Preserving the Dark Skies of Jackson Hole

Reclaiming the Night - Preserving the Dark Skies of Jackson Hole
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I recently completed work on my first film, Reclaiming the Night: Preserving the Dark Skies of Jackson Hole. The short film, at just over 12 minutes, discusses the issue of light pollution, how it negatively affects Jackson Hole and beyond, the vast amount of wasted energy spent on it, and how Jackson Hole can benefit exponentially from embracing the night skies, something they have thus far failed to do as demonstrated in the film, despite it being a high priority in the Comprehensive Plan.

The reduction of light pollution is a movement gaining enormous momentum around the world and Jackson has the potential to receive tremendous economic gain by encouraging both residential and commercial areas to begin turning out the lights.
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Categorized: Video
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A Short Backpacking Trip to Coyote Rock

Illuminated tent under a night sky with the Teton Mountains, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Illuminated tent under a night sky with the Teton Mountains, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Distance (one way): 2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall

All that work and I still don’t have even one photo of Coyote Rock.

Located just east of Grand Teton National Park, high above the valley of Jackson Hole, lies a lone boulder secluded in its recession on a hill that delivers tremendous views of the region. This is Coyote Rock. Though the trail only brings you two miles from the road, the feeling of isolation and disconnection from the valley below is easily attainable.

I made a short, overnight backpacking trip to this rock late in June with the purpose of acquiring some new night photography imagery while also catching a quick escape into nature. Due to my timing, the mosquitoes were aggressively anxious for attention, but are typically only in the area from mid-June to early July, so don’t expect them if you’re visiting outside of that time.
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Categorized: Hikes and Backpacks, Travel Logs, Wyoming
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Future Plans for Free Roaming Photography

Milky Way arching across the night sky with airglow above a tent, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Milky Way arching across the night sky with airglow above a tent, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

I haven’t been updating this blog much, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I’m currently wrapping up a video on light pollution in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area, plotting a large road trip around the southwest for a follow-up video covering the region’s dark skies, and finally, making plans with my girlfriend to hike the Hayduke Trail, an 800-mile trail stretching from Arches National Park to Zion National Park with a detour through the Grand Canyon.

What Is Light Pollution?

The upcoming video, which I’m hoping to have ready by the end of the summer, will cover the basics of light pollution, how it affects Jackson Hole, some potential solutions, and the importance of the night sky to the area. It’s a personal project that I began upon teaming up with Wyoming Stargazing, whose ultimate goal at the moment is to construct an observatory and planetarium right here in Jackson, Wyoming.
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Categorized: Hayduke Trail, Travel Logs, Video
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Night Photography Explored: Part 7 – Reclaiming the Night


A trailer for Reclaiming the Night, following Wyoming Stargazing’s mission to build an observatory and planetarium in Jackson, Wyoming

One of western culture’s greatest collective fear is the fear of the dark. This fear has been with humanity longer than any written records, and countless stories and myths were created to ignorantly perpetuate that fear. Well into today, that irrational perpetuation is continued through the news outlets, repeatedly reporting of violent crimes taking place from people lurking in the shadows, or psychotic individuals in extremely remote places waiting for someone to park in just the wrong spot. A fear of the big, bad wolf or of the ever-menacing grizzly bear insure that we keep away from nature at night as well, and yet, if we’re to have truly successful night shots, these are the places we need to be to do so.
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Categorized: Article, How To
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Grizzly Bear and Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop

Together with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, I’m offering a spring wildlife photography workshop that focuses on finding the apex predators of the region, along with all the other spring offspring flourishing throughout the ecosystem.

We’ll spend the first few days exploring Grand Teton National Park in search of the grizzly bears that have begun to leave their mark on the park while also capturing and taking advantage of all the other wildlife we find along the way. Most of the time will be spent where we encounter grizzlies most often, so much of the attention will go to them, but we will certainly take advantage of other opportunities and sights in between the grizzly bear opportunities.

After a few days in Teton Park, we’ll head up north in search of the famous Yellowstone wolves as well as other grizzlies and abundant wildlife.
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Categorized: JH Wildlife Safaris, Photo Workshop, Video
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12 Favorite Photos from 2013

January
Mountain lion kittens sit cautiously behind their mother in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Mountain lion kittens sit cautiously behind their mother in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Certainly one of the most exciting moments of the year was when I found myself sharing a trail with cougars. This was not just the first time I had ever seen wild cougars, it was the first time I had ever seen wild cats at all. The excitement I felt in the moment was overwhelming, and equally was the disappointment when they began to run away. Taking ample time to fully immerse myself in the scene, and not just grab a few shots, it became a defining moment that I will not soon forget.

February
A coyote quietly sneaks through snow and sagebrush in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
A coyote quietly sneaks through snow and sagebrush in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Yellowstone always provides a great getaway during the winter. Plenty of wildlife scours the blanket of snow for traces of food during the harsh winters, much of it unconcerned if a road crosses its path.
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