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Best of the Tetons

Bull Moose: GTNP’s Boys of Fall

A collection of 2017’s Cast of Characters

Early Winter Moose

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

Washakie

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

Fremont

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

Jedediah

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

Twister

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

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

Firecracker

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

Faux Firecracker

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

Moose Wilson Moose

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

Spatch

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

Junior

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

Junior Moose

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

Double Deuce

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

Uni Tines

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

3 x 2

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

Challenger and Mid-Sized Bull

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

SlenderTines

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

West Bank Bull

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

Willow Flats

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


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

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


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November 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

“Snow and a new cast of characters appears” 

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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

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

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November 21, 2017 – Tuesday

Bull Moose Entering Water

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

Cow Moose

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

Bull Moose by Water

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

Young Bull Moose

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

Calf on the Move

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

Bull Moose in Pond

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

Bighorns Bashing

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

Bighorns Bashing

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

Gathering of Rams

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

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

Teton Photo Excursions

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November 20, 2017 – Monday

Bison Bull

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

Bighorn Ram with Falling Snow

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

Ram Heads

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

Rams

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

Rams

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

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

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November 19, 2017 -Sunday

Wedding Trees

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

Morning Range

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

Bull Moose

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

Sparring Bulls

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

Teton Range in Mid-Morning

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

Red Fox

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

Frozen Oxbow Bend

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

Bighorn Ewe

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

Bighorn Ram

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

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

Rams

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

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November 18, 2017 – Saturday

Chapel of the Transfiguration

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

Chapel of the Transfiguration

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

Ermine

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

Bull Moose

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

SlenderTines

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

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November 17, 2017 – Friday

Winter Barn

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

Wagon Wheels

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

Boys of Fall

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

Bighorn Lamb

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

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November 16, 2017 – Thursday

Misty Elk

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

Migrating Elk

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

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

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November 15, 2017 – Wednesday

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

Springs Creeks

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

Springs Creeks

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

Two Bucks

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Ruddy Duck

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

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November 14, 2017 – Tuesday

Ram

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

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

Red Squirrel

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

Black-billed Magpie

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

Log Cabin

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

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

Sleeping Indian

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

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November 13, 2017 – Monday

The Morning Peaks

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

Prairie Homestead

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

John Moulton Homestead

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

Bull Moose in Sage

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

Buck Mile Deer

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

Flying Trumpeter Swans

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

Landing Trumpeters

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

Stretching Swan

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

Bird Feeders

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

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November 12, 2017 – Sunday

Morning Clouds at Mormon Row

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

TA Moulton Barn

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

Dripping Moose

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

Dripping Moose

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

Barrow's Golden-eye

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

Steller's Jay

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

Stellers Jay

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

Red-breasted Nuthatch

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

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November 11, 2017 – Veteran’s Day

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Bull Moose

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

Bull Moose

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

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

Downey Woodpecker

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

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November 10, 2017 – Friday

Bull Moose

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

Sparring Bull Moose

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

Chambers Homestead

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

Murphy Barn

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

Murphy Homestead

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

The Window

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

Afternoon Light

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

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November 9, 2017 – Thursday

Teton Range

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

Moose with Mt. Moran

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

Moose in Sage

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

Barrows Golden Eyes

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

Trumpeter Swan Take Off

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

Rams

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

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

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

Rams

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

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November 8, 2017 – Wednesday

Bull Moose in Winter Sage

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Ram

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

Trumpeter Swan

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

Swans On Ice

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

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November 7, 2017 – Tuesday

Low Morning Clouds

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

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

Red Fox

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

Red Fox

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

Swans

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

Bison and Tetons

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

Take-Off

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

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November 6, 2017 – Monday

Common Merganser

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

Unknown Duck

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

Canada Goose

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

Canada Goose

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

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

Head color and pattern.

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

Bighorn Ewes and Lambs

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

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November 5, 2017 – Sunday

Setting Moon

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

Bands of Light

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

Four Bulls

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

Sparring Bulls

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

Bull At Water

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

Creek Crossing

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

Resting Bull

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

Trumpeter Swan

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

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November 4, 2017 – Saturday

Spring Gulch Bridge

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

Spring Creek

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

Lucas Barn

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

Box L Barns

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

Brown Ranch

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

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November 3, 2017 – Friday

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

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

Moose Pair

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

Rough-legged Hawk

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

Green-winged Teal

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

Resting Bull

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

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

Moose Hockey

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

Moose Hockey

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

Moose Hockey

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

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November 2, 2017 – Thursday

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

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

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

Elk Reduction Map

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

Winter Homestead

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

Three Bulls

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

Moose Cow and Calf

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

Moose Cow and Calf

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

Moose With Twigs

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

Sparring Bulls

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

Resting Bull Moose

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

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

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

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

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November 1, 2017 – Wednesday

Grizzly 610 and Cubs

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

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

Mt. Moran

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

Shingles

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

Bull Moose and Cow

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

Lip Curl

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

November Featured Image

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

November

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

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

Black Bears in Berry Bushes.

