Best of the Tetons


Maybe they don’t have the “mass” of the large game animals and predators, but they are equally fun and equally challenging to photograph!

This page contains photos of some of the smaller mammals found in the Jackson Hole valley and Grand Teton National Park. With few exceptions, I don’t go out looking for the critters. Instead, I am usually out taking photos of something else when I catch a glimpse of something moving nearby.

Short-tailed Weasel or Ermine

I’ve only see a few Weasels or Ermine while out in the valley. They are elusive and seem to always be on the move. This page contains lots of facts about them. Weasel (Short Tailed) or (Ermine) . There are possibly some Long-tailed Weasels in the valley.


Weasel: I photographed this Weasel along the Gros Ventre while searching for moose. I’ve seen photos others took inside the Gros Ventre campground. Other photographers have been known to capture images of them along the road on the National Elk Refuge, though I haven’t been so lucky.


Ermine: Needless to say, seeing a small white mammal in an ocean of white snow is not an easy task! This one happened to run across the top of the snow along the Snake River south of Hoback Junction. I’ve seen them on numerous occasions along Spring Gulch Road, but I have never been able to capture one in my camera. A few years ago, I caught a glimpse of one running across my back yard. I’d love to get thousands more photos of them!

Great Gray and Ermine

Great Gray Owl and Ermine: I’ll take that back. I captured this shot of a Short-tailed Weasel (Ermine in winter) along Spring Gulch Road, but only after the Great Gray captured it first.


You might find a coyote about anywhere in the valley at any time of the year. They are leery of humans as they are shot as pests outside the park.


Coyote: Occasionally, a coyote will stop long enough to get a few shots. I photographed quite a few of them in the National Elk Refuge, along Mormon Row, and at Elk Flats.

Coyote Pups

Coyote Pups: During the past couple of years, coyote raised a litter of pups under one of the buildings along Mormon Row. These two were close to the Moose Visitor’s Center.


Despite the fact there are numerous packs of wolves in Grand Teton National Park, I seldom see them and almost never get to photograph them.


Wolf and Coyote: Knowing wolves are near the top of the food chain, I was hesitant to include them on this page, but I thought this photo merited the inclusion. This large black wolf was milling around on the east side of the park. The Coyotes were amazingly brave around him—possibly trying to lure him away from their den. Watch for Wolves along the Snake River, around Willow Flats and Oxbow Bend, and near Uhl Hill on the east side of the park. Some are seen in the Buffalo Fork river bottom and housing areas.


A lot of farmers kills porcupines on sight. They strip the bark and kill trees and can cause a lot of damage. Inside the Park, they are protected.


Porcupine: I photographed this Porcupine along the East Boundary Road a few years back. It seemed out of place with no trees anywhere near.


Porcupine: This Porcupine had been killing a valley resident’s trees next to his house on West Gros Ventre Butte. A friend of the homeowner trapped the animal. I went with the trapper to release it along the base of the mountain north of Wilson. We had expected it to move slowly out of the trap and get into the closest clump of trees, but instead, it took off like a thoroughbred racehorse coming out of the gate.


Watch for badgers anywhere there are Uinta Ground Squirrels and soft dirt. A few dig holes around the Gros Ventre Campground and around the Mormon Row barns.


Badgers: I photographed these along Mormon Row a few years back. I also seen them in the pastures near Elk Flats and near the Kelly Warm Springs.

Red Squirrels

Most of my shots of Red Squirrels were taken in my back yard. One has been building nests and stashing food there for years. However, they are commonly seen in almost all wooded parts of the valley. At certain times of the year, Red Squirrels harvest cones from the various Spruce and Pine trees.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel. This mother was moving her six babies from one hole to another.

Baby Red Squirrel

Baby Red Squirrel: A few weeks later, the youngsters came out and explored their surroundings before being run off by the mother.

Jumping Red Squirrel

Jumping Red Squirrel: One of the advantages of having a resident Squirrel is being able to get shots like this. I put peanuts in a tree trunk for her. She’d go back and forth getting the peanut and returning to her nesting cavities. I set up with a couple of strobes for some high speed-sync action. She’s an athlete, but she doesn’t wear Nike shoes!

