How I Shot It – Mountain Lion With Kittens

Mountain lion kittens sit cautiously next to their mother in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

This isn’t so much a post about the technical aspects of how I got this shot so much as it is a reminder to listen to your intuition. A lot of people confuse intuition with overthinking a certain situation. Intuition does not come with weighing the pros and the cons, nor does it come with analyzing options. It is usually referred to as a gut instinct that often requires you to change your plans to fully experience the true outcome of what it is it’s calling you to.

Such was the case when I got this photo of a mountain lion mother with her two, nearly grown, kittens. (On a side note, it’s been suggested multiple times that these are three kittens. In the tracks I had found that morning, as well as the next day, there was definitely a larger set, implying it was in fact a mother with kittens). – Continue reading

Focus on the Solutions for Wolves

Sunrise creates an alien-looking world over the eroded hills of Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Often we find ourselves entrenched in a battle with no end, arguing with someone over extended periods of time with neither side budging on their stance. It’s easy to become engrossed the argument, working tirelessly to convince the other side of our own opinions and findings. Given the activity involving wolf hunts in the area, people on both sides are incredibly passionate about their views.

Everyone from Buddha, to Jesus Christ, to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have all given us relevant and applicable quotes on how to deal with conflicts of this nature. Buddha first said that "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." He’s telling us that by engaging the other side, we’re essentially distracting ourselves from a solution and thus, turned in the wrong direction. – Continue reading

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The Choices We Make About Nature

Storm clouds gather over a hilly area of Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park.

Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, our life is nothing more than a series of choices; the animals we love or hate, the road we’ve taken to bring us to where we currently are, the people we call our friends, even our politicians holding office. Everything in our lives is the result of a choice at some point along the journey.

And yet, some people have chosen a life filled with hate, anger, and ignorance. More specifically, people actually choose to live their lives hating an animal such as a wolf simply because they refuse to educate themselves about it. Education and tolerance are an almost palpable threshold, a step into another realm of life that is so close to tangible, you can almost sense the change that will take place once it is crossed. – Continue reading

12 Favorite Photos from 2012

As always, clicking on an image will bring you to a higher quality version.

January


Hoar frost clings to trees along the Snake River on a chilly January morning in Grand Teton National Park.

Despite a lack of wildlife to be found around the area, I was still able to make great opportunities as they arose. The winter had turned into an unusually warm one for Jackson Hole and while normally it’s too cold to even snow, rain was becoming common throughout January. Yet winter still persisted off and on. On one such morning, I woke up to -17F and made an opportunity to make the most of it. One of my favorite series of shots came from a bridge crossing the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. Small pieces of ice were carried down the water from farther upstream as an earlier fog coated the trees that lined the river in hoarfrost. – Continue reading

Why America Needs More Predators

A black wolf roams near Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

There has always been a voice in the United States that has never liked predator species. In the past, this voice was so strong and powerful that they virtually eliminated all but the most elusive predators from the lower 48, excluding black bears. Once many other predators were gone by the 1930′s, black bears’ numbers began to steadily grow thanks to being spared the wrath of hatred. In addition, in the absence of large predators, even animals like coyotes, whom had only called the mountain regions of the west home, began to explore other regions of the continent. They can now can be found in just about every state across the country, just as their relative, the wolf, once had been.

In 1995, wolves became the subject of enormous controversy, and rather than subsiding once a healthier ecosystem emerged, the controversy only grew over the years that followed. – Continue reading

Grizzly Bear Controversy from the Grand Teton National Park Elk Hunt

Grizzly Bear #399 emerges from behind a spruce tree in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The annual Grand Teton National Park Elk Reduction Hunt has been the subject of controversy for a number of years now, but following the death of a male grizzly along the Snake River, tensions began to escalate between a growing movement of people opposing the hunt, and the park itself.

The hunt has become something of a joke to those who oppose it. They certainly have credence given that many "hunters" can be seen parked along the roadsides south of Blacktail Butte as they sit in their cars with the heater on waiting for elk to wander by, then fire at will as soon as a small herd passes through. Along these lines, I tend to agree with the opposition to the hunt. This behavior is in no way representative of actual hunting. – Continue reading