Best of the Tetons

Mt. Moran

December 2017 Daily Journal for JH & GTNP

“Short days with lots of possibilities” 

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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

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December 31, 2017 – Sunday New Year’s Eve

Relaxing Grizzly

Relaxing Grizzly: Throughout the Summer of 2017, I took a lot of photos, uploaded them to my computer, and then picked off a few to post on this blog. It’s not uncommon to take 1,000 to 2,000 photos on a good day and even more when a Griz is posing and moving around. Ideally, I would cull and keyword the day’s shoots, but I’m usually worn out. By the end of the year, I ended up with around 150,000 images that need to be combed through and culled. That’s what I have been doing lately—taking advantage of the short days and long, cold nights. My MayPhotos folders had around 45,000 files. That’s now down to 17,000 files with a goal of around 4,500 images. This shot was taken on May 21st with a Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm lens, using a tripod for support.

I posted a slightly different photo of this Grizzly on Instagram. There’s a link in the navigation bar if you would like to see it or follow me there.

Black WolfBlack Wolf: As I was driving north, this wolf ran across the highway. It’s just a reference photo (screen grabbed from Lightroom), taken long before sunrise at ISO 102,400. I spent the rest of the morning hoping to see them again—closer and in better light!

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Taken at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorn Rams

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

Ram on the Rocks

Ram on the Rocks: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Stretching Trumpeter Swan

Stretching Trumpeter Swan: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Stretching Trumpeter Swan

Stretching Trumpeter Swan: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Barrows Golden Eye

Barrows Golden Eye: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s JayNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Thanks for coming to Best of the Tetons in 2017, and please make it a regular stop in 2018. You can help me by scrolling down to the Social Media Icons at the bottom of the page and Sharing this December page! Cheers! MJ

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December 30, 2017 – Saturday

Snow King 2009

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parades in Jackson Hole: If you are already in town—or want a place to celebrate New Year’s Eve—be at one or both of the valley’s ski resorts for the festive Torchlight Parades and Fireworks.

The “glowworm” parade begins at Teton Village at 6:00 pm and is followed by a nice Fireworks display. You can probably go to that event, then book it to town and watch the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at SnowKing Resort. Riders don’t begin riding the lifts until 6:30 pm.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Taken at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. There are three Tundra Swan cygnets at the pond.  Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Boyle's Hill Swan Pond

Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond: Not a scene summer visitors would ever see. Click on this image to see it much larger. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld. (stitched pano- 5 images)

Mallards

Mallards: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Red Barn

Red Barn: One of the South Park barns. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Young Red Fox

Young Red Fox: Still going through my May photos. This one was taken on the 25th.

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@bestofthetetons.com. I have numerous openings in January & February. You can also book now for a May Photo Tour!

Best of the Tetons Photo Tours

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December 29, 2017 – Friday

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Taken at the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swans

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

Winter Red Dogs

Winter Red Dogs: Most baby bison are born in late May and early June. These two can’t be much more than a month old. Around 200 Bison have been hanging around Elk Flats during early winter instead of working their way south to the Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Resting Bison Bull

Resting Bison Bull: As usual, there is much more snow in the north portion of the Park. Jackson Lake is now frozen over. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Captured at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser Male: Seen along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Rippled Water

Rippled Water: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mallards

Mallards: This is actually a pano stitched from three horizontal images captured with a telephoto lens. The group was sitting on an ice shelf along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan Squabble

Trumpeter Swan Squabble: Captured at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan Squabble

Trumpeter Swan Squabble: If you catch it just right, Trumpeters can be quite animated. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Willow and Digger

Willow and Digger: Another shot from last May. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm lens, Tripod.