River Otters

River Otters can be found in about any of the valley’s waterways. But, that’s easier to say than it is to actually find them and photograph them. They are constantly on the move and can travel large distances in search of fresh food sources…fish!

Otter Family

Otter Family: I photographed this family a few years ago along Flat Creek. Another group is often photographed on the snow near Oxbow Bend and around the Jackson Lake Dam. I’ve photographed them along the Gros Ventre River and along Pacific Creek.

River Otters with Catch

River Otters with their catch:


These critters are quite a bit smaller than otters, but are often found in the same areas.


Muskrat: I photographed this Muskrat from the observation platform along Flat Creek.


This might be a “least Chipmunk”, but actually, I believe there are at least three species of Chipmunks in the area. They are common in almost all parts of the valley. Watch for them in the tops of the sagebrush and scavenging for food and seeds around campgrounds and pullouts.


Chipmunk: I photographed this one along the Gros Ventre river as it heads out of the Park and into the Slide Lake area. Again, they are common everywhere.


Chipmunk: I took this photo along the Moose-Wilson road a few years ago. Black Hawthorne berries attract a variety of animals including Black Bears and Grizzly Bears, along with many species of birds.

Yellow-bellied Marmots

Marmots are fairly common in the Jackson Hole valley. Watch for them in rock piles along the road.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot: They spend much of their day sunning on the rocks. They are quick to hide if a hawk or predator is in the area. A good place to find them is in the rocks at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. They hibernate in the winter.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot: Occasionally, you’ll find a Marmot in a large tree trunk. This one was near Pilgrim Creek in GTNP. Obviously, they are difficult to spot.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot: As far as I know, this is still a Yellow-bellied Marmot. I’ve seen a few pockets of the dark ones in the valley. This one was photographed at White Grass Ranch a few years ago. I went back to photograph them again, only to be told the Park Service trapped them out and moved them to another undisclosed location in the park. They were interfering with preservation efforts. Another group  of dark Marmots can sometimes be seen at the base of the mountain near the Cascade Canyon and Hidden Falls boat ramp.

Red Foxes

These sly little critters inhabit much of the valley, but are not always easy to find or photograph.

Red Fox

Red Fox: A few years ago, Red Foxes were plentiful in the Wilson area. This one is “mousing”.

Red Fox

Red Fox: They can be very agile while chasing their prey. I’ve watched them capture a mouse or vole, then bury it, mark their spot, and continue hunting. On the way back to the den, especially when they have kits, they gather them up and carry a large mouthful of food to their young.


Red Fox: I prefer Winter for photographing Foxes while their fur is long and full. I photographed this one in the north end of the Park. Lots of people photographed a Red Fox in Karns Meadows a few years back. Some can be seen along the fence lines around Kelly. Check out this earlier Feature Post showing more of this Fox. Red Fox: A Spring Vixen

Red Fox

Red Fox: By late spring, Foxes begin to shed some of their winter coats. While this one might look like a black fox or a silver fox, they are still Red Foxes and will have a white tip on their tail. I photographed this in the pastures in Wilson.

Uinta Ground Squirrels:

Uinta Ground Squirrels are plentiful throughout the sage flats of Jackson Hole. Hawks, owls and other raptors feed on them, along with Badgers, Foxes, and Coyotes. Interestingly, they spend roughly eight months of the year underground or hibernating.

Uinta Ground Squirrels

Baby Uinta Ground Squirrels:  You can see them on almost any summer day around the Mormon Row barns.


Pikas are usually found in the higher elevations. Watch for them in rock piles gathering clumps of grass and vegetation.


Pika: I photographed this little Pika on my way up to Cascade Canyon: One of the Teton’s Many Gems


The American Fur Traders came to Jackson Hole to trap beavers during the time span of 1825-1840. They could have effectively trapped the entire population in a year or two. Populations of beavers are now well recovered. Watch for beavers in the river bottoms and see more images on this Feature Post: Beavers of Schwabacher Landing


Beaver:  I photographed this beaver at Schwabacher Landing. They can also be seen along the Gros Ventre river and Pacific Creek.

