddle event, starting at the top of the mountain at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and ending at the Astoria boat ramp. You can click the Chamber of Commerce link on the side to get more info on each event.

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March 12, 2016 :

Old Hansen Place

Old Hansen Place: The golden willows in front of this old homestead were vivid orange this afternoon, especially when they were against the dark mountain. This was taken on Spring Gulch Road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Lucas Barn

Lucas Barn: Also on Spring Gulch Road. A week or so ago, there was a very large bank of snow in front of this barn. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Lucas Barn with Dark Clouds

Lucas Barn with Dark Clouds: Another angle of the same barn. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Lucas Wagon

Lucas Wagon: BarBC Ranch now owns the property where one of the Lucas families once homesteaded.  This wagon has apparently been sitting in the same place for a long time. The willow trees have woven themselves through the back wheels. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Saturday Evening: I did the loop up Spring Gulch, then up to check on the closure on Antelope Flats Road. Still closed! I drove out to the Kelly Warm Springs, but it was also pretty quiet. On my loop, I counted 17 moose. It appears many of them are making their way farther north. Half a dozen were north of the Airport Road this afternoon. Another storm is headed our way.

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March 11, 2016 :

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: I was out early again today. First light on Mount Moran was spectacular against the dark skies. I might have set up for a pano, but the Grand was still unlit. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Squatters

Squatters: Canada Geese occasionally claim an Osprey nest in March before the April arrival of the Osprey pairs. Some Osprey pairs are able to push the Geese off, but some are forced to find another nesting location. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Moose on the Loose: While on my morning loop, I saw at least 18 Moose. Most of them were fairly close to Gros Ventre Junction. Half a dozen were north of Kelly. I didn’t see any indication elk and bison are moving off the Refuge. The snow on the refuge is almost gone, elk are moving around, and the newspaper said they are cutting back on their feeding program.

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March 10, 2016 :

Box L Barn

Box L Barn: From home, it looked like the Teton range was lighting up beautifully for the afternoon light. I drove out Spring Gulch Road. Yep, it was beautiful, but the top portion of the Grand was covered. I’m spoiled. I drove up the road looking closely for bluebirds, owls and any other sort of critter. Spring Gulch Road happens to be the area where I photographed the Owl with an Ermine in its beak. The Box L Ranch was built by one of the Lucas family patriarchs. Jennifer Lucas-Flanagen once told me her father took great pride in the fact his barn faces due north—lined up with the North Star. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Area Loose Ends: This Sunday, the time changes back to Daylight Savings Time. My cameras don’t automatically adjust the changes. After resting at $1.79 per gallon for a few weeks, I saw one of the stations raising the price of unleaded self-serve back up to $1.85 per gallon. I saw my first Bluebirds a few days ago. Today, I saw several American Robins. Both are harbingers of Spring for most people around here. And, of course, the Spring equinox is only a week and a half away. For better or worse, March is already a third over!

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March 9, 2016 :

Cross Fox 2009

New Feature Post: “The Cross Fox” of GTNP. I spent some time last night working on this post. It fills in a few details and includes a few photos of other Cross Foxes I’ve photographed over the years.

If you own a Nikon D4, D4s, or are planning on buying a Nikon D5 or D500, this might be of interest. Adorama and B&H are now offering the Lexar 2933x XQD memory cards at 50% off!  Other vendors might soon follow suit?

Male Bluebird

Male Bluebird: In yesterday’s post, I mentioned finding a lot of Bluebirds near the entrance to the National Fish Hatchery. They were landing on the fence posts after flying around in the sagebrush. What I forgot to mention was ALL of the ones I saw were males. If there were any females, I didn’t see them in the mix. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Morning Outing:  We had a light snow overnight. I made a quick trip down the Snake River Canyon. Most of the Mountain Goats I found were staying high. A straggly group of nine or ten were on the road.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: Of the nine, one had a collar and tags, one had a broken horn, several had very dark shaggy fur on the bottom half of their bodies, and most had dirty faces. The only relatively clean one stayed back in the trees. There’s an “old man of winter” in this photo. Look for the two eyes, nose and smile just behind the rump of the goat. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Snake River Canyon

Snake River Canyon: A new layer of snow helps make just about everything look better. I took this one at the mouth of the canyon. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Wagon

Wagon: I stopped for gas at Hoback Junction. This old wagon is at the station. I added a few textures in Photoshop. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Tractor

Essence of a Tractor: This old tractor is in front of one of hotels in Alpine. I ran the image through Topaz Impression. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Cross Fox additions: A friend saw my post about the Cross Fox and sent some great information. I’ll be adding it to the page in a few minutes. Here’s the link again: “The Cross Fox” of GTNP.

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March 8, 2016 :

Frosted Fox

Frosted Cross Fox: I am getting reports this fox has been injured…lost teeth, cuts, and a broken leg. Many people have been identifying it as a male, but I am fairly sure it is a female. Read on…

On February 2nd, two other photographers and I watched this fox stalk a duck along the Moose-Wilson Road. I could see it crouching to make the jump into the creek, but there was too much clutter between us and the duck. Next thing we heard was a splash, followed by a frantic duck flying straight for us, fleeing the scene, but apparently unscathed.

Around Spruce

The wet fox exited the water, then ran to a spruce tree where it circled it a dozen or so times—rubbing up against it to remove some of the water. It then made a run towards the road where we were standing and ran by us to a sunny spot on the roadway. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Marking

Along the way, it made a quick stop to mark a post, hiking its leg. That behavior has been seen by many people, leading most viewers to believe it was a male. I always believed it was a male, too. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Frosted Fox

The fox found a sunny spot on the road and began pulling off the numerous balls of ice. The three of us captured a lot of images. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Back Side

Back Side: A day or two later, I bumped into the other two photographers. They told me they were sure this is a female, suggesting I inspect my images from that day. When I returned home, I did just that. This is a very tight crop of an image taken just after it left the water and was heading towards the large spruce tree. I had another showing the anus when the tail was raised higher. I am not a biologist, but I’d at least suggest the shapes seen here are female parts. I never planned on posting this image, but I copied it to my iPad and showed it to a few people. I was asked to post it. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Another View

Another Back Side View: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

The photos above were all taken on the same morning. This particular fox is easily identified by the cut on the right side of its muzzle and ragged right ear—as seen in the image at the top of today’s entry.

Marking Post

The image above was taken of a different red fox, found farther north in the Park. Even though the fox hiked its leg, the urine is exiting much farther back on the body than I would expect to be if this was a male. At least for me, the leg hike at a post is not limited to male foxes. Of course, I will openly acknowledge I have been wrong on many topics, and could be wrong again! Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

The report I received suggests someone is trying to set a trap to get the fox some help. The Park Service seldom steps in to save an injured animal, so hopefully it appears at a place outside the park’s boundaries.

You can check recent posts on Facebook by Bernie Scates and Lisa Wan for additional info on the fox. It looks like Lisa is the one that found it with the broken leg. I added a shot on Mike R. Jackson on Facebook. Also note: Lisa’s report suggests she has a torn ear, cut, and missing teeth. I believe all of those injuries predated the broken leg incident.

Fox with Mallard Duck

Fox with Mallard Duck Wing: This is the same fox taken on January 27th. “She” was polishing off a Mallard Duck wing she had apparently stashed in a snow bank. The shot I always wanted to capture was of her jumping into the water to attempt to catch a duck. I got close, but never the exact shot I was wanting. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Male Bluebird

Male Bluebird: I spent part of my morning and afternoon actively looking for Bluebirds. I saw a random one in several locations. My wife told me she saw around 15 all lined up on fence posts south of town as she was walking the bike path yesterday. I saw one near the turn in at the National Elk Refuge this afternoon, and after watching for a while, it became apparent there were LOTS of Bluebirds along the fence near the parking area. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Moose

Moose: This cow moose was grazing near Gros Ventre Junction. A younger one was by itself about 1/4 mile away towards Kelly and another adult was back in the cottonwoods south of the two. Some are beginning to look shaggy. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe: This image was taken yesterday on the National Elk Refuge. A nice sized group of them were south of the road, grazing away. Something spooked them and they bolted towards the butte. This one was a straggler trying to catch up. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Area News: The Craig Thomas Visitor’s Center is open again at Moose. I drove by to see Antelope Flats Road still locked. The road to the Chapel of the Transfiguration is still closed. The attendant at the entrance didn’t have specific opening dates, but said there has been talk of a “soft opening” for GTNP on the 15th. That’s next Tuesday. Hopefully, a few areas will open even sooner. The Inner Park Loop Road section is scheduled to be plowed next week. On April 1st (sometimes sooner), people can hike and bike the dry road, including with leashed pets.

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March 7, 2016 :

Bluebirds are back!...a few of them anyway. I’ve seen a couple along the fences on the National Elk Refuge. I’ve heard of someone seeing a Bluebird near the Kelly Warm Springs. The larger waves of Bluebirds should be coming soon. The males are always so beautiful at the first of the season. At lunch time, checked out the National Elk Refuge, and then made a loop up to Gros Ventre junction and back to town along Spring Gulch Road. Those are also good areas to spot them. I’ll post a photo as soon as I get close enough to one to make it worth while.

Nikon D5: I’ve had a D5 ordered since last summer (not sure what I would be called back then). They are scheduled for release on the 26th of March, which happens to be the same we get on a plane to go back to Sanibel Island, FL. If things go correctly, I should have mine on the 27th in Sanibel…so be sure to keep an eye here for some “hands on” shots.

