Best of the Tetons

A Trip to Jackson Hole

—Suggestions from a 30 Year Resident.

This page contains thoughts on a few topics that could help make your trip to Jackson Hole more successful, enjoyable, and productive. It’s longer than I had originally hoped, but I believe the information might be valuable enough to be worth the time it takes to read it!


A Few “Keywords” to Consider

Practice — Patience — Persistence — Preparedness — Pragmatism

All pros still practice—no matter the discipline. No doubt, rookies need more practice. If you are planning a trip to Jackson Hole, you might consider taking your camera and favorite lenses to a local soccer game and practice beforehand. Players move quickly and erratically, just like a Fox or Pronghorn! Practicing on soccer kids is great because failures aren’t disasters! You get plenty of chances and you can always go back for additional practice. You seldom get second chances with wildlife in the Tetons. The moment is over in an instant and is difficult to repeat.


Patience is usually a more difficult discipline for a traveling photographer. I’m often guilty of the “greener pastures syndrome” when out of town, too. Should I wait for the clouds to break, or wait for the animal to move towards water in the evening, or should I move on to something that might be better right now? The answers to the questions are often based on previous experiences—and we simply don’t have those gifted to us. The experiences require us to actually have the experience in the first place! (Of course, a guide can help!) I’ve seen tour companies drive up to an owl perched on a branch. The tourists pile out of the van, get their shots, then climb back in the van and head down the road in search of a different subject. Once gone, the owl flies down and captures a vole or mouse and the patient photographers get the shots! Animals never actually follow the script we’d like them to follow, of course, but anyone watching owls long enough knows they eventually do fly!


Persistence is a luxury for a resident photographer. Once I find a good sunrise location, I can return to it as many days as it takes to get the shot…you know…with purple skies and rose tinted clouds. Tourists coming here, or when I am somewhere else, are forced to do their best with the day or two in front of them. Sometimes, I’ve gone back to a subject half a dozen times to try to hit it perfectly, only to have a passing tourist walk up and get that same shot on their first time. Great for both of us! Even on a short trip, persistence can pay off. If a specific animal, like a fox, isn’t visible at the time, driving by several other times can increase the odds of seeing it. Luck is great…but most of our best shots are often obtained through persistence.

Schwabacher Pano

Practice and Preparedness can be intertwined. If you are buying a new camera for your trip to the Tetons, I’d suggest having a camera body shipped to you weeks before coming to a place like Jackson Hole. Same for your tripod, ball head or Gimball head and all of the plates and attachments. Dial in the camera’s Autofocus Fine Tune with each lens and make sure all of your tripod parts work together. Give it a good workout! With Alpenglow fading, you definitely don’t want to be struggling with your gear! Likewise, you don’t want to have to figure out how to change ISO or Aperture settings when a Bull Moose is crossing a stream in front of you! If on a trip with me, I can help, but you’ll eventually want to make simple changes without too much of a delay.

Moose Calves

Preparedness can take on several different forms. You can pre-visualize an entire series of shots you’d like to capture before you come to Jackson Hole. However, there are additional realities that you need to understand. You will not be able to capture an image of a Bull Moose with a big set of antlers in February, March, April, May, June, and July. The window for antlered Moose is late August to the end of December. That’s simply a reality associated with the yearly life cycle of a Moose. You might not get the antlered Moose shots in the summer, however other opportunities await photographers. Baby Moose, or calves, are born in early June. You might see them in the willows and grassy bogs throughout the summer. Baby bison, pronghorns, deer and elk are also born in the early summer—not that they are easy to find! You won’t be able to photograph a Mountain Goat in the summer with a full winter coat. If you were to see one, the coat would be quite shaggy. Each month and each season offers a virtual patchwork of opportunities, but not all of them are optimum at all times of the year! In short, you need to do some homework so you can be prepared to find particular seasonal opportunities. Or, stated another way, if you want to photograph a specific subject, you need to schedule your trip to coincide with its optimum period.

2015 Daily Journals:
Jan: | Feb: | Mar: | Apr: | May: | June: | July: | Aug: | Sept: | Oct: | Nov: | Dec:

Each month, I create a journal of what I see during that month. The links above cover the entire year of 2015. While there are always a few variables from year to year, the overall pattern remains relatively consistent. If you are planning a trip to Jackson Hole, I’d strongly suggest you go over the months surrounding your upcoming trip. If you have the time to scroll through all of them, you might be inspired to return during one of the off peak tourists month to experience the park in a completely different way. The bulk of the tourists leave, but the animals are usually active well into December. Don’t stop your research with just the 12 months linked above! Best of the Tetons is absolutely loaded with tips and posts about this area. Feel free to subscribe to get emails when new posts are made.

Elk in Rose Sky

A Pragmatic approach might help you find your subjects. At about any time, a photographer can wander into a unique opportunity—the kind all of us dream about! Lacking those moments of “shear luck”, you will find that some subjects require a little research. Here’s an example: With only a token bit of research, you will learn that both Moose and Elk can be seen most often during the first hour of light.  More importantly, you will learn that Moose generally inhabit river bottoms while Elk like the forest edges. Early mornings around Oxbow Bend might offer a chance for both, however the most Moose are concentrated along the Gros Ventre River. Historically, the most visible Elk are often closer to Jenny Lake. Those two areas are roughly 20 miles apart. Knowing you can’t be in two places at the same time. you would probably need at least two days to get shots of both. A full week in the Tetons would greatly increase your chances to capture them! Elk and Moose can also appear late in the day, but with the Teton Range casting a shadow across the valley, evening Elk are difficult photographic subjects. Mornings are probably best for them.  You’d have a better chance with evening Moose along the Gros Ventre. If you want to be guaranteed of seeing Elk, and lots of them, visit Jackson Hole in December through March! There will be thousands of them visible each day. With a sleigh ride, you can be within 30 yards or closer to them! As you can see, a pragmatic or practical approach can improve your chances of finding and capturing images of tough subjects.

Elk on Parade

Expectations and Realities

With only a few exceptions, you get only about 30 minutes of premium morning light for a typical (good) sunrise. If you are willing to get up very early, you can get some wonderful images during the Alpenglow period, but the actual sunrise part with color in the clouds and light on the peaks is relatively short. It is possible to capture several unique shots at one location by moving around and by changing lenses, etc. Still, it is difficult to pick up and move to an entirely different location, set up, and capture two or three places during one sunrise.

 Snake River Overlook

So, if you were to find ten really good sunrise locations (there are a lot more), it would mean going to them one at a time over a period of a couple of weeks. Let, me back up. You CAN go to all of them in one day and get shots of all of them in one day, but the beautiful morning light is extremely short lived—and that’s if the clouds cooperate!

Bumble Bee

Many people cruise around the valley during the middle of the day, scouting for their next morning shoot. You can often get good wildlife images during the shoulder periods of the morning or afternoon. On some days, a thunderstorm can pass through the valley and people can capture spectacular images during the midday periods. Afternoons with broken clouds are also great for capturing bands of light drenching just a single stand of trees, barn, or mountain peak. In other words, you don’t want to systematically “sell out” the middle of the day. With the sun very low in the sky, Winter visitors actually can shoot all day.  Summer visitors, here for only one day won’t bother with whether they are shooting at times when others say the light is too harsh. They’re out all day because that’s all they have! I take photos all day, especially when the subject matter is above average. Today’s software is getting so good, we can recover most difficult images. We can draw down the highlights (recovering some that might have been considered blown out in earlier years), and open up shadows on high contrast images.

Cascade Canyon

Open Minded / Scavenger Mentality

When coming to Jackson Hole and the Tetons, the last thing I’d suggest  is to get “tunnel vision” and looking only for a few specific subjects—like bears, wolves, and moose. Some professionals take that approach, but they do it on purpose. I could have added this in the “Reality” section above, but in living here and being out regularly in GTNP for the past ten years, I’ve only seen maybe fifteen to twenty wolves—total! I’ve only been able to get a few halfway reasonable photos of them and nothing really good. Grizzly and Black Bears have a 100 yard viewing and photography minimum distance according to the regulations. In fact, so do wolves. Some rangers let people be closer at less peak times of the year, but the rules are in place to move everyone back at any time. Great shots are not easy to get, and the bulk of those are taken by photographers willing to be out for long hours every day of the season. Moose are some of my favorite subjects, but I work hard to get my images. Occasionally, they will be grazing along the roadways early and late—but usually in the sagebrush. Not that many people are willing to hike the river bottoms looking for them.


Instead of succumbing to tunnel vision, I’d suggest visiting photographers to stay open minded. Move around the valley and stop to take a photo of anything that looks interesting. I mean anything! You’d be surprised what pops up while working on other subjects. Most of that phenomenon is a result of actually stopping or slowing down. Dew drops or rain drops on a leaf or a spider web can make wonderful subjects. Ice patterns in a puddle of water are another. Rusty farm equipment and broken windows on the old homesteads can fill in voids in the day and fill your cards in the process. The big subjects will often fall into place if you are patient and not frantic to get the shots you have in your head. Don’t get me wrong, it helps to have pre-visualized your shots so you can be prepared— if and when the opportunity unfolds. Work the zones where your “target subject” is commonly seen, but stop and capture the other subjects as they present themselves. Be prepared, but be flexible!

Mountain Goats in Snow

Remember the the weather can be finicky and unpredictable. This is not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing—and realistically there is nothing we can do about it. I was in the canyon last year and bumped into another photo tour guide. I was by myself and he had two or three grumpy clients. They were not happy about the falling snow ruining their shots of the Mountain Goats. I was there because of the snow! Foggy days, snowy, and rainy days can be very good for some subjects, but that usually means you don’t see the Tetons on the same day. I can usually still fill a card on the days other people had rather stay home. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve bumped into people that are not happy about a few clouds in the sky. They’d rather have a solid sheet of cobalt blue above and behind their Teton shots. I seldom take photos of the range unless there are some clouds. Tastes vary! Just about anything can be a compelling subject—some even more so during inclement weather. Again, be prepared and be flexible!

Summer Clouds

The Coffee Table Book Approach

If you come to Jackson Hole as though you are “on assignment” to create a coffee table book of photos on the area, you’ll likely go home with several cards full of images. This follows along with the preceding section, but having the visual of a finished book can crystallize the concept for most people. You’ll want a big, vista view for the center spread, then a good shot of just the Grand (maybe with the moon setting over it), and a shot of Sleeping Indian and Mt. Moran. The big four locations: Schwabacher Landing, Mormon Row Barns, Oxbow Bend, and Snake River Overlook simply have to be in there. Don’t forget to look for different angles of each. The book would need a wildlife section with a few shots of each of the big game animals—plus a few of the smaller critters like squirrels, ground squirrels, badgers, and of course the various birds. You can capture big stands of trees, then walk into a grove and shoot up into the trees to create images with converging lines. Afterwards, focus on individual leaves, bark and lichen. We have waterfalls, river, streams, and ponds. Some of the still ponds have beautiful floating pads and bright yellow flowers. Of yes, don’t forget the wildflowers and berries! Better yet, watch for a bumble bee on a wildflower! Cold, early mornings are great for Dragonflies asleep on stems. You can occasionally capture captivating shots before they have time to warm up and fly away. Scattered around the valley are historic structures like Menor’s Ferry, Chapel of the Transfiguration and some of the other barns and buildings. We have hikers, bikers, boaters, kayakers, mountain climbers, and paragliders in the summer and people on skis and snow shoes in the winter.  Watch for fishermen in the Snake River and smaller streams. You can find people sitting on the decks of the various restaurants, enjoying an evening glass of wine. If you are lucky, you might get a thunderstorm and maybe a rainbow. Images of the spectacular clouds with no other subjects can be powerful. A passing Bald Eagle or group of Canada Geese could add a cherry to top. Think “grand” then work smaller and smaller until you can’t focus any closer. You don’t have to capture them all in a linear order either! Just shoot away. Oh yes, go to town and capture the buildings, Elk antler arches, stagecoach, shoppers, evening shootout, and the Cowboy Bar sign. Go back at night and do it again! If you are in town on Memorial Day weekend or the 4th of July, there are parades and fireworks. Challenge yourself with this assignment and you’ll go home happy!


Whether you take a photo tour with me here in the Tetons or not, the Coffee Table Book approach can guide you to lots of shots on just about any subject. I used it when we went to Maui a couple of years ago, and again last year when we were on Sanibel Island, FL. We’re headed back and I’ll apply it again. But remember, I just wrote “any subject”! Think about how you might make a coffee table book on rodeos. How about fly fishing, or tractor pulls, or covered bridges, or your kid’s summer of baseball! Think big at first and then work to the smallest of details.

Schwabacher Landing

Smarter Today

I recently heard a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “I’d like to think I am smarter today than I was yesterday”. Digital photography is ideal for helping photographers grow—and grow quickly! Almost all technical information about a particular shot is stored in the metadata. We can see which camera took the shot, which lens we used and whether we used a flash. We can see the shutter speed, ISO settings, and Mode (aperture, shutter, manual). EV or exposure compensation is recorded, along with the settings for white balance. On my D4 and D810, I can even add an audio note, such as the name of the athlete or something about the subject. On some cameras, you can include the GPS location of the shot. The stored data can be a valuable tool if people care to evaluate their own shots. If you see a little motion blur, it is easy to establish the correlation between shutter speed and blurred or frozen motion. You can establish your “pain threshold” for high ISO noise on various subjects. It can take some time to know how to use the information, but it is there. Think of your photography experience as a “journey”, not a “destination”.

Grizzly Family

Fly fishermen remember “the ones that got away” more vividly than they remember the big ones they actually landed. Sometimes, the lost fish was a result of not playing it carefully enough. Sometimes, the fish wraps around a branch and gets away at no fault of the fisherman. Photographers remember the shots “they didn’t get” in much the same manner. Those shots can haunt us for a long time. However, the lost fish and the missed photos can make us more prepared…”Next time, I will make sure I am at 1/800th second or faster”, or “Next time, I will be ready if the grizzly stands up”. When back on the computer, we can review all of our photos in Lightroom and learn again. “I took some shots with a polarizing filter, but I wish I had rotated it on a few to eliminate the effect”. Or, “I had some glare on the water. I wish I had thought to pull out my polarizing filter for a few shots”. How about, “It looks like I shot everything from a comfortable height of about 5′, but I wish I had kneeled down or laid on my stomach for a few shots”. Even…”Man, there were some beautiful clouds that day, but it looks like I was in too much of a hurry to leave for greener pastures and didn’t wait for light to hit the peaks. I can’t imagine that where I went was going to be any better”.


Luckily, there can be second chances to visit our favorite places, like Jackson Hole or Sanibel Island. Better yet, the improvements we make as a result of a mistake at one shoot can be applied to many other locations. The barns along Mormon Row are not drastically different than photographing covered bridges in Vermont and New Hampshire. Sunsets in Maui are quite similar to sunsets in Florida. Occasionally, we get sunrise and sunset events that rival them. The sin, at least to my perspective, would be to continue making the same mistakes after you know you made them originally. I might initially try something as an improvement, but need two or three more tries before actually seeing the positive results. Each mistake and each attempt builds on our overall experience.

Moose at Dornans

Jackson Hole Awaits You!

If you are coming here, bring your camera, lenses, tripod, and tools to download and view your photos. Bring clothing and gloves to keep you warm for the early mornings, then remove layers as the day warms. Dedicate more than a day or two in the valley to really give yourself a chance to experience the region. In four or five days would be even better, and you’ll usually get at least one great sunrise. That means, of course, you have to get up very early each morning to get the shots you see in travel magazines. Have breakfast AFTER the sunrise and AFTER the big game animals have bedded down for the morning.  If you stop for breakfast first, you’ll likely miss the best of both.

If you would like to book a customized one-on-one photo tour with me, I’d love to take you. Click Teton Photo Excursions for lots more information!

“Must Read” Feature Posts at Best of the Tetons!

There are lots of posts on this blog now…maybe too many? Some of my favorite and most informative posts were written within the first month of creating this blog site. If you are short of time, I’d still suggest reading this group:

Cheers! Mike Jackson







Here Today, Gone to Maui!

A Jackson Hole resident magically morphs into a Maui tourist.


I had to put the “shoe on the other foot” and become a tourist for about 10 days. I’m not used to it! When heading out in the mornings in Jackson Hole, I usually live up to my old Eagle Scout motto: “Be Prepared”! I take everything I think I might need—and sometimes two of everything. Here in the Tetons, I get the luxury of going to a spot over and over until the light and the clouds cooperate. I have all year. Tourists come and go here like the waves on the beach there. I get to pick the best times of the day and the best times of the year. Like I said, it’s a luxury.


I have enough camera gear to fill a van. When I packed my gear to go to Maui, I probably had to make similar decisions people have to make if they get on a plane to fly to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. Some people coming here have their prime lenses shipped to a trusted friend in the valley. I didn’t have that option, however. In reality, packing was probably easier for me because I was only going there for “vacation” time and vacation photos. I doubt I’ll ever sell one, nor use the images for anything much more than a blog post. Some people coming to the northwest corner of Wyoming probably need and want the very best images they can capture, so they need their pro gear.

Fiery Sunset

The day before we headed out, I grabbed my small camera bag. Naturally, I have two, but I didn’t think the bigger one would fit in the overhead compartment. There was no way I wanted to check the photo gear. By the time I zipped it up, the poor thing was stuffed. It did fit in the overhead compartment—and it made the trip with no problems!


I would have loved to have taken the 200-400mm lens and the 70-200 mm lens, not to mention the regular 24-70 mm workhorse lens and my wide angle 14-24mm lens. I would have loved to have taken my Gitzo tripod, ball head, and Wimberley Sidekick. I chose to take my Nikon D4 body and the all around Nikon 28-300 mm zoom lens. It’s not quite as sharp as my other pro lenses, but it’s lightweight and does a very good job. The tripod was another issue. Before I left for Hawaii, I took my Arca-Swiss ball head off my tripod and found a corner for it in the bag…just in case.

Fiery Sunset

My wife, Darla, and I went light. I had one small suitcase and one camera bag. She had a handbag and purse to carry on the plane and one mid-sized suitcase. Our friends met us at the airport and saw our “load” and said, “That’s it?” Of course, they had three or four big bags each, some of which contained computers, snorkel gear, and other “essentials” for a trip to Maui.

Palm Trees

So, I went to Maui without a tripod. Oh, that hurts to think about it—especially knowing I hardly ever take a shot without one! I got up before sunrise the first morning and took photos hand held, then knew I’d be buying “some kind of tripod”. That turned out to be a good call, and I know I’ll use it some other day. Now, I have three tripods instead of just one and a backup.

Hana Sunrise

The tripod I purchased came with a lightweight ball head. I pulled my Arca-Swiss Z1 ball head out of the bag and replaced the small one. The D4 seemed to be happier on the heavier ball head. I used the tripod for my morning and evening landscapes, long exposures on the waterfalls, a few remote controlled family shots, and several night images.

Giant Sea Turtle

Maui doesn’t have a lot of wildlife—above water anyway. But then, it does have killer sunrises and sunsets. Stunning, in fact! If I could have squeezed it in, I would have loved to taken my 35 megapixel D800 body and my pro model 24-70mm lens for the morning and evening shots. And, there were a few times, I longed for the reach of 400mm on my 200-400mm zoom lens. Those occasions would have probably been limited to the shooting at the ocean of the surfers and later with some of the birds.

Giant Turtle

The 28-300mm VR lens worked fine, however, and it focuses amazingly close!

Night Bonfire

This was my first trip to Hawaii. I suspect I went through much of the same experiences people have when they come to Jackson Hole for the first time. If you do your homework by going through some of the pages on this blog, you’d be far ahead of the others that don’t! Let’s say I went to Maui in the latter shoes. I didn’t have a clue about any of it—other than I knew there’s an ocean, sand, waves, and some lush forests. I picked up some of the many travel brochures and trip guides and studied them…just like people do here. I certainly felt like a tourist, made worse by my snow white legs and chest when on the beach. Oh well.

Night in the Bay

I was out before daylight on most mornings after scouting out locations during the afternoon hours the day before. Darla and the rest of the group were just waking up and finishing their coffee when I’d drag in from the early morning shooting.

Underwater Sea Turtle

Above the water, I can’t say too many things were that different as they relate to photography.  Underwater photography…well that’s a different proposition entirely! A friend let me use an underwater camera for one of the dives. It wasn’t easy for me because I was having to learn to breath through a snorkel and take photos with a foreign camera at the same time.


Just like visitors to the Tetons on a four or five day trip, I had to accept the conditions of the morning, day or evening. It seems the mornings and evenings are usually spectacular there, especially knowing you can look another direction if it isn’t great in the other one. Still, if it was raining when we went to a specific waterfall, that’s just the way it was going to be. There was usually no going back for another chance. Sometimes, people come here for four or five days and never see the Teton Range. I suspect some people never see the top of the Haleakala Crater either.


Before it was all over, we made the drive around the entire island and we spent a lot of time along the ocean. We got to snorkel in two places. We saw the giant sea turtles, both on the beach and under water. We saw surfers, boarders, wind surfers, and kite sailors.

Poinsettia and Bee

We spent money like tourists, had a great time at the Halloween event, and ate some wonderful food. I had at least a hint of a tan when I made it off the plane.


I saw things in Maui I’ve never see here. It was a feast for the eyes! But then, someone from Hawaii might be equally impressed by our wildlife and snow.

Textured Leaf

Just about anywhere you turn, there’s some sort of potential subject! My D4 ended up with around 6000 actuations added to it, virtually filling every CF card I took with me.

Sunset in Maui

I hope to get to go back someday!


After returning home, Darla wanted me to make a book to document our vacation. I spent a few days creating it and then published it through Blurb. If you’d like to view the book, click the thumbnail cover image and flip through the pages. (Hit the four way arrow in the lower right corner to make it fill your entire screen and then hit the ESC button to go back to regular view)  There are a lot more images in the book!

Return to JHIf you are planning a trip to Jackson Hole, bring as much of your gear as you can! It’s a great place for landscapes, nightscapes, wildlife, and close-up photography—and that’s not counting all of the possibilities for outdoor sports and activities! I’d suggest bringing lots of memory cards and a tripod! Of course, spend some time going through the posts at Best of the Tetons for a huge head start. If you’d like to go with me on a one-on-one photo excursion here in the Tetons, click the link for more info! No matter how you get here and how much gear you bring, I hope you have an equally rewarding experience.

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Photographing Large Game Animals in Grand Teton National Park:

 Moose, Elk, Bison, Deer, Pronghorns, and a few others.

Wildlife Banner

The Tetons have a large variety of species of both large and small mammals. This page contains images of the larger ones, most of which are on visitor’s “bucket list” of desired subjects. Some are easier to find than others. Some are easier to find than photograph. Elk and Deer are hunted in the region and are typically wary of humans. Pronghorns are hunted in areas south of Jackson and are also more likely to stay out of close range. Bison and Moose seem to understand they are safe in the Park and seldom run attempt to evade humans.  These various dynamics can make photography challenging. The Park has several rules designed to keep both animals and tourists safe. Other rules are in place to keep from stressing the animals as they go about their life’s business. To get good photos, it also helps to know a little bit about each subject—like what they eat, when they are up and visible, where they get water, and so forth. This page is intended on helping with all of these topics.


Park Rules

Rules for Grand Teton National Park’s two major predators—bears and wolves— require people to stay back to at least 100 yards. And, that includes while being inside your vehicle!  The 100 Yard Rule(s) The page contains the actual wording in the Park Compendium. The park’s compendium also addresses other animals in the park. For all other animals, the rules require people to stay back to at least 25 yards. People are not permitted to change any animal’s behavior—regardless of the distance. Lastly, visitors are required to follow the orders of a ranger or on-duty volunteer. Again, you might be well outside the legal distance, but if they ask or tell you (or a group) to move back, you simply must do it. A few areas, like Willow Flats, are closed to human entry all year long and other areas like the Snake River bottom are closed during the winter months. Click the link to read the actual rules for yourself. I carry a “Rangefinder” with me almost all the time so I know how far I am from a subject.

Bison Tourons

Bison Tourons

Distance Rules for Moose, Elk, Bison, Deer, Pronghorns and Bighorns are clearly defined as 25 yards. The same would apply for Foxes, Coyotes, Badgers, Eagles, Owls, Hawks, Meadowlarks, Beavers, and so forth. How about Chipmonks, Ground Squirrels, Butterflies, Beetles, and Bluebirds? Of the group, Bison are potentially the most dangerous animal in the park. Yellowstone gives out a florescent yellow sheet advising people of the extreme danger of bison, however there are many areas of GTNP where people can drive and never pick up a map or information about rules or dangers. Antelope Flats is an example, along with the Moose-Wilson Road if entering at Moose. Some rules appear to be “gray” and not simply black and white. Even since the new rules were implemented, the Park Service allows people to weave through a herd of Bison on the road. I’ve even watched Park rangers and personnel drive through the herds. In my opinion, the most dangerous zone in the park is along Antelope Flats Road, as seen in the photo above.

Moose Tourons

Moose Tourons

Recently, Moose have been moved higher on the Park’s watch list. Rangers have become much less tolerant—even when people are well outside the legal distance window. The “long lens” professional photographers are being grouped in with point-and-shoot and cell phone photographers as problems the Park Service needs to solve. At least in my experience, the pro photographers are most likely to yell out to a short lens photographer to move back if they are getting ridiculously close. I don’t think the long lens photographers are “the problem”. At the same time, the Gros Ventre Campground probably needs a better “ranger presence” during the peak fall periods—made worse by the fact other campgrounds in the park close early and push more campers into one congested area with moose doing what they have been doing for decades.

Photography Suggestions:

I guess the top section of this page could sound a bit like a “rant”, but that’s not what this Feature Post is supposed to be about. It’s just a necessary evil in regards to the rest of the page. Lots more people die from climbing accidents or boating accidents than are injured in any way by animals in the park. Whew…I’m glad that’s behind me!

But wait!…

Short Lenses, Pads, & Phones

One more thing. I am not sure how many people reading this site are what you might call a “long lens” photographer? I write this blog to help everyone! Still, this photo and the one above it illustrate an important issue in regards to wildlife photography. In both cases, when I took the shots, I would have been a way, way back from the scenes with my telephoto lens to capture a wide scene like this. I would have needed to be pulled back to 200mm on my 200-400mm lens, too. From where I was set up, I could have zoomed in and captured just the moose feeding on the bushes, and I could have cropped that images to show just his head, the top of the bushes, and his antlers. Many of the point-and-shoot, pad, and phone photographers “want” those shots. Right? To get the same shots, they have to move close. That’s a problem! In many cases, that is THE problem the Park Service needs to address.

So, my first suggestion to anyone wanting to take wildlife shots: Buy at least some sort of consumer camera body and a reasonably good, mid-priced zoom lens! Many of them are very capable of taking wonderful images, and despite the claims of all the phone and pad makers, they simply can’t take the same quality images. The glass is not as good and the sensors are very small. I am a Nikon shooter, using some of their top flight gear, so I am more familiar with their equipment than Canon’s offerings. Canon will have equally capable gear. Check out a Nikon D5200 body and a 28-300mm lens. Or look into a Nikon 80-400mm lens if you have the budget. My son has a Nikon D5200 body. I own a 28-300mm “carry around” lens, and I hear nothing but rave reviews on the 80-400 mm VRII lens. If I had the money, I’d add one. My wife has a hybrid point and shoot Nikon P7800 and it does a great job, but it isn’t really designed for wildlife and long distance shots. Other bodies might include the Nikon D610, Nikon D810, and the recently announced D750. The links take you to B&H, but you can also order one from Perfect Light Camera and Supply in Idaho Falls.

My GearPersonally, I use a Nikon D4 and a Nikon D800 body. (Newer versions are D4s and D810). I typically use a Nikon 200-400mm lens for most wildlife shooting and I almost always use a tripod. I like the option of the zoom. I don’t own a 500mm or 600mm and seldom feel like I need on in GTNP. I’d probably change my mind on the longer ones if I were trying to take a lot of photos of wolves and bears in GTNP. The 100 Yard Rule(s)

Before I get into the individual species, you might find this page helpful:  Where to Find Wildlife in the Tetons and JH Area


 Photographing Moose:

Gaston and Custer Sparring

Moose live  generally in two zones: River bottoms and in the sage flats. They like to strip leaves off willow branches along the river and they like the bitterbrush often found where sagebrush grows. Additionally, at certain times of the year, you might find them in shallow ponds or streams feeding on aquatic vegetation. Often they will switch it up day to day or even bitterbrush in the morning and willow leaves in the afternoon. They will usually be visible only during the pre-dawn period and into the first hour or so of morning light. I find getting shots of them in the evenings tougher, but not impossible. They tend to get up to feed only after the sun drops behind the Tetons, so most evening shots are in low light or shadows. Once you leave a moose bedded down in the morning, they’ll usually be somewhere within 50 yards of the same spot by late afternoon.

Web_MooseCowCalf_June19The first baby moose are usually seen around the first week of June. Many of the adults look terrible at that time of the year as they shed their winter fur. Other than hoping to find calves with the cows, I normally don’t spend a lot of time trying to photograph them.  Bulls start showing bulbs of velvet in early June and by late June, their fur looks clean and bright and their antlers begin to fill out. By mid to late August, I am out looking for them on a regular basis.

Bulls live a solitary life most of the summer as their antlers grow. Occasionally, you’ll see two bulls in the same area, but seldom spend much time around cows. Effectively, they have no interest whatsoever and seem more annoyed by their presence. Cows with calves of the year stay close to them and are very protective. Also note, moose in and around most of GTNP are mostly accustomed to tourists, but you have to understand back country moose can be much more dangerous. This is a park and not a zoo, so you have to take some initiative to stay safe.

Custer in Velvet August 29, 2012

By late August and into the first week of September, many of the bulls will begin to strip their velvet. Finding moose is tough enough, but being there when they strip the velvet is not an easy task. They can strip most of the velvet in an hour, so being there at the right hour is the challenge. With a telephoto lens, you can stay back and let them go about their task. Moose typically find water once a day. Sometimes they move to a river or stream or get a drink in an irrigation ditch that criss-cross parts of the valley floor.

Custer Losing Velvet September 3, 2012

The photo above is the same moose as the one on the right in the previous image, but taken four days later. In wildlife photography, there is a lot of waiting around for something to happen, but the only way to actually get this kind of shot is stay with the moose until it does. I knew the moose was ready to strip his velvet and kept going back each day.

Washakie in Grass

Bulls spend a couple of days polishing their antlers, then begin roaming the valley floor looking for cows nearing estrus.

Harbinger of the Rut

Bulls can tell when a cow is ready by sniffing their urine. A Flehmen response, like the one in the photo above, is often called a “lip curl”. Anytime you see a cow urinate, be ready. At this time of the year, large bulls and fight over a hot cow, but I’ve never personally witnessed a serious fight, much less photographed one. Sparring takes place fairly often, but usually not between to prime bulls during the rut.

Bulls thrash their antlers in willows, small trees, and sometimes tents. They are either trying to polish their antlers, make a gesture towards other bulls, or are trying to impress a cow. Sometimes, a bull will work himself into a “tizzy” while thrashing, and if you see this behavior, be prepared to move back and be ready to find some place safe. They will drop their head, thrash and dance around small willows, and act erratically. Moose will drop their ears back to their neck as another bull moose approaches. Cows will do the same when another cow is too close to her calf. But, if you are too close, watch for the down ears as they stare at you. You can see the discontent in the moose around the campers near the top of the page. They will let you know if you are too close, and you better listen!

Moose Gathering November 13, 2011

By late October and early November, some of the bulls gather in the sage flats and will spend much of the month of November and December in fairly tight groups.

Web Bull Moose Aspens Dec13

Bulls can still roam around the valley floor, sometimes alone again.

Web Lost Antler Dec7

By mid to late December and into the first week or so of January, bulls begin to drop their antlers. Normally, I get shots like this one from my vehicle.

Web Bulls Sparring Dec7

During the Winter, a scene like this is not that uncommon.

Web Moose Cow Calf Dec8

Cows will stay with their calves all year and into the fall of the second year, at which point one of the bulls will chase it off.

Moose recap: Photography for moose isn’t much different than any other subject. It just takes a lot of field time, some patience, persistence, and even some luck.

Photographing Bison:

Web Frosted Bison Dec12

Bison spend most of the Winter in the far Northeast corner of the National Elk Refuge—after the bison hunt on the refuge. They are smart enough to stay away until the shooting stops. They now know to stay inside Grand Teton National Park (north of the Gros Ventre River) and out of the National Forests. It is possible to find a few herds of bison in the early winter snow around Kelly.

Web Bull Bison Dec26

An adult bison can run as fast as most horses. While they might appear docile, I don’t trust any of them any farther than I could throw one of them. Considering an adult bull can weigh a ton, that’s not far at all!  Normally, I take photos of bison from the window of my vehicle or next to my vehicle. I don’t suggest ever being very far from safety, and I definitely wouldn’t walk out into a field to them. I’ve seen people standing behind a barbed wire fence or a buck rail fence with bison not far away. That is absolutely no deterrent to a bison. They can jump or go through all but the tallest and most sturdy fences.


Most baby bison, or “red dogs” are born in late May and early June. Sometimes, you can find them amongst Arrowleaf Balsom Root plants or Purple Lupine. Cows will normally still be scraping off their winter coat at the time.

Smokey Tetons

Bison roam most of the region east of the Snake River, primarily up on the sage flats. Being a grazing animal, they will seldom be in the same place two days in a row, but are still easy to spot against the sagebrush. Bison and Pronghorns are often seen in the same zones. There are several creeks and numerous irrigation ditches in the sage flats, and they often go to the Gros Ventre or Snake River to drink.  In this shot, the Tetons were dimmed by smoke from an Idaho fire.


On this morning, the first rays of light were being amplified by smoke. I took this one along Mormon Row road, a common place to see bison. In Grand Teton National Park, you will almost always be able to find some bison. Unlike many of the other large game animals, they stay hidden in plain sight.

