About MeI live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I explore the deeper reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while also trying to raise awareness about light pollution and the importance of dark skies through photography and video.
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Monthly Archives: March 2012
A gray wolf walks along a ridge in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Most people nowadays are well aware that wolves and grizzly bears are controversial species. Regular readers of this blog know that I am passionate about the well-being of these predatory animals. Most people think that all the controversy stems from them potentially eating ranchers’ cattle stock. The truth is, that’s just a scapegoat. The real motive is money that goes beyond ranching.
While wolves may in fact get into ranchers’ stocks and feed on a cow or calf every now and then, the claims are widely overblown thanks to fear and hatred perpetuated by corrupted politicians holding office in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, three states who rely heavily on hunting for valuable revenue. The simple fact is hunting brings in money to the states that they feel is much more important than the well-being of animals that are proven to be beneficial for regions found all over each of these states.
Snow-covered pine and spruce trees create an abstract landscape in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Last year, I headed into the interior of Yellowstone National Park with another photographer. We were riding a snowcoach in and out, both times during a snow storm, and there was also plenty of fresh snow from days prior. On the rides in and out, the two of us noted how much more vibrant the trunks of the trees were in certain places. The snow built up on the branches and needles muted the greens of the pine and spruce leaving the brown of the bark the only really noticeable color. Reflected against solid whites and set against what the eye perceived as blacks, or at least dark tones, they popped out in ways neither of us had ever really noticed before. There were only a few ideal locations where it was really evident, but those unfortunately weren’t stops that the snowcoach was going to make.
‘A green band of the northern lights, aka aurora borealis, glows above Blacktail Butte in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
UPDATE – For those looking to get more specific and accurate, be sure to look into Olivier Du Tre’s comments below.
Despite only seeing them a total of less than 10 times in my entire life, I still seem to be the one that people look to for information on the northern lights, particularly around Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There are first a couple of common myths that I’d like to debunk.
Northern lights can only be seen in Scandinavia, Alaska, or Canada. False. Northern lights can be seen anywhere. It only depends on the severity of the solar storm that impacts Earth (explained further below). A solar storm in the fall of 2011 was even seen as far south as Alabama and Arizona.
The Aurora Borealis, aka northern lights, light up over Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
I was giving up on this so-called great solar storm around midnight last night. Skies had clouded up just after sunset, the impact wasn’t as strong as they had predicted, and I was getting tired. Just out of curiosity, I checked the immediate aurora forecast and saw that activity was beginning to pick up to where it might show up down here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I went out onto my balcony, which faces north, to do a quick test shot just to see if I would even get anything. To my surprise, the clouds had thinned out considerably and were even beginning to clear out, so I grabbed my gear and headed out.
My instincts weren’t very good last night because despite getting some nice shots, given another chance (which may happen within the next few days!), I would go to completely different spots, and in general just be more prepared.