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December 28, 2017 – Thursday

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: I saw at least seven Bull Moose with antlers this morning. I heard a report of one that has already shed and another with only one antler. The clock is ticking on chances to see and photograph them this year! Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: The Moose I saw today were north of Kelly. Remember, Antelope Flats Road is closed for the season, so it’s a one way in and one way back out the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: In some years, this area would already be covered with two or more feet of snow. This year has been mild on the east side of the park, allowing Moose to continue feeding on Bitter Brush—mixed in with the Sagebrush. You’ll find much more snow at the base of the mountains on the west side of the valley. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

When we drove by the road into the Chapel of the Transfiguration on Christmas Day, it was still open. The two “two track” roads along the East Boundary Road are still open (Power Line Road & Warm Springs Road)

Willow and Digger

Willow and Digger: Still going through some of the 45,000 photos I took in May. It’s a month that doesn’t seem to get a lot of respect…call it a Rodney Dangerfield month, but I’ve always found it to be an exciting time to be in Jackson Hole. Better yet, the crowds don’t arrive until June. Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500mm lens, Tripod.

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December 27, 2017 – Wednesday

South Park Barn

South Park Barn: I spent most of my day in front of my computer, culling old images and organizing the keepers. In the late afternoon, I made a quick trip out and about. Clouds were dark in the SE, so I tried to find a subject to put in front of it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

South Park Barn

South Park Barn: The weather reports call for a few days of snow and cloudy skies through Saturday. Friends report that skiing is getting better. Town is very busy during the Holiday week. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

I’ve been hearing of more Wolf activity in the southern portion of the Park and even a few sightings of Wolves on the National Elk Refuge. The Elk herds are getting larger each day. Watch for River Otters around the Jackson Lake Dam and a Red Fox or two hanging around Oxbow Bend. Mountain Goats have been hit and miss in the Snake River Canyon…mostly miss. Bighorns are dependable subjects on the National Elk Refuge. I’ve heard of a few sightings of Pronghorns on the Refuge, too. Last week, I saw a small flock of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches on Miller Butte. Remember: Don’t let the Bighorns lick the salt and chemicals off your vehicles and always park in a pullout!

SplendorTextures May

Splendor Textures: Back in May, Darla and I took a Carnival Cruise Line Tour to the Caribbean for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Prior to the trip, people suggested that I might either love being on a big ship for most of a week… or hate it. Quite honestly, I liked the experience. While moving from port to port, I spent a lot of time wandering around the Splendor’s decks looking for interesting textures and shapes. The ship was a “target rich” environment, and of course, it was huge! My Ship Textures folder still has over 1000 images.

Splendor Nebula

Splendor Nebula:

Splendor Slot Machine

Splendor Slot Machine: This is the subject used to get the Nebula image above it.

While a post showing some of the captures might not fit the mission statement on this site, a post might give you ideas of images you can capture when not still in wildlife or landscape mode. Watch for the post sometime in the near future!

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December 26, 2017 – Tuesday

Tractor

Tractor: I headed down the Snake River Canyon in hopes of see a few Mountain Goats. Never saw one, so I drove around Alpine Junction. This old tractor is at the Flying Saddle Resort. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Wagon

Wagon: Also found at the Flying Saddle Resort. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Taken at the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 25, 2017 – Christmas Day

Season's Greetings

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December 24, 2017 – Sunday – Christmas Eve

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: I spotted this GHO in the shade, then waited about 30 minutes for the sun to hit it. I hung around for quite a while, hoping it would open its eyes, but he kept them closed. While driving around this morning, my truck’s thermometer read -15° at times…coldest I have seen it yet. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Fences

Fences: Taken along Spring Gulch Road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Mail Boxes

Mail Boxes: Taken along Spring Gulch Road. I added a filter to this photo in Photoshop using Topaz. It needed a little punch. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: Last winter, my blind (a grill gazebo) collapsed under the weight of the snow. We bought a new one this spring. Today, I moved it to a good spot and wrapped it in camouflage tarp for a winter blind. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Clarks Nutcracker

