Best of the Tetons

Great Gray Diving

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

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

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Wildlife Banner

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

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August Overview:

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

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

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What’s Hot? — Wildlife Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What’s Hot? — Scenic Highlights

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

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Artists and Sculptors

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

August 31

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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

South Mountains

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

Moose On The Gros Ventre

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

Noteworthy JH Events and Changes:

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

Road Work and Road Closures:

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

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August 30

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

Dave Fishing on the South Fork

Dave Fishing on the South Fork:

Waterfalls

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

Falls At Fall Creek near Swan Valley, ID

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

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August 29

Welcome to the beginning of the Labor Day Weekend.

Moose Watchers

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

Distant Washakie

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

Sunset on the Tetons

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

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August 27

Morning Drink

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

Evening Willows

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

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August 27

Murphy Barn

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

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

Bull Moose by the Gros Ventre

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

Gros Ventre Sunset

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

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August 26

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

Bull Moose Reaching for Willows

Bull Moose Reaching for Willows:

Approaching Moose

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

Washakie Watching

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

Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn with Low Clouds:

Great Gray

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

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August 25

Hidden Falls

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

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

Alert Mule Deer

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

Sunning Raven

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

Resting Trunk

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

Web_WashakieInWillows_Aug25

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

Washakie's New Rack

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

Washakie

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

 

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August 24

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

Boat Ride to Cascade Canyon

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

Cascade Canyon Waterfalls

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

Cascade Canyon Pika

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

Heading to Water

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

Washakie in Willows

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

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August 23

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

Lake Creek

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

Rusing Water on Lake Creek

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

Lake Creek Cascades

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

Big Bull at the Snake River Bridge

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

Young Bull Feeding on Willows

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

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

Silver Bird

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

Red-tailed Hawk

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

Grand Peak

 

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

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August 22

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

Bull Moose at Dornans

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

Gros Ventre Moose Cow and Calf

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

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

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August 21

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

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

Moose in Tall Willows

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

Tall Grass

Tall Grass: Also along the Gros Ventre river.

Gros Ventre Clouds

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

Stormy Skies

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

Museum Elk

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

Night Elk

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

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August 20

Splashed with Purple and Pink

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

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

Windows on the John Moulton Barn

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

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

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August 19

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

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August 18

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

Night at the Barn

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

Barn and Big Dipper

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

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

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August 17

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

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August 16

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

Hawthorne Berries

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

Spotted Leaf

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

Bumble Bee

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

Desert

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

Fountain

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

Art & Antiques Show:

Art and Antiques Show

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

Spurs and Western Items

Spurs and Western Items at the show.

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

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August 15

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

Sunrise Over Flat Creek

Sunrise Over Flat Creek:

Bison Herd and Tetons

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

Bison and Cowbird

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

Moulton Fences

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

Stormy Afternoon

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

Murphy Barn with Storm Clouds

Murphy Barn with Storm Clouds:

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August 14

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

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

Elk Losing Velvet in Yellowstone

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

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August 13

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

Pronghorns August 13

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

Moulton Barn

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

Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead!

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

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

Trombone Shorty Concert

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

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty:

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty:

Bungee Jump

The Jackson Hole Live Concert was at Snow King. The Wednesday afternoon Farmer’s Market was held at the same venue. Kids were having a blast on the Bungee Jump. I’d make sure to have a strobe for this kind of shot next time.

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August 12

Extreme Strecth - July 9

New Feature Post! Trumpeter Swans: Young Cygnets and Proud Parents This page contains a select group of over 20 images of the resident family of Trumpeter Swans I photographed during the month of July. The family is still around, so you might be able to get your own photos. Stop at the observation deck along Flat Creek (just north of the visitor’s center) and watch for them. Over the month, I could never establish a “pattern” for when they might swim close to the observation platform. It’s worth a quick stop at any time of the day.

Jenny Lake One Road Closure: The local newspaper reported a story about one or more nuisance Black Bears around Jenny Lake and String Lake. Some trails in the area are closed and the one way road from String Lake to Jenny Lake has been closed. Here’s the story: Problem park bears still on prowl. You probably already know about the drone in Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic, but here’s a link to that story: Tourist crashes drone into Grand Prismatic

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August 11

Sunrise Up North

Sunrise Up North: I went north towards Elk Flats this morning hoping to capture the “Super Moon” setting over the Teton Range.