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

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

Black Bear Color Phases

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

Grizzly Sow and Cub

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

Black Bear in Grass

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

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

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

Black Bear

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

Cub in Aspens

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

Snow and Berries

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

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

Cub in Tree

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

Cub in Black Hawthorn Bush

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

Black Bear

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

Black Bear

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

Cinnamon Bear

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

Black Bear in Tree

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

tree top Feeder

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

Cub in Black Hawthorns

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

Black Bear

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

Black Bears

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

Realities on the Moose-Wilson Road

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

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

BearJam2005

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

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

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

Blondie

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

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

Photographic Considerations

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

Cub in Tree

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

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

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

Cinnamon Sow

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

Black Hawthorn Bushes

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

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


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

Teton Photo Excursions

October 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

“October is a Dynamic Mix of Fall and Winter”

Daily Updates Archives:
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2016: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan: 
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Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

October 31st: Halloween Tuesday

Halloween in Maui 2014

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

Mt. Moran

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

Teewinot

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

Elk Group

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

Spruce Stand and Mountains

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

Evening Moose

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

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

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

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

Click these popular pages:

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

Teton Photo Excursions

October 30th: Monday

John Moulton Barn

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

Stack Focus

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

Fence Line

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

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

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

October 29th: Sunday

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

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

Bull and Cow Pair

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

Bull and Cow Pair

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

Bull Moose in Sagebrush

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

Nails

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

Knot

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

Canada Goose

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

Red Squirrel

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

Clark's Nutcracker

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

October 28th: Saturday

String Lake Stars

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

String Lake Outlet

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

Jackson Lake Pano

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

Blondie

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

Badger

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

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

October 27th: Friday

Photo of D850 Body Only

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

Wort Hotel

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

Cache Street

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

Blondie

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

Snake River Vista

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

Incoming Clouds

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

Rural Tree

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

Hedrick's Pond

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

Red Squirrel

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

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

October 26th: Thursday

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

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

Elk Reduction Map

Mtn Maples

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

Moose Rut

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

Head to Head

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

Sparring Moose

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

Young Bulls in Side Channel

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

Canada Geese

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

Trumpeter Swans

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

October 25th: Wednesday

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

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

Night Skies

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

Morning Range Pano

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

Grizzly Trio

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

Lake Pano

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

Jackson Lake

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

Cattails

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

Green-winged Teal

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

October 24th: Tuesday

Blondie

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

Blondie

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

Sleeping Indian

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

October 23rd: Monday

Lightroom 2015 vs. Lightroom Classic: Round 1

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

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

Bull Moose

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

Bull Moose

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

Lip Curl

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

Lip Curl

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

Bull Moose

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

Cedar Waxwing

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

Cedar Waxwing

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

October 22nd: Sunday

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

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

Teton Theater

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

Cowboy Bar Sign

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

Cowboy Bar Mural

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

Cowboy Bar Neon

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

Antler Arches

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

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

October 21st: Saturday

Bull Moose

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

Bull and Cow

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

Feeding Bull Moose

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

Scratching Bull Moose

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

Resting Bull Moose

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

October 20th: Friday

Sunrise

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

October 19th: Thursday

Lightroom (Classic) Update:

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

Cinnamon Bear

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

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

Beaver

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

Afternoon Beaver

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

October 18th: Wednesday

New Feature Post!: Black Bears in Berry Bushes.