Clarks Nutcracker: I’ve had at least one Nutcracker all winter, but it looks like three or four show up for the suet now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: Besides this regular visitor, I saw two Northern Flickers, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and even a couple of Townsend’s Solitaires. Three or four wintering Robins stayed back from the feeders, but seemed interested in the free food. Other back yard visitors include Chickadees, Eurasian Collared Doves, Black-billed Magpies, and a few species of Sparrows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay: To be honest, this is the bird that prompted me to set up the Winter blind again. The Jay didn’t come around much with me in the yard, but is much more bold with me in the blind. He’s a regular visitor this year. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

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December 23, 2017 – Saturday

Snowman

Christmas Lights

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Moulton Barn

Lights

Christmas Tree

Christmas Eve in Jackson Hole, WY

Christmas in Jackson Hole

Christmas Lights on the Moulton Barn

Season’s Greetings from our family to yours! I picked off a few photos from earlier posts to start today’s entry. The three links have a lot more photos from Jackson Hole. It snowed overnight, so I’ll be out at some point. Check back!

South Park Barn

South Park Barn: Captured on Boyle’s Hill Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Spring Gulch Pano

Spring Gulch Pano: A two shot stitched image taken with a telephoto lens. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Abandoned

Abandoned: I photographed this old vehicle several years ago. I stopped again today during a winter flurry. This shot has a shallow “window of opportunity” before the bulk of it gets buried under snow. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Spring Gulch Road Open Again: Crews recently opened a one-lane bridge over the Gros Ventre River on Spring Gulch Road. A stop light controls access, with roughly a 3 minute rotation. A section of roadway roughly 2 miles long is still gravel, but the rest has been hard surfaced.

Antelope Flats Road Closed: Recent snow and drifting snow prompted the closure of Antelope Flats Road for the winter.

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December 22, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Jackson Hole is in the middle of a winter storm advisory. It was snowing lightly with heavy winds this afternoon. I counted over 70 Bighorns along Miller Butte today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram Lip Curl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 21, 2017 – Winter Solstice

Mother Moose

Mother Moose: I am going through files and ran across this shot from May 19. The calf is only an hour or so old. Happy Winter!

First Day of Winter – Winter Solstice – Shortest Day of the Year: Sunrise this morning was at 7:53 am and sunset will be at 4:50 pm. When I was at Snake River Overlook the temperature was 7°F. The weather report called for clear skies, which was perfectly accurate. I had hoped for a little bit more Alpenglow but it was still pretty at that time of the morning. Nikon D850 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose

Solstice Moose: Found in Ditch Creek before first light. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose in First Light

Solstice Moose in First Light: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Cirtter Tracks

Critter Tracks: In Ditch Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Solstice Moose

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

Solstice Moose in Sage

Solstice Moose in Sage: Found along the East Boundary Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Solstice Moose in Sage

Solstice Moose in Sage: These are the kind of shots I am glad I have a zoom telephoto lens. This one was taken at 200mm. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Solstice Moose in Sage

Solstice Moose in Sage: These two were taken from roughly the same spot at 600mm. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Solstice Bald Eagle

Solstice Bald Eagle: Captured along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ram on Ridgeline

Ram on Ridgeline: I spent some time on the National Elk Refuge in the middle of the day. I could probably process and post 20 images from there today, but will include just this one. It’s definitely a long distance shot, but seems to have a lot of visual power. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl Stretching

Great Horned Owl Stretching: Unless an Owl is hunting, the experience is much like watching paint dry. During the daylight hours, their eyes are closed or mostly closed and they sit basically still for hours. I stayed with this owl for about an hour, took over a thousand shots that almost all look the same, and hoped for some “action”. He stretched his wing for a few seconds. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Just before I lost the last of the golden light, he perked up and rotated slightly on his perch, giving me a few slightly different shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 20, 2017 – Wednesday

Lonely Little Cabin 1

Lonely Little Cabin 1: The base of the mountains received around 2-3″ of snow overnight. My wife said they reported 4″ of snow on the slopes at Teton Village. I drove out to the National Elk Refuge just after lunch and took a few photos with the fresh snow. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Lonely Little Cabin 2