Rolling in the Dust

Bison, especially bulls, like to roll in the dirt. I like to catch at least one horn, one eye, and some legs. Having another bison in the scene can help a viewer know what the other shape is on the ground without having to decipher the scene. They will typically roll up twice or three times on each side, then get up and shake off the dust and dirt. Occasionally, one will do the entire process twice in the same spot.

Bidon Face

Don’t get close! This bull walked up to my vehicle while I was stuck in a “bison jam”. I took the photos out the window with a telephoto lens resting over a bean bag. Again, this is an animal worthy of your utmost respect.

Photographing Elk

Web Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride Jan31

One sure fire time to see elk is in the winter while taking a Sleigh Ride on the National Elk Refuge:

Web Bulls Waiting Jan31

The Sleigh Ride will take you very close to wintering elk. This might be the “deal” of the season in Jackson Hole.

By late April and early May, the herds move off the Refuge and begin their journey north. This is a great time to find lots of elk, but they are still wary of people. While there are ongoing efforts to stop the “hunt”, officially called the Elk Reduction Program, some hunting is still happening inside the Park’s boundaries.  Elk are normally only seen very early in the morning and very late in the evening. They move back into the forests before most people are finished with breakfast.

Bull Elk with Calf

Elk follow pretty much the same schedule as Moose each year.  Adults will be shaggy in early summer, then appear with beautiful new coats. The calves are born in early June and are sought out by the grizzlies, especially around Willow Flats. Bulls begin growing their new velvet covered antlers until fully formed. As Fall approaches, bull elk shed the velvet and then attempt to gather cows into harems. By early November, or into mid November, elk begin trying to make their way to the National Elk Refuge, but they must first make their way through the gauntlet of hunters waiting for them. In 2014, only antlerless elk kills are allowed. This image was taken a bit before sunrise in late October with my camera set to a high ISO of around 1600. I took it from inside my window with a telephoto resting over a bean bag in the window. Only a few minutes after this shot, the bull and his harem disappeared into the lodge pole pine forest near Jenny Lake.

Photographing Mule Deer

Buck Mule Deer

Grand Teton National Park has a healthy population of Mule Deer and even a small population of White-tailed Deer. The latter are harder to find and harder to photograph. I seldom see does with newborn fawns, but then I don’t spend a lot of time looking for them. I believe the Mule Deer rut starts a little later than moose and they typically drop their antlers later than the other ungulates. In my experience, you have a better chance photographing Mule Deer from your vehicle window than out of the vehicle.


Some bucks are more tolerant than others. If they don’t run immediately, some will graze and feed with you tagging along. Quite a few Mule Deer winter around the buildings and barns in Kelly, and this group seems to be much more tame than other parts of the park.


Occasionally, a mule deer will allow you to get a few quick shots before moving back into the forest.

Web Mule Deer Dec29

Young Mule Deer bucks, like young Moose bulls, spar regularly until it’s time to fight for real. By December, many of Mule Deer work their way to the town of Kelly or along the Butte near the National Museum of Wildlife Art. They can be seen and photographed along the highway during much of the Winter. Mule Deer are also seen inside the town of Jackson, however less often than in earlier years. Feeding them is now illegal.

Photographing Pronghorns

Pronghorns in Gold

Most Pronghorn photos you get in Grand Teton National Park will looks something like this one. They typically stay off the road a ways and will often run if you get out of your vehicle. The gold light was a result of the first few minutes of morning light passing through smoke from an Idaho fire.

I like this kind of shot with an animal being part of a landscape.

Occasionally, a Pronghorn will pose on a hillside for a few minutes.

During the rut, Pronghorns lose much of their wary nature. This buck caught sight of a couple of does on the other side of Mormon Row and ran right by me. Opportunities like this develop quickly, then are over just as fast. It is easy to miss them, but rewarding if you are both lucky and prepared.


This doe is a little shaggy, but she looked nice against the dark background. Bighorns normally leave the valley and winter near Pinedale or Big Piney. During the 2013-2014 winter, a group of around 25 stayed in the valley and spent most of their time on the National Elk Refuge.

Photographing Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats

Impact Nov21

This section is a bit of a “trick question”. While there are some Bighorn Sheep in Grand Teton National Park, they are seldom seen by an average tourist. I’ve never seen one in the Park. I’ve been told there is a population of them on some of the slopes of Mount Moran. Not many roads there! Instead, most people photograph Bighorns at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge in December and January. The first groups start showing up around Thanksgiving. Earlier in the year, some bighorns can be spotted near the campground at Slide Lake and farther out the Gros Ventre near Red Hills Ranch. Still, these are not really part of GTNP.

The other half of the topic above is Mountain Goats. They are not native to GTNP. The Park Service is not welcoming them in the park and are asking people to report any sightings. A healthy herd of Mountain Goats can be seen in late Winter in the Snake River Canyon near Alpine Junction. At certain times of the year, Mountain Goats graze on grasses next to the road while still in their beautiful winter coats. Here’s a page dedicated to  Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon:


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Fall 2014: What’s Hot? What’s Happening? (Sept-Oct)

Current Wildlife, Scenic Opportunities, and Events In and Around Jackson Hole

Note: During the Fall, there’s so much going on in all areas of the park—including Foliage Updates. I created this page during that time to give more specific information. After about October 5th, I returned to the Daily Updates pages with more condensed information.


Moose Wilson SignImportant Closure Notice! Moose-Wilson Road Open Again!

A Grizzly was spotted again on the Moose-Wilson Road a few days ago which closed the road. If the grizzly is seen again, they’ll close it again for at least 48 hours and you’ll see numerous signs like this one.


What’s Hot? — Wildlife Highlights

Elk: Elk are active right now, with bulls bugling and keeping track of their harem of cows. Look for elk very early and late at Windy Point, Taggart Lake Trail Head, Timbered Island, Lupine Meadows, Jenny Lake, Cascade Canyon pullout, String Lake road and drive.

TasslesMoose!: The rut is in full swing but the park service is asking (requiring) people to stay back and give them plenty of room.

Look for moose in these areas:

  • Along the Gros Ventre River. There are several pullouts near the river and the moose can often be seen along it.
  • Around the Snake River Bridge at Moose Junction: A couple of moose hang around the bridge, but can roam north to Blacktail Butte overlook and sometimes across the highway to Blacktail Butte.
  • Along the Moose/Wilson Road: Several moose have been spotted grazing in the beaver ponds along the road.
  • Buffalo Fork River bottom: The Buffalo Fork flows into the Snake at Moran Junction. Look for moose in the willows and side channels.
  • Oxbow Bend Area: Seen less often with wolves in the region, Moose graze on willow bushes in the area. There is at least one very large bull there this year.
  • Schwabacher Landing: A couple of bulls, cow and calf have been spotted there recently.

Black Bear In Tree Sept 26Black Bears: Watch for black bears wherever you find berries. While they can be found in many areas of the park, the two best places are probably along the Moose-Wilson Road and on Signal Mountain.

Alarmed_SowGrizzly Bears: Grizzlies are seen more often during the middle of the day than most other animals, so search for Moose, Deer, and Elk early then move to areas where the bears hang out during the summer months: Grizzly 760 is reported to be roaming the area around the Moose-Wilson road, responsible for closing it regularly this year.

  • Oxbow Bend
  • Pacific Creek Road
  • Jackson Lake Lodge and Christian Pond Area
  • Pilgrim Creek and Pilgrim Creek Road
  • Colter Bay Area
  • Along the highway over Togwotee pass.

Remember, you must remain at least 100 yards from a Grizzly or Black Bear. Rangers have been ticketing people this year that violate the 100 yard rule—and that includes sitting inside your vehicle or approaching a bear in a vehicle at less than 100 yards.

Grand LightSunrise is roughly 7:20 AM during the early part of the month and sunset is at roughly 7:48 PM. You need to get up early or stay out late to have the best chances to see animals. Staying out late has a caveat, of course, as the Teton Range puts most areas into shadows long before actual sunset. Beavers have been active just before dark at Schwabacher Landing.



What’s Hot? — Scenic Highlights

Fall at the Barn

Fall Foliage! Most of the area is PAST PEAK! Still, get out and capture the remaining hot spots like the Moose-Wilson Road, Taggart Lake Trailhead, and Upper Gros Ventre.

Current Foliage Reports

Sept. 2 : Most of the valley is still green and holding onto it’s summer appearance, however small patches of yellow and orange are randomly appearing. Ground cover and grasses are currently showing the most changes. There are still some wildflowers scattered around, but they are waning. Berries are changing to bright red or dark purple. It is still quite early, but hints of fall are now becoming evident. Check back to this page for updated Foliage Reports. You can get a very good idea of what to expect this September by looking over the reports from last September. Click Here!

Sept. 3 Foliage Notes: The Gros Ventre river bottom seems to be getting a jump start on Foliage Season this year. There is a definite shift in the colors…not yellow…but shifting. I received a call from a friend and photographer letting me know the Mountain Maple are changing fast in the Snake River Canyon, especially towards the southwest leg nearing Alpine. I might make a trip down sometime soon. Mountain Maple leaves hold onto their branches longer than aspens, so the season is extended.

Sept. 5 Foliage Notes: It has been 30°-32° in the South End of GTNP over the past couple of mornings. I drove to Wilson yesterday. Cottonwoods along the Snake River are changing now, too. I went to Schwabacher Landing last evening. Cottonwoods there are not as far along as the ones near Wilson. South of Moose Junction, I noticed more yellow than the last time I went by.

Stormy Skies

The Gros Ventre on September 7: This shot might give you some clue about the current state of the foliage season as of today. Many trees are still green, while large portions are starting to shift in color and some are actually beginning to turn yellow. Each day, changes are evident.

Mountain Maple Sept 7Mountain Maple along the Palisades Reservoir on Sept 7: The Mountain Maple trees are vivid in many areas of the Snake River Canyon and along the road running beside the Palisades Reservoir. Now’s a great time to go! Look for maples by the road in the last 1/3rd of the drive towards Alpine Junction. The trees are in all stages of color and the best is probably still yet to come. The maples are ahead of most of the tall aspens.

Washakie Near River BottomSept. 8 Foliage Notes: I took this shot of a moose along the Gros Ventre today. While this photo might be a bit misleading, the GV is starting to turn and some small sections are noticeably yellow.

Willows and Cottonwoods

 Sept 9 – Willows and Cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre : Taken late in the evening. There was a slight haze from some distant fires. The large aspen stand on the distant hillside hasn’t changed much, yet some aspens in other parts of the valley are beginning to change. Changes each day are becoming very noticeable.

Foliage Report Sept 10:  Unscientific! Just observation. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being summer green and 10 being peak, I will give a three part number. The first one is an average of the least changed. The middle number is the overall average and the last number is the status of the most advanced trees in an area.

Gros Ventre river bottom: Cottonwoods 3-6-9, Willows 4-7-9, Aspens 1-3-5, Underbrush and Shrubs 4-5-8
Snake River river bottom: Cottonwoods 3-5-7, Willows 3-5-7, Aspens 1-3-6, Underbrush and Shrubs 4-5-8
Moran Junction area: Cottonwoods 3-4-5, Willows 5-6-8, Aspens 4-6-9, Underbrush and Shrubs 4-5-6
Shadow Mountain: Cottonwoods N/A, Willows 5-6-7, Aspens 4-6-9, Underbrush and Shrubs 4-5-6
Snake River Canyon: Cottonwoods 3-4-5, Willows 3-5-7, Aspens 2-3-6, Underbrush and Shrubs 4-5-6 Mountain Maple 3-7-9

Foliage Update Sept 10: My wife was in the Lost Creek / Snake River Overlook / Triangle X area this morning. She reported good color already developing in that area in the aspens. With the road construction on the highway, I haven’t been venturing that far north lately. Maybe I can do so over he weekend. I noticed a shift in the color of the aspens on Snow King Mountain behind the Post Office. They are still far from peak, but seemed to change from green to olive green quickly. By now, I’d bet the Snake River Canyon is ablaze with Mountain Maple.

Snake River HighwayFoliage Update Sept 14: I did a loop around the valley this afternoon. The numbered report from Sept. 10 should still be close enough, so I won’t repost it. Generally speaking, thing look a little more “fall like” each day or two, but the valley floor is not changing equally in all areas. The areas around Moose Visitors Center, Triangle X Ranch, and Jackson Lake Lodge seem to be the brightest at the moment. The various species of willows along the Gros Ventre are past half way in most zones, with few of them still green. Some willows are losing leaves and are beginning to carpet the ground. The Snake River Canyon and drive along Palisades Reservoir are the star of the show at the moment. Hurry! Aspens are mixed in with them, but most are still green. While there are Mountain Maple trees high on the peaks all the way down the canyon, you can find them close to the road in the last 1/3rd of the drive to Alpine Junction and onward towards Swan Valley along the lake.

Tree TopsFoliage Update Sept 15: Willows and Cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre are getting yellow now. Along the East Boundary Road, aspens are turning yellow north of Antelope Flats Road. Shadow Mountain is changing fast, too. The south end of the Park is slightly ahead of most areas north. If you want to find bright yellow now, you can do so, even if the bulk of the area is still at about midway.

This new Feature Post might also be of interest: Fall at Oxbow Bend. It shows Oxbow Bend images from over the years and includes the date I took them.

Shadow Mountain HillsideFoliage Update Sept 17: Wow! Leaves are changing fast in the south and east side of the park. The Gros Ventre is mostly yellow and much of Shadow Mountain is now peak or at least near peak. I added quite a few photos from this afternoon on the September Daily Updates. Get here soon!


Chapel of the TransfigurationFoliage Update Sept 18: More areas are changing….and fast! Same report as yesterday with Shadow Mountain and the Gros Ventre nearing peak. But, looking in almost any direction now you can see yellow patches. I haven’t had time to make it to Oxbow lately for a report, but maybe I can tomorrow. The Moose Wilson Road was still closed when I drove by the signs.

Aspen Stand at Oxbow BendFall Foliage Update Saturday Sept. 20: Game On! While not all of the aspens, cottonwoods and willows are bright yellow, valley wide, many of them are! More interesting, it is all going off at about the same time this year. There will probably be lingering pockets of peak, but the next few days should display some of the best color of the season.  I’d say Monday will be one of the first peak days at Oxbow, however Sunday will probably be good. Hopefully, we’ll have a few clouds to help fill the sky.

Sunday Foliage Report Sept 21: Peak Week is beginning! Oxbow looks very good now. There were lots of people at Schwabacher Landing as I drove by over the weekend.

Oxbow Bend Aspen StandFall Foliage Update Sept. 23: The entire valley is looking REALLY NICE! Almost all aspens, cottonwoods, and willows are turning to peak at about the same time this year…somewhat unusual from my experience. Shadow Mountain still looks very good. Schwabacher looks good from the highway. There have been lots of cars filling the parking lots to overflow capacity each morning as I drive by. Today, with all the clouds and fog, they thinned out quickly. The Aspens on the north side of the road at Oxbow had begun to blow off, but the nice stands of aspens by the water are beginning to show some orange. Hopefully, they will go ahead and turn orange before blowing off. The Gros Ventre looks good and the Aspens I can see up Curtis Canyon are yellow. Aspens on Snow King Mountain are yellow now.

Moose JunctionSeptember 24 Foliage Additions:  I’ve been to Oxbow Bend five mornings in a row. I had two good days of extended shooting, one day with a few minutes of good light and clouds, and two days where I never saw the mountains. The far left clump of aspens in the grove at the west end of the bend is starting to thin, while some near the middle are just now prime. Tomorrow will probably still be good there, but it will depend on how windy it gets this afternoon. The water level remained high this year during peak foliage there. We’ve had a bit of haze lately, but nothing like earlier years. There is some great color around Cottonwood Creek near Jenny Lake and onward to the Taggart Lake Trail Head. Another bright area is the Moose Junction zone. Some of the cottonwoods along the Snake River are thinning along with cottonwoods and aspens along the Gros Ventre.

Slide Lake WillowsSeptember 25 Foliage Report: Leaves are falling fast in many areas. Especially on hilltops, the once bright yellow aspen leaves are on the ground. Some of the cottonwoods along the Snake are now looking half full and half fallen. The Gros Ventre is also thinning, but there are still a few bright spots. I didn’t go all the way to Oxbow, but I have a feeling it is past peak and partially fallen. I found quite a bit of yellow up the Gros Ventre on Thursday. The areas around Taggart Lake trail head and Cottonwood Creek were colorful a couple of days ago. Still, much like the early days of the foliage season, you can find plenty of pockets of bright colors if you look for them.

Variegated LeavesSeptember 27 and 28 Foliage Report: It rained on both days of the weekend eliminating much of a chance to take photos of the vista views of the Tetons, however there is still a lot of color around the valley available to those willing to brave the elements and take advantage of the “smaller scenes”.  Check out Making the Best of a Rainy Day: for ideas and instructions. The weather report suggests more rain and thunderstorms on Monday, so make sure to visit the Rainy Day post. As the weather clears, keep an eye on Cottonwood Creek, Taggart Lake Trail Head, and the Moose-Wilson Road. The cottonwoods along Mormon Row are still turning and not peak yet.