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

Morning Moose

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

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: Needless to say, I had a great morning photographing bull Moose. After about 10 years of being out in the field photographing them, I finally got to witness a full on bull Moose fight. I’m not quite ready to post those photos! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Moose Sparring

Moose Sparring: I have oodles of photos of two bulls “sparring” like these two. They are typically gentle with each other, unlike the real fights. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Cowboy Walk

Moose Approaching Another Moose: When two bulls approach each other, they do what some people call the slow “Cowboy Walk”. The idea is to show off their size and antlers. Ears are usually down—a warning sign other Moose recognize. Most of the time, the larger bull simply intimidates the smaller bull, or maybe the less experienced fighter. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Slow Approach

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

Onlookers

Onlookers: Smaller bulls usually spar among themselves, but occasionally watch as larger bulls approach each other. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Morning Moose

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

Evening Moose

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

Young Cow

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

Alpenglow

Alpenglow: Along one of the side channels of the Gros Ventre. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

October 17th: Tuesday

Black Bear

Black Bear: I’m working on a new Feature Post called Black Bears in Berry Bushes. Now is a great time to sign up to follow Best of the Tetons! I’d love to see another hundred subscribers this month! I can also use your help to let your friends know about the site. One easy way is to scroll down to the Social Media icons at the bottom of the page and SHARE this page on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and so forth. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Morning Moose

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

Morning Moose

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

Morning Moose

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

Morning Moose

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

Morning Moose

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

October 16th: Monday

Elk in Fog

Elk in Fog: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

I have been hoping to hike out to the Old Patriarch Tree while the snow is still on the mountains and before the Park Service closes the Inner Park Loop Road on October 31st. Everything looked promising this morning, but I bumped into a fog bank as I made it to Lupine Meadows. I saw the Elk above and Pronghorns below in that area.

Pronghorn in Fog

Pronghorn in Fog: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Foggy Patriarch

Foggy Patriarch: I made it to the tree at about 8:00am, then had to wait until 10:30am for the fog to lift. By 11:00, I was hiking back to the car. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-4000mm Lens, Handheld.

Old Patriarch

Old Patriarch: I took a LOT of photos there this morning, including texture details at the tree, panos, and a variety of locations. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Standing Young Bear

Standing Young Bear: Captured along the Moose-Wilson Road.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Black Bear in Black Hawthorns

Black Bear in Black Hawthorns: Rangers were fairly tolerant today, we were still farther away than I would prefer. I switched to the DX body. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose in Evening Light

Bull Moose in Evening Light: UPS delivered my serviced Nikon D5 this afternoon. It has a new shutter and bayonet mount, along with receiving a good cleaning. I tested the AF Fine Tune on my telephoto lenses and then headed out to find a subject before I lost the light. This Bull Moose was along the Gros Ventre.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose

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

Bull Moose in Evening Light

Bull Moose with Evening Light: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

October 15th: Sunday

Mt. Moran and Bull Moose

Mt. Moran and Bull Moose: I had a great day today. I started it with a nice Bull Moose along the Gros Ventre river. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Bull are still interested in the Cows, but I’d guess most of the rut is over now. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cub in Black Hawthorns

Cub in Black Hawthorns: After the Moose, I found a family of Black Bears on the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cub in Black Hawthorns

Cub in Black Hawthorns: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Sow Feeding

Sow Feeding: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cub in Black Hawthorn Bush

Cub in Black Hawthorn Bush: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

October 14th: Saturday

Togwotee Pass

Togwotee Pass: This Pano was taken on the drive up Togwotee Pass. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Fighting Bison

Fighting Bison: Four inches of overnight snow changed the region again. This was taken on Elk Ranch. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cub in Black Hawthorns

Cub in Black Hawthorns: Captured on the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cinnamon Sow

Cinnamon Sow: I spent the morning looking for Grizzlies up north, then ran into this opportunity. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Wagon Wheel

Wagon Wheel: Taken near the Hatchet Resort on my way up Togwotee Pass. The Hatchet Resort closes tomorrow, along with many facilities in GTNP. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Chambers Homestead

I added additional photos on this page: Foliage Reports: 2017. I snapped this photo yesterday afternoon along Mormon Row.

Friday, October 13th:

Sunrise Barn

Sunrise Barn: Skies were “interesting” for a short period of time, but quickly dulled. A cloud covered the top of the Grand, so I didn’t think much about shooting west. As of noon, skies cleared considerably.  Wind is also a factor today if you were trying to capture reflections in the pools.

I received a report that Grizzly Sow 399 was near Antelope Flats Road today.

In case I buried it in this page, you might want to visit the Foliage Reports: 2017. I recently had someone ask about my photos of this year’s Oxbow Bend foliage season, indicating they hadn’t see the Foliage Reports page. The page has a few wildlife photos mixed in with the leaf shots.

Loose Ends: The truck has been in the paint shop all week to repair a recent fender bender. Should be ready on Monday. I have been more or less incognito all week in the rental car. My Nikon D5 went to the repair shop on Monday. The site says the repair is finished I should have it Monday.

