Category Archives: Yellowstone National Park

Spring in Yellowstone National Park 2017

So, another trip to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks is over. As was the case on previous trips, our first few days were spent around Jackson Hole (Wyoming). We visited all of the our favourite locations in and around the Grand Teton National Park. The wildflower meadows at Antelope Flats were a mass of colour with Arrow-root Balsam, Mules Ears, Penstemons, Skyrockets, Lupins, Paintbrush, etc. Unfortunately, the weather and lighting conditions were less than ideal with heavy grey skies being the norm. However, the odd break in the clouds allowed strips of sunlight to make for some moody images.

The Grand Teton, Grand Teton National Park

Some time was also spent around the Gros Ventre river and camp site where we came across Western Tanagers. Adult males have a bright red face and a yellow nape, shoulder, and rump, with black upper back, wings, and tail.

Western Tanager, Grand Teton National Park

After a few days in Grand Teton we moved on to Yellowstone National Park. As is usual when we visit Yellowstone we based ourselves in West Yellowstone. The town and park were both very busy as would be expected in holiday season. The trick is to be in the park early to avoid the crowds, but also to ensure that the steam clouds rising from the rivers and thermal pools hadn’t been burnt off.

Morning Mist On Madison River

The Upper Geyser basin (location of Old Faithful) is another early morning favourite and the following image of Morning Glory Pool is a particular favourite of mine. The wooden deck around one edge of the pool helps frame one side of the pool. However, it can be a problem due to morning shadows spilling on to the pool itself. On this occasion I was lucky.

Morning Glory Pool, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Some time was also spent exploring the Lower Geyser Basin area, especially the spouters and geysers such as Clepsydra.

Clepsydra Geyser, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

We’re always on the lookout for bears as we travel around the park, and this year presented us with more sightings than usual.

Black Bear Cub, Blacktail Plateau, Yellowstone National Park

Having spent four days photographing the main park we moved across to Cooke City, which is on the south side of the park. From there we had easy access to the Beartooth Mountains.

Snowcapped Mountain, Beartooth Mountains

We spent the next 5 days high up into the Beartooth mountains.  These gave us plenty of opportunities to photograph the wild Mountain Goats that roam high up in the mountains, and the wild flowers.

As with our previous spring trips to the area we had arranged to meet up with a local wildlife photographer. He had sought out many good nesting sites for birds such as: Red-naped Woodpeckers, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Mountain Bluebirds and Northern Flickers.

Northern Flicker Leaves Nest, Shoshone National Forest

More photos from this trip can be viewed in this gallery.

Note: I don’t allow comments on Blog pages, but am more than happy to receive your thoughts on the photos and/or the tutorials etc. Just send an email to ilyons@msn.com

Spring in Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

Red-knaped Woodpecker in Flight, Beartooth Mountains The first leg of my trip to USA has now finished and we have moved on to Alaska. While I managed to take many and varied photographs in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks my Internet connection wasn’t sufficiently strong or stable to allow for anything other than the odd e-mail.  Instead, I’ve put together a selection of photographs, which I hope to upload shortly. In the meantime, I’ve uploaded some representative images from Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

Update: a gallery of photos from trip can be viewed here

Our first few days were spent around Jackson (Wyoming). We visited all of the usual favourite locations in Grand Teton National Park along with some of the more photogenic areas just outside of there park proper. The wildflower meadows at Antelope Flats were a mass of colour with Arrow-root Balsam, Mules Ears, Penstemons, Skyrockets, Lupins, Paintbrush, etc. The scene really looked quite spectacular with the Teton mountain range as a backdrop.

Wild Flower Meadow, & Grand Tetons, Grand Teton National Park

Wild Flower Meadow, Grand Tetons, Grand Teton National Park

Our day tends to start quite early, and on two occassions we were up and out by 4.30am. This allowed us to capture sunrise although the lack of clouds meant that the spectacular colours we had hoped for didn’t materialise. Nevertheless, some very nice images were captured. The following shot of the Teton mountains reflecting on the still water of the Snake River at Schwabacher’s Landing is a particulr favourite.

Teton Sunrise, Schwabacher's Landing, Grand Teton National Park

Teton Sunrise, Schwabacher’s Landing, Grand Teton National Park

After a few days we moved on to Yellowstone National Park. As is usual when we visit Yellowstone we based ourselves in West Yellowstone. The town and park were both very busy with much larger numbers of visitors than we expected, and it was extremely hot. Early morning was best as the park was quiet and lighting much better for photography. Also, during late spring and summer the steam and mists coming off the rivers and hot springs burns off quite quickly. The photograph shown directly below was captured just after sunrise.

Morning Mist, Madison River, Yellowstone National Park

Morning Mist, Madison River, Yellowstone National Park

The Upper Geyser basin (location of Old Faithful) is another early morning favourite and the following image of Geyser Hill is a particular favourite from our visit to the area.