AspensOctober 1-5 Foliage Wrap-up Report: Fall came early. But if you check out the October 2014 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH, you can see I found lots of Fall Foliage opportunities around the valley. Bar BC Dude Ranch was taken on Saturday the 4th of October and I had plenty of color. Around the town of Jackson, there are mixed bags of bright green aspens, peak aspens, and aspens with all leaves fallen. The ornamental or domestic trees around town are behind (or actually on schedule) and will turn soon and begin dropping their colorful leaves. I think that’s a great time to look for the leaves along Flat Creek, trapped against flowing water on the rocks.


What’s Happening? Current Events and Activities

  • Gasoline is $3.48 per gallon for Self-Serv Regular at most stations in town.
  • Events Page at the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber will have various events listed I won’t know about. Keep an eye on their page!
  • Photography at the Summit: You might bump into some of the workshops around the valley. Each night, the National Museum of Wildlife Art hosts a presentation by one or two of the instructors.

Road Work and Road Closures:

  • Yellowstone: For anyone traveling north to Old Faithful after September 2nd, you will probably want to know a section of Craig Pass will be closed to through traffic. You’ll have to drive around to Lake, up to Canyon, over to Norris, and then back south to the Old Faithful area.  “So instead of a 30-minute drive from West Thumb to Old Faithful it’s another two hours,” Nash said, “and, yes, that’s a significant increase in traffic time.”  Source: Craig Pass road closure to cut route to Old Faithful
  • GTNP Road Work:  Some sections of the bike path through GTNP are still closed and barricaded.
  • Tail Lights
  • Road Closure SignsMoose/Wilson Road : is currently open. It can close at any time due to Grizzly activity as seen in this photo. You can access the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve over the newly graded road from Teton Village.

Granite Hot Springs Pool Closure:

  • Closed for re-plastering the pool area. Not clear how long the closure will last.

Controlled Burns: 4 Controlled Burns Set For Cool Months Ahead  (JH News & Guide:)

  1. Emma Matilda Lake to the west and the junction of Pacific Creek and Two Ocean Lake roads to the east
  2. Agricultural land near Kelly (1 day)
  3. Northeast Quad burn is part of the Central Buffalo Valley Habitat Enhancement Project
  4. South of Jackson near Bryan Flats, Teton Interagency crews plan to conduct a prescribed burn at Beaver Mountain.

September 2014 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH:

A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!

Daily Updates Archives: ~
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September Overview:

Corey's Mountain Maples

Corey’s Mountain Maples: This wonderful shot was taken along Palisades Reservoir by my son, Corey on September 7th

September is my favorite month. Many of the tourists leave the valley, giving everyone a little more elbow room. “Change” is the theme for the entire month—both on the landscape and the wildlife—and the changes are usually rapid and evident. Leaves begin to change and magically transforms the valley with a new palette of warm colors. Berries ripen and wildlife finds them. Fall officially begins on the 22nd of September this year, but hints of the new season will be evident at the first of the month. By the 22nd, Fall foliage will be in near peak form in many areas of the valley. Moose, Deer, and Elk will be in the rut much of the month. At some point, we’ll likely see our first significant snowfall in the high country, some of which might hang around all fall.  The valley floor might also see a short lived blanket of snow from an early storm.

Streamlined Viewing Links:


Oldie But Goodie Post of the Day

Granite Falls Terraces Oct11Granite Falls and Granite Creek:On a rainy or overcast day, you might consider heading south into the Hoback Canyon to Granite Creek.  This page has a map and a lot more information and photos. Roads are a bit on the rough side, but a passenger car can make the trip over the hard packed gravel road. If you are in the north end of GTNP, you might also want to look at Moose Falls on Crawfish Creek. It is just inside the south entrance of Yellowstone. Most people are in a hurry to get into or out of Yellowstone and pass by that nice little gem.




September 30

The Last Day of September: It is still cool, foggy and cloudy here with chances of rain and thunderstorms all day. Check out the most recent Feature Post for ideas: Making the Best of a Rainy Day:

Mountain Ash

Mountain Ash: Taken with natural light along Snow King Drive in Jackson

Mountain Ash With Light

Mountain Ash: For this shot, I set my White Balance to around 3000K and then lit the berries and leaves with an LED bank with an orange gel. I also bumped the Aperture up from F/8 to F/13.

Red Leaves

Red Leaves: I took this image from the street in East Jackson.

Fine Aspen Branches

Fine Aspen Branches: Taken from the bike path in my neighborhood in town.

Water Droplets

Water Droplets: These were clinging to a handle for the head gate on an irrigation ditch.

Aspen Branch

Aspen Branch and Trunk: Also taken from the bike path in my neighborhood.

Foot Bridge

Foot Bridge over Flat Creek:

Ben and His Dog

Ben and His Dog: On almost any other day, Ben’s black dog wouldn’t have shown up in this shot. The rain soaked asphalt bike path was lit up nicely.


Crab Apples: Taken at a neighbor’s tree only a few doors down. There’s plenty of subject matter in Jackson Hole if you just look for it!

Bison Sparring:Bison and Pronghorns seem to be some of the most consistent subjects in the Park right now. They can usually be seen along the Gros Ventre Road, Kelly Warm Springs area,  and Antelope Flats Road. A couple of days ago, I saw a Red-tailed Hawk on the fence line next to the National Elk Refuge. That’s not uncommon, but a person on a bicycle rode right by the bird on the bike path and the hawk never flew. That was amazing!  As of Monday, the hydrologists are beginning to cut back flows at the Jackson Lake Dam. You’ll see the difference at Oxbow initially and fishermen will feel it all down the river.

Photography at the Summit Lecture Series:

  • Tonight>> National Museum of Wildlife Art>> 8:00 PM >>$10 per person  >> Presenters >> MaryAnne Golon and William Albert Allard
  • Wednesday >> National Museum of Wildlife Art>> 8:00 PM >>$10 per person  >> Presenters >> Dave Black and Deanne Fitzmaurice
  • Thursday >> National Museum of Wildlife Art>> 8:00 PM >> Free Admission  >> Presenters >> Jim Richardson and Jodi Cobb

Stay off the south end of Mormon Row! It has been raining a lot over the past few days. The road to the barns and Bed and Breakfast should still be fine. I wouldn’t recommend trying to drive that road South for a week or so. There are a few spots on Shadow Mountain that could also be a problem. I tried driving the dirt road north of Lost Creek Ranch on Saturday. It was messy and muddy then. I am sure it is much worse now. I haven’t been on the RKO road in a while, but I’d visualize it being testy in spots unless you have a big four wheel drive truck.

One-On-One Photo Excursions: I make it a point to limit self-promotion here on the blog. However, it seems like a good time to mention I have openings left in beautiful October for a One-On-One Photography Excursion in GTNP. Even though many of the fall leaves are on the ground, I can take you to many places that are not dependent on the leaves. We should be getting a blanket of snow in the mountains in October, changing the look of the valley dramatically. October is a much more quiet month—with most photographers back at their homes and going through their September trip photos. Click the link for all the details and let me know if you are interested. These excursions help me pay the bills and put gasoline in the tank to continue offering the blog.

Please let your friends know about it and share the pages with your friends on Facebook.


September 29

Rainy Days and Mondays: I don’t know about you, but I keep hearing echos of the Carpenters music this morning. I am sure there lots of people in the valley that booked their yearly trip to the Tetons based on the historic peak foliage dates at the end of September and first few days of October. Unfortunately for them, peak foliage happened during the middle of last week. It rained both days of the weekend and the forecast appears to be rain continuing for a few more days. Yesterday, I added a timely new Feature Post that might give you some ideas and places to shoot until the weather clears.

Making the Best of a Rainy Day:: Check out this new Feature Post! Whether you are here in the Tetons on a rainy day, or back at your home town, you should find a few tips and suggestions for filling your cards with unique images on days when others are complaining or sitting at the bars drinking their sorrows away.

Granite Falls

Granite Falls: Taken this time last year.

Don’t forget opportunities in and around the Town of Jackson: There are lots of trees and plants still in their peak foliage form right in town. And, today would be a GREAT day to drive down to Granite Falls about 35 miles south of town. I’d do that trip in a heartbeat on a day like today. The falls sit back in the corner of a rock face, so the white sky is not a problem. With a tripod, you can get long exposures and flowing water. There will likely still be a few fall leaves around, too. This page has quite a few images and directions:  Lesser Seen Regional Waterfalls. The road to the falls is a little rough, but a standard passenger car can still make it. The road itself is gravel based so you shouldn’t have to worry about ruts and getting stuck. I like to start back from the falls and work my way in. You can actually walk out right onto the terraces and get some wonderful flowing water images. Keep an eye out for opportunities to capture the colorful leaves trapped in the water on the rocks. Except for the possibility of several Best of the Tetons readers showing up after reading this post, you will probably be the only person there. Take your own water and snacks as there are no services or stores.


September 28

Rain Drops

Rainy Sunday in Jackson Hole: We had rain all night and it is raining still as I write this morning update. I don’t mind. I am sitting here in my nice, dry, warm office. I am sure there are people here on their planned trip and huddled in a camper or tent. And, I NEEDED some sleep! With foliage season in peak form all week, I have been up at 5:00 am (or before) and not getting bed until late.

Making the Best of a Rainy Day:: Check out this new Feature Post! Whether you are here in the Tetons on a rainy day, or back at your home town, you should find a few tips and suggestions for filling your cards with unique images on days when others are complaining or sitting at the bars drinking their sorrows away.

Quick Foliage Report: The Oxbow has some color and leaves, but it is definitely past peak now. The wind and rain has taken it’s toll on the leaves in many of the hillsides and river bottoms. The best areas I saw were near Jenny Lake and Cottonwood Creek, around Moose Junction, along the Moose-Wilson road and along Mormon Row. I am sure there are other good places, but I can only cover so much of the park at any particular time. For the people coming here this week, you’ll still be able to find plenty of foliage opportunities.

What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports: | Wildlife Reports: | Best of the Tetons : Start Here!: | Helpful Links and Resources:

  • 4 Controlled Burns for area
  • Foliage Report updates
  • Granite Hot Springs Pool Closure
  • Moose-Wilson Road Closures

Fall: (when the leaves start turning until the cold and snow arrives)


September 27

Saturday in the Park: I spent the entire day out in the rain and fog today. Sorry for the late update! I will post a couple of images from today, then build a new Feature Post tomorrow called “Making the Best of a Rainy Day”. You might consider signing up to follow this blog to get a notice as soon as I post it! I took way too many shots to post here tonight.

Buffalo Valley Sunrise

Buffalo Valley Sunrise: Follow the light! I was going past the Oxbow Bend area in the dark and noticed people setting up their tripods at the traditional spots. I thought that was odd, knowing the mountains were socked in with heavy, low clouds, and minimal light available from the sunrise. As soon as I saw some light areas in the East, I headed that direction to try to capture even a few minutes of sunlight.

Buffalo Valley Rainbow

Buffalo Valley Rainbow: The few minutes of light also created a very nice rainbow. Let’s see…I managed to capture this rainbow by turning my 24-70mm lens and D800 into portrait mode and taking this shot with three images I stitched together in Photoshop’s Photomerge utility. My other choice was to run back to my vehicle and grab my 14-24mm wide angle lens. Rainbows seldom last very long, so I took the three pano parts. Maybe I should have known to throw the wide angle in my jacket?

Fall Barn

Fall Barn: Only a few days earlier, there were 50-60 people all lined up at this location at sunrise. Today, there were zero when I drove up.

String Lake Clouds

String Lake Clouds: Around 3:00 pm, some of the thick clouds lifted temporarily. I took advantage of the break to get some moody clouds and skies.

Aspen Leaf

Aspen Leaf: Rainy days are THE BEST for taking leaves photos of leaves, berries, and branches. It you take time to look for them, there are literally millions of photographic opportunities. I like to find the ones with the most “character”.


September 26

Friday Outing: I spent a lot of the day in the park today. It started out clear and then proceeded to get cloudy throughout most of the day.

Cottonwood Creek

Meadow at Cottonwood Creek near the Taggart Lake Trail Head.

Little Cabin at Cottonwood Creek

Little Cabin at Cottonwood Creek: Tight shot with first band of light hitting the meadows.

Roadway to String Lake

Roadway to String Lake: Low shot including the Cathedral Group as the first of the morning clouds started rolling in.

Old Patriarch Tree

Old Patriarch Tree at mid-morning.

Baby Patriarch Tree

Baby Patriarch Tree: Pine cone from the old Limber Pine tree.

T.A. Moulton Barn

T.A. Moulton Barn: Color is looking good at the barn right now, with yellow cottonwood leaves scattered on the ground.

Leaves and Ditch

Advancing Clouds: Instead of dropping the horizon line to capture the stormy clouds, I took the horizon line up to show the leaves and water in the ditch.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn with afternoon clouds.

Murphy Barn with Fences

Murphy Barn with Fences: Partly cloudy days are good for this kind of moody, shadowed look.

T.A. Moulton Barn

T.A. Moulton Barn: Taken from the corner back south towards the barns and Bed and Breakfast. All I had to do was wait for a band of light to hit the row of cottonwoods and the roof of the barn.

Moose Wilson Road

Moose Wilson Road: As of today, the road is open again and the colors are in peak form.

Foliage Forecast: On Thursday, I drove around quite a bit to make a few quick Foliage notes. Leaves are falling fast in many areas. Especially on hilltops, the once bright yellow aspen leave are on the ground. Some of the cottonwoods along the Snake are now looking half full and half fallen. The Gros Ventre is also thinning, but there are still a few bright spots. I didn’t go all the way to Oxbow, but I have a feeling it is past peak and partially fallen. I found quite a bit of yellow up the Gros Ventre on Thursday. The area around Taggart Lake trail head and Cottonwood Creek was colorful a couple of days ago. Still, much like the early days of the foliage season, you can find pockets of bright colors.

Animals: Bison were in the grassy meadows north of Antelope Flats road today. Some of them are still showing rut behavior, even a month later than normal. Pronghorns seem to be gathering into small groups with a buck beginning to get interested. Mule deer are scattered and should begin their rut soon. Some people are seeing them around the small town of Kelly. I’ve seen quite a few coyotes near the barns. I haven’t seen Marmots in a long time, and the Uinta Ground Squirrels appear to be under ground now, too. An owl is occasionally seen at night at the TA Moulton barn, probably feeding the late squirrels. With the Moose Wilson Road closed, I haven’t heard of any other Great Gray sightings this year.

What Really Happened at the Gros Ventre Campground? This link takes you to a blog at Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari’s Jason Williams site. I wasn’t at the campground the day the cow moose was put down and I haven’t been back since. Without first hand information, I was hesitant to write much here. Check out Jason’s post.


September 25


Light Painted Saddle: Last evening, I stayed at the John Moulton Barn and light painted this old saddle on the newly preserved fences.

NEWS STORY: (via JH News & Guide Daily) Grand Teton National Park officials will crack down on wildlife viewing and close part of a campground after a moose died Wednesday after a chaotic encounter.

This Morning’s Outing: We had bluebird clear morning skies. I didn’t even consider looking for wildlife today, so I drove by the barns, thinking I might go up Shadow Mountain. Some company is filming a commercial there today, so I opted to go up the Gros Ventre. It was very nice!

Moulton Barn Photographers

Moulton Barn Photographers: Okay, this is the most photographers I have even seen at the barns at one time! While it is not uncommon to see large groups on a photo tour or photo safari, it appeared to me that most were just individuals that all showed up today.

Moulton Barn Photographers

Moulton Barn Photographers: Another angle of the morning photographers. It thinned out fairly quickly after the first light on the Grand.

Slide Lake in the Fall

Slide Lake in the Fall: Slide Lake is about six miles past the East boundary of GTNP.

Golden Reflections

Golden Reflections: Taken from the side of the lake near the Campground.

Slide Lake Willows

Slide Lake Willows: When I see cloudless skies, as seen in the first shot with all the photographers, I start thinking about going to places to shoot down, or at least even with my subject so I can minimize the lifeless sky.

Bands of Gold

Bands of Gold: Also at Slide Lake.

Bison Sparring:

Bison Sparring: This was taken at the Kelly Warm Springs on my way back. The Shane Cabins looked pretty good this morning as I passed by.

Grand Bison

Grand Bison: Also taken at the Kelly Warm Springs.


September 24

Night Barm

Light Painted Moulton Barn: We are beginning a “new moon” phase, which means I don’t have to worry about a moon adding light to a night scene. Last night I stopped at the barns and took a few shots. I met a couple of Best of the Tetons readers also there to do some light painting. Earlier, I went out to the Gros Ventre river and saw a cow and calf and a bull moose at the big overlook pull out. There were already a lot of people, so I just kept driving. Leaves are falling along the GV now, so we better hurry for foliage along the river. Check out Oct:  2013 for more night shots from last year.

This Morning:

Oxbow Photographers

I headed to Oxbow Bend “one more time” hoping to hit it perfectly before the leaves fall. The weather report suggested it would be partly cloudy and calm winds. The reports were pretty much dead-on today. We had good color and only short periods of ruffled water. There were lots of people at Oxbow today as seen here.

First Hints of Color

First Hints of Color: Taken from the edge of the river.

First Peach

First Peach: This was taken a bit farther to the west, near the shore line.