Ground Squirrels

There are a few different species of Ground Squirrels in Jackson Hole. At slightly higher elevations watch for Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels.

Ground Squirrel

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel: These are larger than the Chimpmonks found in the valley. I photographed this one near Inspiration Point on my Cascade Canyon: One of the Teton’s Many Gems hike.


Raccoons are mostly nocturnal feeders. They are not native to the region, but have moved in and are thriving.  While fly fishing, I saw a family of Raccoons working their way along the bank of the Snake River.


Raccoon: I photographed this Raccoon in my back yard one night after our dog ran it up a tree. They come around looking for leftover bird feed.

Pine Marten

I have so little experience with Pine Martens…here’s a link with more info: Pine Martin | Wilderness Classroom

Pine Marten

Pine Marten: I took this photo of an elusive little Pine Marten while waiting for a mother Moose and Calf to stand up near Taggart Lake Trailhead. I’ve seen them on the road going into the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve, but didn’t get shots. For a while, a Pine Marten was hanging around the parking area a the Pacific Creek boat launch near Moran Junction.


Oh yes! There are lots of others! This guide will give you a much longer list of animals in GTNP: Mammal-Finding Guide via the Grand Teton National Park web site. There are mice, voles, shrews, bats, rabbits, wolverines, ferrets, woodrats, gophers, and the list goes on! As I have the opportunity, I spin my camera around and try to capture them.

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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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Beavers of Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing 2008

Beaver with BranchesBeavers have been a fixture at Schwabacher Landing for many years. They are responsible for the beautiful pool of water found in most of the images there. A slow moving branch of the Snake flows in front of the Teton Range north of the parking area. Beavers dammed the flow years ago. When we moved to Jackson Hole in 1986, a channel of the Snake River cut across the river bottom allowing boaters to launch from the parking area. It fed back into the main channel of the Snake. I an not sure of the year, but at some point, the channel was cut off at the main river, restricting the flow at Schwabacher Landing to only a trickle of water. Each year, the beaver families attempted to dam up the old branch of the Snake, but during high water, the dams were washed away.

South Dam - November 2013

Busy as Beavers: The family of beavers have now built several new dams in the old channel and they appear to be holding up well…at least for now! Who knows when the Snake will change it course again, jeopardizing all of their recent work. For now, they are busy adding to their dams and cutting down large cottonwoods that once stood along the river banks. The image above was taken in November of 2013 from the south, looking north towards the big parking area. There are at least three more dams above this one in the old channel. None of the cottonwoods above are “safe” from these aquatic rodents!

Schwabacher Landing Satellite View

Schwabacher Landing via The Photographer’s Ephemeris: The map above shows most of the dams (in red) with a few of the important locations identified. Much of the area of the river bottom is braided with small channels. You can see how the old channel could have been used by boaters for many years—giving Schwabacher Landing its original name. (Note: click the map image to view it larger, or click the link to go to the interactive map where you can move around and zoom in as desired). The Park Service graded and added an asphalt road at the top of the bench in 2013, making travel down to Schwabacher Landing much better, safer and easier. I don’t recommend going there is a large camper or with a trailer, but people do it on occasions. The turnaround might be tight on some days.

Reflected Beaver

By late summer and fall, it seems the beaver family’s primary mission is to store up food for the winter, yet they must maintain their existing dams. This beaver, with its bright orange teeth, is headed back to the main lodge with some of this winter’s food supply. At many beaver ponds I’ve been to, beavers are skittish when people are around. They often hit their tail hard against the water to create a loud splash as they go under and usually stay. This family of beavers is more tolerant of all the tourists visiting Schwabacher Landing. Possibly there are fewer predators in the area with all the human traffic? At any rate, the beavers go on about their business with little regard for people. If you want to read more about beavers, check out this informative link: Beavers: Wetland & Wildlife

Dogs in the Area: While there are no signs at either parking area to let people know, dogs are not permitted out of the parking area….EVER! Even while in the parking area, they have to be on a leash. People have been seen taking their large dogs down to the side of the stream—spooking the beavers. A barking dog inside a vehicle can change their behavior. Pets in the Park: and Pets in GTNP: These two official pages explain the pet rules in GTNP. The short version is you can only have a pet where you can drive a vehicle. Pets must be on a leash at all times and you are required to “scoop the poop”.