October 12th:  Thursday

Bull Moose Crossing Dry Creek

Bull Moose Crossing Dry Creek: I spent the morning watching three bulls and three cows graze and move through the Gros Ventre river bottom.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Sparring Bulls

Sparring Bulls: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Moose Cow in Morning Light

Moose Cow in Morning Light: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Road Info: “On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, the UNPAVED section of the Moose-Wilson Road will be closed 7:00am to 5:30pm for rolling and grading.” That’s good news…the road is still listed at a road on the park map, but lately it looks and traveled like a war zone.

Dual Crossing

Dual Crossing: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Closures: The Gros Ventre and Signal Mountain campgrounds will close tomorrow around 11:00 am. They were the last two campgrounds open to the public. The convenience store at Colter Bay will close on Sunday. Looks like a lot of the facilities in Yellowstone end services on the 15th, too: Yellowstone Closures.

Also, you might note that the Inner Park Loop Road (Teton Park Road) from Taggart Lake Trail Head Parking are to Signal Mountain closes at end of the last day of October. This will be the last few days to access String Lake, Jenny Lake, Spaulding Bay and the trail heads by vehicle until May 1st of next year. The area and trails around Jenny Lake will be close on October 16th for one day to allow helicopter lifts for trail work.

Moose Cow in Dry Creek

Moose Cow in Dry Creek: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer: After seeing Mule Deer for 30 years, White-tailed deer don’t look quite right to me! I stumbled upon three of them on my way back to the vehicle today. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

October 11th:  Wednesday

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: I spent part of the morning looking for the bull Moose I photographed yesterday afternoon. I didn’t find that one, but managed to find a couple of others along the Gros Ventre. Remember, if you want to go down the Gros Ventre Road, you need to be there before 9:00 am or after 2:30 pm. Crews are repairing a section of road damaged by this year’s high water during runoff. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Tripod.

Feeding Bull Moose

Feeding Bull Moose: Besides the willow leaves found along the river bottoms, Moose like to feed on Bitter Brush, found mixed in with Sagebrush. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Tripod.

Chipmonk

Chipmonk: Sometimes the little critters are equally interesting and often even more difficult to photograph. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Cinnamon Black Bear

Cinnamon Black Bear: At times visitors and photographers are allowed to stop for a few seconds to take a photo from their window along the Moose-Wilson Road. When another vehicle pulls up behind your vehicle, you have to continue. It takes a fair amount of luck to be stopped at a time when their head in not deep in the branches. They won’t allow people to turn off their vehicle, so it seems to help to have the camera set to a high shutter speed to offset some of the vehicle’s vibration. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld.

More photos and comments on Foliage Reports: 2017

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Late evening along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Sunset

Sunset: At the John Moulton Barn on Mormon Row. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld.

October 10th:  Tuesday

Alsenglow

Alsenglow: Early morning at Schwabacher Landing. This is a two shot stitched pano. Click the image to see it larger. Just for reference, it was 14°F at sunrise today. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens

Moose Falls

Moose Falls on Crawfish Creek: Just inside the Yellowstone south gate. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens

The Grand

The Grand: Taken near the Jackson Lake Dam. Nikon D810 and Nikon 17-400mm Lens, Handheld (DX Crop).

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This bull put on a good show for people driving along the highway. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

More photos and comments on Foliage Reports: 2017

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: When I saw him last, he had crossed the Gros Ventre Road and was still heading south into the GV River basin. Another bull was hanging out near the Snake River Bridge at Moose. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Cinnamon Bear

Cinnamon Bear: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld

Tidbits: Yesterday, I packaged up my Nikon D5 and sent it by FedEx to the repair center in Los Angeles. I don’t know how many photos it has taken, but I am sure it is well over the 450,000 expected actuations. By noon today, they had inspected it and gave me a price of $587 to replace the shutter, clean the camera, and replace the bayonet mount. I will have new rubber grips, to help make it look “spiffy” again. Hopefully, I will have it back by the weekend (NPS service). Today, I sent in my Nikon 70-200mm lens. It was acting up under certain situations, and was still under the 6 month warranty from the last repair. You might notice more shots with the D810 and D500 this week!

October 9th:  Monday

Silver Swan

Silver Swan: The Trumpeter Swan stretching it’s wings has a leucistic coloration known as the Mearl or Silver Swan. It’s just one of the many Trumpeters at the Boyle’s Hill swan pond west of Jackson. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Swan in Gold

Swan in Gold: There’s enough remnant foliage at Boyle’s Hill to add some color to the water. It’s a good place to hone your “birds in flight” skills, especially if the wind is blowing from the south. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Miller Butte

Evening Light on Miller Butte: Nikon D500 and Tamron70-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

October 8th:  Sunday

Early Edition: Heading out soon…I hear my wind chimes this morning, but they are much less active than yesterday morning. The weather report calls for S, SW winds early, then changing to N, NW winds by mid morning and snow through the middle of the day. For the open minded and intrepid group of photographers, today might offer up some special shots. Others may prefer a warm couch watching football games on days like today? Yesterday’s gusty winds may have taken the fizzle off some of this Fall’s foliage season in some areas. Other areas still have green trees.

Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds over Mormon Row: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens

Moon Over Mormon Row

Moon Over Mormon Row: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens

Murphy Barn

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

Isolated

Isolated Way of Life: A two shot Pano stitched in Lightroom, taken at Mormon Row. Click this image to see it much larger. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens

Snow Moose

Snow Moose: Taken along the highway near Blacktail Butte. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns: Taken near Elk Flats. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Buck: Taken near Elk Flats. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Grizzly

Grizzly: Captured along the Rockefeller Parkway. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Grizzly

Grizzly: Captured along the Rockefeller Parkway. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Black Bear in Tree

Black Bear in Tree: One of yesterday’s captures along the Moose-Wilson Road. The data was still on a card I didn’t download.

Foliage Reports: 2017

October 7th:  Saturday

Dancing Clouds

Dancing Clouds: Skies were essentially clear at sunrise today, but the big weather issue was wind. It was howling all morning and into the afternoon. I am afraid this kind of wind will negate some of the better foliage opportunities for the next few days. I took this shot near the Chapel of the Transfiguration.

Black Bear

Black Bear: I keep going back to the Moose-Wilson Road hoping to get a portfolio quality set of shots of a Black Bear in the colorful shrubs. I heard of a Grizzly roaming around near the Teton Science School on the East side of the Park.

October 6th:  Friday

Two expressions come to mind right now. One is “So many places, so little time.” The other is an acronym: F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out). Leaves are at peak or nearing peak during a time we have snow on the mountains. The weather is nice with a few bands of light sneaking through the clouds. And, the animals seem to be active. This morning, the full moon is setting at about the right time. I gotta go! If you can…get out yourself! It should be great here in the Tetons over the next four or five days.

Gros Ventre Full Moon

Gros Ventre Full Moon: The Tetons were socked in with clouds, so I headed up the Gros Ventre. I took this from the Crystal Creek Campground. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Gros Ventre

Gros Ventre: Same general area, after the first hints of color hit the clouds. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Captured along the upper Gros Ventre near Slide Lake. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Slide Lake

Slide Lake: Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Slide Lake

Slide Lake Tree Trunks: Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Black Bear

Black Bear: This was a tough shoot today. Branches were almost always in the Bear’s face. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

October 5th:  Thursday

Black Bear

Black Bear: I stayed in town this morning, then did a trip up the Moose-Wilson Road in the afternoon. Some of the bushes are turning red and orange. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Swans

Swans: I went to Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond to check out the color and a report of five Cygnets. As an added perk, there was a River Otter swimming around the pond. Nikon D810 and Nikon 200-500mm Lens, Handheld.

Dead Timber

Dead Timber: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Jackson Peak

Jackson Peak: Taken from the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

October 4th:  Wednesday

Upper Lot at Oxbow

Pano: Upper Lot at Oxbow: I spent most of the morning using my Nikon D500 and the new Tamron 18-400mm lens. This is a four shot pano, taken using a tripod at the upper lot. Those trees are almost prime. (Click this image to see it much larger) Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Oxbow Bend Pano

Oxbow Bend Pano: Taken from the water’s edge. This pano was shot in “portrait” orientation, using about 9 captures stitched in Lightroom. (Click this image to see it much larger) Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Abracadabra: Now You See Them—Now You Don’t! This is the time of the year you can expect photographer and tourists to be in your shots at places like the Mormon Row barns, Schwabacher Landing, and Oxbow Bend. Instead of stressing about it on location, you might consider using tools in Lightroom and Photoshop to take care of the “issue”.