Mt. Moran With Light

Mt. Moran With Light: Mt. Moran bathed with first light and a couple of Canada Geese photo bombers.

Oxbow Wide

Wide Shot: While many prefer glass smooth water, a little band of ruffled water is fine with me.

Classic Shot

Classic Shot taken from the sidewalk where all the photographers were standing earlier.

The Human Element

The Human Element: I like to include people once in a while. I didn’t take the time to get model releases, but this kind of shot is popular with travel magazines and stock agencies.

Oxbow Comments: I’ve been to Oxbow Bend five mornings in a row. I had two good days of extended shooting, one day with a few minutes of good light and clouds, and two days where I never saw the mountains. The far left clump of aspens in the grove at the end of the bend is starting to thin, while some near the middle are just now prime. Tomorrow will probably still be good there, but it will depend on how windy it gets this afternoon. As you can see above, the water level remained high this year during peak foliage there. We’ve had a bit of haze lately, but nothing like earlier years.

Jackson Lake Junction

Jackson Lake Junction:

Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake: Filtered morning light along the shore of Jackson Lake.

Foliage Reports: Click this link for the most current foliage reports. Here’s a link for last September’s Daily Updates page: Sept:  2013

New Feature Post: Polarizing Filters for Fall Foliage. I am sure many people already know about Polarizing Filters, but with foliage kicking off this week, I thought I’d add an extra post.

Upcoming Feature Posts: Right now, the main emphasis for blog entries are related to fall. THE color week of the year at our doorsteps. I hope to create a step-by-step Feature Post about how to make some of your fall photos “pop”. That post will be timely and am sure helpful for most readers…even after they get home from a Teton area visit. Hint…Sign up! After a day of rain, we usually get a layer of fog across the valley. I hope to do a post with tips about dealing with the fog during shooting. You’ll have fog in your area at times, and most of the info will translate to photographing in your area. After the foliage season, I still have two upcoming posts about the light and action at our Teton County Fair. Like the Fireworks pages, they translate to possibilities for people all around the country. In other words, once the fall season is over, I begin to think about more posts that can help people with their photography even if they aren’t in the Tetons to use them. Future Feature Posts should include some post processing ideas and step-by-steps.

Moose Wilson Sign Moose-Wilson Road Closed Again!

A Grizzly was spotted again on the Moose-Wilson Road yesterday. The area is now closed to all travel as seen in this sign at the barricade. If they stay consistent, the Park will keep the road closed for the next 48 hours from the Murie Center Road to the Death Canyon Road. Visitors can still access the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve by entering the Park from the road near Teton Village.



September 23

Morning Clouds over Signal Mountain

Morning Clouds over Signal Mountain: It was cloudy early at Oxbow Bend today. I looked for a big Bull Moose people had seen in the area a couple of days ago, but didn’t see him. This shot was taken from the shore line at Oxbow Bend.

Oxbow Bend South Bank

Oxbow Bend South Bank: Taken looking directly South while at Oxbow Bend today.

Oxbow Bend First Light

Oxbow Bend First Light: The clouds and fog pulled back for just a while today, then filled in again before the light hit the stand of aspens at the West end of Oxbow.

Jackson Lake Shore Line

Jackson Lake Shore Line: Taken with a short telephoto from the shore line.

Jackson Lake Aspens

Jackson Lake Aspens: I took a similar shot from the parking lot a couple of days ago, then walked to the shore line today for this image.

Oxbow Bend Aspen Stand

Oxbow Bend Aspen Stand: I went back to Oxbow once the clouds broke in the East and before the wind ruffled the water.

Edge of the Island

Edge of the Island: With clouds covering the mountains, I pulled in tight with some water shots today.


September 22

Teton Photography Group Monthly Meeting Tonight: If you happen to be in town this afternoon, I am scheduled to give a presentation about this Blog to the group. You don’t have to be a member to attend. Here’s the info and address: Teton Photography Group is tonight at 6 PM in the Conference Room at the Art Association of Jackson Hole (238 S Glenwoood.) You can also ask to become a member of the Facebook Group.

Monday Morning:

Lozier Hill Clouds

Lozier Hill Clouds: I went back to Oxbow this morning, only to find thick clouds in all directions. The crowd thinned quickly once it was apparent we wouldn’t see the mountains. I took this image on Pacific Creek Road of the clouds pulling back from Lozier Hill.

Pine Bough

Rain Drops on a Lodge Pole Pine Bough:

Changing Leaves

Changing Leaves: Water droplets always add interest!

Rocks on Cottonwood Creek

Rocks on Cottonwood Creek: I stopped at Cottonwood Creek at the outlet of Jenny Lake to get a couple of example photos for the new Feature Post: Polarizing Filters for Fall Foliage. This one is without a polarizing filter. The image below was taken with a one.

Polarizer on Water

The Polarizing Filter effectively (and easily) removed the glare on the water. This is just one the many times a polarizing filter can come in handy.


September 20

Sunday Morning

Oxbow Bend in Pink

Oxbow Bend in Pink: Here’s a teaser photo for today. It was captured at 6:58 am with my Nikon D800 and a 70-200mm Nikon lens. 1/4 second, F/11, ISO 100. -2/3 EV, White Balance 5000K.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: Taken with the same gear from a spot quite a bit east of the first one.

Aspens and Sky

Aspens and Sky: Taken at essentially the same spot as the pink version, but after sunlight was hitting the aspens. For this shot, I switched to a Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Jackson Lake Shoreline

Jackson Lake Shoreline: The shaft of light caught my eye as I drove by the lake.

Jackson Lake Junction

Jackson Lake Junction: Any question where this one was taken? Peak week is here!

Aspens Looking Up

Aspens Looking Up:

Arizona Meadows

Arizona Meadows: I am not sure if this place has a name, but there’s a pull out and a sign about the Camas plant that grows in the meadows.

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks:

Stalks of Golden Grass

Stalks of Golden Grass: Taken at the meadows.

Pilgrim Creek

Pilgrim Creek: Taken at ground level across a small calm pool. At the time, the sky was starting to turn murky, but I think there is some more potential there I need to try again.


Cyclist: This was taken at Jackson Lake Junction. Earlier, I saw this spot and thought it might make a great place to include a cyclist. I stood there a while, but none appeared. After coming back from Pilgrim Creek, I was driving by Oxbow bend when I saw two cyclists heading towards that spot. I did a u-turn and drove to my spot. I focused on fog line where I knew he’d be riding, put it in manual mode and, after making a few exposure tests, waited.  Sure enough, he rode by as I was lying on my stomach near the edge of the road. At 1/1250th of a second, I froze him and even his spokes.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: I shot a similar image on the 18th, but the aspens were brighter and better lit today. I like this one better.

Quick Trip Report: I didn’t plan on going back to Oxbow today, but after checking the weather for today and tomorrow, I thought I’d better go. I may go there one more time tomorrow, but at least I have a few nice ones for this year if the weather turns foul or if the wind starts blowing the leaves off the trees. Today was Sunday, so without other obligations,  I took my time and had a wonderful day of shooting. As you can see, peak week of foliage season is here in most places.

Highway 89/191 Update: It appears the entire road project is finished now. Much of the bike path through GTNP is still closed.

Fall: (when the leaves start turning until the cold and snow arrives)

Here’s a section of Fall Feature Posts. The list can always be found on the “Best of the Tetons : Start Here!” page. Also, I added seven evening images to the bottom of yesterday’s post. You could easily miss them, so scroll on down!

Remember to Check these Related Pages:


September 20

Moose Wilson Road Open Again! I heard from a friend the road is open again.

Saturday in the Park: I was up early and checked the weather report. It said we were going to have CLEAR skies…not what I want for landscapes…but I needed to go to make a report here.

Alpenglow at Oxbow Bend

Alpenglow at Oxbow Bend: Today was probably a day or two early for peak foliage there, but it is definitely getting close. I’d suggest the first of the peak days will be on Monday.

Peach Skies

Pretty in Peach: Just another stage in the morning sunrise.

Aspen Stand at Oxbow Bend

Aspen Stand at Oxbow Bend: There are still hints of green in the aspen stands and none of them have changed to orange this year…yet anyway.

Aspens in the Upper Lot

Aspens in the Upper Lot: This stand often turns orange. Right now, they are still deep yellow.

Snake River Cottonwoods

Snake River Cottonwoods: Much of the Snake River river bottom is bright yellow now.

Cottonwoods at Mormon Row

Cottonwoods at Mormon Row: The east facing cottonwood behind the T.A. Moulton barn is beginning to turn.


September 19

New Feature Post:  Moose Courtship Behavior: This page contains ten images of some unique moose behavior during the fall rut. You’ll definitely want to see this one!

Washakie in the Morning Sage

Washakie in the Morning Sage: It got three or four shots with the light on the sage, then a cloud moved in and dulled the scene for quite a while. I like shots like this one with distant yellow willows and aspens to help put a “date stamp” on the shot. This one is obviously in the early fall part of the rut.

Blacktail Butte

Blacktail Butte: Gold light was hitting the valley floor at first light, highlighting the cottonwoods and aspens on the  south end of Blacktail Butte. Fog usually fills the valley on the morning following days of heavy rain. By the time I left the area, fog was covering the entire area. I spoke with a friend who tried to photograph at the barns, but from there, the Tetons were obscured.

Bull, Cow and Calf

Bull, Cow and Calf in the sagebrush this morning. The bull is one I call Washakie. He’s one of my favorites along the Gros Ventre.

Washakie Leaving the Sagebrush

Washakie Leaving the Sagebrush: Washakie has distinctive brow tines, as seen in the photos from today. I have photos of him back to around 2007 or so.

A Pause in the Morning Sage

A Pause in the Morning Sage: Washakie, again…I saw two other smaller bulls this morning. They had disappeared for the past three or four days.Pause in the Cottonwoods

Pause in the Cottonwoods:

Lip Curl

Lip Curl Amongst the Cottonwoods of Fall:

Moose Courtship 6

New Feature Post:  Moose Courtship Behavior: This page contains ten images of some unique moose behavior during the fall rut. You’ll definitely want to see this one!

Swan Family

Swan Family: A full family shot of the resident Trumpeter Swans from this morning along Flat Creek.

Stretching Trumperter Swan

Stretching Trumpeter Swan: Also taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek in Jackson.

Afternoon Outing:

Washakie in Grass

Washakie in Grass:

Washakie Drinking

Washakie Drinking: You can see the three or four scratches on his muzzle in this photo. I thought they looked like warpaint long ago and gave him the name of a famous Shoshone chief and warrior. Other people have adopted the name over the years, though anyone can call him anything they prefer.

Washakie Crossing the Gros Ventre

Washakie Crossing the Gros Ventre: My D4 came back from Nikon Service yesterday. I shot some of the morning shots with it and then again on this river crossing that afternoon. I was hand holding the body and 70-200mm lens with VR on. From all I can tell, Nikon did a great job of repairing my trusty camera.

If you like Moose, you might also enjoy looking over my images at my photo web site at Teton Images: Artistic Moose


September 18

New Feature Post: Fall On Shadow Mountain

Tetons in Pink

Tetons in Pink: I spent most of my morning on top of Shadow Mountain and had a good morning. I shot this one as a panoramic image spread all the way to Mt. Moran, but it will need some stitching and processing. The pink light lasted only a couple of minutes.

Shadow Mountain Sunrise

Shadow Mountain Sunrise: Taken from the ridge line looking Northeast.

Vista View at Shadow Mountain

Vista View at Shadow Mountain: I took essentially the same shot yesterday afternoon, but I was having to shoot into the light. I had constantly changing clouds and occasional bursts of light this morning. I shot quite a few from the ridge top this morning. Instead of filling this page up too much more, check out the new Feature Post called Fall On Shadow Mountain.

If you want nice foliage shots right now, I’d recommend going up the hill and spend a morning!

Gros Ventre River Bottom

Gros Ventre River Bottom: This image give you a good idea of the aspens, cottonwoods, and willows along the Gros Ventre.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: A cloud rolled in over the Grand, so I chose to shoot this one tight.

Chapel Visitors

Chapel Visitors: A bus load of tourists headed out in the light rain towards the Chapel. I though the umbrellas added a nice touch.

Afternoon Outing:

Afternoon Barn

Afternoon Barn: Skies looked dark and interesting so I did a quick trip up Spring Gulch. I shot this image with my D4 after being repaired at Nikon Service.

Trumpeter Swan Family

Trumpeter Swan Family: All three Cygnets are still with the two adults along Flat Creek. Only two of them were tight enough to be into this shot.

Single Swan with Rain Drops

Single Swan with Rain Drops: This was taken with very little available light.


September 17

Pronghorns with Tetons

Pronghorns with Tetons: We had stunning gold light at first light this morning. After not seeing an bull moose on my first pass of the GV, I headed quickly towards the barns. When I saw these Pronghorns in front of the Tetons, I changed gears and took a few of them.

Pronghorns in Gold

Pronghorns in Gold: The base of Blacktail Butte is in the distance of this image, taken from Mormon Row. Yes, it was REALLY that gold.

Dappled Gold

Dappled Gold: This horse was prancing around in the pasture between the Bed and Breakfast and the TA Moulton Barn. I managed to get a few of her in front of the barns, but I liked this one with the wavy old dirt road.

TA Moulton Barn at Sunrise

TA Moulton Barn at Sunrise: I made it to this barn and snapped off a few images before clouds filled in and cut off the morning light. You can see the cottonwoods just starting to turn there.


Ravens: These ravens were preening in the top of an old dead tree with the moody blue-gray sky behind.

Quick Wildlife and Foliage Report: The GV river bottom is well past half way now, with almost no cottonwoods or willows in summer green color. Aspens on the hillsides are beginning to turn there, too. Aspens in many other areas advanced considerably in the past couple of days. Shadow Mountain is looking very good. The S Curve road to the Shane Cabin is quite yellow. Bison were in the flats north of Kelly. Pronghorns were along Mormon Row road. This morning, I saw four different Cow moose with a calf each and one single Cow moose, but no bulls.

Afternoon Outing:

Longhorn Steer

Longhorn Steer: Not exactly native wildlife, but they’ve been a fixture in the park for decades. These Longhorns roam a couple of pastures just north of Kelley.

Bull Bison

Bull Bison: I found this nice bull along with a large herd near the Kelly Warm Springs.

Shadow Mountain Vista

Shadow Mountain Vista: Aspens are near peak on Shadow Mountain right now.

Shadow Mountain and the South Vista

Shadow Mountain and the South Vista:

Shadow Mountain Hillside

Shadow Mountain Hillside:

Shadow Mountain

Shadow Mountain:

Snake River Clouds

Snake River Clouds: Taken from the Snake River bridge just as the sun went down. The cottonwoods are in shadows in this late evening shot, but you can get an idea of the foliage situation along the Snake. Changes are evident from day to day and even from morning to evening now.

Equipment Updates: For anyone following along with my D4 and hard drive issues, the D4 is now in transit back from Nikon Service after a quick dip in the river. It should be here tomorrow. I had a hard drive failure on one of my backup drives and now have it’s replacement back in operation and full of data.


September 16

Tail Lights

Tail Lights: I pulled into the turnout along the highway early this morning to take this shot. Each morning, there’s a bumper to bumper stream of cars heading to the airport. It is even more apparent if one vehicle is going 45mph and the rest are in a hurry. On Sunday, I made that loop north along the highway and ran into the construction zone near Snake River Overlook and Cunningham Cabin. There was a fairly long delay, but at the time, crews were adding the center stripes and fog lines. Hopefully some sections will be finished soon. The bike paths in GTNP are getting resurfaced, so we also have to watch out for bikers back on the highway for a few days.

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Today, I looked for moose along the Gros Ventre and got absolutely skunked! That included walking quite a bit of the river bottom, too! Clouds looked nice, so I drove up Mormon Row to take a few shots there. Bison are now back in the area and look great when you can find them in the golden grass of fall. A herd of Bison were just a few hundred yards behind the Peach House and were also along Mormon Row south of the Bed & Breakfast.

Moulton Barn and Corrals

Moulton Barn and Corrals: The mountains and clouds were “moody” today with occasional patches of sunlight making their way to them. Haze is still a player in the valley from a fire of unknown origin. As they say, “Hindsight is 20/20″…meaning I probably should have been here today for the sunrise instead of searching for moose. There was a nice glow this morning from the sunrise light coming over the eastern mountains and enhanced by the smoke’s haze. I’d definitely had been there if we had recent snows in the high country.

Road Closure Signs Moose/Wilson Road Still Closed: I’ll keep you informed on the What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports: page, but I’ll include this important information here just to be sure you get to see it. The road has been closed because of one or more grizzlies in the area. In the JH Daily News today, a story reports the road is still closed and will remain so until at least 48 hours after the rangers last see the bear. The spokeswoman for the park, Jackie Scaggs, suggested they’d even prefer 72 hours. This doesn’t look good for Fall tourism along that road! There’s a bumper crop of berries on the roadside this year, so who knows how long the bear will stay? The road to the Laurance S. Rockefeller is still open from the south entrance at Teton Village and I understand you can drive all the way to the Death Canyon Road to access Whitegrass Ranch and the upper trails to Phelps Lake. I’ll adjust this if I find out it to be incorrect.

