September28, 2016 Teton National Park, Wyoming

Mormon Row
Mormon Row

Last Days in the Tetons

Campground Moose
Campground Moose

Tomorrow I plan to break camp and leave the Tetons … and one of the best campsites I have had in quite a while.

Campground Bull Moose
Campground Bull Moose

And wouldn’t you know, now that I have decided to move on south to Salt lake City and Antelope Island State Park, the moose decide to move into the campground here at Gros Ventre. These shots were all taken from INSIDE my motorhome right at the crack of dawn today.

Teton Moose
Teton Moose

I have no idea what this chase is all about, kind of odd to see a cow chase off another cow, the bulls do it all the time but never saw cows doing this before.

Campground Moose Action
Campground Moose Action

When the moose come in, there are always photographers right behind them. This guy just about got clocked by the cow that sprang to life and chased after the other cow, with this photographer right in the midst of the action.

Teton Pronghorn
Teton Pronghorn
Teton Pronghorns
Teton Pronghorns

I continue to regularly locate the pronghorns along the dirt road to Mormon Row.

Teton Red Barn
Teton Red Barn
Snow Capped Tetons
Snow Capped Tetons

Nights have been getting a little chilly, being greeted by heavy frost to scrape off the windshield every morning lately. The rain that has been falling here in the campground is leaving the mountaintops covered with snow, though it still is melting away in the afternoon most days.

Snow Capped Tetons
Snow Capped Tetons
Mormon Row
Mormon Row
Teton Pronghorn
Teton Pronghorn

I took a drive out to Curtis Canyon to check out the ( closed for the season ) National Forest campground there, and had the good fortune to come upon this handsome fellow posing on the side of the road.

Teton Pronghorn
Teton Pronghorn

 

Tetons From Curtis Canyon Road
Tetons From Curtis Canyon Road

This is the view from the top of the hill by the National Forest campground looking down and across the National Elk Refuge to the Tetons.

Teton Boondock Campsite
Teton Boondock Campsite

There are a couple of wonderful boondock campsites up there, just not quite sure I would want to take my motorhome up the gravel road, a little steep and rough in spots.

Tomorrow I will be heading down to the Great Salt Lake and Antelope island State Park for a few nights as I begin my southward winter migration.

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.

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September 30, 2014 Colfax, Washington

Angry clouds
What a day !

Dramatic Skies Over the Palouse

Early this morning, I did yet another drive up Steptoe for dawn shots. The weather has definitely changed and as a result, I was all but blown off the top of Steptoe, getting no useable shots because even with a tripod, I couldn’t prevent camera shake. Plus, it was cold up there !

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

From the top of Steptoe
From the top of Steptoe
Patterns
Patterns

These were the only two shots, out of several that I took, where the camera shake didn’t show.

Angry clouds
Angry clouds
Angry skies
Angry skies

In the afternoon, I went back out under some very dramatic, stormy skies and drove the back roads just south of where I was yesterday, almost down to Pullman.

Angry clouds
Angry clouds
Planting wheat
Seeding
Lonely silo
Lonely silo

Though the skies at times became very ominous, it only spit rain a couple of times and fortunately, there was no lightning.

Palouse barn
Palouse barn
Palouse barn
Palouse barn

Along these back roads I finally found some of the old barns I figured must be out here somewhere.

Palouse barn
Palouse barn
Palouse barn
Palouse barn

These two shots, taken only a few minutes apart, give you an idea of how fast the clouds were moving on this day.

Sagging barn
Sagging barn

Not sure of the type of roof on this barn, possibly called a rainbow roof. This is the only orange colored barn I believe I have ever photographed.

Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse

A five image panorama of wheat fields on the way home.

Winter wheat
Winter wheat

This image shows what is probably going to happen around here in the next few weeks, tempting me to extent my stay here. This farmer must have sown his winter wheat a little earlier than others in the area. Just in the week that I have been out on the back roads here, I can see several fields where there are new green shoots coming up, just not enough to color the fields yet.

Washington farm
Washington farm

When I look out my windshield in the morning while having coffee, this is the farm I can see in the distance. I am agonizing over my next move. Should I stay here and wait for fields to turn green with the winter wheat or start my journey south to the desert?

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September 26, 2014 Colfax, Washington

Palouse white barn
Palouse white barn

White Clouds and Impossibly Blue Skies

Took a drive west on Route 26 this morning just to explore the area, looking for barns or whatever I might come across.

What I didn’t expect to come across was any kind of photogenic wildlife here in farm country on a bright, sunny morning.

Elusive pheasants
Elusive pheasants

Yet, only a few miles from the fairgrounds, I zipped by what looked like a pair of ring necked pheasants quite near the highway on the edge of a harvested wheat field. If you have ever come across these birds, you know just how colorful they are. I stopped, removed the landscape lens from my camera and dug out my big 600 mm lens ( that has not seen a lot of use as of late ), attached it to the camera body, changed all my landscape camera settings from landscape to birds in flight settings, turned the car around and headed back to the pheasants. Just as I spotted them again, they, of course took flight across the road and all the way to the far edge of the opposite field, pretty much out of range.

A little farther down the road, I come across a neat old barn, do the lens and settings change in reverse, take a couple of shots and head back down the road. Another pair of pheasants ! Stop, repeat lens and settings change, and this takes time, and in the cramped quarters of the Prius, handling a 600mm lens is a bit of a challenge, turn around and head back to where the birds were seen … and they are gone. Well, this went on two more times along this road and I have nothing to show for it. I get frustrated missing these shots. I have always carried two camera bodies, one set up for landscape work and one with a long lens attached set for wildlife shots. But my trusted old D300 died a few months back and I haven’t replaced it yet, not really wanting to shell out the big bucks necessary to add a second D800, and so, I continue to miss shots I would have had little trouble getting in the past. Guess I am just going to have to break down and bite the bullet.

Turned north at Endicott and headed up to St. John, then took Route 23 south back to Route 195 south to home. Nothing extraordinary along this route, although I did see a fair number of hawks along the way, along with the pheasants.

In the afternoon, with bright blue skies and beautiful cumulus clouds beckoning, I headed east on Route 272 to the town of Palouse, then beyond into Idaho to check out a little campground right on Route 6 in the town of Potlatch.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Palouse white barn
Palouse white barn
Colfax Barn
Colfax Barn
Shed and Clouds
Shed and Clouds
Shed and Clouds
Shed and Clouds

Retraced my steps back to Palouse and headed south on Route 27 to the college town of Pullman, Washington where I did some grocery shopping at a new Walmart. From there, jumped back on Route 195 north to Colfax and home.

 

Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
Clouds over Palouse
A distant tree
A distant tree

All along this route, I had to keep stopping for cloud shots over the wheat stubble, the sky was just impossibly blue, and the air had that wonderful autumn crispness to it. Just another gorgeous day in paradise! There is supposed to be a couple of not so great days coming, but when it clears I intend to retrace this route and explore all the farm roads between Route 195 and Route 27 to see what’s there.

Wind turbines
Wind turbines

At sunset, I headed back up to the top of Steptoe Butte to see if late light could possibly be as good as morning light over the Palouse. It wasn’t.

Sunset abstract
Sunset abstract

Though there was a fairly nice sunset, the warm late low light over the rolling fields just didn’t produce any decent images.

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