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December 2017 Daily Journal for JH & GTNP

“Short days with lots of possibilities” 

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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

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

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December 10, 2017 – Sunday

Grand and Morning Ducks

Grand and Morning Ducks: Captured near the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

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

Alert Bull Moose

Alert Bull Moose: Taken in the sage flats north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Fleeing Moose

Fleeing Moose: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Sparring Bull Moose

Sparring Bull Moose: The cottonwoods in the distance run along Ditch Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Captured on the National Elk Refuge.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Snake and Grand Sunset

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

Snake and Grand Sunset

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

Steel Cover

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

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

Best of the Tetons Photo Tours

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December 9, 2017 – Saturday

Coyote

Coyote: This morning, I made a loop around Kelly—mainly looking for Moose. The ones I saw were out in the sage. I heard a few Bison have been hanging around the Elk Flats area, so I headed that direction just for “something” to capture. I saw four or five canines running across the pasture and got to a spot as quickly as possible. I was hoping they were Wolves, but Coyotes would be fine for today. I wasn’t set up for speedy Coyotes, originally thinking I’d be seeing lumbering Moose or Bison. This isn’t a great shot, but hopefully it will be better prepared for what “might happen”. I talk about that all the time with my tour clients, but today, I didn’t follow my own advice! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison

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

Elk Ranch and Mt. Moran

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

Elk Ranch Cabins

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

Frosted Aspens

Frosted Aspens: I shot this one mainly as a texture image. The fog and low clouds cling to and freeze on grass and branches—sometimes call hoar frost. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Oxbow Pano

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

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December 8, 2017 – Friday

Bighorns on the Road

Bighorns on the National Elk Refuge: I took this timely shot today before seeing this article in the JH News & Guide: Sheep showing signs of pneumonia. Refuge officials are asking people NOT to let the sheep lick salt and chemicals from their vehicles. It is common to see groups of Bighorns on the road going from vehicle to vehicle. They were trying to get to my truck, but I kept pushing them away. They found another vehicle to attack. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

 

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

Broadside

Broadside: I took this shot on the 5th, but had already posted a lot of images that day. The youngster is probably 3 years old. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 7, 2017 – Thursday

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: This owl was tucked deep into the branches. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Power Station

Power Station: Something different captured in the late evening in Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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December 6, 2017 – Wednesday

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

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

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

I’d love to get a few dozen new subscribers this month. Just add your email address above and hit the Subscribe NOW button! I have a couple of interesting Feature Posts on the drawing board right now. Be the first to get notifications!

Morning Outing

Chambers Homestead

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

Moulton Barn and Low Clouds

TA Moulton Barn: I like to occasionally take photos of scenes that most people would never think were taken in Grand Teton National Park. I’ve taken quite a few similar photos over the years, but they seldom look the same. This morning, the low cloud was lifting while part of the barn was in shadows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: This photo falls in line with the other two. This shot looks much different with moody low clouds, long shadows, and the first light of morning. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Setting Moon

Setting Moon: I had to drive quite a ways up the East Boundary Road to get the moon near the Grand. This shot might have been better two days ago, but the clouds covered everything on the West side of the valley. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Oil Stain

Oil Stain: I stopped to take this photo a couple of days ago along the asphalt covered portion of the Moose-Wilson Road. I had already taken a few thousand images of a bull Moose in the pond, but I still like to photograph most anything that catches my eye. Later today, I’ll probably be back in “wildlife mode” at Miller Butte later this afternoon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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

Afternoon Outing

Ram On Ridge

Ram On Ridge: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram on Hillside

Ram on Hillside: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram Pair On Slope

Ram Pair On Slope: With my zoom lens, I have tight shots of both Bighorns, but I pulled back and took a few “environmental” shots today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram with Rocks

Ram with Rocks: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram with Grasses

Ram with Grasses: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 5, 2017 – Tuesday

Wedding Trees

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

Wedding Trees

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

Ram on the Rim

Ram on the Rim: This ram was high on Miller butte—a bit out of my range—but I liked the stoic pose enough to snap off a shot. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Approaching Bighorn Ram

Approaching Bighorn Ram: This Ram was coming straight towards me for several shots before turning off to the right. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Lamb on a Rock

Lamb on a Rock: I was about to drive off when I saw this youngster on one of the boulders next to the parking lot. I jumped back out for a quick shot before it jumped off to join its mother. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Rams Bashing

Rams BashingNikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Ram Chase

Ram Chase: This chase probably covered two miles before ending at the rocks below. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handhald with VC Off.

Ram Chase

Cliff Stopping Point: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 4, 2017 – Monday

Early Morning Moose

Early Morning Moose: Two of eight bull Moose seen early this morning north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull and Cow Moose

Bull and Cow Moose: Found on the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Bull with Aspen Reflections

Bull with Aspen Reflections: Same bull in one of the ponds along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose with Dripping Water

Bull Moose with Dripping Water: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns

Bighorns: A quick head butt on Miller Butte at the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Chases can happen unexpectedly and last only a few minutes. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 3, 2017 – Sunday

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser: Captured along Flat Creek. I am always watching for these beautiful ducks. Found one today!  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Two Rams

Two Rams: Captured at the base of Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

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December 2, 2017 – Saturday

Alpenglow at Mormon Row

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

Morning Light

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

Bull in Sage

Bull in Sage: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

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December 1, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram

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

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

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

Muskrat on Ice

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

Swans in Flight

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

December 1st Morning Outing

Moose In Gros Ventre

Moose In Gros Ventre: This morning, I spent a fair amount of my time in the Kelly and Gros Ventre area, watching for Wolves, Bears, Deer, and Moose. The Moose above was #21 I saw this morning, spotted in the Gros Ventre river basin. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Moose In Gros Ventre

Buck Mule Deer In Gros Ventre: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Elk on the Refuge