All in a normal day’s work: Yesterday, I mentioned my D4 being back at Nikon for service after a quick bath in the river. I checked online today and my camera is coded “shop”. Needless to say, I am anxious to get it back.  Over the weekend, I noticed one of my backup drives had stopped functioning. I spent part of yesterday checking the power supply and trying it on different ports before deciding I’d better replace it. I updated the second backup with all the new data and am now copying a good chunk of data to the new Toshiba 3TB USB 3 drive. A while back I added this feature post: My Photographic Workflow:  It explains most of my steps, including my backups. They say there are two types of people using computers: Those that have had a hard drive fail and those that will. Right now, I feel good with having one good backup and will feel better once the second backup is complete. While we like living in a small town, sometimes, like now, it’d be nice to have several options for computer equipment. Our local Staples store is essentially our only source.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian taken at the Gros Ventre overlook. Aspens are turning yellow around the Shane Cabin. I saw my one moose of the day crossing the sagebrush north of the cabin.


September 15

Tim Mayo's Rainbow

Guest Shot!: This was taken by Tim Mayo sometime earlier in the week. I see him out almost every morning. He sends out a couple of images to a few friends on Sundays and I always look forward to seeing them. Morning rainbows aren’t that common and getting one spanning the entire valley is a heck of an accomplishment! Nice job, Tim!

Today’s Images: I am still shooting the moose with my D800 and a 200-400mm lens. My D4 is back at Nikon for service after getting a “little wet”. They say they can fix it with a “complete overhaul”. Maybe it will be back sometime this week. There was a little haze this morning, but not as bad at late in the day yesterday. It was a nice morning!

Water Hole

Water Hole: Along the Gros Ventre river.

Young Moose

Young Moose: I believe this is a young cow.

Bull Moose on the Move:

Bull Moose on the Move: You can see some of the dried velvet still on this bull’s antlers. Normally, if they are willing to strip the velvet off at the “perfect” time, it falls off easily. If they wait, it dries and it much harder to remove. The big bull I called “Elvis” did that one year, too.

Bull Approaching:

Bull Approaching: This bull was staying close to a cow moose with a calf of the year.

Bull Resting Near Water

Resting Bull Moose: You can see some of the yellow foliage reflected in the water.

Two Generations

Two Generations:

Tree Tops

Tree Tops: Cottonwoods and Willows along the Gros Ventre are turning nice and yellow in many areas now.


Killdeer Along the Gros Ventre:

Young Meadowlark

Young Meadowlark Along Mormon Row: Taken from the window of my parked vehicle.


Bluebird along Mormon Row: Taken from the window of my vehicle.

East Boundary View of the Grand

“Record Shot” of the Changing Seasons: The aspens along the East Boundary road and up Shadow Mountain are also turning bright yellow. There are some patches of orange mixed in, too.

Back from the morning trip…It is amazing how fast leaves are changing right now. If you are thinking of coming out for foliage, I’d say think sooner than later! You can mill around the valley and find lots of bright color, even if the bulk of it is around half way there.

If you are new to this blog, I might mention many of the images I post on the daily updates pages are “record shots”with the main intention of showing readers what is going on in the area and not necessarily “fine art” photography. The shot of the aspens and the Grand is a good example. I’d probably never do much with a photo with the image “split” down the middle.  Instead, it is a good representation of some of the changing leaves and it shows some of the remnant haze from regional fires. The Killdeer shot is another good example. It is a good representation of a bird you might see while in the Tetons and along some of the waterways, but I’d much prefer an image where the tail of the bird is not conflicting with the ridge line of the sand. I was on “moose mode” at the time I took it. I just rotated the tripod for a few seconds to capture the Killdeer as a shot for the blog!


Daily Updates including Photos and Comments …well…almost daily!

September 14


New Feature Post: Fall at Oxbow Bend. It shows Oxbow Bend images from recent years and includes the date I took them. It includes some tips and strategies for shooting there in the Fall. This page is loaded with photos—including several panoramic images taken at a variety of locations along the river.

Today: Sunrise is at 7:01 and sunset is around 7:45. We are projected to get calm winds and temps into the mid-70s. I am up early and planning on driving south through the Snake River Canyon and along the Palisades Reservoir to photograph more of the Mountain Maple. In some years, the aspens are peak at the same time the maples are in peak color, but the maples are well ahead of the aspens this year.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: I spotted this Goat on the cliffs a few miles from the mouth of the Snake River Canyon when heading to Alpine Junction.

Palisades Reservoir

Palisades Reservoir: This was taken from the road not too far from the Dam. There was quite a bit of haze today. I assume it was from a fire in the region.

Snake River Highway

Snake River Highway: Mountain Maples mixed with Cedar and Spruce trees.

First Light on a Stand of Mountain Maples

First Light on a Stand of Mountain Maples:

Aspens and Mountain Maple

Aspens and Mountain Maple:

Rocks and Mountain Maple

Rocks and Mountain Maple:

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks Mixed in with Maples.

Afternoon “Loop”: After making the post with photos from this morning, I decided to make an afternoon reconnaissance run into the park. It was mid-day, so I didn’t really expect to get great shots, but I wanted to see the state of the foliage season first hand.

Oxbow Bend Sign

Oxbow Bend is in the process of “change”.  The aspens at the upper lot are a little ahead of the main turnout. Aspens north of the road are the most yellow, as seen here.

Hunting Coyote

Hunting Coyote: I saw this coyote along Pilgrim Creek Road. I sat “ready” in my vehicle in case he moused, but he didn’t while I was there. Other people started pulling in and he eventually spooked back to the trees.

Trail Riders

Trail Riders: I snapped this shot from the bridge near Jackson Lake Lodge as a group of trail riders were returning to the stables. The aspens around Jackson Lake Lodge are slightly ahead of other aspens in the area.

Jackson Lake Junction

Jackson Lake Junction: A few stands of trees around Jackson Lake Junction are quite orange and colorful. Right now, this is the exception and not the rule.

Smokey Range

Smokey Range: A thick layer of smoke moved into the valley throughout the day. It essentially removed all texture on the mountains.

Cascade Canyon

Cascade Canyon: I liked the Oriental simplicity of this shot taken on the drive into String Lake.

Cascade Canyon withTrees

Cascade Canyon with Trees: Similar shot taken at the sign to Jenny Lake Lodge on the one way drive.

Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon

Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon: A couple of weekends ago, I was hiking up that canyon to Inspiration Point. I took this from the pullout on the one way String Lake / Jenny Lake drive.

Cabin at Taggart Lake Trailhead

Cabin at Taggart Lake Trail Head: Evening “filtered” light on the Aspens and cabin.

Road Closure Signs

Road Closure Signs: While I was there taking photos of the closure signs, three or four vehicles came through and had to turn around. The Moose Wilson Road is currently closed due to Grizzly activity. No reports on an expected opening date.


September 13

News: Earlier in August, I did a Feature Post called: Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead! One of the volunteers, Nick Wujek headed back to college after the two weeks here doing preservation work on the Mormon Row homesteads. The New Jersey Institute of Technology did a story about his summer work project and posted it on their school web site. Here’s the link: Go West, Young Architect: An NJIT Senior’s Summer Job Takes Him 2,000 Miles from Home and 100 Years Back in Time. I let them use one of my light painting images for a story on their web site.

First Light on Bull Moose

First Light on Bull Moose:I captured this mid-sized Bull Moose in the sagebrush today.

Harbinger of the Rut

Harbinger of the Rut: Lip Curls (Flehmen Response) are common now as bulls search for mates. Cows with calves of the year will seldom be ready, but he younger bulls still hang with them.

Resting Young Bull

Resting Young Bull: This young bull was bedded down next to a single cow.

Mule Deer Group

Mule Deer Group: Found near the edge of the Gros Ventre River.

Resting Bull

Resting Bull: This is a new bull for this year along the Gros Ventre. I believe he’s the one I always called Gaston (The Beast).

Gaston Standing

Among the Spruce: Same bull. The younger, mid-sized bull was thrashing around in the trees catching the attention of this much bigger bull.

Jackson Hole Quick Draw:

Held on the town square, artists have 90 minutes to complete a painting.

Amy Ringholz

Amy Ringholz painting a horned owl.

Chad Poppleton

Chad Poppleton painting a Mountain Goat.

Lyn Sinclair

Lyn Sinclair

Tim Tanner

Tim Tanner

Tom Mansanarez

Tom Mansanarez

Amy Poor

Amy Poor

Art Auction

Art Auction: After the artists complete their painting or sculpture, the pieces are auctioned off to a standing room only audience. This was a busy day downtown with the next to last Farmer’s Market along the edges of the Square.


September 12

News Flash: The Entrance to GTNP along the Moose/Wilson road near Teton Village has reopened, however the section from Death Canyon road to the Maurie Center is closed due to Grizzly activity. You can still get to the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve from the south.

Eagle Along the Gros Ventre

Eagle Along the Gros Ventre: I couldn’t tell if this was an immature bald eagle or a golden eagle. It was very large! Skies were bright and blue today, with not a single cloud in sight.

Fall on the Gros Ventre

Fall on the Gros Ventre: I saw two cows with calves and two bulls this morning, but decided to hike along the river bottom and look for something different. One fall, I found a family of River Otters. I see mule deer regularly, and I found the eagle today. The area south of the Gros Ventre is closed to human entry. It is part of the National Elk Refuge.

Inner Forest

Inner Forest: Between the sage flats and the river bottom, there are regions of mature willow trees. Moose sometimes use the area to bed down or rest during the hot parts of the day. Mule Deer and Whitetails also inhabit the area.

Leaves and Berries

Leaves and Berries: It was cold this morning. I had frost on my vehicle’s windows. One backwater area of the Gros Ventre actually had a layer of ice. When I returned to my vehicle at 8:44 am, the exterior temperature was reading 19°.


September 11

Custer's Tassles

Morning Bull Moose : This is the bull I photographed yesterday morning as he was stripping his velvet. As of this morning, he has polished much of his antlers, but still has a couple of velvet “tassles” at the base. I call this moose “Custer” (you can call him anything you want, or no name at all). He lacks the typical dewlap that hangs under the bell of his neck. It reminds me of a goatee. Custer also has a few bleached white spots on his coat, and this year, he has the one “down tine” on is right antler. I’ve photographed him for several years.

Custer in Foliage

Custer in Foliage: I included this image to show the colorful ground cover and changing shrubbery of the forest floor.

Custer in Shadows

Custer in Shadows: This beautiful bull moose stepped into the light for a few shots.

Custer in the Creek:

Custer in the Creek:

Ground Cover

Ground Cover:

Hillside of Color

Hillside of Color: This was taken just as you enter GTNP from the south after climbing the hill near the National Fish Hatchery. While many areas are still about mid-way, there are other clusters of foliage in advanced stages.

Morning Bull

Morning Bull: Feeding in the sagebrush before heading to the river bottom.


September 10

Morning Doe

Morning Doe: This Mule Deer crossed in front of me as the first rays of light hit the forest floor today.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: This is the same bull Moose I photographed stripping his antlers yesterday.


Crossing: Yesterday, this bull had one patch of peeled velvet. I mentioned he’d probably be stripped by the time I saw him next. He apparently began early this morning and was in the process when I first saw him.


Tassles: Within a relatively short period, this bull Moose had stripped most of the velvet.

Bloody Antlers

Bloody Antlers: By tomorrow, most of the rest of the “tassles” will be rubbed off and his antlers will lose the red blood stains.

IMPORTANT ROAD CLOSURE NOTE: The gravel section of the Moose-Wilson Road will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week!

Willows and Cottonwoods

Willows and Cottonwoods: This was taken in the evening on the 9th. The was a film of smoke haze which helped create a warm sunset. I include it here to show the state of the season. The large aspen stand on the distant hillside hasn’t changed much, yet some aspens in other parts of the valley are beginning to change.

East Boundary Road

East Boundary Road: Just north of Antelope Flats road with Shadow Mountain in the background.

Afternoon Recap – September 10: I had a good morning with the moose along the Gros Ventre. I had been going there regularly in hopes of catching some of them stripping their velvet. By now, most of them are finished. This afternoon, I did a reconnaissance mission to check on other areas of the Park. I drove by the Gros Ventre out to Kelly, then north past Antelope Flats road where I found a few bright yellow stands of aspens. Shadow Mountain has a few other patches of color, but is still generally olive green. I had heard of a few Mule Deer hanging around the Kelly area, but I didn’t see any. The Longhorns are still in the pastures north of Kelly. The cottonwoods along Ditch Creek are still very green, along with the aspens and cottonwoods around the Mormon Row barns. The river bottom at the Snake River near Moose is ahead of much of the rest of the area, but I didn’t try going too far north because of road construction on the highway. Aspens around the Chapel are starting to turn.  I didn’t have time to make it all the way to Oxbow, turning into String Lake and Jenny Lake instead. I expected to see a few herds of Elk, but I didn’t see a single one. I saw people parked along the road near the south end of Timbered Island, so I assume they were seeing or hearing them. The trail down to the lake at Jenny Lake from the pullout parking lot is still closed. As an overview, it appears the south end of the Park is ahead of some of the other areas I could see. Maybe I can make a trip to Oxbow and north soon. I heard several reports of good color near Triangle X and some trees with color around the Oxbow.

Foliage Updates: What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports

Moose-Wilson Road: The road was scheduled to reopen on the gravel portion tomorrow morning, but the entire road was closed today from the Maurie Center road south because of Grizzly activity.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris: A couple of days ago, I tried running my desktop version of The Photographer’s Ephemeris to check the locations for the full moon, only to see an API error. That app is now DEAD, but you can apparently still export any existing “locations” and use them on their new desktop app. It’s still FREE. Click the link and check it out. I have the app on my iPhone and Verizon Pad.


September 9

Full Moon

Full Moon: I stayed out last night hoping to get the rising full moon, but there were too many clouds. Today, I had to make the call whether to head north and try to get the moon setting over the Grand or look for moose. With a couple of “clinger clouds” building on the Grand, I went with the moose. Those clouds got even thicker, so I knew I made the right choice.

Moon With Morning Clouds

Moon With Morning Clouds: Just before sunrise.

Stripping Velvet

Stripping Velvet: I found this bull well before sunlight hit the valley floor. My first “record shot” was at 6:44 am. By 7:44 most of his velvet was gone.

Lost Velvet

Lost Velvet: Taken roughly an hour after the previous image.

Cow and Calf

Cow and Calf: Leaving the willows and heading to the other side of the river.

Custer Following the Cow

Bull in Velvet Crossing the Gros Ventre: This bull has a small chunk of velvet stripped just above his eye. I suspect the next time I see him, his antlers will be clean.

Last of the Velvet

Last of the Velvet: A shot like this probably won’t end up on anyone’s wall, but I like to document the event when I can.


September 8

Washakie in Morning Light

Washakie in Morning Light: This bull was grazing in the sagebrush before sunrise and moved back to the forest just before light.

Alert Moose Watching Washakie

Alert Moose Watching Washakie:

Washakie Pausing

Washakie: Pausing before bedding down.

Washakie Resting

Washakie Resting:

Monday Morning: I went out with the D800 and 200-400mm lens today. Yesterday, my Nikon D4 took a quick “bath” in the stream when we were fishing for Kokanee Salmon (photo below). I spent part of the morning doing a service submission to Nikon and will get it off by FedEx today. This is TERRIBLE timing with the moose rut underway.

Kokanee Salmon

Gros Ventre Trees

Gros Ventre Trees: Some of the willows are ahead of others as seen here. I updated the foliage reports on this page today: What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports:

Washakie in Spruce Grove

Washakie in Spruce Grove: Taken in the afternoon near the Gros Ventre River.

Washakie Near River Bottom

Washakie Near River Bottom: Some sections of the Gros Ventre have willows heading towards peak. On this shot, a band of light hit some of the willows behind the moose.


September 7


Resting Bull: Found in the Cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre before first light.


Bull and Calf: Washakie and a young calf.


Bull Moose: Still in velvet.

Cow Moose in the River

Cow Moose in the River: Along the Gros Ventre.

After my morning shoot, I met up with my son and my fishing buddy to head south towards Alpine Junction for some sightseeing and fishing. I wanted to check out the Mountain Maple trees and see if we could entice a Kokanee Salmon to bite a fly.


Dave and Gus: Fishing on a Elk Creek near Palisades Reservoir. This is a land locked Kokanee Salmon up the creek to spawn.


Corey, my youngest son with a Salmon on.


My Kokanee: Corey took this shot of me with a Salmon in spawning colors.


Kokanee Salmon in the clear stream.


Mountain Maple along Palisades Reservoir / Alpine Junction. Lots of color in the last third of the canyon already!

Afternoon Light

Afternoon Light: This is the south end of Blacktail Butte with the Grand towering over it.

Washakie Resting

Washakie Yawning: This bull has a broken tine even before the battles of the rut.

Young Mule Deer

Young Mule Deer Crossing a Side Channel.


Sunset Over the Teton Range:

Stormy Skies

Stormy Skies:

Gros Ventre

Gros Ventre Sunset: Just downstream from this shot were a cow, calf, and a bull moose. It was getting too dark for shots. Farther up the road was a single cow moose grazing in the sagebrush.