Morning Bison

Morning Bison: This was taken at Elk Flats before the sun came up.

Geese In Flight

Geese In Flight: Also taken at Elk Flats.

Cunningham Moon

Cunningham Moon: The moon was too high over the range during the best of the morning light. The only solution would have been closer to the mountains early in the morning. I would have also preferred a few clouds over the Tetons, but not too many to cover the moon! The moon will not be this large again until September of next year.

Super Duper Moon Sequence:

Super Moon - Original Location

Super Moon – Original Location: I mentioned earlier I felt the moon was too high in the sky when I had color. Here’s a single shot of it as it actually appeared. According to the Weather Channel’s little blurb on perigee moons, they will appear to be 30% brighter and 11% larger. This image was taken with a 70-200mm lens from the highway turnout at Elk Flats. Here’s more about a SuperMoon.

Super Moon Moved Down

Super Moon Moved Closer to the Range: I am not saying anyone should ever do this, but it is fairly simple to move the original moon to a lower location in the morning sky.

Super Duper Moon

Super Duper Moon: Same scene, but this time, I increased the size of the moon considerably. I’ve seen this done quite a few times.

Extra Super Duper Moon

Extra Super Duper Moon: Occasionally, I see a grossly exaggerated full moon in ads and post cards. I made these modifications on low resolution web images…they could have been much better if I worked on high-resolution images in Photoshop. But, these are for demonstration purposes! As you can see in the Cunningham Cabin image, the moon set at the Tetons much later in the morning, with no clouds or fanfare. Still, this is a “Super Moon”. It won’t naturally be as large as the top two in this sequence again until September of next year. If you see a moon proportionally larger, you can almost bet someone modified it. There is one more option. If a photographer moved farther away from the Tetons, then used a long telephoto lens, it would be possible to capture an actual moon that appears larger without Photoshop tricks.

2009 December Moon

2009 December Moon: Taken with a 200-400mm at 320mm with a DX crop D300 body.

Morning Hummingbird

Morning Hummingbird:

Afternoon Hummingbird

Afternoon Hummingbird:

Tidbits:

  • Wildflowers on the Pass were still in pretty good shape.
  • I saw a cow Moose at the junction of Highway 22 and Highway 26 on my way home yesterday.
  • Bikers will be returning through Jackson Hole from the Sturgis Bike Rally.

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August 10

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird: I was about to take down the Hummingbird setup when I saw several fighting over the feeder today.

Super Moon Rising

Super Moon Rising: Taken at Shooting Star just south of Teton Village tonight.

Fancy Dancers

Fancy Dancers at the Sho-Ban Pow-Wow on Saturday: Just for fun, I turned the D4 to video and did a quick clip and added it to Vimeo. Click the link to get a sampling of the sights and sounds.

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August 8th and 9th: Quick Eastern Idaho Trip

Newdale Grain Elevators

I had to take one of our vehicles to Rexburg, ID for some dealer service on Friday. I always like to stop and take a few shots of the grain elevators and industrial subject matter along the way. These elevators and tracks are in the small town of Newdale, ID.

Shelly Sugar Factor

Shelly Sugar Factory: This amazing structure is just outside Shelly, ID. I found a page on the Internet stating the factory was built in 1917. As I look at the smoke stack with 2014 eyes, I can’t imagine what it took to pour concrete in layers to that height.

Sho-Ban Elders

Sho-Ban Pow-Wow: Technically, this the 51st Annual Shoshone-Bannock Festival at Fort Hall, ID. I scheduled the repair on my vehicle so I could mill around Eastern Idaho Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and then make it to the Grand Entrance at the Pow-Wow at 1:00 pm.

Shoshone-Bannock Dancer

Shoshone-Bannock Dancer: I took over 1200 photos of the pow-wow. I am not sure whether to sneak in a few photos on this page, or whether to go ahead and make a full Feature Post. I have plenty of shots to fill one! The announcer said there were over 670 registered dancers for this Pow-Wow.