Elk on the Refuge: By the time I was heading towards town, most of the bull Elk had already bedded down, but I pulled over to document on the December 1st post they are now showing up. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Bighorn Group

Bighorn Group: Captured on the National Elk Refuge. The rut is getting underway with Rams much more interested in the Ewes. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: I kept waiting for this Ram to turn his head more in my direction. This shot shows how some of the rams “broom” the tips of their horns. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-500mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

 

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

Winter Closure Map

Winter Closure Map

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

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

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

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

Winter Road Closures

Winter Road Closures

Winter Closure Maps in PDF format:

 

Three Moody Minutes of Changing Light

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

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

Miller House

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

Miller House

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

Miller House

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

Miller House

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

Miller House

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

Miller House

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

Modified Image

Miller House

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

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

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

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


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

Bull Moose: GTNP’s Boys of Fall

A collection of 2017’s Cast of Characters

Early Winter Moose

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

Washakie

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

Fremont

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

Jedediah

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

Twister

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

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

Firecracker

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

Faux Firecracker

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

Moose Wilson Moose

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

Spatch

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

Junior

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

Junior Moose

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

Double Deuce

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

Uni Tines

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

3 x 2

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

Challenger and Mid-Sized Bull

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

SlenderTines

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

West Bank Bull

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

Willow Flats

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


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

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


Additional Moose Pages


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November 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

“Snow and a new cast of characters appears” 

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

Daily Updates Archives: ~
2017: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May:Apr:Mar: | Feb: Jan: |
2016: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan: 
2015: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
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Check Out These TWO Popular Pages: If I Had Only One Winter Day in the Tetons: and A Trip to Jackson Hole

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November 30, 2017 – Thursday

Approaching Bighorn Ram

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

Rams

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

Lip Curl

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

Swans in Flight

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

Swans on Ice

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

Swans in Flight

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

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

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

Winter Closure Map

Winter Closure Map

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

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

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

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

 

Winter Road Closures

Winter Road Closures

Winter Closure Maps in PDF format:

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November 29, 2017 – Wednesday

Bull Moose Crossing Sage

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

Bull Moose

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

Highway Crossing

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

Pair of Mallards

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

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

Teton Photo Excursions

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November 27, 2017 – Tuesday

Lone Tree

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

Bull Moose

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

Elk on the Run

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

Elk Herd with No Place to Go

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

Roadside Hunter

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

Frosted Leaves

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

Bighorns Rams

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

Bighorn Rams and Ewe

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

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November 27, 2017 – Monday

Bighorns on the Refuge

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

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

Trumpeter Swan

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

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

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

JH NEWS & GUIDE: New fee schedule would sink tourism

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

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November 26, 2017 – Sunday

Jackson Town Square

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

Antler Arches

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

Mt. Moran Reflections

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

Mt. Moran Reflections

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

Teton Range Reflections

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

Teton Range Reflections

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

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

Ice Patterns

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

Swans in Flight

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

Pair of Trumpeters

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

Landing Swan

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

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November 25, 2017 – Saturday

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook

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

Moose in Sage

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

Resting Bull Moose

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

Moose in Pond

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

Bighorns

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

Great Gray Owl

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

Scratching GGO

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

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November 24, 2017 – Friday

Barrow's Golden Eye:

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

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

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November 23, 2017 – Thanksgiving!

Turkey Dinner 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner 2017:

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

Happy Thanksgiving

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

Almost Dark

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

SRO Pano

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

Bulls on the Move

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

Buck Mountain

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

Bighorn Ram

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

Ewe and Lamb

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

Cygnet

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

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November 22, 2017 – Wednesday

Gaggle of Geese

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

In the news:

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

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

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

Elk on the Run

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

Elk on the Run

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

Ram's Head

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

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November 21, 2017 – Tuesday

Bull Moose Entering Water

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

Cow Moose

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

Bull Moose by Water

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

Young Bull Moose

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

Calf on the Move

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

Bull Moose in Pond

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

Bighorns Bashing

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

Bighorns Bashing

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

Gathering of Rams

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

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November 20, 2017 – Monday

Bison Bull

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

Bighorn Ram with Falling Snow

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

Ram Heads

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

Rams

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

Rams

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

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

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November 19, 2017 -Sunday

Wedding Trees

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

Morning Range

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

Bull Moose

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

Sparring Bulls

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

Teton Range in Mid-Morning

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

Red Fox

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

Frozen Oxbow Bend

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

Bighorn Ewe

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

Bighorn Ram

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

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

Rams

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

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November 18, 2017 – Saturday

Chapel of the Transfiguration

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

Chapel of the Transfiguration

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

Ermine

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

Bull Moose

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

SlenderTines

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

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November 17, 2017 – Friday

Winter Barn

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

Wagon Wheels

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

Boys of Fall

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

Bighorn Lamb

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

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November 16, 2017 – Thursday

Misty Elk

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

Migrating Elk

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

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

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November 15, 2017 – Wednesday

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

Springs Creeks

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

Springs Creeks

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

Two Bucks

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Ruddy Duck

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

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November 14, 2017 – Tuesday

Ram

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

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

Red Squirrel

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

Black-billed Magpie

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

Log Cabin

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

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

Sleeping Indian

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

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November 13, 2017 – Monday

The Morning Peaks

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

Prairie Homestead

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

John Moulton Homestead

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

Bull Moose in Sage

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

Buck Mile Deer

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

Flying Trumpeter Swans

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

Landing Trumpeters

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

Stretching Swan

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

Bird Feeders

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

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November 12, 2017 – Sunday

Morning Clouds at Mormon Row

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

TA Moulton Barn

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

Dripping Moose

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

Dripping Moose

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

Barrow's Golden-eye

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

Steller's Jay

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

Stellers Jay

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

Red-breasted Nuthatch

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

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November 11, 2017 – Veteran’s Day