Great Gray Owl

Behind the Scenes: For the past week or two, I have been busy culling photos and submitting the keepers to the US Copyright Office. I’ll be glad when that project is complete and I can spend more time in the field. The owl image above was captured last October. Despite a lot of looking, I haven’t seen one so far this year. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 6, 2016 :

Antelope Flats Road

Antelope Flats Road: The snow plows have been busy in GTNP lately. They’ve plowed Anteope Flats Road, Schwabacher Landing road, the road out to Lost Creek Ranch and many roads around Colter Bay. After plowing the areas, they have been putting up barricades and keeping them closed. Schwabacher Landing is closed to humans until May 1st, but the other areas should be open soon. We had rain most of the day. Expect the current snow pack to drop quickly. The mountains probably received a good layer of snow. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Trumpeter Swan Family

Trumpeter Swan Family: I stopped at the small pond north of the Jackson Hole Visitors Center on North Cache. As I was pulling the tripod out of the van, a Trumpeter landed in the pond containing eight or nine others, along with a few ducks and mergansers. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Scuffle

Scuffle: Two of the swans looked like they might fly, but instead chased another single Swan from their area.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Trumpeter Flapping

Trumpeter Flapping: After the action, both groups flapped their wings. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 5, 2016 :

Sunrise

Winter Sunrise: It took numerous attempts: too many clouds…not enough clouds…thick fog. Today, I finally hit it right. Snow is melting fast around the valley, so shots like this have a short window. This was taken near Triangle X Ranch.

Teton Range

Teton Range: This is a crop from a 35 megapixel capture. While there, I captured the same scene with four shot panoramic parts. It was a beautiful morning here in Jackson Hole!

Red Fox

Red Fox: Foxes seem to spend a lot of time curled up like this. I found this one in the northern part of the park. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Yawner

Yawner: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Stretcher

Stretcher: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Scratcher

Scratcher: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 4, 2016 :

Frosted Tetons

Frosted Tetons: Yesterday afternoon, I made a reconnaissance run into the park.  A park snow plow was working on Antelope Flats Road. Great!  I went back early this morning to find the road plowed, but the gate is still blocking traffic. We are expecting some warm weather today, so I’d expect the thin layer of snow and ice to melt very soon. Hopefully, they’ll open the gates in the next day or two! This shot was taken long before sunrise from Antelope Flats Road. I’d like to include some sort of foreground subject (like barns), but we are still limited on where we can go. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

The Grand

The Grand: I did a quick loop to Moose Junction. The road into the Chapel of the Transfiguration is still plowed in and snow covered. I took this image from Moose/Wilson Road. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Moose Crossing

Moose Crossing: I also made a quick drive out Gros Ventre Road and turned around just before Kelly. This cow Moose was standing along the stream. I moved to a good spot just as the sun started clearing the mountains and just as the moose crossed the river into a side channel. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Side Channel

Side Channel: These two images of the moose were taken within the first minute of sun light this morning. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

On the way back into town, I drove down Spring Gulch Road hoping to see deer, elk, coyotes, foxes, hawks, owls, eagles, and so forth. Always worth a drive, even if I don’t see much.

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker: I heard the familiar chirp of this bird in my back yard. I grabbed a camera and tripod and waited for it to land on a nearby tree. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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March 3, 2016 :

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: I found this raptor in a cottonwood tree just south of town. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: This pair was taking off from the pond at Boyle’s Hill. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bighorns: I did a quick drive out to the National Elk Refuge just before lunch. I saw and counted 46 in one area.

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March 2, 2016 :

Watching Fox

Watching Fox: I set the alarm for 5:30 am this morning and was out the door in the dark. The weather looked good in the south end of the valley…stars and a few clouds, but when I made it to the top of hill near the National Fish Hatchery, all I saw were clouds. I have a couple of place I still want to photograph while we still have snow, but that wasn’t going to happen today. I turned around and drove home. I got a lot of work done on the computer, then headed north after lunch. It all worked out in my favor, as I found a fox and got a few nice shots. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Fox on Snow

Fox on Snow: The early morning clouds blew off—except for the ones that clung to the Grand. By afternoon, I had broken clouds and a lot of variety of conditions. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Snow Fields

Snow Fields: There are quite a few “critter” tracks in this capture.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Close Quarters

Close Quarters: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

I kept my eyes open for Otters, Ermine, and other critters. Other than a couple of Ravens, a couple of Gray Jays, about the only other wildlife I saw were a few Trumpeter Swans. There’s still quite a bit of snow up north, and most of Oxbow Bend is frozen over. There’s a perfect opening for Otters, but I didn’t see a single track.

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March 1, 2016 :

All you have to do is click on March 2015 Daily Updates to get a feel of what to expect!  February ended about the same as the last of February in 2015. There’s minimal snow on the ground in the southern portion of the valley and a good snow pack in the mountains and at the base of the mountains. I expect an early exit by the wildlife on the National Elk Refuge—and that opens up all kinds of photographic opportunities! I’ve seen park snow plows out getting an early start on the season, including plowing the parking area at the Craig Thomas Visitor’s Center at Moose. Hopefully, they’ll plow Antelope Flats road and the road to the Chapel of the Transfiguration sooner than later this year.

The bulk of the tourists visit Jackson Hole during June through September, but they are potentially missing some of the best opportunities for wildlife in March and April. Of course, some of the animals are missing antlers and some of them are more shaggy than we’d all like, but it’s a natural stage in the yearly cycle…and well worth experiencing!