Grunge Dodge

Grunge Dodge: When I talk with my wife on the cell phone, I tell her, “I am grunging around”. She knows what that means. At one time, I had several dedicated web sites, including one called Industrial Grunge. The tag line was “Man Makes It, Then Mother Nature Begins Breaking It Down”. At Teton Images, you can see a section of Industrial Grunge photos. I could add thousands of images in that section of smaller details like this one to large factories, mines, and structures. I love going up and down alleys in some of the old towns looking for anything rusted or peeling.

Grunge Folders

Grunge Folders in Lightroom: Here’s a quick screen grab of a few of the Grunge Folders. There’s always something to photograph.

Railroad Bridge - Blackfoot, ID

Railroad Bridge – Blackfoot, ID: Early morning image. Sometimes, centered images make perfect sense, despite all the rules telling you not to do it.

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August 8, 2014

ShoBanPowWow1_Aug11_1400px

Regional Happenings: This weekend is the 51st Annual Shoshone-Bannock Festival (Pow-Wow) at Fort Hall, ID. (Click the photo above to see a much larger version taken in 2012).   The 9th Annual Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous is going on until the 1oth at West Yellowstone. The 74th Annual 2014 Sturgis ® Motorcycle Rally is under way in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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August 7, 2014

Wet August by Corey Jackson

Guest Shot: Wet August by Corey Jackson
My multitalented son, Corey, sent this image to me a couple of days ago. He lives in Salt Lake City and coaches Freestyle Skiing for the Park City Ski Team. Last year, he bought a Nikon 5200 mainly to use as a video camera for his skiing, but he occasionally uses it for stills, as seen here. There are lots of small streams tumbling out of the canyons in the Wasatch Range, so I can’t say which one this is, but I thought he did a great job of the capture.

My Morning Outing: With the thick fog and low clouds this morning, I went to the park. I thought I might try to capture moving water along Lake Creek. This owl changed whatever I had “planned” for the morning. By the time I was needing to head home, the clouds and fog had mostly burned off.

Great Gray Owl on a Branch

Great Gray Owl on a Branch: This GGO was letting its wings dry in the light breeze.

Great Gray Owl in an Aspen

Great Gray Owl in an Aspen: This owl was hunting along the Moose-Wilson Road.

Bumble Bee

Sluggish Bumble Bee:

Changing Black Hawthorne Berries

Changing Black Hawthorne Berries: Bears will be on these berries soon.

Fading Flowers

Changing Flowers: This set of flowers actually has a full variety of stages. One in the back has yet to bloom, three are past prime, and one has lost all of its petals.

Changing Leaves

Changing Leaves:  Most leaves are still green, but you don’t have to look too far to see the harbingers of changing seasons.

Afternoon Outing:

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: Taken from Spring Gulch Road. I headed out when I saw these dark clouds rolling in along the Teton Range.

Moulton Barn Storm Clouds

Moulton Barn Storm Clouds: I was ready, but there weren’t many lightning bolts over the Tetons.

Chambers Homestead

Chambers Homestead: Instead, the storm cell with all the lightning passed south of the barns and up the Gros Ventre. I captured this bolt with both cameras.

Lightning in the Gros Ventre

Lightning up the Gros Ventre: These were captured with the aid of an AEO Lightning Trigger.

Peach House

John Moulton’s Peach House: Looking North at the intersection of Antelope Flats Road and Mormon Row.

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August 6, 2014

Moulton Barn Milky Way Pano

Night Time Pano: Moulton Barn with full Milky Way taken on July 2nd. This image was created using three vertical (portrait mode) images and then stitched together in Photoshop’s Photo Merge. Click the image above to see it much larger. I had never tried stitching a night scene. Royce Bair (Into The Night Photography – blogspot.com) was in town a little earlier. He showed me his version while at lunch. There’s a bit of challenge involved, right? Now I know I can do it, I will be watching for unique opportunities of my own.

Copyrights?: Today, I uploaded my images to the US Copyright Office for the month of July. I’ve been doing it for years. When I signed my contract with StockShop long ago, I was bound by the contract to copyright images before submitting them. I learned how—and have been doing it along since. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it costs me quite a bit of money each year. Is it worth the time, energy and money? I don’t really know. All it will take is for someone to use one of the copyrighted images without my permission or without an agreement to find out. I have been considering a Feature Post about the subject of copyright submission, but I am not sure how many people would be interested in reading it? The page would be an overview with links to other sites with legal comments, links to the US Copyright Office, and a few of the steps I go through each time. If a few people ask, I’ll go ahead and give it a try.