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Bull Moose

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

Bull Moose

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

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

Downey Woodpecker

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

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November 10, 2017 – Friday

Bull Moose

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

Sparring Bull Moose

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

Chambers Homestead

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

Murphy Barn

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

Murphy Homestead

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

The Window

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

Afternoon Light

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

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November 9, 2017 – Thursday

Teton Range

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

Moose with Mt. Moran

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

Moose in Sage

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

Barrows Golden Eyes

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

Trumpeter Swan Take Off

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

Rams

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

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

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

Rams

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

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November 8, 2017 – Wednesday

Bull Moose in Winter Sage

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Ram

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

Trumpeter Swan

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

Swans On Ice

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

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November 7, 2017 – Tuesday

Low Morning Clouds

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

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

Red Fox

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

Red Fox

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

Swans

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

Bison and Tetons

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

Take-Off

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

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November 6, 2017 – Monday

Common Merganser

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

Unknown Duck

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

Canada Goose

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

Canada Goose

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

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

Head color and pattern.

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

Bighorn Ewes and Lambs

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

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November 5, 2017 – Sunday

Setting Moon

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

Bands of Light

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

Four Bulls

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

Sparring Bulls

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

Bull At Water

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

Creek Crossing

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Resting Bull

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

Trumpeter Swan

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

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November 4, 2017 – Saturday

Spring Gulch Bridge

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

Spring Creek

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

Lucas Barn

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

Box L Barns

Box L Barns: The L in Box L is part of the Lucas family. Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Brown Ranch

Brown Ranch: This old barn is located between the town of Jackson and Wilson. I was watching the barn during foliage season, but the heavy winds blew the leaves off in one day. Nikon D850 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

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November 3, 2017 – Friday

Another dark and rainy day here in Jackson Hole. As a Commercial Use Permit holder in GTNP and the National Elk Refuge, I get lots of official notices. This one advises everyone of changes in a few of the GTNP permits starting on January 1st of 2018. (17-72) Special Use Permit Fees Adjusted for 2018

Heavy snow in the high country and forecasts of additional snow should start pushing Elk towards the Refuge and possibly Bighorns to Miller Butte.

Moose Pair

Moose Pair: I stayed in most of the morning, waiting for more light in the afternoon. These two were moving along the Highway near the JH Airport. I was standing on the bike path when I took this shot. FYI, the bike path along the National Elk Refuge is closed now. While the signs along the fence are not clear on the subject, it is “illegal” to cross the path to be able to shoot through the fence along the Refuge.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk: On the 1st, I mentioned we can expect Rough-legged Hawks moving in to take over the hunting territories of the Red-tailed Hawks. Right on queue, this beautiful raptor appeared today. This one was near the Kelly Hot Springs. They are often seen on the fence posts along the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld (over a bean bag) with VC On.

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal: This male was in the small pond next to the Visitors Center on North Cache. The green on the wing is much more visible on the females. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Resting Bull

Resting Bull: This bull was moving across the sagebrush along the Gros Ventre. I waited for him to cross the river, but he never showed up. After about a 3/4 mile hike, I found him bedded down in the sage next to the cottonwoods. Temperatures hovered in the mid-30s today, so all of the precipitation in the valley was either rain or drizzle, as seen in this shot. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Other Valley Notes: I drove to Schwabacher Landing this afternoon only to find the gate locked at the highway entrance. The Elk Hunt is over in the north section of GTNP. Check yesterday’s map for info on the Area 75 Hunt zone where you might be well advised to wear orange if hiking around. I did a quick loop out to the National Elk Refuge to check on Bighorn Sheep. It was quiet there, with no visible Bighorns or Elk. I heard a report of someone seeing Wolves along the Moose-Wilson Road a couple of days ago.

Moose Hockey

Entertainment: If you are interested in a little rough and tumble entertainment, Moose Hockey begins tonight and continues tomorrow at the Snow King Center. They face off against Bozeman, MT. Adult admission is $10.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Moose Hockey

Moose Hockey: When I left the rink (near the end of the second period), the Jackson Moose were leading Bozeman 5 to 3. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Moose Hockey

Moose Hockey: Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

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November 2, 2017 – Thursday

Early Report: It rained all evening here in town, but was probably snowing north. This morning, we woke up to about 2″ of fresh snow.

Yesterday’s “first of November” entry was fairly lengthy, but was a good way to kick off the month. The info in today’s entry should be helpful if you are in the valley.

Elk Reduction Program Began Saturday, October 28 in Grand Teton National Park. The areas of the park open to the program, Elk Reduction Areas 75 and 79, are mostly located east of U.S. Highway 89. Area 79, the more northerly section, closes October 31. The Antelope Flats portion of area 75 closes November 30, and the remaining portions of area 75 close December 10. These areas remain open to park visitors, and the wearing of orange or other bright colors is highly recommended during this time.” GTNP Document:  Elk Reduction Program Begins October 28.pdf

Elk Reduction Map

The map above should give tourists and photographers a good idea where to “be careful” and wear orange if hiking around in the yellow zones. Click the PDF link above for specifics on the hunt.

Winter Homestead

Winter Homestead: Winter would have been long for the Mormon Row Homesteaders. ~ Taken from Antelope Flats Road. I took one wide shot, then zoomed in and took three of the same area that I stitched in LR. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Three Bulls

Three Bulls: Taken in the early morning with snow falling and limited light. These bulls were along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Moose Cow and Calf

Moose Cow and Calf: Most of the newer Nikon bodies have a “Group Area” focus option. I don’t use it that too often, but in falling snow, it seems to do a better job of staying on the animal and not grabbing flakes. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Moose Cow and Calf

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

Moose With Twigs

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

Sparring Bulls

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

Resting Bull Moose

Resting Bull Moose: I stayed with the group of four bulls this morning until they bedded down. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Business Access in GTNP: About the only place open in GTNP is the Visitor’s Center at Moose. You may still be able to buy gas at a few of the credit card pumps, but I don’t believe the facilities fill the tanks during the winter. There are no restaurants or convenience stores open in the park. Flagg Ranch will reopen when Yellowstone opens the roads to snowmobiles. Dornans will reopen around Thanksgiving. All campgrounds inside GTNP are closed for the season. The only restaurant in the north country is the Buffalo Valley Cafe in Buffalo Valley. The only gas station / convenience store is at the Fireside in Buffalo Valley. Rest Rooms will be open at Moose Visitors Center, the Laurance Rockefeller Parkway, Jackson Lake Dam, Moran Junction, Kelly Warm Springs, and Colter Bay Visitors Center.