High Mountain Goat

Mountain Top Billy: Taken in the Snake River Canyon at the second pullout. Check out this post for more information about the pullouts: Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nanny and Kid

Nanny and Kid: Taken at the third pull-out. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nanny

Nanny: While I was in the Canyon, I found three Mountain Goats on the road licking salt. Semi trucks spook them off the road, but they usually go back for more. Some are shaggy. Some are almost pure white. Some have stained or muddy features. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.


You’ll find this initial entry “lean”, but I add to it constantly during the month. Please drop in regularly!

Teton Textures

If you haven’t been to the site lately, you might be interested in my NEW site called TetonTextures.com. Teton Textures is similar to this site, but it focuses on some artistic possibilities for post processing, including a few step-by-steps, links, resources, and information about the various Photoshop plug-ins you might find useful. If you like what you see, take a second and sign up to follow that site, too.

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February 2016 Daily Journal for GTNP & JH

“February is loaded with possibilities. Get out and find them! ”

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

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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February 29, 2016 : Leap Year

Bighorns

Bighorns: I’ve been neglecting the Bighorns on Miller Butte lately. I started taking photos of them in mid-November and continued all the way through the end of the year. At some point, you start to feel you have “enough” (for now) and start looking for other subjects. Today, as I was driving up to the butte, I saw a dozen or so sheep running across the upper rocks. At first, I thought they were being chased. Actually, I hoped they were being chased! Several of them stopped on a steep outcropping and stayed the entire time I was there. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Needless to say, some were close to the road, and even on the road. This one of the two Rams a few of us called “Chip”…notice the chip out of his right horn. The other one is almost identical. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Watch for a new March Daily Journal tomorrow. If you are not already signed up on this blog, click the Subscribe box and enter your email address, then hit the submit button!

March One-on-One Photography Excursions: I have several openings available in March. You can check out what I photographed in March (or any month for that matter) by clicking the appropriate month in the list near the top of the page. Here are links for the past two years: March 2015 :March 2014:  I should probably mention I offer the trips all year. September is probably going to be a good one and a couple of spots are already filled.

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February 28, 2016 :

Last Star

Last Star: It was still dark when I headed North this morning. I put a lot of faith in the “partly cloudy” weather report. Turns out, it was mostly cloudy over the Teton Range. I stopped along the highway to snap this shot, just to have a record shot of the morning.

River Otter On Ice

River Otter On Ice: I’ve seen a few otters this year, but today was the first time I’ve found one out of the water. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Otter and Creek Opening

Otter at Creek Opening: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Running Otter

Running Otter: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Red-winged BlackbirdRed-winged Blackbird: On the way back home, I stopped at the frozen pond just north of the Visitor’s Center. I saw and heard two Red-winged Blackbirds…first of the year for me. Trumpeter Swans were sleeping on the ice, but remained inactive while I was there.

 

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February 27, 2016 :

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: I found this resting bull Moose near Gros Ventre Junction, just as the first hints of light were washing the top of the Grand. The light dulled, so I headed on down the road. He was still in the same spot 45 minutes later! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: This is one of the few GTNP cabins or barns you can get to in the winter without a healthy hike. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Shane Cabin Window

Shane Cabin Window: Handheld from inside the cabin. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Grand Morning

Grand Morning: Taken along Ditch Creek after a short hike. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Taken along Flat Creek. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Flat Creek Moose

Moose in Flat Creek: I stopped by the house and grabbed my laptop, then headed south towards Snake River Canyon. I spotted these two in the creek near Smith’s grocery store here in town. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Falls Creek

Falls Creek: Earlier in the week, I stopped and took a few shots from the road. That was on a bright, sunny morning. Today, while overcast, I carried the tripod to roughly the same spot and took this 1/8th second shot.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny and Kid

Nanny and Kid: A small snow storm was supposed to roll through the area late in the morning. It did! I got lucky and found a couple of Mountain Goats in just the right locations to show off the falling snow. I filled up a couple of cards! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny

Nanny: Another shot from roughly the same spot. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Kid with Nanny

Kid with Nanny: The Nannys let their Kids roam around on all of the rock faces without any apparent concern. The little ones can go anywhere the adults travel.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

March One-on-One Photography Excursions: I have several openings available in March. You can check out what I photographed in March (or any month for that matter) by clicking the appropriate month in the list near the top of the page. Here are links for the past two years: March 2015 :March 2014:  I should probably mention I offer the trips all year. September is probably going to be a good one and a couple of spots are already filled.

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February 26, 2016 :

Third Party Photoshop Filters: I have a PC desktop computer here in my office/studio with a beautiful (old) 30″ Apple Cinema Display attached to it. I have to admit, I am spoiled! When I am out on the road, I take an Apple Macbook Pro. Yesterday, I spent some time adding my filter packages to the Mac that I had originally purchased to use on the PC. Amazingly, all of my packages loaded on both platforms with their single license except Filter Forge. They still require a separate license on both. I don’t use it enough to spend the extra money for it on the Mac. There are a few filter packages that are only offered on one platform or another, so of course, those weren’t candidates. If you are interested, you can see my list and comments at TetonTextures.com on this page: Resources: Software, Filters, Training.