Wedding Trees Nov. 2, 2012

Wedding Trees Nov. 2, 2012: This image was taken a year before I started this blog.  There’s a map to this spot in the “Up the Gros Ventre” section of Outside the Park: Alternative Places to Visit, Hike, Fish, and Photograph

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August 5, 2014

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird: Taken mid-morning just outside my dining room window.

Hummingbird Setup 2014

Hummingbird Setup—2104 Version:

Just before quitting tonight, I grabbed the D800 and a 14-24 lens and snapped off a couple of shots of the feeder and backdrop. I built a (temporary) wooden framed canopy and added some plastic tarps, fastened with C-clamps. The setup is on the north side of my house, so between the canopy and the house, I can control most of the light.

The Perky Pet feeder hangs from a 2×2 with some bailing wire. I can slide the feeder left and right along the 2×2 and raise and lower it as needed. Currently, five of the six holes in the Perky Pet feeder have tape over them so I more or less force them to feed at the spot I want them to go. I also removed the platforms so they have to hover to feed. After they learn which hole is open, they return to that specific hole every time. In fact, if I raise or lower the feeder a foot, they will go to the spot where it was and hover around before attempting to find the feeder again.

The background is fabric I picked out at the fabric store and stretched it over a 1×3 cedar frame. There is a SB910 attached to the wall of the house on the left and a SB800 on the wall to the right of the window. They are held up with a couple of “Justin Clamps”. One or two strobes light up the background and two strobes are aimed up from the bottom to light the male’s gorget. The strobes are controlled by a SU-800 mounted to the hot shoe of the D4. Only a couple of the strobes have “line-of-sight” to the SU-800, so I added RadioPoppers to trigger them via radio frequency instead of the normal infrared signal.

The large red plants are Crocosmia (Lucifer’s Tongue) . They are clumped together and held in the correct spot with some string. The flower on the right is Bee Balm. The single flower stem is in a water bottle taped to a light stand to keep it alive longer.

While shooting, I am sitting inside the dining room at my tripod with the window open and screen off at a distance of about 5′ from the “target areas”. The Nikon D4 camera is set to manual mode at ISO 100, 1/100th second, and somewhere between F/8 and F/14 depending on the time of day and amount of ambient light. I use a Nikon 200-400mm lens. The strobes are set to Manual and vary between 1/2 power to 1/16th power with the zoom set to cover the appropriate areas. The zoom level has to be set at the strobe, but the output levels can be controlled with the SU-800. (Note: A SB-800, SB-900, or SB910 could be used on the camera to control the other strobes, but I still like the SU-800). Most of this is set to manual mode, but I still let the camera autofocus on the bird since it moves around a lot. I use the single point CF setting so I can put the point on the bird’s head as it pauses. They are too fast to try to follow, so I wait until they are feeding on a flower of feeder and capture them when they back up before heading back to feed at the flower or feeder hole.

While most people might assume you need a very fast shutter speed to stop or slow down the wings, I am set to only 1/100th of a second. The very short output duration on the strobes is actually the mechanism that freezes the wings. Visit this page from last year for a few more specifics: The Teton’s Tiny Winged Visitors

Hummer at Bee Balm

Hummer at Bee Balm: I had hoped more hummingbirds would go to the Bee Balm, but I just don’t have that many visiting Hummingbirds. This is the red flower hanging out of the water bottle in the setup shot above.

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August 4, 2014

Happy Little Hummer

Happy Little Hummer: This Broad-tailed Hummingbird (female) was at my feeder only 10 minutes ago. This one is “hot off the press!”  She appears to be smiling! It’s difficult to tell, but I think there are half a dozen different hummingbirds coming in now, including at least one male. I still have had no visiting Calliope or Rufous hummingbirds since I set up the photo area.

It is rainy and overcast here in Jackson Hole today. I keep telling myself I am going to photograph the tumbling water along Lake Creek on a good overcast day, but I am at home doing business. In case you missed it, I switched out the link for the WebCams. The new one has more cams listed.