Lonely Little Cabin 2: I took these two shots from the road, changing positions slightly each time. The National Elk Refuge has a posted sign saying NO Parking on the Roadway, but they allow you to stop if no one is around—as was the case for these two shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Grasses

Grasses: Bighorns are feeding on grasses along the base of Miller Butte and attempting to lick salt and chemicals off vehicles that stop in the road or in the pullouts. Refuge officials are asking people NOT to let them lick their vehicles to help prevent the spread of pneumonia found in some of the sheep. The local photographers are helping people know about the rule, despite the lack of signage. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: When I first made it to Miller Butte, a herd of Bighorns were bedded down and covered with snow. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Rams

Bighorn Rams: I love the interaction between the Rams. There hasn’t been a lot of head bashing lately, but most of the Rams are quite interested in the Ewes right now. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Lamb

Bighorn Lamb: I have a permit to take people out for photo tours on the National Elk Refuge. It doesn’t look good if the rangers see my truck with lick marks all over it! I was standing guard alongside my truck to keep them from trying to lick the sides. The Bighorns will often approach within only a few yards. The Elk Refuge officials aren’t as worried about closeness as they are in Grand Teton National Park, so it’s possible to get tight face shots. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 19, 2017 – Tuesday

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: In mid to late December, the sun rises in the southern portion of the valley, lighting the south side of the Shane cabins. Right now, first light is around 9:00 am. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Park Service has deemed these cabins as “ruins” and will not be making attempts to maintain them. That could change if enough people requested a review of the site’s status and importance. I believe they were built in the mid 1940s. You can see more photos at different times of the year on this old Feature Post: The Shane Cabins: Authentic Homestead in Grand Teton National Park Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: At some point, the Park Service closes both ends of Antelope Flats Road, cutting off vehicle access to the Mormon Row homesteads. This cabin is accessible all year, though snow shoes can be helpful after a few heavy snowfalls. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Shane Cabin

The Ernie Wright (Shane Cabin): Just about everyone around here calls this “The Shane Cabin”. It was built by Luther Taylor and leased to the production company by Roy Chambers. There are no historic signs or plaques at the site. Shane Movie Locations:

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Shane Cabin: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin Window: This image was taken twice. I focused on the wall in one and then again on the mountains. The two photos were merged in Photoshop. There are thousands of applications for this technique in Grand Teton National Park! Check out this old Feature Post:  Focus Stacking: Increased Depth of Field by Combining Multiple Images Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, Handheld.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Captured along Flat Creek at the North edge of town. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 18, 2017 – Monday

Winter Sleigh Ride

The Dead of Winter: A few things have changed over the weekend! This page from 2014 highlights a few of them. Some zones have been closed, and a few important roads and access points become limited. This will be even more evident when the heavy snowfall arrives and snow plows pile snow to block secondary roads. Note: Currently, Antelope Flats is still open with access to Mormon Row. Also of note: The Elk Reduction Program ended in GTNP on the 15th. Without the gun shots, expect Elk and other wildlife to return to “normal” in the Park. There are still plenty of opportunities!

Remember to check out the New Feature Post!: Mormon Row: Historic Documentation

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House: Hmmm…I saw this photo when working on the new post. I started scratching my head and looking through my Mormon Row photos. Mormon Row: Historic Documentation

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House: While in the area today, I snapped off a few photos. It is a fairly non-descript structure—easy to neglect or overlook. After comparing the historic photo and a contemporary image, it is easy to see how much the volunteers and Park Service put into saving this structure for future park visitors. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Treescape

Treescape: I took this photo from Antelope Flats Road. Something about the variety of the shapes and the layering of the distant trees caught my eye. The wind was howling with light flakes falling. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Like the Chambers garage and pump house, most of these structures would have fallen in under the weight of the winter snows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ruins

Ruins: This structure, across from the Thomas Perry Homestead, didn’t make it before crews could reinforce it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 17, 2017 – Sunday

New Feature Post!: Mormon Row: Historic Documentation Wow…this is a labor intensive post! If you enjoy Mormon Row and the history of Jackson Hole, I am fairly confident you’ll enjoy the page. The historic photos, elevation drawings, and site plans came from the Library of Congress.