On November 1st, portions of the Moose-Wilson Road and Inner Park Loop Road are closed for the season.  A portion of Mormon Row Road is closed. A portion of the East Boundary Road at the base of Shadow Mountain is closed. Antelope Flats Road and Gros Ventre Road are open.

Daylight Savings Time: Saturday night, Wyoming abandons Daylight Savings Time for the winter. Currently, I am usually heading home by about 6:00 to 6:15 pm. After Sunday, nights will seem very long. Maybe I can catch up on culling summer and fall images!

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November 1, 2017 – Wednesday

Grizzly 610 and Cubs

Want a crystal ball to let you know what to expect in November? Check out November from last year! November 2016 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP. You should also check out this all encompassing page: Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP.

Grizzly 610 and Cubs: Blondie and her two cubs and 399 with her two cubs were seen on several occasions at the end of October. 399 was visible this morning near Pilgrim Creek, but she was moving away from me when I drove up. This isn’t a great shot, but it shows what’s happening right now. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: I took this moody winter shot from Elk Ranch. I liked the ghostly shape behind the silhouetted tree line. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Shingles

Shingles: I spent some time at Elk Ranch taking photos of dozens (er…hundreds) of textured subjects at the old Dude Ranch cabins and structures. Regular readers at Best of the Tetons know I recently took delivery of a new Nikon D850 body. The past week has been much like a kid playing with his new toys on Christmas day. It’s an amazing camera! If you are on a long list at one of the big online retailers, consider calling Perfect Light Camera and Supply. The last time I heard, they had less than 20 people on their waiting list. I have been buying all of my bodies and lenses there for years and have always been happy with their service. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose and Cow

Bull Moose and Cow: I spotted this bull Moose on my way north this morning. As I was driving home, I found him with two cows and much closer to the road. If the rut is over, it doesn’t appear that some of the bulls got the memo! The willow leaves are almost gone in the river bottoms, forcing them to change their diet to Bitter Brush in the Sagebrush zones. That’s part of what makes November and early December so good for Moose. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Throughout November, I will be switching back and forth between a Nikon D5, D500, and D850 on a variety of lenses. I love being able to pick and choose between the bodies in the attempt to capitalize on the strengths of each. When I first saw this pair, I used a D500 to get the reach with the Tamron 150-600mm. As they got closer, I went back to the truck and picked up the D850. The shot above was taken hand held with VC on, while leaning against a tree. It took me a few seconds to realize the tree was swaying in the wind worse than I was by simply hand holding. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

November Featured Image

Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

November

You might have noticed the tagline… “Snow and a new cast of characters at the top of the page. What’s that mean? In November, we can expect to see Bighorns on Miller Butte and a hundred or so Trumpeter Swans entering the valley. If we are lucky, we might see a few Mountain Goats in the canyon. Some of the Grizzlies seen in the northern portion of the park may move south towards the Gros Ventre following the gun shots of the yearly Elk Reduction Program. Rough-legged Hawks take over some of the hunting territories of the vacating Red-tailed Hawks. Elk will be making their way onto the National Elk Refuge. Wolves, Coyotes, Eagles, and scavengers usually follow them. Bison move towards the National Elk Refuge, but typically stay north of the Gros Ventre until after the hunt is over. Snow can change the landscape offering views of the valley and wildlife most people never see.

You should also check out this all encompassing page: Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP

Black Bears in Berry Bushes.

Black bears roam the entire Yellowstone ecosystem, which includes Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole area.They are always a popular attraction for tourists and photographers—if you can find them!

Grizzly numbers have been on the rise for over the past decade, displacing some of the Grand Teton Park black bears in the Jackson Lake Dam area, Willow Flats, and Pilgrim Creek areas. I occasionally still see a large black bear in those areas, but most people I speak with say they are less common where Grizzlies have established their range.

Black Bear Color Phases

Black bears are not always black! They can range in color from blonde, honey, cinnamon, dark brown to solid black. It is not uncommon to hear someone say one of the light cinnamon bears is a grizzly, but in most cases, photographers or rangers will straighten them out with information about the various color phases.

Grizzly Sow and Cub

Black bears lack the hump on the back, have a flat muzzle, are generally smaller, and have shorter claws. Grizzlies can vary considerably in color, too, so don’t let the color of the fur be your defining feature!

Black Bear in Grass

Black bears and grizzlies hibernate during the coldest months, then reappear in early Spring. They’ll be on the hunt for food but that food source must be well off the road. I don’t see that many black bears during the summer months. Hikers report seeing them higher up the mountainsides. Grizzlies have been more common near the roads in late Spring and early Summer than black bears.

As with any animal, the key to finding bears is learning a bit about their preferred food sources. Both black bears and grizzlies are omnivores—they eat both plants and meat—but also flowers, roots, grubs, and moths. Unfortunately, they will eat human food if found or offered. Each year, a few of the black bears are euthanized after learning they can get a quick meal by stealing picnic baskets and food at places like String Lake and Jenny Lake. “A fed bear is a dead bear” is a popular slogan used by the Park Service.

Black bear’s primary defense is to climb a tree to safety, so they are more likely to be found in forested areas than in open sage flats. Their short, curved claws allow them to climb trees most other animals cannot climb.