Leary Beaver

Beaver on Land: It took quite a few trips to get a shot like this one. It was a bit of a self imposed challenge. I was hoping to capture a shot out of the water, with eyes open, a bit of its front feet and at least some of its tail. I got lucky that day with all the pieces falling into place.

Beaver with Branches

Beaver with Branches: This is probably the easiest kind of shot to get of the beavers as they swim by with clumps of willows and cottonwoods.


Just Swimming By: Of course, they swim by often with no branches.

Beaver at Sunset

Red Sky: I took this one late in the evening while I had a red sky. As I mentioned earlier, getting swimming shots is relatively easy. For a photographer, the tougher challenge is to capture images showing at least some of their tail—otherwise, they can look like just a large wet rat!


Dead Spruce Trees: A few years after the beavers built their dam and lodge, some of the existing spruce trees died. They are now systematically taking down the big cottonwoods in the vicinity. Needless to say, a family of beavers can drastically change a large area of the landscape to the benefit of a lot of other species of plants and animals.

Cottonwood Trunk

Cottonwood Trunk: The beavers do half the work and the winds finish the job. Only a few yards away is a tree the beavers attempted to take down. Instead of falling to the earth, it fell into another tree and is still standing. I’d be curious how long it takes a group of beavers to chew through this much of a tree trunk. Once you see all the down cottonwoods, you’ll know to be especially alert while walking around the area on a windy day!

Stripping Bark

Once Felled: After the wind completes its half of the felling, the beavers strip the bark and eat it like candy. The smaller branches are carried back to the lodge area.

Dinner Time at the Cottonwood

Cottonwood Bark Feast: After stripping off a chunk of the bark, they sit back and dine away. One site I read suggests a beaver can grow to up to 60 pounds. This one is definitely a tubby.

Teeth Marks

Teeth Marks: Their teeth are perfectly adapted to do the job.

Cottonwood Pattern

Evening Light on a Downed Cottonwood Stump: These teeth marks were on the tree trunk I included earlier. It is a beautiful pattern.

Beaver on the Dam

Heading to the Main Channel: Actually, the main channel of the Snake River is a good half mile away, but in this case, the main channel is the old river landing channel. There are ample supplies of cottonwoods downstream.

Beaver Crossing a Dam

Young Beaver Returning with Branches: Some of the larger beavers return to the lodge with huge clumps of branches, often covering their entire face. This one had just the right amount. They often hold the branches in their mouth and one paw, then hop across flat areas like this on the other free leg.

Beaver with Clump of Branches

A Bigger Meal: I got lucky with this shot. The clump was large, but I got a small opening to capture the eye. I’ve deleted a lot of images in which the face was completely covered.

Late October 2009

Late October 2009: The current dam at the old “landing” is about 60 feet south of this 2009 dam. I always thought it added a nice touch to the composition.

Late November 2006

Late November 2006: Not that many people get to see Schwabacher Landing in the winter time. The large pool freezes over solid enough to walk across. The entire river bottom is closed to public entry after the 15th of December, but the road down to the parking area might be closed even sooner. In many previous years, the road was kept open to aid the elk hunters, but the area was closed to hunting last year. Currently (it’s late October as I write this post), you can still drive to the “landing”. The crowds of summer and fall are gone now. The beavers have been active all summer, but I was hesitant to make this post any earlier. It’s your chance to really experience the area, but it won’t last much longer!