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: I was out very early for the sunrise, but the clouds didn’t cooperate. This is one of 34 Moose I saw this morning, along with several Bald Eagles, a large herd of Elk, and half a dozen Mule Deer. I keep hoping to be in the right place at the right time to see a pack of Wolves in the Kelly area. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: There are lots of Trumpeter Swans in the Jackson Hole valley again this year. This one was at the Boyle’s Hill swan pond. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Afternoon shot at Miller Butte. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 16, 2017 – Saturday

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: I spent the morning and middle of the day in the Snake River Canyon looking for Mountain Goats. I never saw one. When I made it back to Jackson, I drove over to the National Elk Refuge. A few of the nice Bighorn Rams were down at Miller Butte, but weren’t active. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Valley Notes: Today is the first day of the Sleigh Ride Tours on the National Elk Refuge: They will continue daily until early April, except for Christmas Day.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: I’m working on a new Feature Post about Mormon Row—filled with historic photos and drawings.

 

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December 15, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram on Ridge

Bighorn Ram on Ridge: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorns Against Rocks

Bighorns Against Rocks: Late afternoon activity on Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 14, 2017 – Thursday

Valley Notes: Tomorrow will be the last day of the elk hunt in GTNP, though it will continue for a while in the National Elk Refuge. The Bison hunt in the Refuge continues into January. We can’t get to those zones, so it doesn’t affect photographers or tourists. Today and tomorrow are the last two days to be able to walk down to Schwabacher Landing until Spring. Several other zones will close after the 15th—shown on the maps at the very bottom of this page.

Red Barn

Red Barn: One of the many barns and structures in Jackson Hole. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Snow Capped Tractor

Snow Capped Tractor: I’ve photographed this old tractor a few times over the years. Today, I liked the frosting of snow and the way the morning light was hitting it. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorns

Bighorns: I missed these two head butting, but managed to capture a few with them interacting. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

The Chase

The Chase: The rut is in full swing along Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Ram

Ram’s Head: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

 

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December 13, 2017 – Wednesday

Jackson Lake Sunrise Pano

Jackson Lake Sunrise Pano: (Click this image to see it much larger). To get a sunrise shot like this requires a bit of planning and a lot of luck! Even if the weather report calls for partly cloudy, you never know if the entire range will be covered. It’s about 45 miles from town to the dam, and the night time speed limit is 45 mph, so you have to get up very early (not so bad in December when sunrise is at 7:45 am). Today, the trip paid off. There was a break in the clouds in the east, allowing a few minutes of morning light to bathe the Teton Range. Soon after this shot, the mountains dulled. This was a crop of about 7 horizontal images, stitched in Lightroom. I was the only one there today! Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend: I drove around Willow Flats and Oxbow Bend looking for Moose and Foxes. Another short lived break in the clouds lit a few patches of the Oxbow. I am making this post at Noon, and looking outside, can report clouds and dark skies. I think most people around Jackson Hole are ready for snow to entice Winter visitors. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Coyotes

Coyotes: This is a tight crop of a long distance shot of three Coyotes on Elk Flats. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison Bull

Bison Bull: Captured near Elk Flats. The large herd I saw earlier were well off the road, but I found four or five others closer to the road. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Windows

Windows: I like “broken patterns”…in this case, a missing pane of glass. Captured at one of the cabins along Elk Ranch. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bighorns in Snow

Bighorns in Snow: Afternoon snow on Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

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December 12, 2017 – Tuesday

Morning in the Tetons

Morning in the Tetons: Taken at Snake River Overlook. I had to wait about 10 minutes as roughly 200 Elk crossed the highway, making me a little late for this shot! Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Tripod.

