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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This past summer, much of my inspiration shifted from the Jackson Hole valley floor to much higher elevations found up in the mountains. While the higher elevations had always been significant motivation for me, this past season saw that motivation become much more pronounced, weening my inspiration away from the roadsides. In addition, there’s also my upcoming TEDxJacksonHole talk and completing my short film on light pollution, both of which demanded a large chunk of my time, forcing me to drastically reduce my work with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. However, though my days are limited at the moment, I had a recent trip with exceptional opportunities found throughout the valley with a delightful pair of other photographers.
We were off well before sunrise in a downpour that showed no signs of letting up.
With several projects going on right now, I was able to find time to take a little afternoon escape into some fall colors of Jackson Hole. I headed over to the Shadow Mountain area, along the eastern boundary of Grand Teton National Park, and began hiking around the game trails to guide me through the meadows and aspen groves.
I had hoped to hike up part of Shadow Mountain as well, where even more bright colors were waiting, no doubt with tremendous views below, but I found the few hours I had to play at the base plenty to satisfy my craving to get outdoors. Since it had been almost three weeks since I last hiked, it was a welcome break from sitting at the computer and running around town.
Fog lifts around the Teton Mountains and above East Gros Ventre Butte as seen from the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming.
Many people have made New Year’s Resolutions, and most won’t be kept. The problem with the average New Year’s Resolution is that it’s such a drastic departure from a normal routine that it becomes very easy to break. In most cases, it also comes at a cost that most people don’t want to experience: cutting out sugar; waking up much earlier to run; etc. Without seeing much evidence for any immediate change, old habits revert back to a natural routine. What if you could adapt a New Year’s Resolution that not only brought about noticeable change, but actually made you feel better? We’ve all experienced that feeling of invincibility, where nothing could bring us down. What if that feeling, where no matter what someone said we were still flying high, could become the norm?
My first leg of this trip was spent in the vast, open prairie expanses of Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. The days consistently offered nothing more than gray skies, harsh winds, and biting cold mornings. I spent a bit of one of the later afternoons at the badlands of the east block when I immediately became ready to make an early departure for either Moose Mountain or Duck Mountain Provincial Parks. I ultimately decided to wait out the drive for one more night.
Upon awakening the next morning, I saw the moon shining brightly over one horizon and to the other, early daylight cresting the hills. Eager to exploit a potentially clear sunrise, I preformed a quick morning routine, got dressed, and stepped outside only to find that there would be no sunrise.
A dramatic sunset casts a pink glow over the North Fork of Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Whenever planning a backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park, or any national park, always check with that park’s Visitor Center to inquire about any necessary permits. A free permit is required when backpacking in Grand Teton National Park.
Interested in meeting other hikers from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem? Join my Google+ Community dedicated to hiking and backpacking the GYE’s wilderness and protected lands!
Distance (loop): 19.2 miles
Best time of year: Summer, Fall
For those with limited time, but want a true excursion into the Teton Mountains, there is no better journey than the Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop. Both canyons deliver tremendous views of both the backcountry of the mountains and overlooks of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Though the scenery is only a sampling that the Tetons have to offer, it is a tremendous representation of the magnificent mountain terrain.
One of the trickiest times to photograph wildlife is during a snowstorm. The bright, white snowflakes distract many auto-focus mechanisms on lenses no matter how expensive the glass. Thanks to a bit of modern technology though, there is a more reliable work-around than manually focusing, provided you have an animal that is not moving too quickly.
In the case of this bull moose during a winter storm, I had been attempting to get an auto-focused shot of him, but the snow was so thick, shots were being lost as the snow continued to fall quite heavily. The Canon 7D, along with most newer cameras, have the ability to switch to a live-view mode. By using this feature, I had turned it on showing a preview of the scene, zoomed in by a factor of 10, and was able to get a much more reliable focus of the moose in just a few seconds.