Tag Archives: reflections

Yellowstone Wildlife

Yellowstone is known as much for its wildlife as its geologic features.  Until this year, I’d never had a “long” camera lens with me in Yellowstone for wildlife.  This year, I had a Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, and also a Fujifilm 1.4x teleconverter.  With my Fujifilm X-T2, which has an APS-C sensor, I had the 35mm equivalent of up to an 840mm telephoto lens.  All of the images below were shot with this lens/TC combination.

On Thursday morning, I started the drive up to the Lamar Valley.  I stopped along the way to visit the Tower Falls area, where I saw a bunch of cars stopped by the side of the road (a “bear jam”).  I got out and saw that the fuss was about a black bear and her cub.  I stayed for about half an hour observing and photographing the bears.

Here’s the mom…

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And the cub, up in a tree, working its way down to see mom.

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Finally mom comes up part way to encourage the cub to get past a tricky section of branches…

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Once on the ground, mom played with the cub.  Here, it’s about to swat it lightly on its rump…

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Now, let’s see who can make the most ferocious face…

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And then it was time to move on, to see what there was to see around the next bend.  Back at Tower Junction, near the Roosevelt Lodge, a few pronghorn were grazing…

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And a little further north, some bighorn sheep, just hanging out on the hillside…

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As I continued deeper into the Lamar Valley, I hoped to see, but did not expect to see, one of the wolf packs.  I did see hundreds of people, over several miles, hoping to see wolves, but never saw any myself.

But there were plenty of bison, in several herds.

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I even saw a few bison calves…

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The bison were starting to shed their winter coats…

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And then it was time to move on again.  In my next post, a visit to an interesting geologic location just outside the park.

More Time in the Grand Tetons

I’m back in Austin now.  I chose not to keep up with the blog as I went.  A combination of 16+ hours of light for photography each day, lots of travel time, time with friends, and a little bit of allergies all conspired to help me choose sleep instead of half-hearted writing into the night.  But I’m back, and have four more blog posts in the works after this one.

Sunrise each morning was about 5:50 AM, so I’d get up every morning about 5:00 and head out to see what the sunrise would bring.  We never had any truly spectacular colors in the morning, but it was still beautiful to be in this amazing place to see how the sun would first light the mountains.

Click on any image to enlarge.

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Balsam Root, the yellow flower in the foreground of the photo below, was blooming in many places in the valley.

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Some mornings would start with fog in low-lying areas.  Clouds in the mountains were constantly changing.  This infrared photo is from the same day as those in my earlier blog post about the Snake River Overlook.  It was taken about fifteen or twenty minutes before the images I posted last week.

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I dropped by another couple of famous places for photography.

Oxbow Bend, below Jackson Lake on the Snake River often has still water in the mornings, great for reflections of Mount Moran, and to its left, the mountain known, at least for now, as Mount Woodring.  (And further left are Mount St. John and Rockchuck Peak.)

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Mormon Row is a section of Grand Teton National Park that I suspect most people don’t visit, but is famous among photographers.  A group of Mormons from Idaho homesteaded here beginning in the late 1800’s, and lived here through the mid-1900’s before being sold to the National Park Service.

Perhaps most famous is the Thomas Alma Moulton barn, shown below.

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I didn’t do much hiking this trip, but I did take an easy five-mile hike on Tuesday up to Phelps Lake.  This is where I saw the moose in my earlier blog post about Grand Teton Wildlife.

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Here’s the GPS track for the hike.  It’s part of the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve in the southernmost section of Grand Teton National Park.  This section was donated by Laurance S. Rockefeller to the National Park Service in 2001.

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Snake River Overlook

Pro Tip:  If you’re going to use your iPad for your alarm clock, confirm that it’s set to the right timezone, so that you don’t accidentally wake up at 4 AM when you were planning for 5 AM.

This morning’s forecast was for mostly clear skies, so I woke up early and headed into the park.  I decided to start at the Snake River Overlook, made famous by Ansel Adams in his 1942 photo, The Tetons and the Snake River.  The view’s not quite the same, because the trees have grown so much taller in the last 76 years.

I spent about an hour there, before and after sunrise, shooting a variety of compositions.  Here are a couple of similar photos that I liked, one visible light, one infrared.  The first is closer to sunrise, with the fog still lifting off the river.  The infrared image is from a bit later, after the sun started to illuminate the foreground.  Which one do you like better?

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After I left the overlook, I headed down to Schwabacher’s Landing to take advantage of the reflections in the relatively still water.

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I saw elk and geese today, and hoping I see more wildlife tomorrow.