Black Kettle

The Beaver Trade: Beavers played an important part in the history of the Jackson Hole valley. During the period between 1825 and 1840, trappers entered this valley to harvest beaver pelts to be used for fashionable top hats in Europe. French trappers were responsible for giving the Tetons their name. This area was originally called Jackson’s Hole for the trapper Davey Jackson while much of the west side of the Teton range was called Pierre’s Hole.  The rugged mountain men spent the late winter and early spring trapping beavers before taking their bounty to the regional rendezvous. Some of the depictions in popular movies like Jeremiah Johnson, show a solitary trapper in a vast, dangerous world. In reality, large brigades of trappers moved into an area as a team to trap the beaver population. They trapped an area out, then moved on with little regard for sustainability or the damage they might have done to the ecology. Some of the same trappers later became guides for the army and wagon trains as they expanded West. After 160 plus years of recovery, I suspect much of the a Schwabacher Landing looks similar to the mountain man days. The Jackson Lake dam may have played its part in changing the downstream ecology, but that’s an entirely different story.

Beaver at a Dam

Photography Notes: I used a Nikon D4 and a Nikon 200-400mm lens on most of the photos of the beavers on this page. I also used it for the detail shots. The early landscape shots were probably taken with a Nikon D300 and a 24-70 lens. Some people use 500mm and 600mm lenses there, especially to capture beavers going over the dams or on the lodge. I don’t own one, so it’s an easy call for me. Some shots are difficult because of the severe back lighting at certain times of the evening. The beavers cross through light areas right into dark areas on a regular basis so dealing with a wide range of exposure can cause problems with metering and exposures. Stopping action after the sun goes down is another challenge. The beavers come out to feed, work, and play late in the evening and work until late.

2006I’ve seen them working early in the morning, but not that often. A few years ago, I was set up at the north pool waiting for the morning sunrise. A beaver approached me. I stepped back from the tripod. He walked right under it, then stopped to preen not far from me. I snapped off a few shots, as seen  here in the 2006 image.


If you like this post, please take a minute and “share” it by clicking on any of the Social Media Icons below. >>MJ

Bar BC Dude Ranch

Jackson Hole’s second dude ranch, the Bar BC Dude Ranch was built by Struthers Burt and Dr. Horace Carncross in 1912.

Bar BC Ranch

On October 4th, I was heading back home after spending the morning at Schwabacher Landing. From the highway, I could see some bright yellow leaves along the west bank of the Snake River. By 10:30 am on most mornings, I would have headed on home. The yellow leaves were beckoning…and it was a beautiful fall Saturday morning. I made the executive decision to drive on over and check it out (again).

(Note: In case you were wondering, the first Dude Ranch in the Jackson Hole was the JY Ranch—1908. The area is now part of the Laurance S. Rockefell Preserve.)

The Road Off the Bench

The Road Off the Bench:

How to get there: Drive north from Jackson to Moose Junction. Turn left onto the Teton Park Road. Drive through the entrance station and pass the Cottonwood Creek picnic area. A quarter mile past the picnic area turn right and drive east on the River Road almost two miles. This road is recommended for 4-wheel drive vehicles only. As the road bends north, park at the small lot near a gate. Walk the cobble-covered hill toward the Snake River to view the remaining ranch structures. You can also view buildings from the terrace by walking to the right of the gate to an interpretive wayside and looking down. Please do not enter any of these buildings as they may be unsafe. (via the GTNP web site)

Bar BC MapMap: “As the crow flies”, the ranch is only a few miles north of the Chapel of the Transfiguration and Menor’s Ferry. Click the link to see a TPE/Google image showing the main roads to the area.

The comments above suggest having a 4-wheel drive vehicle. I drove it in our all wheel drive van with no problems, but the drive from the Teton Park Road to the gully road is rough and full of gravel bottom puddles. I counted 43 on my way back out.  I don’t believe I needed a 4-wheel drive to make the trip to the parking area, but I definitely drove it slowly and carefully.

My morning at the Bar BC Dude Ranch

I made my trip to Bar BC in the middle of the morning and stayed a couple of hours, roaming around and looking for anything of interest. Most of my images from the trip were intended on documenting the area and show you what you might expect. I’d love to go back and catch it with morning light, or even late in even at night for some stars and light painting. The Teton Range looms high above the scene if you move close to the river, yet can be clipped if you get close to the bench. I’d recommend a trip there if you are into history, scenery, or like taking photos of textures and close-up details.