Hummingbird in Red

Hummingbird in Red: Another Broad-tailed Hummingbird taken later in the day.

Hmmmm. I’ve sent three emails to the winner of the CamRanger and haven’t heard back from them. I’ll send emails for a week, and if I don’t hear from them, I should probably give it to the second person little Paul picked from the hat. I had him pull three names. There is a possibility the winner doesn’t even own a camera! This site is slanted towards photographers, but I know a lot of people read it just for the tips on where to go and what animals have been seen recently.

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August 3, 2014

Sunday Morning in the Park: Most areas of the morning skies were clear, however there was a low cloud of what I would consider smoke in the Northeast. Wind was blowing lightly from the north and it was pushing the smoke towards town. As the first glow of light starting lighting the smoke, it turned to a variety of gold, magenta, lavender, and pink hues. At about the right time, the family of Trumpeter Swans turned perpendicular to me and all with their heads out of the water for only a few seconds.

Sunrise On Flat Creek

Sunrise On Flat Creek: Trumpeter Swans in morning light.

Bison Bull In Gold

Bison Bull In Gold: I headed out the Gros Ventre and then up Mormon Row and found a large herd of bison on both sides of the road. This bull was between me and the morning’s first glow of light.

Just the Face

Bison are in the rut right now. I took quite a few photos, and instead of filling this Daily Updates page with them, created a new Feature Post called: The Bison Rut in Grand Teton National Park: All of the images feature this wonderful gold morning light!

Berries

Berries: I’ll get the name of these berries soon, but for now, I thought I’d post the photo from today. Around the valley, some of the berries are beginning to change. Black Hawthorne berries are changing from green to rusty orange right now along the Moose/Wilson Road. I’ve heard reports of a couple of Black Bears being spotted along it.

Stormy Teton Range

Yesterday, my wife and I went to Teton Village to go Teton Thai. I saw the darkening clouds, so I grabbed my D4 and 28-300 lens. (I would have anyway) This one was shot from inside the moving car, something I would never suggest doing. The shot actually turned out okay for a blog post image.

The Wifie

My Wifie!

Refreshments

Refreshments:

Chop Sticks

Chopsticks: I don’t always carry my camera into a restaurant, but Teton Thai is fairly casual. I saw this little abstract while waiting for the food.

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August 2, 2014

Saturday in the Park: If you’ve been following along for the past few days, I have been focusing on Hummingbirds coming to my dining room window. I needed to do some paperwork and prepare images for copyright submissions, so I needed to be around the house. Capturing Hummingbird shots off and on during the same time is a plus! This morning, I headed out and into the southern end of GTNP. Normally, if I have good clouds, I look for landscapes. Today, we had clear skies around the Tetons, so I adjusted my “focus” to looking for animals.

Bull Moose in Tall Grass

Bull Moose in Tall Grass: I spotted this moose across the Gros Ventre River in the pre-dawn light. I carried the tripod down to the other side of the river, and set up well outside the 25 yard limit. This moose looked at me as I set the tripod down, but then continued to feed. I love the saturated light at this time of the morning!

Bull Moose by the Water

Bull Moose by the Water: I got this shot just after the first of the gold light was showing in the west. It wasn’t shining on him, but it was definitely affecting the light.

Bull Moose Crossing a Side Channel

Bull Moose Crossing a Side Channel: I always like to capture moose in or around water.

Watching Bison

Watching Bison: Behind me and to my right, I could hear the grunting sounds of a herd of bison. Luckily for me, they were a hundred yards downstream. The moose kept an eye on them. I was hoping the morning light would hit the zone, and it was starting to do so, but the moose headed back into the cottonwoods. This happened at 6:34 am this morning. The shots most people “want” take place while most people are sleeping.

Geese in Formation

Geese in Formation: This flock of Canada Geese flew right over the moose.

Bison and the Teton Range

Bison and the Teton Range: Taken along Mormon Row Road, just south of the Bed & Breakfast.

Late Summer Meadowlark

Late Summer Meadowlark: This Meadowlark was chirping, but not blasting out a song as they do in Spring and early Summer. The shot was taken along Mormon Row Road. The mottled blue background is actually the distant Teton Range. I shot some against the green of Blacktail Butte.