September 6

Saturday Morning In Jackson Hole: Clear, cool, and calm to start the day. If was out early and found a few moose along the Gros Ventre river.

Posturing Moose

Posturing Moose: These two equal sized bulls met up and had to establish their dominance. Normally, I don’t see two bulls actually fight while still in velvet, but these two did so today. It tore some of the velvet on each. The ears down on their back indicate stress or discontent as seen here. These two are brown, but later in the morning, I found a red one.

Moose Youngster

Young Bull Moose with Stringing Velvet: I saw this bull before sunlight and he still had all his velvet. Within just a short period today, he had much of it stripped off on the outside of the antlers. They have to work a bit to get the velvet off the inside of the fronts of their antlers. He’ll spend much of the day thrashing in the willows.

Following the Gals

Following the Gals: Once the cow crossed the river, all I had to do is wait for the big bull to follow her.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: After leaving the Gros Ventre, I stopped in downtown Jackson. Three of the four streets around the Square were roped off for all the activities. Old Bill’s Fun Run For Charities was to start at 10:00 am. Every non-profit had tents and displays to show off their programs. This Great Horned Owl was in the Raptor Center booth.


Climbers: These youngsters were climbing on the portable climbing wall set up on the Town Square as part of the Fun Run event. The regular Farmer’s Market was moved to Center Street today.

Balloon Hat

Balloon Hat: Let’s just say the square was quite festive today.

Moose Mascot

Moose Mascot: This moose is the mascot for the local hockey team. He was out front of the start stretching for the run.

Fun Run Start

Fun Run Start: At 10:00, the race began.


Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities: This was the scene as runners and walkers waited their turn to go through the start gate. Today is also the day for Lotoja Classic – L O T O J A 2 0 1 4: This is a bike race from Logan, UT to Jackson, WY

Skate Contest

Wild West Skateboard Contest Series 2014 :


Spectators at the Wild West Skateboard Contest:


Bison: A herd of around 150 bison were just north of Antelope Flats road this afternoon. The green grass of summer has been replaced with golden grass.

Pink Sunset

Pink Sunset: These clouds were in the northeast this afternoon. I stopped to take this shot as I was driving onto the highway after spending some time at Schwabacher Landing. While in the river bottom, I saw a cow Moose and her calf of the year grazing at the edge of the water. As the Tetons put the area into shadows, three beavers came out of their den and began to work their ponds.

Remember to Check these Related Pages:

What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports: | Wildlife Reports: | Best of the Tetons : Start Here!: | Helpful Links and Resources:


September 5

Just Peaks

Just Peaks: With no morning clouds, I zoomed in on just the peaks over Blacktail Butte.

Young Bull and Cow Moose

Young Bull and Cow Moose: I’ve found at least three cows along the Gros Ventre with one calf each. This is a single cow, so she will likely sought after by the big bulls when the rut starts.

Young Bull Moose

Young Bull Moose: I spent the first part of my morning looking for one of the large bull moose in hopes of catching him scraping the velvet. I had seen this pair earlier, so I went back to them once the light started hitting the valley floor. By 8:15 am, both bedded down.

Remember to Check these Related Pages: The Moose-Wilson Road will be closed next Tuesday and Wednesday! The Fall Arts Festival is underway with a Gallery Walk tonight.

What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports: | Wildlife Reports: | Best of the Tetons : Start Here!: | Helpful Links and Resources:


September 4

Pre-Dawn Bull Moose

Pre-Dawn Bull Moose: Some days are better than others! This morning was one of the good ones! I spotted this moose from a long distance and hiked to the area. He had moved some during my hike but I found him feeding on bitter brush. The sun had yet to clear the eastern mountains.

Feeding Moose:

Feeding Moose: Once the light hit the valley floor, the bull moved from the sagebrush to the river bottom where he spent a lot of time feeding on willows.


Shorebird: While watching the moose feed on willows, this shorebird landed on the rocks. I don’t know the names of local shorebirds, but will try to identify it.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: I saw this Bald Eagle approaching from quite a ways off. I made a couple of quick adjustments and snapped off a few as he flew by.

Bull Moose Drinking

Bull Moose Drinking: My patience with the moose paid off. He eventually got his fill of the willows and came to the edge of the river to drink. I can easily identify this bull this year. He has a few white spots on his fur, lacks a long dewlap, and has a drop tine on his right antler (visible in the shot above when he was stripping willows).

Morning Moose Crossing

Morning Moose Crossing: This bull (I call him Custer) filled up on water and then headed across the river. For my original shots of him feeding in the willows and his first drinks, I was shooting with a Nikon D800. After a few drinking shots, I switched bodies to the D4 so I could get a LOT of shots of him crossing the river. The D4 can shoot around 90 RAW images before hitting the buffer, and it clears memory very fast, making it a good choice for a river crossing. The D800 starts bogging down after around 12 images and takes longer to clear for new images. I was shooting with a Nikon 200-400mm lens today.

Chipmonk on a Log

Chipmonk on a Log: A couple of little Chipmonks were feeding on the plants near one of the pull-outs along the Gros Ventre.

Chipmonk in the Branches

Chipmonk in the Branches: Here he is reaching for seeds.

Swan Family

Swan Family on Flat Creek: I spent a lot of July photographing this Trumpeter Swan family on Flat Creek, just north of the Visitor’s Center. They were difficult to find during the month of August, but have visible again over the past two days. The three surviving Cygnets are getting fairly large now.

Geese and Snow King

Geese and Snow King: One of the two adult Trumpeter Swans apparently got fed up with the flocks of Canada Geese by the Visitor’s Center. It took off and headed to the area, spooking the Geese. I snapped this shot as they flew by Snow King ski resort.

Schwabacher Sunset

Schwabacher Sunset: Clouds looked promising this afternoon, so I headed to Schwabacher Landing. This was a five shot bracketed image, processed in Merge To HDR in Photoshop and tone mapped with ACR.

Moose Comments: Sept 4

A friend showed me a photo of Washakie with his velvet stripped off. I had been looking for him for the past few days, but missed the event. Several moose were seen at the big pullout along the Gros Ventre. I saw two cows with one calf each, along with three or four distant bulls south of the river. So far, Washakie is the only one I’ve heard about with clean antlers.

Remember to Check these Related Pages:

What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports: | Wildlife Reports: | Best of the Tetons : Start Here!: | Helpful Links and Resources:


September 3

Wednesday Sunrise

Wednesday Sunrise: I pulled over and did a quick shot of the Teton Range.

Moose Portrait

Moose Portrait: This bull grazed along the willows for a while, then crossed the river.

Moose Crossing

Moose Crossing: This is the same moose I photographed several weeks ago. He has a small aluminum tag in one ear.

Remember to Check these Related Pages:

What’s Hot? What’s Happening including Foliage Reports: | Wildlife Reports: | Best of the Tetons : Start Here!: | Helpful Links and Resources:


September 2

Moose Crossing

Moose Crossing: This bull moose was crossing the Gros Ventre river near the highway bridge.

Cow Moose along the Gros Ventre

Cow Moose along the Gros Ventre: This cow moose has a chunk of her ear missing. I’ve seen her and her single calf several other times this summer.

Morning Comments: I did a quick run out to Kelly this morning. I saw the bull moose along the highway as it was crossing the Gros Ventre. There were a few Pronghorns along the GV road. I walked around looking for some moose, but only found this cow and her calf. There was a herd of Bison on the south end of Blacktail Butte near Mormon Row Road. I saw quite a few birds, including Magpies, Ravens and Blackbirds this morning. Skies were perfectly clear in the morning. The thermometer in my vehicle said 39°F. You can see the steam from the breathing of the bull moose as it crossed the river.


September 1:

Note, this page is now being entered in chronological order by the date. Scroll to the bottom to see the most current entries.

Happy Labor Day!

Teton Peaks Revealed

Teton Peaks Revealed: Fog and clouds pulling back from the peaks this morning.

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend: I shot this today to show the status of the leaves along Oxbow Bend.


Changing Cottonwoods: These were along the Moose-Wilson Road.

Purple Berries

Purple Berries: I took this shot next to the parking lot near Oxbow Bend.

Red Berries

Red Berries: Found along the Moose-Wilson Road.

Black Hawthorne Leaves

Black Hawthorne Leaves: Most leaves along the Moose-Wilson Road are still green, but there are a few bushes changing.


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August 2014 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH:

A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!

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Wildlife Banner

Wildlife Reports: Current August and Archived Reports: CLICK HERE!


August Overview:

Web_SwansByGras_July23August is more of a “transitional month” than June and July.  Maybe from day to day, it is not overly apparent, but things are definitely changing. Grassy areas are drying out. Streams are getting lower. Flat Creek opens to fishing on the National Elk Refuge (some areas). Days are still long, but getting shorter. Nights begin to get much cooler.  The first half of August can be “relatively hot”—even though it would feel cool to most people coming here from elsewhere. Bison are usually well into their rut season in August. Moose, Elk and Deer will be in velvet much of the month before they begin their rut season. With the daytime heat, expect the large fur bearing animals to be bedded down during the hottest hours. The babies of Spring will be much larger, darker, and more independent. Canada Geese practice their V formation in preparation for their trek to the south. Other songbirds slowly slip back through the valley, going almost unnoticed. Tourists continue to fill the roadways, rest stops, and stores for most of the month. By the third week in August, much of the young workforce pull up stakes and head back to college as tourism begins to slowly drop off.

Check out the Wildlife Reports for more specifics. Bears and wolves will still be on the lookout for baby elk, usually around the Willow Flats area.


What’s Hot? — Wildlife Highlights

Web_BullMooseRestingTeeth_July19Moose!: Bull Moose are in velvet and their antlers are growing fast. Look for moose in these areas:

  • Along the Gros Ventre River. There are several pullouts near the river and the moose can often be seen along it.
  • Around the Snake River Bridge at Moose Junction: A couple of moose hang around the bridge, but can roam north to Blacktail Butte overlook.
  • Along the Moose/Wilson Road: Several moose have been spotted grazing in the beaver ponds along the road.
  • Buffalo Fork River bottom: The Buffalo Fork flows into the Snake at Moran Junction. Look for moose in the willows and side channels.
  • Oxbow Bend Area: Seen less often with wolves in the region, Moose graze on willow bushes in the area.

Bison Along Gros Ventre RoadBison in the Rut: Watch for Bison along the Gros Ventre Road, Antelope Flats Road and around Elk Flats. Remember…they are powerful, fast, and unpredictable. 25 yards is not enough for bison!

Alarmed_SowGrizzly Bears: Grizzlies are often found in the Oxbow Bend area, feasting on young elk. Grizzlies are seen more often during the middle of the day than most other animals, so search for Moose, Deer, and Elk early then move to areas where the bears hang out during the summer months:

  • Oxbow Bend
  • Pacific Creek Road
  • Jackson Lake Lodge and Christian Pond Area
  • Pilgrim Creek and Pilgrim Creek Road
  • Colter Bay Area

Remember, you must remain at least 100 yards from a Grizzly or Black Bear. Rangers have been ticketing people this year that violate the 100 yard rule—and that includes sitting inside your vehicle or approaching a bear in a vehicle at less than 100 yards.

Grand LightSunrise is roughly 6:15 AM during the first of the month and sunset is at roughly 8:40 PM. You need to get up early or stay out late to have the best chances to see animals. Staying out late has a caveat, of course, as the Teton Range puts most areas into shadows long before actual sunset. Beavers have been active just before dark at Schwabacher Landing.


What’s Hot? — Scenic Highlights

Web_SchwabacherAlpenglow_Jan21Summer! Schwabacher Landing is open again this year. Same for the roads into Two Ocean Lake and Spaulding Bay! Jackson Lake still has plenty of water. Oxbow Bend has good morning reflections if the wind is calm. The Mormon Row Barns are always popular and make a great foreground subject. While some of the early season wildflowers are past prime, others like Indian Paintbrush are just now prime. Grand TetonNational Park Service-Wildflowers. Don’t forget about a trip across Jenny Lake on the boats for a hike to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls. A Scenic Float Trip by any of the companies can get you to remote areas of the Snake River.


Artists and Sculptors


Daily Updates including Photos and Comments …well…almost daily!

August 31

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

I just spent an hour or two reworking the 2013 September Daily Updates Page. It is now reorganized so you can view it day by day starting on the 1st (instead of reverse chronological order). I’ll be starting a new 2014 September Daily Updates page. By now, you can see I had a very good August, with a lot of subject matter and a lot of variety. I hope you enjoyed the page. Please help me by spreading the word about the site!

South Mountains

South Mountains: I went out early this morning, but it was raining. I looked for some moose, but didn’t see any. Late this afternoon, I went back out and walked part of the river bottom. No moose.

Moose On The Gros Ventre

One the way home, I saw a group of people parked along the road near the Gros Ventre river. There were a couple of cow moose, and calf and a nice bull (Washakie) on the south side of the river. The entire area south of the Gros Ventre from the highway to Kelly is closed to human entry (other than Refuge personnel and licensed hunters in season).  While moose occasionally feed close to the river, they can move completely out of view on the south side and stay there for days at a time. Of course, there are quite a few moose along the corridor, so you chances of seeing a moose are still fairly good on any given day in the fall. This is a “record shot” for this post taken with high ISO, full zoom, hand held, and heavily cropped.

Noteworthy JH Events and Changes:

  • Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market on the Town Square will continue through the end of September on the Square.
  • The Shootout on the Town Square will end on Monday….Labor Day.
  • The JH Rodeo will end it’s Summer season on Saturday night.
  • The Ferry ride at Jenny Lake will change to a lesser schedule of 10:am to 4:pm
  • Scenic and Whitewater raft rides should continue for a while longer on the Snake River.
  • Saturday: Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities
  • Sunday: Lynyrd Skynyrd plays in a free concert at SnowKing
  • Free Gondola rides after 4:30 at the Village–not sure how long this will continue
  • Snow King: Chairlift, Miniature Golf, and Alpine Slide will be ending soon.
  • Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival begins Sept. 3 and runs to Sept. 14
  • Gasoline is $3.70 per gallon for Self-Serv Regular at most stations in town.
  • The Fort Bridger Rendezvous is August 29 to September 1. This is the largest Rendezvous of the year.

Road Work and Road Closures:

  • Yellowstone: For anyone traveling north to Old Faithful after September 2nd, you will probably want to know a section of Craig Pass will be closed to through traffic. You’ll have to drive around to Lake, up to Canyon, over to Norris, and then back south to the Old Faithful area.  “So instead of a 30-minute drive from West Thumb to Old Faithful it’s another two hours,” Nash said, “and, yes, that’s a significant increase in traffic time.”  Source: Craig Pass road closure to cut route to Old Faithful
  • GTNP Road Work: The Park Service is reworking guard rails along the winding road between Snake River Overlook and the bottom of the hill near Triangle X Ranch. You can expect 20-30 minute delays in several locations north of Antelope Flats.


August 30

Saturday of the Labor Day Weekend. Lots going on this weekend with the Fall Arts Festival starting up next week.  Normally, I’d be out early looking for wildlife and landscape opportunities, but I am going fly fishing today on the South Fork of the Snake. Clouds look nice, with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. I’ll take a camera with me today. I am not sure if I will be able to add photos tonight, but check back tomorrow to see what I photographed. Hope you have a great holiday weekend.

Dave Fishing on the South Fork

Dave Fishing on the South Fork:


Waterfalls along the South Fork: I threw the camera and tripod in the boat today so I could capture this waterfall with a long exposure. There were predictions of a possible thunderstorm, so I also took the Lightning Trigger, but we never got the storm. The area, including Jackson Hole,  is getting some smoke. Dave, the fisherman above, told me the TV news channel reported the smoke is coming from Idaho farmers’ fires and dust from the harvest.

Falls At Fall Creek near Swan Valley, ID

Falls At Fall Creek near Swan Valley, ID: The Swan Valley Highway (Hwy 26) crosses the Snake River just a couple of miles north of this spot. Take the road on the west side south a couple of miles and look for a gravel pull out and a trail taking you to the brink of the falls. For photography, it is best to access one of the islands across from the waterfalls. By the time we made it to the spot, the sun had gone down, allowing me to shoot 1/15th second images while on a tripod. I shot with a Nikon D4 and a 28-300mm lens at ISO100. There’s a little more about this waterfalls at Lesser Seen Regional Waterfalls.


August 29

Welcome to the beginning of the Labor Day Weekend.

Moose Watchers

Moose Watchers along the Gros Ventre: People told me about three bulls, a cow and a calf spotted along the Gros Ventre this morning. Lots of people were out looking for them this afternoon.

Distant Washakie

Distant Moose: This bull (Washakie) was across the river at the pull out. Lots of people got to see a bull moose.

Sunset on the Tetons

Sunset on the Tetons: There was a thin layer of smoke in the sky all afternoon which resulted in a pink sunset.


August 27

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Moose along the Gros Ventre River. I saw several single cows, this bull and a smaller bull today. Along the Moose/Wilson road, people were lined up on the overlook. I stopped for a few minutes but didn’t see much I wanted to photograph. People were pointing into an area where they said they saw a cinnamon colored black bear. Skies were mostly clear at sunrise.