While on the subject, anyone using the Adobe Creative Cloud can load the software on two computers for the same price. More importantly, you can load it on two PCs (like a desktop and a laptop), two Macs, or one of each. Before the CC offerings, we had to buy individual software licenses if you needed to install it on the two platforms and most of the filter packages needed two licenses. It was extremely expensive to keep everything up to date!

GV Cow MooseWildlife—Just a quick update: Our area had a spurt of opportunities to see and photograph foxes. I don’t know if they are now out of view and digging dens, finding new terrain, or if coyotes are spooking them off their recent hunting areas, but they have been less visible lately. As I drive around the valley, it looks more an more like the snow level is beginning to favor Owl activity. I had a report of a Great Gray Owl recently, so keep an eye out for them. Mountain Goats and Trumpeter Swans might be the hot ticket for a while. I hear some of the Bighorns are moving off Miller Butte and towards Curtis Canyon. Last year, the Shrine Club had to cancel their Cutter races due to lack of snow in February. We have more on the ground this year than last year, but the warm temperatures of February melted a lot of the snow, making it easy for animals like Moose and Deer to graze and move around.

Mountain Goats on Rocky Slopes

After a morning of working on office tasks, I headed down the Snake River Canyon. At least while I was there, the Mountain Goats were fairly high on the rock walls. This one was cropped from a 600mm capture. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mountain Goat Kid

Mountain Goat Kid: This is probably the same “kid” I photographed earlier in the week. I didn’t see a Nanny nearby on either days, but it seems to be doing fine on his own. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Evening Thrasher

Evening Thrasher: On the way home, I spotted the shadow from the pulley wheel of this old thrasher. I went back for the last few minutes of evening light. I should be adding a new post on TetonTextures.com later tonight with a series of steps I took this image through to get to this spot. I used Topaz Texture Effects, Nik Analog Efex, Nik Color Efex, Nik Silver Efex, and On1 10 Texturizer.  TetonTextures is all about options for post processing images! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 25, 2016 :

Topaz Labs:  I just received a notice about the new release of Topaz DeNoise6. If you already own any of the previous versions, the upgrade is (always) free. Topaz and Nik are a couple of my favorite filter packages, used regularly here and on TetonTextures.com. They are running a special $30 off right now on DeNoise6. Use the coupon code: noisefree. I just downloaded it on my Mac and will add it to the PC tonight. The examples look pretty good for recovering high ISO, noisy images. MJ

Kelly Wagon

Kelly Wagon: I’ve posted a similar photo before, but included this one to show the snow pack. It might still be early for any kind of mass migration off the National Elk Refuge, but some may start soon. Bitterbrush is becoming much more visible, where a month ago it was buried under a 3′ layer of snow. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Evening Spruce

Evening Spruce: This old Spruce tree trunk sits in a little meadow just off the Gros Ventre Road. It is leaning more this year, so I doubt we’ll continue to see if many more years. Looks like a lot of cavity birds have made it home over the years. I shot this one from the road, but I’d like to get off the road and get much lower so most of the tree would be lit against the dark grove of Spruce…..someday? D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: I spotted this Bull on my way out to Kelly, but waited to stop on my way back when I though the light would be better. He was bedded down at the time, too. There were four moose clustered fairly close to each other near the big pullout along the Gros Ventre. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Aspen Stand

Aspen Stand: Evening light and dark shadows can make even the most common of shots look so much better! I am guessing this shot will someday get used in a composition on TetonTextures.com.

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February 24, 2016 :

Moonset Over the Grand

Moonset At Snake River Overlook: I was out early for this one. Whether you take a single photo or not, this is a wonderful experience! D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Moonset over the Grand

Moonset over the Grand: I ran back to the van for the telephoto lens for this one. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Moonset over the Grand

Moonset at the Grand’s North Face: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Buck Rail Fence and Setting Moon

Buck Rail Fence and Setting Moon: Taken from the highway south of Triangle X Ranch. It was -5° for most of the morning today. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Swan Group

Swan Family: There were a few pockets of open water after a cold night. Trumpeter Swans sometimes get active just after the morning sun hits them. Right now, that happens around 8:30 AM. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Single Swan

Single Swan: The other three swans left the opening. All I had to do was wait! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

February and March One-on-One Photography Excursions: I have openings in most of February still available and several spots in March. You can check out what I photographed in February (or any month for that matter) by clicking the appropriate month in the list near the top of the page. Here are links for the past two years:  February 2015:February 2014:  I should probably mention I offer the trips all year. September is probably going to be a good one and a couple of spots are already filled.

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February 23, 2016 :

Sanibel Dreaming

Sanibel Dreaming: This is a crop of an image I just added to TetonTextures.com. The composite consists of numerous images I captured last April at Sanibel Island, near Fort Myers, FL. Here’s the link: Sanibel Dreaming

There are a lot more photos from our Sanibel Trip on this page of my Best of the Tetons Blog. I used a Nikon D4 and either a Tamron 150-600 or Nikon 24-70mm on most of the images…much like I do here in the Tetons.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee: A basic shot with a bit of texture. I took this one in my back yard this afternoon. Yesterday, I had planned on doing work around the house, but ended up in the Snake River Canyon. I stayed home today, instead. From all I could tell from my office window, there were no clouds this morning.

Sanibel Dreaming Version 2

Sanibel Dreaming Version 2: Tonight, I reworked some of this morning’s image. The more I looked at it, the more the Reddish Heron started looking like a Teradactle. Go to this page to see it much larger:  Sanibel Dreaming. You might find ways of making interesting Grand Teton compositions of your own. MJ

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February 22, 2016 :

Mtn. Goat Climbing

Nanny Climbing: Mountain Goats were scattered in several areas of the lower portion of the Snake River Canyon today. If you haven’t found the page, check out this previous post. Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon: It contains some useful information and maps showing where to look if you go down. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Kid Portrait

Kid Portrait: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Kid in Snow

Kid in Snow: This little one was on the rocks all by himself as a snow storm passed through. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 21, 2016 : 3 Weeks into February

Wildlife Status: We seem to be in an interesting time of the year. Right now, we have less snow pack in the valley than some years. The mountains still have plenty of snow. Moose are less common now…many may be munching resident’s trees in town and in the subdivisions near the Park. I’ve seen Moose along the Gros Ventre near Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis, resting on the greens of the golf course. Bison are staying out of sight on the north end of the National Elk Refuge. Mule Deer are commonly seen along the highway just north of town and in Kelly. Some of the bucks are beginning to shed their antlers. There are plenty of Elk on the refuge (7,000+). The rides are now on  rubber wheeled wagons instead of sleighs. The Refuge is feeding the elk, so they are congregated into several large groups. Some elk are hanging along the highway near the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Of course, bears are hibernating and out of sight. Some bears are reported to leave their den for a while on warm days. Bighorns can still be seen on and around Miller Butte, but are well past the rut and their coats are bleaching. Mountain Goats are usually more visible in late February and early March. Small critters are on my “radar” at the moment—mostly Foxes. Their coats are full and beautiful. Foxes are active and visible in many areas of the valley. Wolves are around…but you more or less have to be lucky to see them. Watch for Wolves wherever there are mule deer and elk. If the snow continues to melt on the valley floor, some of the game on the Refuge will begin to move to the edges. Like last year, Owls have been scarce. Trumpeter Swans and Eagles are much more commonly seen. People are seeing occasional River Otters, and an occasional Mink along Flat Creek.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Captured along Flat Creek this morning. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Take-Off

Take-Off: Taken a few minutes later. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Common Golden-eye

Common Golden-eye: Also taken along Flat Creek. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Morning Smoke

Morning Smoke: I saw this from the road and turned around to capture it. I liked the dark background and back lit smoke. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Falls Creek

Falls Creek tumbles into the Snake River just south of Hoback Junction. I shot this one from the road with a telephoto since the spot is on private property. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Fence

Fence: I saw this interesting fence line while walking back to my vehicle from taking shots of the falls. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Wreath

Christmas Wreath: This is one of the most creative wreaths I’ve sever seen. I found it at the end of one of the many dead-end roads around here. I was heading south in the Snake River Canyon to photograph Mountain Goats, but knew I was early. Just killing time and seeing new parts of Wyoming! D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Goats on the Road

Goats on the Road: I am lucky I didn’t go down too many other dead-end roads…when I got there, the Mountain Goats were on the road and stopping traffic. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Ridge Line

Ridge Line on Goat Rock: Taken from the road.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Goat Rock

Goat Rock: A few of us affectionately call this large outcropping “Goat Rock”. If it has an official name, I don’t know it. There’s a power line running the length of the canyon, so it takes a little creative cropping and often a telephoto lens. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Goat Inspecting the Other Side

Goat Inspecting the Other Side: I hardly ever see Mountain Goats on the river side of the highway. This Nanny was inspecting the greener pastures. This event only lasted a few seconds. I spun and shot. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

State Trooper

State Trooper: All good things must come to an end…right? The State Trooper drove up with his lights flashing and sounded a variety of sirens and whistles to run the goats off the road and up the hill. I had a nice chat with him, just making sure my vehicle was off the road far enough. He told me they have had to deal with several rear end collisions caused by people stopping in the road.  If you go there, do yourself and everyone else a favor and pull completely off the road or in one of the pull outs! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Goats on Wire Mesh

Goats on Wire Mesh: The section of the mountain near Goat Rock has wire mesh along it to help keep rocks and boulders from rolling into the road. It can ruin a lot of the better opportunities along the road. After the sirens, all of the Goats ran up the hill. They climb with ease over the wire mesh. Within about 15 minutes after the patrolman left, many of the goats were heading back to the road.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Ball of Fluff

Ball of Fluff: The young Mountain Goats (kids) can be quite animated. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

The Kid

The Kid: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny on the Slopes

Nanny on the Slopes: The wire mesh is only a foot or two out of the edge of this shot. Much of the snow has melted on the hillside, but if you watch for opportunities, you can capture a Mountain Goat in pristine conditions. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 20, 2016 :

Today, I made a trip to “the Great White North”! (not Alaska…the north end of Grand Teton National Park).