Resting Bull Moose

Resting Bull Moose: This bull’s ear is severely cut. I saw him early, before the sun came up, then returned to the location to get first light on him. He bedded down quickly once the sun hit the valley floor. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Last Leaves

Last Leaves: Captured in Ditch Creek. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Stretching Swan

Stretching Swan: Captured along Flat Creek. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Stretching Swan

Stretching Swan: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Lightroom CC Classic: If you are a Lightroom user, Adobe just released an update. I loaded v.7.1 and installed it this morning. It seems to be much more spunky.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Wagon Wheels

Wagon Wheels: Long distance shot at one of the valley’s barns. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Landing Swan

Landing Swan: Captured at Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Captured at Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 11, 2017 – Monday

 

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: Instead of going to my normal haunts in GTNP, I decided to do some reconnaissance. I found a Great Horned Owl, but he was tucked too deep into the branches for a decent shot. This photo was taken from Spring Gulch Road as the morning fog was lifting. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch: I processed this one to post on Instagram. Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk: This raptor was resting atop one of the ranch gates along Spring Gulch Road. I saw an immature Bald Eagle just down the road, then waited for first light. A construction truck whizzed by and spooked it before I got a shot. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Approaching Ram

Approaching Ram: Captured on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: I found the owl again this afternoon. Still in a tough spot! I shot through the branches to get an image of his face. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

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December 10, 2017 – Sunday

Grand and Morning Ducks

Grand and Morning Ducks: Captured near the Kelly Warm Springs. The low cloud bank at the base of the mountains divide this shot into two different zones. The shot was taken at 1/800 second which helped freeze some of the wings.  Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld.

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

Alert Bull Moose

Alert Bull Moose: Taken in the sage flats north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Fleeing Moose

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

Sparring Bull Moose

Sparring Bull Moose: The cottonwoods in the distance run along Ditch Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Captured on the National Elk Refuge.  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod.

Snake and Grand Sunset

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

Snake and Grand Sunset

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

Steel Cover

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

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December 9, 2017 – Saturday

Coyote

Coyote: This morning, I made a loop around Kelly—mainly looking for Moose. The ones I saw were out in the sage. I heard a few Bison have been hanging around the Elk Flats area, so I headed that direction just for “something” to capture. I saw four or five canines running across the pasture and got to a spot as quickly as possible. I was hoping they were Wolves, but Coyotes would be fine for today. I wasn’t set up for speedy Coyotes, originally thinking I’d be seeing lumbering Moose or Bison. This isn’t a great shot, but hopefully it will be better prepared for what “might happen”. I talk about that all the time with my tour clients, but today, I didn’t follow my own advice! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Bison

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

Elk Ranch and Mt. Moran

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

Elk Ranch Cabins

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

Frosted Aspens

Frosted Aspens: I shot this one mainly as a texture image. The fog and low clouds cling to and freeze on grass and branches—sometimes call hoar frost. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld.

Oxbow Pano

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

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December 8, 2017 – Friday

Bighorns on the Road

Bighorns on the National Elk Refuge: I took this timely shot today before seeing this article in the JH News & Guide: Sheep showing signs of pneumonia. Refuge officials are asking people NOT to let the sheep lick salt and chemicals from their vehicles. It is common to see groups of Bighorns on the road going from vehicle to vehicle. They were trying to get to my truck, but I kept pushing them away. They found another vehicle to attack. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

 

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

Broadside

Broadside: I took this shot on the 5th, but had already posted a lot of images that day. The youngster is probably 3 years old. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 7, 2017 – Thursday

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: This owl was tucked deep into the branches. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Swans on Ice

Swans on Ice: Taken along Flat Creek. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Power Station

Power Station: Something different captured in the late evening in Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC On.