Evening Willows

Evening Willows: Still in velvet, this moose was stripping willow leaves.


August 27

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn and the Reed Moulton Homestead: I took this image yesterday while waiting for a cloud to blow off the Grand. A porta-potty is still at the John Moulton Homestead, but the preservation work is completed there for this year. The T.A. Moulton Barn is slated for extensive repairs for next summer.

Morning Comments: After a couple of months of being on cruise control, it feels like someone just pressed the gas pedal on the seasonal cycles. Days are getting noticeably shorter. Mornings and evenings feel much cooler.  Both the shop owners and the wildlife seem to know winter is coming. The rut for moose and elk is approaching, yet winding down for bison. Berries are ripening and plentiful. Birds and bears will be feeding on them in numerous areas of the valley.

Bull Moose by the Gros Ventre

Bull Moose by the Gros Ventre: All the bulls I have been seeing still have their velvet.

Gros Ventre Sunset

Gros Ventre Sunset: I couldn’t resist pulling over to capture these evening clouds.


August 26

I found a couple of Bull Moose along the Gros Ventre this morning.

Bull Moose Reaching for Willows

Bull Moose Reaching for Willows:

Approaching Moose

Approaching Moose: I’ve seen this moose in the Gros Ventre for around four years. This year he has a distinctive down tine on his right antler. Last year, the same moose had numerous white spots in its fur, but this year only has a few.

Washakie Watching

Washakie in Willows: I was hoping he’d go to the water, but instead headed into thicker and taller willows.

Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn with Low Clouds:

Great Gray

Great Gray: This owl was hunting along the Moose-Wilson road this morning.


August 25

Hidden Falls

New Feature Post: Cascade Canyon: One of the Teton’s Many Gems

Last night, I went through around 1500 images I took yesterday on my day trip to Cascade Canyon in GTNP. I created the page documenting my hike up to Inspiration Point with lots of images. Hidden Falls, seen in the photo above is one of many cascading waterfall features on the trip.

Alert Mule Deer

Alert Mule Deer: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road yesterday on my way to Jenny Lake.

Sunning Raven

Sunning Raven: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road yesterday on my way to Jenny Lake.

Resting Trunk

Resting Trunk: Taken along the outlet at Jenny Lake. This turns into Cottonwood Creek which feeds into the Snake River.


Washakie: I saw Washakie from a distance yesterday afternoon. I went out in the evening today and found him resting. I waited about an hour until he got up to start feeding. He was much closer today.

Washakie's New Rack

Washakie’s New Rack: I don’t see any indication he is ready to scrape his antlers yet.


Washakie: I kept hoping he’d move to water, but he continued to feed on the willow shutes until almost dark. When he bedded down, I headed on home.



August 24

Sunday in the Park: We finally received some broken clouds and patches of blue sky. I headed to the Tetons, making a quick loop around to Kelly and then back to Moose Junction. Last winter, I took the Elk Refuge Sleigh ride into the National Elk Refuge, then did a feature post on it. Today, I took the ferry from the edge of Jenny Lake to the base of Cascade Canyon. The plan will be to make a new Feature Post about today’s trip. If you haven’t signed up to follow this blog, now’s a great time! As soon as I post it, you’ll receive an email with the announcement. I am downloading roughly 1500 images from the trip as I write this daily update post.

Boat Ride to Cascade Canyon

Boat Ride to Cascade Canyon: Three or four boats shuttle people to and from Cascade Canyon as seen here. Inspiration Point is the horizontal ridge line about half way from the bottom of this image. Hidden Falls is just behind Inspiration Point and is fed by the large gully and snow fields.

Cascade Canyon Waterfalls

Cascade Canyon Waterfalls: This shot was taken on my way up to Hidden Falls and onward to Inspiration Point. Watch for a Feature Post on this little trip.

Cascade Canyon Pika

Cascade Canyon Pika: Here’s a pint sized critter I captured while making the climb to Inspiration Point.

Heading to Water

Heading to Water: This is the larger bull Moose hanging around the Snake River bridge at Moose Junction.

Washakie in Willows

Washakie in Willows: This is a tight crop of a long distance shot of one my favorite bull Moose that normally hangs around the Gros Ventre river drainage. He stayed in the willows for quite a while, the disappeared. Here’s a link for a Feature Post I did just for this bull: Washakie: One of the Big Bull Moose of the Gros Ventre. Last fall, Washakie was terribly lame. I feared he’d fall prey to wolves, but by early winter, he was walking normally.


August 23

Saturday in the Park: This is at least the third day in a row we’ve had fog, light rain, drizzle and low light to start the day. I met a couple from Wisconsin asking me to confirm if there are really mountains behind the clouds! I’ve been talking about going to Lake Creek on a “good”, overcast day. Today, I drove the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve to try some shots, but had to wait about 30-45 minutes for a rain storm to pass by. Afterwards, I put on my “muck boots” and headed out.

Lake Creek

Lake Creek: Lake Creek flows out of Phelps Lake. When driving north or south on the Moose/Wilson road, you’ll cross it via a one-way bridge.

Rusing Water on Lake Creek

Rushing Water on Lake Creek: The exposure is 1/3rd second on a solid tripod.

Lake Creek Cascades

Lake Creek Cascades: I waded out a few feet from shore to get most of the shots today.

Big Bull at the Snake River Bridge

Big Bull at the Snake River Bridge: There was a pair of nice bulls at the Snake River Bridge at Moose. I am sure they are the same ones I saw yesterday. Taken from the bridge, looking north.

Young Bull Feeding on Willows

Young Bull Feeding on Willows: This one shows the texture of their velvet.

Wildlife Sightings from Today: 25 Bison were in the grassy fields north of Kelly. I saw one black bear at the overlook on the Moose-Wilson Road. Another one was supposed to have been feeding near the road while I was taking photos of Lake Creek. A moose cow and calf were causing a jam on the Moose-Wilson road. I only saw the rear end of the cow as she moved into the trees. I spotted a cow moose and calf on the GV river.

Silver Bird

Silver Bird: As I was standing on the Snake River bridge, several large jets flew down and Snake and overhead. Each time, the moose paused from their feeding to look up.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk: On the Moose/Wilson Road.

Grand Peak


Grand Peak: For the Wisconsin couple questioning whether there are really mountains behind all the clouds, here’s a glimpse of the Grand as the clouds split for a few minutes today!


August 22

Friday in Jackson Hole: Another morning of drizzle, rain, fog and light wind. The crew at the Mormon Row preservation project called to let me know they shut down and were meeting at Dornans. I drove out at 2:00pm and found two bull moose feeding right behind the restaurant. I took photos and went inside for a piece of pizza and a cold beer. The volunteers are nice group of people.

Bull Moose at Dornans

Bull Moose at Dornans: This moose was 55 yards out. There was a small moose next to him but I didn’t get shots of both of them with their heads up at the same time.

Gros Ventre Moose Cow and Calf

Gros Ventre Moose Cow and Calf: This pair as next to the main channel of the Gros Ventre. I found another cow moose and calf today, too. I didn’t see any bulls along the Gros Ventre. Bison has been scarce lately, too. After being shot at on the National Elk Refuge last week, they may have moved on north to join the herd near Elk Flats.

“Look east this coming Saturday morning for a sweet pairing of the bright planets and wiry crescent moon. This view shows the sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. Stellarium” – See more at: AstroBob:


August 21

Morning: Rain, Wind, Fog. I stayed home.

Evening: Clouds were hanging over the Grand. I looked for moose until the stormy skies started rolling in.

Moose in Tall Willows

Moose in Tall Willows: This moose was alone in some tall willows along the Gros Ventre. Just up the river, a moose cow and calf showed up around dusk near the edge of the river. I didn’t see any bulls.

Tall Grass

Tall Grass: Also along the Gros Ventre river.

Gros Ventre Clouds

Gros Ventre Clouds: Taken along the Gros Ventre looking to the East.

Stormy Skies

Stormy Skies: Taken from Meadow Road, just north of the airport. I was hoping to get a bolt of lightning off one of the ridges.

Museum Elk

Museum Elk: Taken of the elk statue near the highway at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The light area in the upper left was a from a remnant lightning bolt.

Night Elk

Night Elk: Taken at the National Museum of Wildlife Art along the highway.


August 20

Splashed with Purple and Pink

New Feature Post Added: A July Morning of Clouds: (Click the image to see it much larger)

Last night, I added a series of shots I took on July 23rd in GTNP. From one vantage point along the Moose/Wildon road, I was able to capture the patchwork of clouds crossing the valley in numerous directions. The image above was taken during the Alpenglow period as the first hints of morning light wash the mountains and clouds with purples, pinks and magentas. Click the link above to see the rest of the shots from that morning.

Windows on the John Moulton Barn

Windows on the John Moulton Barn: Work is ongoing on the buildings along Mormon Row. You can see progress on Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead!

Today, I get to help a bit. Someone from the crew repaired the window on the left using wood at the site. It looks much better than the piece of plywood that’s been over the window for the past few years. I will be staining the new window with some black walnut powder stain to hopefully match the older one. Can’t wait. I’ll go out with my truck and ladders so someone can refasten the loose board above the windows. I don’t have the proper liability release to be climbing around on ladders in the park. At least we (photographers) won’t have to clone the right window to the left window anymore!


August 19

YS Elk AntlersShifting Weather / Changing Seasons: Not long ago, I added easy links to the local weather in the right navigation bar. There’s also a link to area web cams and snow reports. August in many areas of the country is hot and humid, but we’ve had very nice summer weather here in Jackson Hole this year. Today, for example, the lows were in the low 40s and our high temp is predicted to be in the mid-70s. The sunrise and sunset times change. Sunrise is now around 6:35 am and Sunset is around 8:30 pm. That change is noticeable from the long days of late June. For many businesses, Summer is the period between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. The latter is fast approaching! A few days ago, I was in Yellowstone where I saw my first bull elk shedding its velvet. Others will follow over the next week or two. Moose around here, start shedding their velvet right after Labor day. That leads into the rut, and the rut leads into fall. While changing leaves is more of a September event, some leaves around the valley are shifting in color and have a more dry sound to them. If you view the valley right now, you’d think of Summer, but that won’t last long! Keep your eyes open to the subtle changes in the season.


August 18

Last night, I drove out to the John Moulton barn on Mormon Row and did some light painting. I didn’t get home until 11:15 pm or so and just now had time to add them to the pages.

Night at the Barn

First Stars: I wanted to photograph the barn with the new fences and corrals, so I set up two cameras and spent a couple of hours there.

Barn and Big Dipper

The Barn and the Big Dipper: After capturing quite a few tight shots, I pulled back to 24mm and was able to include the Big Dipper in the scene. I like the addition of the new fences for this kind of shot.

Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead! This post broke all of my previous records for visitation on Best of the Tetons yesterday. In fact, it doubled the previous high count post!  I am looking forward to documenting the progress on the project all of next week. Check back for progress photos!


August 17

Sunday in the Park, etc: I am back at home after a quick loop out to Kelly and then to the Moose-Wilson Road. Skies were clear (no clouds), so I looked for animals. Other than squirrels dancing across the road, I didn’t see too many animals. I didn’t see any owls today. There were two moose along the base of Blacktail Butte near Moose Junction. The day before, I saw two moose near the entry station at Moose. There was a nice Great Blue Heron along Sawmill Pond, but someone walked right up under it as I was approaching the area. It spooked before I had a chance to get a shot. Yesterday afternoon, I saw the Trumpeter Swan family along Flat Creek, but they were quite a ways out. It is nice to know they are still around. Flat Creek has a lot of ducks in it right now. Canada Geese can be seen regularly flying by in formation. Around town, many of the birds have fledged. I see young Magpies learning to feed themselves, often in groups. Young Robins are on their own. Some Black-headed Grosbeaks apparently nested in my area. Quite a few of them visited my sunflower seed feeders.


August 16

Saturday Morning in Jackson Hole: I walked roughly three miles of the Gros Ventre river bottom this morning looking for moose. I never saw one, nor did I see a lot of signs of them being there.

Hawthorne Berries

Hawthorne Berries: As you can see the Hawthorne Berries are getting ripe. These were along the Moose/Wilson Road.

Spotted Leaf

Spotted Leaf: Each time I’ve been down the Moose/Wilson Road, I see more color in the leaves.

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee: There’s another wave of yellow flowers in the Moose Visitor’s Center area. The flowers are about the size of a half-dollar. This one had a temporary visitor.


Desert Dish: On the way home, I stopped at the Farmer’s Market. Today, I carried a remote strobe and captured some nice images.


Fountain: Hard to pass up a shot like this! The Father gave me the green light to take the shots. Instead of posting all of today’s Farmer’s Market shots here, I added them to the existing Feature Post: Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market. I added another dozen photos from there this morning. Check them out!

Art & Antiques Show:

Art and Antiques Show

The Art and Antiques Show is currently underway on the front lawn of the Virginian Lodge on Broadway.

Spurs and Western Items

Spurs and Western Items at the show.

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear: The full hide and head is available in one of the booths.


August 15

Morning in Jackson Hole: Clouds looked interesting. I stopped at the observation platform on Flat Creek, hoping to see the Swans and be able to include them somehow in a sunrise image. No Swans.

Sunrise Over Flat Creek

Sunrise Over Flat Creek:

Bison Herd and Tetons

Bison Herd and Tetons: Something spooked a large herd of Bison out of the Gros Ventre river bottom. I followed them along Blacktail Butte until they crossed Mormon Row.

Bison and Cowbird

Bison and Cowbird: The bison rut is still underway in GTNP.

Moulton Fences

Moulton Barn Corrals and Fences: I stopped at the Moulton Barn today to check on progress. This is another angle showing the replaced corrals. Yesterday, they replaced the piece of plywood over the left window with material more in keeping with the right window. Hooray! I cloned that plywood out way too many times. I added a few more photos of the progress on this page: Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead! The crew did a lot of work on the old wash house and pump house. The Peach House looks much better, too. Keep an eye on that page off and on over the next week or two to see the progress.

Stormy Afternoon

Afternoon in JH: Thick clouds rolled into the valley in the early afternoon.

Murphy Barn with Storm Clouds

Murphy Barn with Storm Clouds:


August 14

Morning in Jackson Hole: It is raining here this morning. The weather reports sound like we might get patches of blue sky later in the day. I am heading to Yellowstone with some friends, so if I get to post photos today, it will be very late. Otherwise, I’ll add some tomorrow. I am not sure how much work will be done at the Moulton Barn Restoration Project if it rains all day. I’ll check on it Friday and add photos on here and on the Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead! page.

Rainy Day Photo Opportunities: Remember, overcast days can be great for capturing moving water on a long exposure if you have a tripod. Flowers and leaves look great with water droplets, and their colors will be saturated. The rule of thumb is to shoot “down” on subjects when you have an overcast sky. That doesn’t mean you literally have to shoot down, but it means the photos will look better if you don’t get any of the white sky in the shot. If you can find lily pads and a still pond, you can capture the rings in the water from the rain droplets. Drenched animals usually look different and sometimes captivating…and watch for them to shake off the water. In town, you can take photos of people, bikers, and objects and possibly get reflections in the pools of water. And, if it does clear, watch for rainbows early and late in the day.

Elk Losing Velvet in Yellowstone

Yellowstone: I did the normal family tourist thing today. I took shots at Moose Falls, Lewis Falls, Lower Falls, Gibbon Falls and the falls on the Firehole River. We got to photograph a few elk, bison, and Old Faithful. I probably don’t need to post all of those photos here, but this photo of the Elk losing its velvet might be of some significance. There was another 7×7 Elk nearby with no rubbed velvet. I can’t say how long it might be before most other Elk start stripping, but it must be right around the corner. This image was taken near the North Rim of the Yellowstone River.


August 13

Morning in Jackson Hole: I did a quick Kelly loop, hoping for sunrise photos. I took a few, but they weren’t too “moving”. It had lots of potential, but just never fired up. On the way back, I found a couple of Pronghorns very close to the road, and they were amazingly calm when I slowed down.

Pronghorns August 13

Pronghorns: Taken from “Antelope Flats” road.  This pair let me take quite a few images from my window. I know better than to try to get out and set up a tripod on Pronghorns. Eventually, they took off, but I was plenty happy with the event. I was being drawn to the Mormon Row barns by some developing low clouds and another band of clouds forming over the Teton Range. I was in for a surprise!

Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn ~ August 13, 2014: Notice anything different? I was taking a few shots from the road when I noticed a couple of new fence rails. A truck drove into the area and I noticed a porta-potty near the barns. The light bulb turned on…They’re working the barn and homestead! I had August 18th penciled in on my calendar, but work started a week early. Another crew shows up on the 18th.

Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead!

Check out this new Feature Post! I will add to it regularly for the next couple of weeks as progress continues. Check back to follow the efforts of the dedicated workers.


Up close with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue – New Orleans super funk hits JacksonHoleLive on Wednesday 8/13 : Trombone Shorty will be giving a FREE concert at Snow King ball field this afternoon and tonight, along with the Wednesday Farmers Market at the same field. MJ

Trombone Shorty Concert

Night Time in Jackson Hole: I did a quick trip to the concert late in the day. There was a large crowd for the Free concert tonight.

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty:

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty: