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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During my trip to the southwestern United States this past fall, one of my destinations was Chaco Culture National Historic Park, or more commonly known as, Chaco Canyon. Turning off the highway overrun these days with traffic for the oil and gas industry, I began the winding journey down the back roads to Chaco Canyon, only to find 15 miles in that the campground was full. An amazing thing about Chaco Canyon is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. A downside to Chaco Canyon is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. The nearest lodging, assuming I wanted to go that route, was over two hours away and I wasn’t quite sure just how far back the oil industry was destroying our beautiful BLM lands, so camping anywhere nearby was out of the question. I pulled out my atlas and found two national monuments still in northwestern New Mexico, but neither of them terribly close, either being a good bet for camping though.
A Geminid Meteor streaks through the sky above the Gros Ventre River in Grand Teton National Park.
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III, Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4, Aperture: f/4, ISO: 4,000, Shutter Speed: 10sec., Focal Length: 17mm
By contrast to photographing the northern lights, meteor showers are much more predictable for their peak and thus help to be easily planned out to photograph. Predicting exactly when a meteor is going to streak across the sky though is a lot like trying to predict when lightning will strike. This section will help you get the most out of every meteor shower so that you’ll be able to come away with some great shots of shooting stars!Setting Up
This is where you’ll definitely want to be capturing more sky than land, even if there is moonlight. Your composition can certainly have some distinct silhouettes, or even features if there’s moonlight, but you want the majority of your image to be of the night sky.
Grizzly Bear 610 plays and wrestles with her cubs in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Last week, Grizzly Bear 610 of Grand Teton National Park officially emerged from her den. She was out wandering around Signal Mountain for a few weeks prior to that, but it wasn’t until about a week ago that she began to venture farther out to places such as Oxbow Bend and Willow Flats, giving many more people the opportunity to witness her happiness for being out and about.
Grizzly Bear 610 is of course the daughter of Jackson Hole icon, Grizzly Bear 399, who achieved quite a bit of recognition several years ago for successfully raising three cubs along the roadsides near Oxbow Bend and Jackson Lake Lodge, of which 610 was one of. Last year, both bears, who had been frequenting the same areas, each emerged with their own set of new cubs.
A video compilation featuring winter footage from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and beyond.
Winter appears to winding down here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming significantly early. I suppose Mother Nature felt bad for giving us such a short summer last year, so if weather stays consistent, we’ll have an extra month this year!
For the most part, winter wasn’t incredibly eventful. The title comes from winter being unusually warm much of the time. There were certainly plenty of cold days as well as a pretty respectable amount of snow, but it never really "felt" like a Jackson Hole winter. As a result, much of the wildlife didn’t follow their usual rounds and so sightings weren’t quite as frequent or predictable. Luckily though, there’s still always wildlife to be found and sometimes even gives you a little surprise.
One such occasion was when a black wolf and a mule deer buck had a two-day standoff just off the highway, captivating the town.
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.
I have a few good friends who occasionally allow me the opportunity to plug in to their longer lenses. During this time, it’s tempting to get as much as I can from one of those lenses, even if it might not necessarily be the best lens for the specific scene.
Prior to today, winter had seemed to be put on hold as temperatures were unusually warm, rising into the 20s and 30s, melting what little snow was already on the ground. Flat Creek in the National Elk Refuge was certainly no exception. Normally completely frozen over, an area just outside of town was mostly thawed out, attracting many birds and smaller wildlife that normally move to more open water. Otters in particular have been spotted fairly regularly now, attracting a growing fondness from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.