Early Morning, Geyser Hill, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Early Morning, Geyser Hill, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

One of the most disappointing aspects of this trip was that the herds of Bison and Elk normally found along the Madison River were missing. Fortunately, we eventually located a huge herd of Bison in the Lamar Valley. Elk were much more difficult to find, but we did manage to find a few. Other sought after wildlife in Yellowstone are the bears, namely the Grizzly Bear. Again, fortune was on our side and we came a across a cub playing in amongst the wild flowers high up in the Dunraven Pass.

Playful Grizzly Cub, Dunraven Pass, Yellowstone National Park

Playful Grizzly Cub, Dunraven Pass, Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth Hot Springs is another popular location, but on previous recent visits we had noticed that the thermal pools and springs were becoming less acessible as they moved further from the boardwalks. This next image is virtually all that remains accessible at the upper section of Canary Spring.

Upper Camary Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

Upper Canary Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

After best part of a week based in West Yellowstone we moved across to the south side of the park to Cooke City. From there we had easy access to the Beartooth Mountains.

We had two visits up high up into the mountains via the Beartooth Pass. These gave us plenty of opportunities to photograph the wild Mountain Goats that roam high up in the mountains, and the wild flowers.

Mountain Goat, Twin Lakes Overlook, Beartooth Mountains

Mountain Goats, Twin Lakes Overlook, Beartooth Mountains

Gardner Lake Overlook, Beartooth Mountains

Wild Flowers, Gardner Lake Overlook, Beartooth Mountains

As with our previous spring trip to the Beartooth Mountains we had arranged to meet up with a local wildlife photographer. He had sought out many good nesting sites for birds such as: Wrens, Red-naped Woodpeckers, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Great Gray Owls, Great Horned Owls, Mountain Bluebirds and few others I can’t recall the names of.

Wren in Flight, Beartooth Mountains

Wren in Flight, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming

Red-knaped Woodpecker in Flight, Beartooth Mountains

Red-knaped Woodpecker in Flight, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming

American Three-toed Woodpecker, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming

American Three-toed Woodpecker, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming

Great Gray Owl, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming

Great Gray Owl, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming

Images are GPS tagged and edited in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015

** Disclaimer** Above images are quick previews specifically for this blog so that family and friends can see how things are going.

Off to the United States

geyserI’m off tomorrow for the United States on a 24 day photo tour. The tour takes in two major locations and was arranged by Roger Reynolds at Photoventures. For the first part of the tour we plan to explore a wide variety of locations around the greater Yellowstone area. Obviously, we’ll take in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, but a good chunk of our time will be spent photographing the flora and fauna found in the Beartooth Mountains. This is a really amazing location in South Central Montana and Northwest Wyoming. The mountains and forests around them are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. I made a similar trip back in the late spring of 2012 and got some really nice photos (see the gallery here).  In case you’re wondering why you haven’t seen this gallery before; it’s because I didn’t publish it until very recently. Many of the photos were posted as part of my daily Blog for the trip, but I must have forgotten to upload the final gallery. I’ve posted a couple here as reminders.

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Skeleton Trees at Tangled Creek

We were actually quite lucky on that trip because our local wildlife guide had located a Great Grey Owl’s nest deep in one of the forests on the edge of the Beartooth.

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Great Grey Owlet, Beartooth Mountains

Hopefully, we’ll be lucky again this time. If not then I suspect the the second part of this tour will make up for any disappointments in so far as it takes us over to Alaska. Yep, Alaska! There we’ll be spending few days at Brook’s Lodge in Katmai National Park photographing the bears as they feed on the salmon making their way up the Brooks River.

Brooks-Camp-map

Map of Brooks Lodge Area, Katmai National Park

We’ll also spend the remainder of our time photographing around Homer, Eagle River, and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

All being well, I’ll post a few photos during the trip. Something tells me that I will have used the Canon EOS 7D MkII and EF 100-400m MkII combination for a high proportion of them.

Note: I don’t allow comments on Blog pages, but am more than happy to receive your thoughts on the photos and/or the tutorials etc. Just send an email to ilyons@msn.com

Wild Yellowstone – Day 14 (Cooke City to Jackson Hole)

Day 14 was the final day of photography. We had a 160 or so mile drive from Cooke City to Jackson Hole in front of us. However, before setting off for Jackson Hole we managed to squeeze in another few hours photographing the nesting sites we had visited in previous days. On our way to he nesting sites we spotted our first and only Moose of the trip.

Moose, Clark’s Fork, Beartooth Pass

Mountain Bluebird, Beartooth Pass

Wren Landing at Nest, Beartooth Pass

Bull Elk, Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb

Images edited in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1

** Disclaimer** Above images are quick previews specifically for this blog so that friends and family can see how I’m getting on.