September 22, 2016 Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Buck

Teton Bison and Pronghorns

Clouds Over the Tetons

Clouds Over the Tetons

Been fighting the weather here recently, very mixed bag of conditions, lots of clouds, heavy morning fog, and late afternoon rain. The early morning image above is a good example of the mountains creating their own weather conditions. This was taken several days ago and was one of the last mornings the Tetons were even visible.

The Oxbow and Mount Moran

The Oxbow and Mount Moran

Fall has officially arrived here as the trees are starting to put on their autumn show.

Mount Moran

Mount Moran

Teton Foliage

Teton Foliage

Teton Foliage

Teton Foliage

Cottonwoods

Cottonwoods

Mormon Row

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Mormon Row is a north/south dirt road connecting the Gros Ventre Campground to the Antelope Flats Road. I drive this road every morning that it is not raining because there is a large herd of bison grazing in the area, plus a couple small bands of Pronghorns, and, if the animals are on the correct ( west ) side of the road, in just the right portion of the fields, they can be photographed with the Tetons in the background with the mountains being bathed in the early morning light.

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

The past week, I have had a few opportunities to almost get the perfect shot. But something is always just a little less than perfect. The sun is covered by low hanging clouds leaving nice light on the mountaintops but the bison and foreground in shade …

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

… or I manage to get some light on the foreground and the sky clouds up over the mountains …

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

… or the clouds throw some part of the image, trees in the mid ground above, in weird dark shadow.

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

What seems to happen most often though is that the herd will be grazing on the wrong side of the road, west side in the afternoon so you are shooting into the sun, or the east side in the morning …

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

… resulting in this kind of impossible shot.

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

But still, I have some really nice reference photos for when I finally get back to painting, where I can then paint in the perfect sky or well lit foreground.

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

You might ask why I don’t just hop out of the car and hike out in the field to get the herd between myself and the mountains with the sun at my back? Well, these fields  ( flats, meadows? ) are hundreds of acres in size, on both sides of the road, and there is not a single tree anywhere in those hundreds of acres, so I don’t really feel it would be too wise to go tromping around out there amongst hundreds of bison with nowhere to hide if one of them happened to take offense with my being out there.

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

These guys are seriously large, and even with the car as my protection, when you are right in the midst of them, they can be very intimidating.

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Pronghorns

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Buck

These beautiful animals are one of my favorites out here in the west. But, like the bison, they just refuse to cooperate for this photographer and are always located in the worst possible lighting conditions when I encounter them up close enough to get some nice shots.

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Buck

In dead shade wth the rising sun behind them, like in the two shots above.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns

This group I actually encountered in a place where I could get them out in good light, with the sun at my back, as you can see with the sun on the mountains behind them. But just when they arrived at the perfect spot for a ridge top photo, a cloud blocked the sun behind me … just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to these guys.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns

And they are moving fast, so there is no waiting for the sun to pop back out and get that great shot.

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Buck

Pronghorn Bucks

Pronghorn Bucks

Pronghorn Bucks

Pronghorn Bucks

These guys put themselves in position to get some great light on them, so, of course they moved out onto a section of the flats that is being reclaimed  for native grasses to take over.

Pronghorn Bucks

Pronghorn Bucks

Someday I’ll get that perfect shot!

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

September 17, 2016 Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

Finally! Moose, Plus a Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Ran into this guy singing away on Mormon Row first thing in the morning. Had to stop because you never can have too many shots of these guys singing their hearts out.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark

Plus he did give me this bonus shot … never got that pose before.

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

Finally, I ran into a nice bull moose not mostly concealed in the willows.

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

Saw some antler tips sticking up out of the sagebrush and got myself set up with the sun behind me to be ready to get some nice shots when he finally decided to get up.

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

He was bedded down not too far away from a cow he obviously was shadowing while waiting for her to become receptive to his amorous advances. I had to wait patiently for over an hour and a half for the two of them to finally get up and get moving. Guess they never heard the tale of the early bird getting the worm.

Lookin For Love?

Lookin For Love?

Lookin For Love?

Lookin For Love?

He made his morning move, was rejected, and she went on her way.

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

With him following, of course.

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

Even with a long lens, this type of shot gives the photographer pause. You can tell that he has you dead in his sights and this time of year you just never know what his intentions are, at least as far as nosey photographers go. As seen through  a 400mm lens, he is far enough away that I can still easily get behind a nearby tree … hoping that would do some good. Turns out he was just looking to get into the shade where I was standing.

Teton Bull Moose

Teton Bull Moose

There he made a few squawks, circled, made sure the female was in sight, and dropped down to rest, having travelled probably all of a hundred feet so far this morning. This guy was a pretty good sized mature bull that probably has already fought off another bull, or bulls, judging from the way he was limping. Hope this is just the first of several more encounters with these Teton moose.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

September 14, 2016 Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Mixed Bag of Weather

We have had two or thee days now of really mixed weather, mostly bad. Quite a bit of rain, day and night, much cooler temperatures, even a bit of snow on the mountaintops. So, I have only ventured out to shoot a couple of times.