Northern Peaks

Northern Peaks: Taken along Pacific Creek Road. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Incoming Storm

Togwotee Vista View: Taken from a pullout along Togwotee Pass. A cloud clung to the top of the Grand all morning. By about 11:00m a new storm moved across the range. (Click this image to see it much larger) Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

October 3rd:  Tuesday

Bull Moose on Ridge

Bull Moose on Ridge…fresh snow and cottonwoods with a nice morning moose. Taken along the Gros Ventre River. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull Moose in Snow

Bull Moose in Snow: Moose seem to be “on the move”, searching for new cows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Aspens

Aspens: Taken at a long distance along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Yesterday’s snow was uncharacteristically heavy on the east side of the valley. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Moose Thrashing

Moose Thrashing: It’s not uncommon to see a bull thrash around on a willow or aspen tree. When this one did it, a pile of snow tumbled down on him. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Moose Thrashing

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

Willows with Snow

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

Aspens and Hawthorns

Aspens and Hawthorns: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. More foliage photos and comments on this page: Foliage Reports September/October 2017. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Black Bear

Black Bear: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Chipmonk

Chipmonk: The berries are feeding a variety of mammals and birds. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

October 2nd:  Monday

Mallard Ducks

Mallard Ducks: The drake’s heads are mostly back to full color now. A few weeks ago, all of them looked like females. This was taken at Schwabacher Landing. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Twigs

Twigs: Also taken at Schwabacher Landing. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Cattails

Cattails: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Robin and Choke Cherry

Robin and Choke Cherry: The Choke Cherry Tree near my house is now attracting a variety of birds: Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Evening Grosbeaks, White-breasted Nuthatch, Chickadees, and a couple of Wrens. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Orange Leaf

Orange Leaf: I had lunch with a good friend and long time reader of Best of the Tetons today. While waiting for the meal, he handed me a brand new Tamron 18-400mm lens! Wow! I put it on my D500 and tried it out in my yard. Very nice! Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Wren

Ruby Crowned Kinglet (?): The image was also captured with the D500 and Tamron 18-400mm lens. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Spring Gulch

Spring Gulch: I did a quick spin in the snow to try out the new lens. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Sunset Clouds

Sunset Clouds: Taken as a three shot HDR, merged and processed in Lightroom. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Moose Crossing Sage Flats

Moose Crossing Sage Flats: Taken as a three shot Pano, stitched and processed in Lightroom. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

October 1st:  Sunday

Wolf Ranch Road

Wolf Ranch Road: As you might guess by the photo above, we had snow in Jackson Hole. Town may have only received a few flakes, but most areas north of Snake River Overlook received a big winter blast. Foliage season is roughly 7-14 days later this year than last year. Aspens on the east side of the valley are nearing peak, while some of the other zones are spotty. Cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre and Snake River are changing now. They are not peak, but have a definite Fall appearance. I’ll be adding more photos and foliage updates on this page: Foliage Reports September/October 2017  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Pronghorn in Snow

Pronghorn in Snow: Captured at Elf Flats. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Elk Ranch Cabins

Elk Ranch Cabins: Snow changes simple scenes in a big way. Snow days seldom offer big vista views of the Teton Range. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Elk Ranch Cabins

Elk Ranch Cabins: Elk Ranch is located on the north end of Elk Flats. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Elk Ranch Chimney

Elk Ranch Chimney: I could have spent the entire day taking photos like this of the area barns and homesteads. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Snowy Wagon

Snowy Wagon: This old wagon is located near the highway on your way to Dubois. Look for it next to the Hatchet Resort before heading up Togwotee Pass. I’ve had this spot on my “to do” list for my next snow day. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Grizzly in a Mountain Meadow

Grizzly in a Mountain Meadow: This sow was about 50 yards off the road, photographed through a wall of falling snow. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Handheld? Most of these images were captured while shooting over a bean bag resting over the back of my truck bed. Most were shot at 1/800th Second, F/9, Auto ISO 560 +/- and at 600mm.

Grizzly with Distant Tree Line

Grizzly with Distant Tree Line: I was using a 150-600mm lens for all images today, giving me the option to grab an occasional environmental shot. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Grizzly on the Move

Grizzly on the Move: On a clear day, I cold have captured more details in the eyes and face, but then everyone has those shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Grizzly in Snow

Grizzly in Snow: Some people call this sow “Felicia”. She has a collar and a pair of teal ear tags. The collar is less visible when she is approaching or is looking my direction. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

Grizzly in Snow: I took a lot of Grizzly images this morning. I wasn’t dressed properly for standing that long in the wind and snow. No complaints!…I’ll warm up later. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld, VC Off.

These photos are from today, October 1st. September Daily Journal for JH and GTNP is loaded with recent photos and info. The first part of October will resemble the last half of September, so check it out!

Road Closures:

  • The southern portion of Mormon Row is closed due to muddy conditions.
  • Two Ocean Lake road is closed due to road conditions and Grizzlies in the area.
  • The Gros Ventre Road will be closed between 9:00am and 2:30pm each day for the next couple of weeks. Details on this page: 17-67 Gros Ventre Road Construction.pdf

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

Teton Photo Excursions

 

Foliage Reports September/October 2017

Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park

Changing LeafDuring September, I’ll work on two pages simultaneously. This September Foliage 2017 post will contain more specific information about the ever changing foliage status in the area. The September 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP Page will contain some foliage information, but will focus more on wildlife and landscapes. You’ll want to go to both regularly.

Note: Think of this page as a day to day or week to week resource containing mainly “record shots”. The photos are not intended to be “wall hangers”, but more documentary in nature. Also, this page will grow in size and scope as the month progresses. Check back regularly!

Archived Resources:

You can go back to the September Daily Updates and Photos pages for the previous few years and probably get a good idea of how the entire month unfolds.

September 2017 | September 2016  |  September 2015   | September 2014:  | September 2013: It will probably be apparent that not all areas change at the same time and some of the fall foliage can go well into October.

Foliage Scale 2015

Foliage Scale 2017

This scale should help with visualizing the approximate color hues. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being summer green and 10 being peak), I will give a three part number. The first one is an average of the least changed. The middle number is the overall average and the last number is the status of the most advanced trees in an area. Note: Some aspens and some Mountain Maple turn orange and red, while many aspens, cottonwoods, and willows peak at something in the 8 or 9 range before the leaves fall or turn brown.

Remember, peak Fall foliage is not a one day event! It evolves over several weeks. Some areas go first, then lose leaves while others are just beginning. You should be able to find colorful foliage anytime from around the 10th of September to the first week in October.

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October 25, 2017

Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake: Remnant color and distant burned mountains.

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October 18, 2017

Old Patriarch

I drove by the homesteads at Mormon Row yesterday. The Aspens in front of the peach house are still greenish. The Cottonwoods are generally past prime near the barns. As I mentioned earlier, most of the “native” Aspens, Cottonwoods, and Willows are past prime around the valley, but there are many trees in and around Jackson that are bright yellow. The area is effectively turning a new chapter at this point in October. This is the time of the year that I start returning to landscape opportunities that do not are not dependent on changing foliage.

The clock is ticking towards the closure of a couple of the important roads in GTNP. At midnight on October 31sth, the Inner Park Loop road closes between the Taggart Lake Trail Head parking lot and the base of Signal Mountain. The closure cuts off vehicle access to Jenny Lake, String Lake, Signal Mountain, Leigh Lake, Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point and BarBC Ranch. Another important section of road closes at the same time between Death Canyon road and Granite Canyon trail head on the Moose-Wilson Road.

Today, I’ll officially end the 2017 Foliage Reports page, but if you found this page via a search, you’ll want to switch to the September 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP for animal sightings, comments and news.

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October 14, 2017

Black Hawthorn Bushes

Black Hawthorn Bushes on the Moose-Wilson Road. 4″ of overnight snow accented the red leaves.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: This was taken yesterday afternoon at the TA Moulton Barn. The cottonwoods still have leaves on them, but are not as bright as in some years.

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Taken as a late evening storm passed through. Aspens there are turning, but not bright this year.

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October 13, 2017

Aspens

Aspens: Some Aspens have been protected by the wind and still have leaves. These were near Triangle X Ranch. Most exposed Aspens have been stripped now.

Aspens

Aspens: I was on the phone with the car running when I snapped this image, but I wanted to show there are still some colorful trees. This group was along Spread Creek.

Cottonwoods and Aspens in the Town of Jackson are turning.  Some are fairly bright, but others a generally “dull” this year.

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October 12, 2017

 Moose Cow Feeding on Willows

Moose Cow Feeding on Willows: Like photographers, Moose, are still looking for leaves. This Moose was feeding along the Gros Ventre river bottom.

Moose Cow Feeding on Willows

Moose Cow Feeding on Willows:

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October 11, 2017

Gros Ventre Trees

Gros Ventre Willows and Cottonwoods.

Mormon Row

Mormon Row: As you can see, the trees at Mormon Row still have leaves, but I can’t say they will turn bright yellow this year.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: I snapped these two Mormon Row photos to show the foliage status there. Instead of turning bright yellow this year, many are changing to brownish-orange.

Cinnamon Black Bear

Cinnamon Black Bear: Some of the leaves along the Moose-Wilson Road have been changing to red and orange, while other Black Hawthorn bushes turned reddish and then dull to brown.