Great Gray Diving

Great Gray Diving: This Owl was along the Moose/Wilson Road today. It is not as sharp as I would have preferred, but I liked the action and emotion of that split second.

Great Gray in the Brush

Great Gray Owl in the Brush: The D800 works great for still shots like this one. I prefer my Nikon D4 for flight shots.

Great Gray Perched

Rim Lit Great Gray Owl: I liked the back light on this owl, and I liked the quality of the out of focus light branches behind it.

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Back at Home: Here are a pair of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds taken from my dining room window in the afternoon.

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird

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August 1, 2014

CamRanger Winner

And, the winner is: …little 3 year old Paul helped me draw a name out of my snowman hat just before lunch time. Paul and his family are visiting the States from Germany. Paul pulled a name out of the hat. I just sent out an email to the winner and hope to be able to identify the person by name soon. Check back!

Stagecoach on the Square

JH Stagecoach: While downtown, I took a few tourist style shots like this one. Then I sat down and let the people come to me.

The Supervisor

The Supervisor:

The Caress

The Caress:

NEW FEATURE POST: Check out Photographers on the Square: I just uploaded it!

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird: Last year, I didn’t set up my Hummingbird station until most of the male Hummers were heading south. Hopefully, this male will come back regularly for a few days now he knows where the feeder is located. I have five strobes set up to fire remotely. Two light them up from the sides, two aim up to light up some of the background, and one is shining upwards to light up his gorget.

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird: This one shows the tail feathers better.

Check back to see who won the CamRanger! I spent a good part of the morning printing out 48 pages of registered readers and slicing them up into strips. I’ll be heading downtown soon to let someone draw the name out of the hat. THANKS!!!! to all the people willing to sign up to follow Best of the Tetons!!! I am very excited about the upcoming Feature Posts. 

Best of the Tetons is now a full year old! At any time, you can check out what was happening during any month last year. Here’s August:  2013 . The site was brand new at this time last year. I didn’t start the Daily Updates page until around the 22nd of the month, but it should still give you a good overview. Also, check out the July: 2014 Daily Updates page. Much of the last half of July will resemble the first part of August.

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CamRangerCamRanger Giveaway! The Winners: J.D. Carr, Aurora, IL

If you are not familiar with CamRanger, you should! They now have a long list of awards as Best Accessory, Editor’s Pick, Gear of the Year, and so forth. A CamRanger lets you remotely control many DSLR cameras via a built in Wi-Fi Connection with an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. I purchased mine after reading a bunch of reviews. I love it! You can see me using mine on this page Wildflowers: Photography Tips, Suggestions & Resources . I have lots of other uses for this device I just haven’t had a chance to try.

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Please help me grow the site by letting your friends know about the resource. “Like or Share” pages as often as you can! And, please feel free to post comments about what you have been seeing.

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Comments (6)

  1. Jackie Ireland

    Thanks for the updates, love the hummingbird shot.

  2. Rick Ramsey

    One correction, Mike–the so-called “Super Moon” (a term I despise, for what it’s worth!) has nothing to do with the tilt of the Earth’s axis. It happens because the moon’s orbit around us is slightly elliptical, so that at some point in each month’s orbit the moon is slightly closer to us (perigee) than average and at the opposite point (apogee) it is farther than average. The “Super Moon” notion happens during those months when perigee happens to coincide with the full moon phase.
    Otherwise, good stuff so far this month. Love the pow-wow photos. Messing around with the size and placement of the moon in the sky, not so much. I’m a moon purist. 🙂

    Rick

  3. Hi Rick,
    Thanks for the correction. I’ll fix it in the post. I found this page at Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermoon

  4. Don George

    Hi Mike,

    Will the market that they normally have around the square during the last weekend of the art festival be there. Thought that was the last weekend of the farmers market unless it comes under another name. Kathy will have a fit if she can’t get her homemade peach pie.

    Don

  5. Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market on the Town Square will continue through the end of September on the Square.

    Don, my friend sells homemade mustard at the markets. I thought she said it ended this weekend, but the site says it continues through the end of September.

  6. Hi Mr Jackson, I love your Pika shot! The lighting is really beautiful. Do you ever find Martens when you’re looking for Pika because they hunt them?
    Ashleigh

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