Red Fox in Winter

Red Fox in Winter: I believe I got to photograph two different Red Foxes today. They were in the same area, but one has a small scab on the left side of its muzzle, just behind the nose. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Alert Red Fox

Alert Red Fox: In the bright reflected light, many Foxes squint. The challenge is to snap the shot at a time when they are alert and have their eyes open. This one has the scab on its nose.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Lounging Fox

Lounging Fox: On extremely cold days, foxes curl up into a little ball of fur. This one was just waking up and had finished stretching on the snow. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Fox with Flakes

Fox with Flakes: A few waves of snow worked their way through the park. I would have liked a lot more chances for this kind of shot! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Wolves: I received this information from the National Elk Refuge: “14 wolves were observed in Poverty Flats/Chambers area on 13 February 16.  These are all likely members of the Pinnacle Peak Pack.  Wolves have regularly been in the Poverty Flats area and the area northeast of Miller Butte for the past week and in the McBride area in the week before that.” I also received a reliable report of wolves being seen on and around Slide Lake near the Atherton Creek Campground.

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February 19, 2016 :

Teton Textures

Gears: If you are a photographer and have Adobe Lightroom, you might find this TetonTextures.com post of interest: Gears: & Lightroom Collections. The image above was built using numerous images I “gathered” from my current Lightroom catalog. Collections and Smart Collections are great tools for stashing images you might want to work on later. Smart Collections are a good way of finding specific subject matter scattered across multiple drives, multiple folders, and a captured on different trips.

Resting Nanny

Resting Nanny: Late yesterday, the snow storm sent me packin’. By late in the day today, the same snow storm had essentially melted in the Snake River Canyon. This Mountain Goat nanny was relatively close to the road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Resting Herd

Resting Herd: Just up the canyon, another small band of Mountain Goats were resting. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mtn. Goat

Mtn. Goat: This single Mountain Goat was several hundred yards from the road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny on Bare Hillside

Nanny on Bare Hillside: Within about 45 minutes, the resting Goat stood up and grazed on the knoll before heading up the mountain. I would have loved to find this goat at this distance yesterday with the snow falling!  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 18, 2016 :

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: I made a morning trip down the Snake River Canyon and found a few scattered goats—some the ledges. This one posed on the rocky perch for at least 15 minutes. At times, I had blue patches of sky and bands of beautiful light washing the outcroppings. A nice herd was working their way down when a winter storm hit the area. After about an hour of heavy snow, they were nowhere to be found! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 17, 2016 :

Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn: I made the hike out to Mormon Row this morning. With the recent warming, the snow has settled and packed considerably.  I hiked in from the West side over snowmobile tracks, but anytime I got off the tracks, I sunk in to about my kneecaps. If you go, I’d highly recommend having a pair of snow shoes. I captured a few dozen images, then figured I should head on back before the snow softened. D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Dancing Foxes

Dancing Foxes: You might enjoy seeing some of steps and layers I used for this image. Click the link to go to Teton Textures!

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February 16, 2016 :

Aspen Bark

Aspen Bark: The day started out slow…and dark. There were a few distant Sage Grouse near Kelly and a few Mule Deer hanging around Kelly. A cow Moose and two year old calf were along the GV near GV Junction, but too far out and too dark for a good shot. Another couple of Moose were in the river bottom on the Gros Ventre. A few coyotes were in the pastures at Elk Flats, but again, were too far out. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend: The morning clouds began to break in areas and the low clouds started pulling back on the Tetons. There’s an open pool at Oxbow, with a few tracks around the edges, but I didn’t see otters there today. D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Red Fox

Red Fox: Around noon, things began to pick up in the northern end of the park. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Stretching Red Fox

Stretching Red Fox: Foxes on snow are hard to beat! Winter is the time to see them with their full, beautiful coats.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Gray Jay

Gray Jay: Stellar’s Jays and Gray Jays prefer conifer forests. I’d love to see them in my back yard, but they just don’t come around. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Gray Jay on Snow

Gray Jay on Snow: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

National Elk Refuge

National Elk Refuge: There were a lot of cow and calf elk near the Miller House on the National Elk Refuge. Temperatures have been in the mid-40s lately, melting some of the valley’s snow pack. Besides the elk, there were a couple dozen bighorns on the refuge. Their dark fur has begun to bleach out. A Golden Eagle was feeding on a carcass, but too far out for me. D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek.  There were numerous Trumpeter Swans, ducks, and geese along the creek, plus a lone River Otter. I had put the camera away at the time, but it was nice to see it. I’ve heard of a Mink in the area, too. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 15, 2016 : Presidents Day

Cutter Races

Zoom: I created this image and featured it on Best of the Tetons’ sister site, Teton Textures. I included information on how I achieved the effects. Check it out! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Winter Rainbow

Winter Rainbow: I drove north at lunch time and saw this unusual winter rainbow.

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February 14, 2016 : Valentine’s Day

Cutter Races

Cutter Races: Instead of filling this page up, I’ll go ahead and create a new Feature Post with half a dozen shots from today’s Cutter Races at Melody Ranch. Now would be a GREAT time to sign up to follow Best of the Tetons! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

New Feature Post: 45th Annual Shrine Club Cutter Races ~2016

Late Winter Sunrise

Late Winter Sunrise: While at it, you might want to sign up to follow my new site: TetonTextures.com This is a small crop of the larger image featuring a couple of Surface Blur effects and some additional layering.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: Earlier in the month, I drove through Teton Valley (the Idaho side) and captured an image of a Bald Eagle. You can see the original image on the February 3rd entry near the bottom of this page. I am in the process of making a new page at TetonTextures.com with some of the steps and layers I used to create the image above.

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February 13, 2016 :

Hillside Cross Fox

Hillside Fox: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Morning_CrossFox_900px

I just posted this image on TetonTextures.com

I included a quick rundown of the steps I went through to create the image. Check it out! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Goat on the Edge

Goat on the Edge: There were a lot of people in town today for the Cutter Races. I headed south to see if I could get lucky again today. It was much slower, but I saw a few fairly close to the road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Unique Elk

Unique Elk: I went out on a sleigh ride to the National Elk Refuge last year. The driver said bulls with odd shaped antlers seldom get to breed with the cows. This bull has some sort of deformity on his left antler. When zoomed in, it didn’t appear to be broken and even displayed a tendency to point downwards. He also has an unusual palmated antler on the good side. The elk was alone in the Snake River canyon near areas where I sometimes see Mountain Goats. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 12, 2016 :

Teton Pass

Sunrise on Teton Pass: I got up early and headed over the Pass this morning. The plan was to find some of the barns and structures, then head home via the Snake River Canyon. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Victor, ID Barn

Victor, ID BarnD810 and Nikon 70-2000mm lens

Victor Hawk

Victor Hawk: I found several hawks and one Bald Eagle today, but they were on telephone posts. When they flew, they flew away from me today, so I didn’t get flight shots.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny and Kid

Nanny and Kid: I had a good day with Mountain Goats today. Five of them were in, or on, the rocks most of the time I was there.  D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Nanny on Ridge

Nanny on Ridge: There have been numerous avalanches in the lower portion of the Snake River Canyon. I’ve always theorized that was the necessary trigger to begin seeing Mountain Goats there. The area hasn’t had new snow in over a week, so some of the slopes are showing new grass chutes. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Agile Climber

Agile Climber: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Mtn. Goat on Teton TexturesThis is a small crop of a larger image I just posted on TetonTextures.com

I included a quick rundown of the steps I went through to create the image.

Check it out!

Grouse

Grouse: I found this Ruffed Grouse in my back yard when I returned from my morning Idaho loop.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: This bird showed up while I was photographing the Grouse.

Eurasian Collard Doves

Eurasian Collard DovesD810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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February 11, 2016 :

Spring Gulch Road

Spring Gulch Road: The last thing I did last night before heading to bed was to check the weather report for Jackson Hole and also Teton Valley. Both said it would be “Cloudy” this morning. Not “Partly Cloud”. I didn’t set the alarm, and didn’t plan on leaving early. Well…it was a beautiful morning with a dark clouds behind the Tetons. I know because I could see it from my window. Spring Gulch is in shadows for much of the morning. I like to make that drive towards the park when I am not in a hurry and usually a little later in the morning. I’m always looking for foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks, ermine, weasels, and owls on that road. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: I composited this images using two captures. I focused on the fence in the first one, then the barn in the second one. In Photoshop, I merged the two using the Auto-Blend Layers tool. The steps are fairly easy. If you are interested in the actual steps, check out Focus Stacking: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Senior PassFor $10 and 62 years, you can get your very own Senior Pass—good for all National Parks, Monuments, and National Recreational Lands. I turned 62 today and plunked down my $10 bill. This is an iPhone image…not great, but it did the job.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans:  I drove over to Boyle’s Hill for the remains of the afternoon light. None flew out while I was there, but these two Trumpeters flew in from the south. The temperature got up to around 44°F this afternoon.

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February 10, 2016 :

Warehouse Windows

Warehouse Windows:

How about a brand new site!….TetonTextures.com
I spend a lot of time taking photos of subjects other than moose, deer, elk, foxes, and landscapes, but never know where to post them. I believe most people are coming here to learn where the animals are and check on the landscape opportunities. This sister site has a different look and feel, and it definitely has a different mission statement. Besides the textured and layered images, there are links for textures, actions, filters, and training sources. If you like what you see there, please sign up to follow that site, too!

Afternoon Outing

We had thick fog this morning. Since I captured quite a few images of it yesterday, I stayed home and worked on a few of the pages on the new site. The fog burned off after lunch, so I made a quick run around the south end of the Park and then out to the National Elk Refuge.