Remember, there are lots more photos on this sister page: October Daily Updates for Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole

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October 10, 2017

Owbow Bend

Owbow Bend: There are yellow aspens around the Jackson Lake Junction area, but the wind has already stripped the aspens at the “bend”.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Some zones of the Snake still have leaves, while others are already well past prime.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Valley wide foliage season may be over, but there are still pockets of good color. Mormon Row should be good over the next few days.

Late Evening Moose

Late Evening Moose: Captured along the Gros Ventre. There are still a few cottonwoods with color along the river.

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October 8, 2017

The relentless winds took its toll on the region’s foliage. The upper parking lot at Oxbow is essentially stripped clean and the traditional strip of aspens at the far west corner of Oxbow is half gone, with yellow leaves remaining only on the right side. The normally beautiful stand of aspens at Arizona Meadows (near Arizona Creek) has lost all of their leaves.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns near Elk Flats:

Storm Clouds

Mormon Row: Most of the aspens and cottonwoods along Mormon Row are intact, many of which are still green.

Foliage Season is not over! The iconic shots at Oxbow Bend were a bust this year—with cloudy days part of the time and heavy winds during the rest of the prime time. There are plenty of yellow zones left! We may have great foliage opportunities for another week or longer. Get out and be creative!

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October 7, 2017

Moose-Wilson Road Pano

Moose-Wilson Road Pano: Click this image to see it much larger. This photo was taken along the road while waiting for a bear to start feeding. The Black Hawthorn bushes are turning red and maroon while Aspens are turning yellow.

The Cottonwoods and Aspens around the Mormon Row Barns are still fairly green.

As I mentioned on the October Daily Journal, wind was a big player in today’s morning sunrise shots. Wind ruffles water spots like Schwabacher Landing, Oxbow Bend, and Jackson Lake, and the gusty wind is knocking leaves off the trees.

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October 6, 2017

Buck Rail Fence

Buck Rail Fence: Taken along Antelope Flats Road.

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks: Taken along the upper Gros Ventre Road.

There are lots of yellow trees, yet there are still a lot of trees that have hardly changed. You can also find trees that have lost all of their leaves. Call it a “mixed bag” of opportunities at your disposal.

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October 5, 2017,

Aspen Stand

Aspen Stand: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. I drove up the road from Wilson. The gravel section is getting almost impassable.

Boyle's Hill

Cottonwoods along the Snake River at the Wilson Bridge are either past prime or stayed brown as seen in the distant cottonwoods above. This was taken at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond just West of Jackson.

Moose Pond

Moose Pond: This is a common scene right now. There are a few bright yellow aspens with others still showing some green.

South Park Barn

South Park Barn:

I received a report from Oxbow Bend this afternoon. The lower section is still a few days away from prime. I’m not sure if they will turn their typical orange this year.

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October 4, 2017,

Oxbow Pano

Oxbow Pano: Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Foliage Comments: Oxbow looks like it will reach prime in the lower section over the weekend…or so. The upper lot looks pretty good right now, but those trees typically turn orange at their prime. When sunlight hits pre-prime leaves, they can look much more yellow, but on overcast days, show their true state. Right now, the cottonwoods along the Snake River are still slightly green and probably several days, or possibly even a week from prime. Still, there are lots of bright yellow trees around the valley.

Golden Reflections

Golden Reflections: Taken near Leek’s Marina. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Oxbow Bend Pano

Oxbow Bend Pano: Taken from the water’s edge. This pano was shot in “portrait” orientation, using about 9 captures stitched in Lightroom. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

The stand of Aspens at the West end of Oxbow still needs a few more days. Aspens in the Jackson Lake Junction are very close to prime.

Hillside Barn

Hillside Barn: Around the valley, aspens are finally kicking in. This was taken in Buffalo Valley. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to info@tetonimages.com.


Teton Photo Excursions

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October 3, 2017, Tuesday

Ditch Creek

Ditch Creek: This photo shows the snow on the valley floor, rapidly changing cottonwoods, and low morning clouds.

Ditch Creek

Ditch Creek: Another view which includes a bit of Blacktail Butte and distant Teton Range beneath the moody, low hanging clouds. Over the next few days, expect to see less of the green leaves and more of the yellow and deeper orange leaves.

Shadow Mountain had a lot of color when viewed from the valley floor this morning. I didn’t travel North.

Aspen Stand

Aspen Stand: Taken from the Moose-Wilson Road, just north of Teton Village Resort.

Moose Wilson Foliage

Moose-Wilson Foliage: The aspens along this zone still need a couple of days.