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December 6, 2017 – Wednesday

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

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

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

 

Morning Outing

Chambers Homestead

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

Moulton Barn and Low Clouds

TA Moulton Barn: I like to occasionally take photos of scenes that most people would never think were taken in Grand Teton National Park. I’ve taken quite a few similar photos over the years, but they seldom look the same. This morning, the low cloud was lifting while part of the barn was in shadows. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: This photo falls in line with the other two. This shot looks much different with moody low clouds, long shadows, and the first light of morning. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Setting Moon

Setting Moon: I had to drive quite a ways up the East Boundary Road to get the moon near the Grand. This shot might have been better two days ago, but the clouds covered everything on the West side of the valley. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Oil Stain

Oil Stain: I stopped to take this photo a couple of days ago along the asphalt covered portion of the Moose-Wilson Road. I had already taken a few thousand images of a bull Moose in the pond, but I still like to photograph most anything that catches my eye. Later today, I’ll probably be back in “wildlife mode” at Miller Butte later this afternoon. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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

Afternoon Outing

Ram On Ridge

Ram On Ridge: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram on Hillside

Ram on Hillside: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram Pair On Slope

Ram Pair On Slope: With my zoom lens, I have tight shots of both Bighorns, but I pulled back and took a few “environmental” shots today. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorns by Rocks

Ram Pair On SlopeNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Ram with Rocks

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

Ram with Grasses

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

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December 5, 2017 – Tuesday

Wedding Trees

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

Wedding Trees

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

Ram on the Rim

Ram on the Rim: This ram was high on Miller butte—a bit out of my range—but I liked the stoic pose enough to snap off a shot. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Approaching Bighorn Ram

Approaching Bighorn Ram: This Ram was coming straight towards me for several shots before turning off to the right. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Lamb on a Rock

Lamb on a Rock: I was about to drive off when I saw this youngster on one of the boulders next to the parking lot. I jumped back out for a quick shot before it jumped off to join its mother. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Rams Bashing

Rams BashingNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Ram Chase

Ram Chase: This chase probably covered two miles before ending at the rocks below. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handhald with VC Off.

Ram Chase

Cliff Stopping Point: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

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December 4, 2017 – Monday

Early Morning Moose

Early Morning Moose: Two of eight bull Moose seen early this morning north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull and Cow Moose

Bull and Cow Moose: Found on the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC Off.

Bull with Aspen Reflections

Bull with Aspen Reflections: Same bull in one of the ponds along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bull Moose with Dripping Water

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

Bighorns

Bighorns: A quick head butt on Miller Butte at the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

Bighorn Chase: Chases can happen unexpectedly and last only a few minutes. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod with VC Off.

Bighorn Chase

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

Bighorn Chase

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

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December 3, 2017 – Sunday

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser: Captured along Flat Creek. I am always watching for these beautiful ducks. Found one today!  Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Two Rams

Two Rams: Captured at the base of Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Resting Ram

Resting Ram: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

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December 2, 2017 – Saturday

Alpenglow at Mormon Row

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

Morning Light

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

Bull in Sage

Bull in Sage: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Morning Drink

Morning Drink: Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

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December 1, 2017 – Friday

Bighorn Ram

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

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

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

Muskrat on Ice

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

Swans in Flight

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

December 1st Morning Outing

Moose In Gros Ventre

Moose In Gros Ventre: This morning, I spent a fair amount of my time in the Kelly and Gros Ventre area, watching for Wolves, Bears, Deer, and Moose. The Moose above was #21 I saw this morning, spotted in the Gros Ventre river basin. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Moose In Gros Ventre

Buck Mule Deer In Gros Ventre: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Elk on the Refuge

Elk on the Refuge: By the time I was heading towards town, most of the bull Elk had already bedded down, but I pulled over to document on the December 1st post they are now showing up. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Bighorn Group

Bighorn Group: Captured on the National Elk Refuge. The rut is getting underway with Rams much more interested in the Ewes. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: I kept waiting for this Ram to turn his head more in my direction. This shot shows how some of the rams “broom” the tips of their horns. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Handheld with VC ON.

 

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

Winter Closure Map

Winter Closure Map

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

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

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

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

Winter Road Closures

Winter Road Closures

Winter Closure Maps in PDF format:

 

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Comments (14)

  1. ED CLARK

    Thanks for keeping me informed w/ all your great photos & notes as to how you took them.. Beautiful work as always.. I have one of the 1st
    Tamron 150-600 lens.. I would like to know how you truly feel about your new G2, if you find time.. I am considering updating, and would sure like you input before doing so..
    Thanks again for your great posts..

  2. Craig Knecht

    Howdy Mike, My wife tells me she has tried to subscribe to your email notifications about new Best of the Teton updates and photos and has been unsuccessful. Please add her to your distribution list with the following email address: mzach@silverstar.com

    Thanks,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

  3. Lowell Schechter

    Mike, wonderful images of the Elk and Moose. It is amazing how many animals you can photograph if you go to the right places . And of course keeping yourself safe from the Elk hunters. Good advice to wear bright clothing. Another interesting that you mentioned was the hours you can photograph during the day. It is nice to know the sun does not get really high in the sky during the winter months.

  4. Hi MikE: I notice you are using the D5/Tamron combination a lot. How do you like the D850? Mine is finally getting here Monday and will try it out at the Pipeline Masters surf contest later in the coming week.

    Aloha, Bud

  5. Hi Bud,
    After the initial newness wore off, I am now pairing the three different bodies with lenses that make sense to me at the time. I like the D850 for landscapes and for wildlife that isn’t moving fast. So the 24-70 or 70-200mm lenses are usually on it. The D5 works great for low light and fast moving targets, so it gets the Tamron 150-600mm, and the D500 has the Tamron 18-70mm for walk around shooting. I put the 200-500mm lens on the D500 if I want a little extra reach. Neither the D850 or D500 match the D5 for low light however. I am waiting for RRS or Kirk to ship the L-Brackets for the D850 grip setup. There’s a lot to like with all three bodies.

  6. Eugene Wright

    i have seen the sheep on the elk refuge licking the salt off of cars. with the out break of pneumonia in the sheep have you heard any talk of the road being closed to sightseers to protect the sheep?

  7. Eugene, I don’t think that will happen. There are a few signs at the entrance that tell people not to stop on the road, but no additional signs at the most common zones. And, there are no signs anywhere telling people not to let the sheep lick vehicles. I stop, roll my window down and tell the people about licking a sucker after knowing another person with a cold has already licked it. Signs would be an obvious fix. The Refuge already issued permits to quite a few tour operators for 2017-2018, so I wouldn’t expect much to change this year.

  8. Kathy Harrison

    Mike, your oil stain photo is mesmerizing. I can hardly wait to see how you incorporate it into one of your textural compositions. We’re snowbirding in Gulf Shores, so your moose are a welcome contrast to our herons and egrets. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  9. Hi Kathy,
    Hey thanks for the comments! Interestingly, I never know whether I should post that kind of photos on Best of the Tetons? I take thousands of shots of textures and odd shapes each year, but worry about needing to walk a fine line. Most people probably come here to see photos of wildlife and scenery. I sneak in posts and photos about fairs, parades, history and so forth, but would I lose readers if I post too many similar shots? In reality, I love taking photos…period! If things are slow, or if I see something interesting, I never think twice about taking the photos. If you like those kinds of photos, I suggest picking up a book by Freeman Patterson called “Photographing the World Around You”.

  10. The 12/13/17 pano of the Lake with the awesome morning’s “purple mountain majesty” is absolutely beautiful. I just betcha it was one of those photos that when you were capturing it you just knew deep down inside that it was special. Love the feeling when everything just seems to come together and it just feels like you are perfectly in tune with it all. Thank you Mike!

  11. Hi John,
    Yes, it was a special morning. The light broke through a sliver opening and lit just the tops of the mountains. Interestingly, I was wishing I had a tour to share the experience with a client. I was the only person around!

  12. George N

    Mike, great post today! Merry Christmas to all you guys and Happy New Year!

  13. Hey Mike, saw a white wolf today in the morning right near gros ventre junction on the airport side. So they are in the area just a heads up.

  14. Juan, I saw one black and three gray colored wolves cross the highway yesterday, too. I posted a lousy quality reference shot.

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