Corrals: The parking area is just at the top of the little bench. The walk down is easy and casual. The corrals have been restored or rebuilt.

The remains of the large dude ranch are available for viewing in Grand Teton National Park. Preservation and restoration on the buildings have been ongoing for quite a few years. It is a huge undertaking with so many buildings and structures. This external page shows images of the restoration projects and give a little more information on the topic.  Bar BC Dude Ranch Restoration

Restored Tack Shed

Restored Tack Shed: Located next to the corrals.

Too Late

Too Late: While many structures have been preserved or stabilized, a few have collapsed under the weight of the winter snows.


Aspens: I dialed my aperture up to F/22 and took this shot into a tiny opening of the leaves allowing the star burst from the sun. No special Photoshop trick or special effect on this image.

Aspen Leaves

Aspen Leaves: The last shot was taken “up”. This was aimed “down” into a puddle of water with floating aspen leaves. Filtered light from the stands of aspens added some glow to a few leaves.

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks: I liked the idea of seeing the peak of the Grand between these venerable aspens.

Row of Cabins

Row of Cabins: One of the informational signs near the parking area suggested the ranch could handle up to 50 guests at one time. The area is quite large with cabins spread all around.

Clubhouse and Cabins

Clubhouse and Cabins: I believe the old fireplace was part of the”main cabin”. The rest of the structure is gone now. The green visqueen plastic sheeting was intended to protect the roofs until restoration teams can get to them.

Bar BC Satellite View Click Here to see a Satellite View showing the roads and buildings as they stand today. You can click to enlarge the view and scroll around. This map comes from The Photographer’s Ephemera and works off Google Maps. TPE is also available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. It is a very valuable tool for photography in the area.

Future Projects

Future Projects: Another view of the cabins awaiting restoration. Mt. Moran can be seen in the distance. The map identifies most of these buildings as “dude cabins” and a “mess hall”.


Nails: If this kind of shot “floats your boat”, you can find lots of it at the Bar BC Dude Ranch.

Restored Cabin and Grand

Restored Cabin and Grand: None of these cabins are being fully “restored” for use, but instead are being stabilized to stand up against snows and weather.

Up Scale Privy

Up Scale Privy: Many of the visitors at Bar BC were used to the best. But, in 1912, outhouses were part of the scheme of things.

The Pot

The Pot: Most outhouses I’ve ever seen had a rough wooden seat and were quite primitive. This outhouse sported a porcelain pot (the lid is missing now). The rich and famous were “going in style”!

History and Links

Here are a few links related to the historic old Bar BC Dude Ranch I could find.

Log End

Log End: There are plenty of textures and details at the ranch. The six bursts caught my eye on this log.

Number 15

Number 15: This lettering was on one of the original doors.

Rusty Vehicle

Rusty Vehicle: This old car might make a great light painting subject. The roof of the tack shed is partially visible near the row of aspens.

Vehicle Window

A Window into the Past: I walked down the hill to the ranch with a Nikon D4 and a 28-300 mm lens. No tripod this time! I think it would be a good place to go with my 200-400 mm lens and a tripod to zoom in on small details and textures. A standard lens would be good for most shots, however.

J.E. Stimson Photo of Bar BC at Cayuse Western Americana: This link shows a hand tinted image of the ranch taken over the swimming pool. Worth a look to see the ranch in its heyday and read Cayuse’s description of the historic place.

Park Sign

I mentioned earlier I spent roughly two hours at the site and could have stayed longer. There are no rest rooms, fountains, or services—so go prepared. The road north from the Taggart Lake Trail Head closes on October 31st, eliminating vehicle travel down the “Cottonwood Creek Road”. Most people around here know that road as the RKO road. Much of the area is under a winter wildlife habitat closure during the winter months, so hiking and snow shoeing into the area is illegal. The sign above is located near the parking area at the top of the bench. It gives a little history and includes a map identifying the individual buildings.  The map indicates the Swimming Pools near the Snake River and in front of the Dance Hall.


If you like this post, please take a minute and “share” it by clicking on any of the Social Media Icons below. >>MJ


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


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.