Black Bear

As berry bushes begin to yield their fruit, black bears often appear along the Moose-Wilson Road and near the road to the top of Signal Mountain. Bears seem to remember the locations of Huckleberries, Black Hawthorn berries, Choke Cherries, and Service Berries they found in earlier years. Mother bears, or sows, teach their young about these important sources, necessary to fatten themselves up for the winter months in hibernation. A bounty of White Bark Pine nuts can keep both grizzlies and black bears in the high country in some years, while years with few cones can push them to the lower elevations.

Cub in Aspens

The predominant berry bushes along the Moose-Wilson Road are Black Hawthorns. Often, black bears climb larger trees like this Aspen to get to the crop of ripening berries.

Snow and Berries

Hawthorn leaves are green initially. By late fall, many Hawthorn leaves turn bright red before falling to the ground.

If you were to walk around the berry zones, you’ll likely notice that most berries below about shoulder height are stripped clean early in the season. I figure deer and elk graze on them to that height, while Robins and Cedar Waxwings pick off berries on the upper portions. Sows are well equipped to stand on branches to get their share of the berries, but they also stand on the ground and pull down branches. Occasionally, you’ll hear a branch snap.

Cub in Tree

Cubs are high wire acrobats. They can display amazing agility as they walk across thin branches pressed down by their weight.

Cub in Black Hawthorn Bush

Typically, the sow is close by as the kiddos climb to the tops of the trees and bushes in search of food.

Black Bear

Unless someone else has already spotted a bear, or you happen upon a “bear jam”, it would be easy to miss a bear tucked into the bushes.

Black Bear

One of the big challenges in photographing a black bear in the Black Hawthorn bushes is getting a relatively clean shot of their face. It seems there are always one or two twigs, leaves, or branches in the way.

Cinnamon Bear

Black bears occasionally move from the trees and bushes to other areas in search of a new bounty of berries. High grasses make some of those shots difficult, but occasionally one will stand up for a few seconds.

Black Bear in Tree

Black bears seem to either be eating or sleeping. Occasionally, they pick a visible tree to lounge in safety.

tree top Feeder

Occasionally, you might hear the term “hyperphagia” in regards to bears. This is a period in late fall when bears gorge themselves on a food source to build up fat reserves for hibernation. Luckily this period coincides with the ripening berry crop!

Cub in Black Hawthorns

Early season snowfall usually melts quickly along the valley floor. The bears continue feeding through the subtle changes in the season. This photo shows how well they can distribute their weight on some of the smallest of branches.

Black Bear

In 2017, there have been two cinnamon colored sows, each with two cinnamon colored cubs along the Moose-Wilson Road. There have also been several individual cinnamon or brown bears, but very few solid black bears this year. The black bear above was photographed near the top of Signal Mountain in mid-August.

Black Bears

This pair was photographed near Jackson Lake, essentially at the base of Signal Mountain. There are black bears in the Park! A sow can give birth to cinnamon or brown colored cubs, and even a black and a brown cub in the same litter.

Realities on the Moose-Wilson Road

Earlier, I mentioned one of the big challenges of photographing a back bear is finding opportunities without twigs or branches across their face. Actually, the biggest challenge is being able to take a photo of any bear along the Moose-Wilson Road. I could rant on this topic enough to fill a book and any local photographer could do the same. The two issues that rise to the top are the The 100 Yard Rule(s) and the tight quarters of the Moose-Wilson Road and Signal Mountain Road. Grizzly watchers face similar conditions in some of the northern zones of the park. The 100 Yard Rule(s) page was written in 2014 just after the park’s Compendium had been updated.

The compendium now states, “The following activities are prohibited:
a)   Willfully approaching, remaining, viewing, or engaging in any activity within 100 yards of bears or wolves, or within 25 yards of any other wildlife including nesting birds; or within any distance that disturbs, displaces or otherwise interferes with the free unimpeded movement of wildlife, or creates or contributes to a potentially hazardous condition or situation.

BearJam2005

The wording “Willfully approaching, remaining, viewing” can, and was interpreted to include being inside your vehicle. Park officials, including the volunteer Wildlife Management Team (often called the Bear Brigade), say they now use the rules “as a tool” to control the crowds as needed. They can tell everyone they are too close and send every person to their vehicles—or they can judge the situation and control the scene as they see fit.

A bear “experience” in GTNP can be different from day to day—even in the exact same spot. On some days, cones line the road for half a mile and people are yelled at for walking on the road. Other days, the cones are gone and the Rangers or Brigade allow people to view and photograph the bears at reasonable distances.  I’ve experienced days when tourists block the road, leave their cars unattended with the doors wide open, and approach the bears at frame filling iPhone distances. Other days tourists are well behaved and considerate—even without an official in the area.

I don’t recall an incident of a black bear mauling a tourist in Grand Teton National Park. When I’ve seen them along the Moose-Wilson Road, they appear to have one mission: feeding on the berries.

Blondie

When grizzlies are in the area, the Park Service closes the road altogether. Crazy tourists, close quarters, and an extremely fast and powerful bear could be a disaster in the making.

In short, if you get a great experience, count your blessings and shoot thousands of photos that day. Maybe a few of them will lack the twig or branch across their face!

Photographic Considerations

My three “P” words are “Practice, Patience, and Persistence”. It applies to about any kind of photography, but especially so for black bears and grizzlies. Every photographer can get lucky once in a while and stumble upon a wonderful opportunity. They can snap a terrific photo, even with few skills.

Cub in Tree

My first recommendation for photographing bears would be to buy a telephoto lens. Leave the iPhone or iPad for family shots and landscapes. Both Tamron and Sigma make 150-600mm lenses for under $1400. Nikon makes a 200-500mm lens in the same price range.

I like taking photos using a tripod, but they are not 100% necessary on a day with good light. Take it to a local youth soccer field and practice with it on shots you can afford to lose. Luckily, digital photos are cheap!

In most cases, black bears feeding in the top or middle of a tree don’t move too quickly. I typically set my camera to Single Point, Single Servo focusing mode, then attempt to focus on the bear’s eyes. You’ll find plenty of people that do it differently, but I like to control the shot. Selecting 9, 21, or Group may work, but I find the camera will often focus on a branch or leaf in front of their face. (Your camera will likely have different numbers than my Nikon bodies). I tend to shoot a lot of photos, hoping to get one out of the group with a little catch light in their eyes. They’ll often pull a branch back to get to the berries, allowing for a clean shot. I’d love to photograph black bears splashing through the water, or climbing across a downed log, but at this time of the year, they are generally only feeding.

Cinnamon Sow

If I am anticipating a burst of action, I usually switch the camera back to Continuous Focus with 9 points. I was still in Single Point, Single Servo mode when this sow appeared through the cattails. It worked perfectly, but she bolted across the road. I missed a couple of shots by being in the wrong mode for the situation.

Black Hawthorn Bushes

Of my three “P”s, practice is the easiest. I can practice while waiting around in a parking lot. Persistence is relatively easy, too. Just keep going back to a good zone. Patience is the most difficult if nothing appears to be happening. Black bears on the Moose-Wilson Road offer a bit of relief for an impatient photographer. Grand Teton National Park covers an area of roughly 310,000 acres. If black bears were present earlier in the day, the odds are fairly high they will return to the berries at other times of the day. After feeding for an hour or two, they sleep for another hour or two before feeding again. Of the 310,000 acres, you may have one feeding in the couple of acres directly in front of you! During hyperphagia, they’ll likely be back. Grizzlies roam the park in search of food, making finding them much less predictable.

Persistence is also important. If you don’t see them one day, go back! You first set of photos you get to capture might look great at the time, but can be eclipsed by better ones on later experiences. You’ll have good days, great days, and days leaving you frustrated or even mad. No one says it’s easy! You just have to grab a bat, go to the plate and take your cuts. MJ


Please, if you like this post, SHARE it using the Social Media Icons below. I offer private Photo Tours in Grand Teton National Park all year and tours in the National Elk Refuge in the Winter, so please contact me if interested.

Teton Photo Excursions

October 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

“October is a Dynamic Mix of Fall and Winter”

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

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

October 31st: Halloween Tuesday

Halloween in Maui 2014

Check out this Feature Post from our trip to Maui a few years back. Lahaina is famous for its huge Halloween event—drawing ghosts, goblins and all kinds of characters to the streets for a festive evening.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: Taken at String Lake. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Teewinot

Teewinot: Also taken at String Lake. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Elk Group

Elk Group: Taken near the Potholes Turnout on the Teton Park Road (Inner Park Loop). Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Spruce Stand and Mountains

Spruce, Pines and Mountains: Taken on the Teton Park Road (Inner Park Loop). Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Evening Moose

Evening Moose: Last evening, I did a run up to Schwabacher Landing to look for active Beavers. I possibly left too soon, but never saw them. I did a loop looking for rumored Moose along Ditch Creek and the Science School Road, but didn’t see them either. I spotted a Moose along the GV and spent the last 15 minutes of light with him. It gave me a good opportunity to test out the high ISO capabilities of the D850. The image above was taken at ISO 1250. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

  • Current Road Closures: Spaulding Bay Road, RKO Road, BarBC Road, part of Mormon Row Road, part of the East Boundary Road, Signal Mtn. Summit Road.
  • Upcoming Road Closures (beginning Nov. 1): Part of the Moose-Wilson Road, Inner Park Loop Road.

Remember…today is the last day to travel by vehicle down the Moose-Wilson Road and Inner Park Loop Road.

Hey!!! Please, do me a favor! Click this link: Facebook to Share this October Daily Updates page. Your friends can see what they have been missing in GTNP in October and help me spread the word about the wonderful things to do and see in Jackson Hole!

Click these popular pages:

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

Teton Photo Excursions

October 30th: Monday

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: Last night, the weather report called for mostly clear skies. This morning, just before I headed out, the weather report show all clear skies all day. It was mostly cloudy! I stopped at the Mormon Row barns to catch the colorful skies, and to try out the “Focus Shift” option on a Nikon D850. Those photos are downloading to my computer as I make this initial post for today. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-4000mm Lens, Tripod.

Stack Focus

10 Shot Stack in D850: The ten images in this test project were exported out as JPGs into a single folder, then opened as 10 layers in Photoshop. After applying the Auto-Align command, the layered image was Auto-Blended. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm  Lens, Handheld.

Fence Line

Fence Line: Following a few test images, I did another 10 shot stacked image. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm  Lens, Handheld.

Badgers: Badgers have been busy digging at both of the Moulton Barns. Uinta Ground Squirrels stay underground roughly 7 months of the year, so the badgers have to dig them out. I’ve seen Badgers in the area on numerous occasions, but seldom during “business hours”.

I drove down the Moose-Wilson Road, probably for the last time until May of next year. It was quiet, and all of the orange cones have been removed. A large chunk of the road closes at 8:00 PM October 31st.

October 29th: Sunday

Current Road Closures: Spaulding Bay Road, RKO Road, BarBC Road, part of Mormon Row Road, part of the East Boundary Road, Signal Mtn. Summit Road.

Upcoming Road Closures (beginning Nov. 1): Part of the Moose-Wilson Road, Inner Park Loop Road.

Bull and Cow Pair

Bull and Cow Pair: Another day out with the Nikon D850. This was captured along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull and Cow Pair

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

Bull Moose in Sagebrush

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

Nails

Nails: On the way home, I stopped the John Moulton Homestead for a few close-up shots. The D850 has a new feature called “Focus Shift”. I opened the menu today but wasn’t positive how to use it yet. I did this one “old school” with only two images. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-180mm Zoom Micro Lens, Tripod.

Knot

Knot: Also taken at Mormon Row at very close range….4″? The knot is only the size of a quarter. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-180mm Zoom Micro Lens, Tripod.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose: My last stop was at the Visitor’s Center. I was hoping to see the Green-winged Teal, but found this sleeping Canada Goose in morning light. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC On.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: Testing ISO…this one is ISO1800. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker: ISO 1600. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC On.

October 28th: Saturday

String Lake Stars

String Lake Stars: I got up early and went to String Lake for a few star shots with the new D850. This image was taken at a high ISO. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

String Lake Outlet

String Lake Outlet: This is a three shot (portrait orientation) stitched pano at ISO 1000. Click the image to see it much larger.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Jackson Lake Pano

Jackson Lake Pano: This is a three shot (landscape orientation) stitched pano. Click the image to see it much larger.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Blondie

Blondie: Rangers were keeping people back 110-130 yards today. Before shooting with my telephoto lenses, I set up and did the AF Fine Tune on each of them. This is a crop on the D850 at around 110 yards. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Badger

Badger: Captured near Elk Flats. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

D850 Comments: This is my first day out with the Nikon D850. I gave it a pretty good workout in a variety of situations. I’m anxious to try it on more night shots, but on the first morning, I’d say my D5 does a much better job of high ISO. The D850 might be better than the D810…more testing needed. Once I moved into the “blue light” period, the D850 worked beautifully. I used the L-Bracket from the D810, even though it does not fit perfectly. I think I am going to like this body for wildlife, especially once the grip becomes available to get the frame rate up to 9 FPS. (using En-El 18 batteries)

October 27th: Friday

Photo of D850 Body Only

D850 arrives! Perfect Light Camera Store shipped my camera yesterday and it arrived by UPS at 7:20 pm today. It came in too late for me to do any AF Fine Tuning with my lenses, but should do that tomorrow.  If you are #3000-#4000 on the list at one of the big online stores, you might give Perfect Light a call (They have less than 20 on their list). Lightroom Classic and Photoshop 2018 now support the D850. D850 Specs at Nikon USA.

Wort Hotel

Wort Hotel: I ran downtown after making a few settings adjustments on the D850 and snapped a handful of night shots. It was too cloudy to consider going farther north out of town for some star shots. Click this image to see it much larger! Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod

Cache Street

Cache Street: Click this image to see it much larger! Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod

Blondie

Blondie was out with her cubs early today. I got just six shots before she rambled out of sight. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Snake River Vista

Snake River Vista: Two shot pano captured across the Snake River near Moran Junction. Click the image to see it much larger. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC On

Incoming Clouds

Incoming Clouds: Captured at Elk Ranch. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC On

Rural Tree

Rural Tree: Captured on Wolf Ranch Road. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC On

Hedrick's Pond

Hedrick’s Pond: Trumpeter Swans and waterfowl on Hedrick’s Pond. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: Taken in my back yard. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld, VR On.

The Red Squirrel image above was imported into the new v7.01 Lightroom Classic. It took around 11 minutes to import 155 images. In this version, I was able to work on the squirrel photo while the program was still importing—something I couldn’t do in v7.0.

October 26th: Thursday

Beginning Today: New Laptop/Electronics Inspections on In-bound Flights:

Elk Reduction Program Begins Saturday, October 28 in Grand Teton National Park. The areas of the park open to the program, Elk Reduction Areas 75 and 79, are mostly located east of U.S. Highway 89. Area 79, the more northerly section, closes October 31. The Antelope Flats portion of area 75 closes November 30, and the remaining portions of area 75 close December 10. These areas remain open to park visitors, and the wearing of orange or other bright colors is highly recommended during this time.” GTNP Document:  Elk Reduction Program Begins October 28.pdf

Elk Reduction Map

Mtn Maples

Mtn Maples: On September 29th, I bumped into Chris Balmer from Perfect Light Camera Store at a pullout along Palisades Reservoir. He let me put one of my cards in his new Nikon D850. The new version of Lightroom seemed to be choking on my 500,000+ images in my main catalog, but appears to work okay with a small catalog.

Moose Rut

Moose Rut: Captured along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Head to Head

Head to Head: Sparring bulls. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Sparring Moose

Sparring Moose: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Young Bulls in Side Channel

Young Bulls in Side Channel: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Canada Geese

Canada Geese: Captured near Flat Creek on the North edge of Jackson. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: The cygnets should be flying soon. This family has been seen frequently all summer along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

October 25th: Wednesday

National News via CNN: National Park Service proposes $70 entrance fee into some parks. [YS & GTNP]

Road Closures: I just heard of three new road closures. The road to Bar-B-C and the northern leg of the RKO Roads were closed recently. A portion of the East Boundary Road at the base of Shadow Mountain is closed. The road to Schwabacher Landing was locked for a couple of days, but was open today. The river bottom in that area closes to human entry on December 15th.

Night Skies

Night Skies: Four shot stitched pano. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Morning Range Pano

Morning Range Pano: Stitched from four or five horizontal images. Taken along Pilgrim Creek Road well before sunrise. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod. Click the image to see it much larger.

Grizzly Trio

Grizzly Trio: Also taken well before sunrise. Not much of a photo, but at least I got to see Blondie and her cubs again. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Lake Pano

Lake Pano: Another stitched pano captured near Colter Bay. Nikon D500 and Nikon 18-400mm Lens, Handheld. Click the image to see it much larger. 

Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake: Nikon D500 and Nikon 18-400mm Lens, Handheld.

Cattails

Cattails: Captured at the Flat Creek Wetlands on the North side of the Visitors Center. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal: One of three pairs I saw at the Visitor’s Center. This group stayed back from me today…worth trying again. Read more about them here: Green-winged Teal Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

October 24th: Tuesday

Blondie

Blondie: Rangers kept people back at 100 yards while I had a chance to see Blondie and her two cubs late this afternoon. I didn’t get great shots, but it was nice to see her and the two healthy cubs. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Blondie

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

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from Gros Ventre Junction on my way home. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

October 23rd: Monday

Lightroom 2015 vs. Lightroom Classic: Round 1

Just a couple of quick notes. On October 18th, Adobe released Lightroom Classic. It is supposed to be faster and make culling quicker, along with adding a new Gradient Tool. I could go on and on, but for now, let me just suggest that people wait for at least one or two more revisions. You can read a lot about it on the Adobe Forums. I am in the process of resyncing my old catalog with the 2015 version. I’ve made a lot of changes to the folders and add/culled a lot of images over the past week.

Last night and again this morning, I checked the weather report, anticipating a day with partly cloudy skies. We got that, but the clouds were clinging to the top of the Grand. I chose to look for wildlife instead.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: I spotted a nice bull Moose from the Gros Ventre Road and spent my morning photographing him and a single cow. I heard there were lots more Moose along the Science School Road. I took this shot from the shadows as the distant hillsides were lighting up. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Similar shot, but maybe 10 minutes later when a bit of light was hitting the bull. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: This bull is still hanging onto the rut. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull Moose

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

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing: Feeding on Choke Cherries. This one still has a fair amount of buttery brown and yellow. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing: Of the dozen or so Cedar Waxwings I saw, most were turning gray. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

October 22nd: Sunday

GTNP Winter Guide & Closures: This link should have up to the date information about Winter closures and dates for the rest of 2017.

Culling: I spent a good part of the day in front of my computer organizing and culling images. My MooseNewShoots folder had roughly 32,000 images from the summer to now. I deleted roughly 9000 images from that folder today. I’d like to get the total keepers down to 3,000 soon. On my PC machine, importing from the card to the computer is terribly slow after the update to Lightroom Classic, but after it completes the import, it is preforming fairly well. The new Gradient tool with the color range controls looks to be a very worthwhile tool.

Teton Theater

Teton Theater: The historic old Teton Theater was revamped and remodeled over the Summer and is now a pizza restaurant. As you can see, the “grandfathered” neon signs were reworked. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Cowboy Bar Sign

Cowboy Bar Signs: The neon and lighted signs are the Cowboy Bar are also grandfathered by the town sign code. Recently, the owners of the Wort Hotel purchased the historic  Cowboy bar. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Cowboy Bar Mural

Cowboy Bar Mural: One of the many murals inside the bar. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Cowboy Bar Neon

Cowboy Bar Neon: Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Antler Arches

Antler Arches: Throughout the month of October, the SW corner antler arch is wrapped with pink lights for Breast Cancer Awareness. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Around the Valley: I did a quick loop through the southern portion of the valley this afternoon. The berry crop along the Moose-Wilson Road appears to be about through. I didn’t seen any bears, nor have I heard of any lately. I saw a few Moose around the Snake River bridge at Moose Junction. I haven’t seen Bison in the southern portion in a while. Most of the southern portion of Mormon Row is gated. It appears most of the Pronghorns are leaving the valley, but maybe I am just not seeing them. There are almost no leaves on the trees in GTNP, but some remain in town. In some previous years, there have been numerous Beavers around Schwabacher Landing, but lately I have been hearing there may only be three in the area. The lack of leaves should make it easier to spot Porcupines throughout the Winter.

October 21st: Saturday

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: A Winter storm passed through the valley last night. I went out hoping to find some sort of subject for the new snow. This bull was along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull and Cow

Bull and Cow: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Scratching Bull Moose

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

Resting Bull Moose

Resting Bull Moose: Moose are often up and feeding early, then bed down. The question is, “how long?” They can be down for three or four hours, and occasionally, a bull will stand up long enough to stretch and then bed down again on it’s other side. This bull was a least half a mile from the other bull. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

October 20th: Friday

Sunrise

Sunrise: Clouds were beautiful this morning. I stopped near the Gros Ventre Junction and walked out into the sage flats there. This is a three shot pano, stitched in Lightroom.  Click the image to see it much larger! Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

October 19th: Thursday

Lightroom (Classic) Update:

I installed the new Classic Lightroom program yesterday. In short…don’t do it! Wait until they fix a bunch of speed issues. You can read more about it at Adobe Forums.

Cinnamon Bear

Cinnamon Bear: After spending the past couple of days photographing Moose, I thought I’d drive up the newly graded Moose-Wilson Road and look for Black Bears. The only one I found was well off the road and backlit, but the rim lighting on its fur and slightly transparent nature of the red leaves made the shot worth taking. Remember, the Moose-Wilson Road will close at the end of the month! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC On.

There are a lot more Black Bear photos and comments on this New Feature Post!: Black Bears in Berry Bushes.

Beaver

Afternoon Beaver: Captured along the Snake River at sunset. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Afternoon Beaver

Afternoon Beaver: Captured along the Snake River after sundown. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

October 18th: Wednesday

New Feature Post!: Black Bears in Berry Bushes.

New Adobe Creative Cloud Updates TODAY! If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, click the “Update Apps” command in your Creative Cloud control panel to see the current updates. Updates are always free on the Cloud. My Lightroom and Photoshop program updates are loading as I write this note. I see some interesting new features for both programs, one of which should include new Raw converters for Nikon’s new D850 camera.

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: I went to bed with the post Black Bears in Berry Bushes still on my mind. At 4:30 am, I finally got up and finished it. I hit the SUBMIT button just in time to get to the Gros Ventre for sunrise. My D5 is back from Nikon Service and seems to be working perfectly. I sold my Nikon D810 to a Best of the Tetons reader yesterday and have my name on a Nikon D850 when they arrive at Perfect Light Camera. I see a few of them around the valley now. A few weeks ago, a lady made a lane change into my “new” truck. It spent 10 days in the body shop, but I have it back now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.