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

When I saw some sun pop through the clouds yesterday, I quickly loaded up the gear and zipped over to Mormon Row to shoot the iconic barn. I had hoped to get Grand Teton’s peak in the background and hung around for over an hour, but it was not to be.

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

When the clouds darkened and rain began to fall, I decided to move on, heading north towards Moran Junction where the sky was still allowing the sun to peak through.

Clinging Clouds

Clinging Clouds

Clouds were literally clinging to the mountains.

Coyote

On the Hunt

On the way north I ran into a pair of coyotes hunting in a field along the main highway.

Coyote Honing in on Prey

Coyote Honing in on Prey

Moving rapidly across the field, they would suddenly stop, twitch their head from side to side, with their ears pointed forward, detecting the exact location of the prey …

Coyote Honing in on Prey

Coyote Honing in on Prey

… then slowly raise up on their hind legs …

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

… and pounce!

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Digging for Prey

Coyote Digging for Prey

Then grab the prey.

Coyote with Squirrel

Success!

Carry it off and wolf it down.

Coyote

Um-um Good!

Lick their chops and go hunt for another one. I watched as they each caught a couple mice, or more likely, ground squirrels, hard to tell, since they went down so fast.

All this action took place over the course of an hour or so and occurred on both sides of the main highway through Grand Teton National Park. This is a two lane road, with paved 5 or 6 foot shoulders on both sides in this particular stretch of road. Traffic was brutal, and, needless to say, when a couple of people stop and get out with cameras, well, then everyone has to stop ( not neccessarily pulling off the road when they do so ) and ask what you are doing. While trying to concentrate on the antics of the coyotes, it is hard not to spend as much time being amazed by the incredibly stupid things that people will do.

Now most people actually do take care to get their car completely out of the travel lane of the highway, but doing so means you have to get one set of wheels off the paved shoulder and on to a steep incline to the drainage ditch. A few folks apparently didn’t want to do that so they just leave the driver’s side of their car out in the travel lane … then an idiot in a large motorhome comes along, and being too wide to even think about fitting onto the shoulder, just parks his rig three feet out into the travel lane opposite a car that has done the same thing on the other side of the road. Now we have a one lane road with twenty cars a minute trying to get through. Doesn’t work very well. And the people that caused this mess, completely oblivious to what they have done. Or maybe they do realize what they have done, but simply don’t care.

Yet with all the honking of horns and shouting of frustrated drivers, these two coyotes just ignored all the human idiots and  went about their business, sometimes coming within twenty feet of the roadway and all it’s human traffic.

Finally, the rains moved back in from the north, and, at least for me, the show was over, time to head home, dry off, and warm up. One more day of poor weather forecast, then sun and blue skies again.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

September 11, 2016 Grand Tetons, Wyoming

The Tetons Just After Sunrise

The Tetons Just After Sunrise

Return to Gros Ventre Campground and the Tetons

From My Dinette Window

From My Dinette Window

I arrived at the Gros Ventre Campground last Wednesday and got myself set up in the “A” Loop, where the sites are mostly open, allowing me to get some use out of my solar panels as well as clear satellite access. When I awoke after my first night here, I noticed the folks across the road from me packing up and leaving their site, a site I thought looked all but perfect to me. So, I moved across the road and as you can see in the image above that this has got to be about as good as it gets. That is the peak of Grand Teton just showing in the center of that image. The flat meadow just past the picnic table is an area where I have seen many moose in the past. I just may end up staying here a little longer than I had initially planned.

Grand Teton and Mount Owen

Grand Teton and Mount Owen

Grand Teton

Grand Teton

Mount Owen

Mount Owen

A crystal clear blue sky day presented an opportunity to get some long distance shots of the peaks of some of the mountains.

Grand Teton from Another Angle

Grand Teton from Another Angle

Here, as in Rocky Mountain National Park, the beetle damage to the conifers at higher elevations is really making it’s mark. You can see the many dead trees up around the peaks in the images above. The damage is not quite so extensive at lower elevations.

Grand Teton Reflection

Grand Teton Reflection

Just an hour or so after sunrise, the reflections in the beaver ponds at Schwabachers Landing provide an opportunity for some nice images.

Tetons Just After Sunrise

Tetons Just After Sunrise

Tetons Just After Sunrise

Tetons Just After Sunrise

This is one of my all time favorite spots to photograph in the west, a place I am drawn back to everytime I visit the Tetons. Still waiting for a moose to show up in one of the ponds, so I will keep coming back until one finally does. Just a couple ducks today though.

The Tetons Just After Sunrise

The Tetons Just After Sunrise

Tetons Just After Sunrise

Tetons Just After Sunrise

I most likely will hang around here until the aspens have turned ( they are starting already in places ) so I can come back down here when the trees have turned gold and there is some snow on the peaks.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !