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. - Continue reading

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. - Continue reading

Categorized: Hayduke Trail, Travel Logs, Video
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Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop Wrap-Up

Grizzly Bear #399 watching sunrise with her cubs, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Grizzly Bear #399 watches sunrise over Grand Teton National Park as her cubs graze.

This past Friday, we wrapped up our first annual Grizzly Bear and Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop. There were two workshops spanning five days each scouring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks for grizzly bears, wolves, black bears, bison calves, and all the other wildlife that calls Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks home. Though I was out recovering from a nasty virus for the first workshop, I was able to lead the second one, both coming out a huge success! Due to my absence from the first workshop, this will be a summary of the second workshop, though I was told the first week was able to find a whopping 38 different bears!

Black bear cub running through a meadow, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Black bear cub running through a meadow, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

For the second week, we started our drive from Jackson on Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park immersed in a healthy bison herd with the Teton Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop. - Continue reading

Categorized: JH Wildlife Safaris, photo workshop, Travel Logs
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Night Photography Explored: Part 6 – Post-Processing

Stars swirl around Polaris, the North Star, as northern lights dance on the northern horizon over Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
Stars swirl around Polaris, the North Star, as northern lights dance on the northern horizon over Jackson Hole.

Post-processing can be a very tricky, and often subjective, part of the photo creating process. It opens the door to a number of different formulas, styles, and personal tastes. As a result, I’m only going to explain what I would do in the situations I’ll discuss, primarily using Adobe Lightroom. I take advantage of Adobe Photoshop for some more unusual edits, which we’ll discuss. Regardless, this doesn’t make my edits right or wrong, and they’re certainly not a definitive guide on how to process an image, but it’s how I like my night sky images to look, and therefore, it’s what I know. There are a number of other techniques and styles to look into as well though, so the important factor is finding a style that you like and enjoy and incorporating your own personal tastes into that. - Continue reading

Categorized: 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. - Continue reading

Categorized: JH Wildlife Safaris, photo workshop, Video
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Night Photography Explored: Part 5 – Meteor Showers

A Geminid Meteor streaks through the sky above the Gros Ventre River in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (Mike Cavaroc)
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. - Continue reading

Categorized: How To
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