Monthly Archives: October 2011

Rocky Mountain Gold – Day 9- Grand Teton National Park

As per the weather forecast day 9 began with heavy rain. Our plans to visit the Moulton Barn for sunrise were abandoned, instead we took an early breakfast.  After breakfast we headed towards the Gros Ventre area in search of moose. On past trips to Grand Teton NP I had always been fortunate in seeing moose in this area and sure enough we weren’t to be disappointed this time. A small family group comprising a bull and two cows were spotted at a location were the Gros Ventre river comes very close to the road, so access was relatively easy. Getting an unobstructed shot proved more difficult, but we did succeed.

Bull Moose, Gros Ventre River

The remainder of the morning and early afternoon were spent dodging in and out of heavy rain showers, but we did manage to get some very nice shots at Schwabachers’s Landing and along the Snake River.

Clearing Weather at Schwabacher’s Landing, Snake River

Cottonwoods and Teton Mountains

Schwabacher’s Landing, Snake River

By late afternoon the rain had eased considerably, so we headed back over to the Gros Ventre in the hope of getting some shots of sunlit cottonwoods and aspens alongside the river and hillsides. We also spent some time photographing the moose family that we’d spotted earlier in the day.

Moose, Gros Ventre River

Gathering Clouds, Gros Ventre

Given the weather conditions were so bad for most of the day I think we had a fairly successful days photography. As it’s our last day in Grand Teton NP let’s hope tomorrow brings better weather.

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

Rocky Mountain Gold – Day 8 – (West Yellowstone to Jackson Hole)

Day 7 was to be our last day in Yellowstone. Fortunately, we awoke to reasonably kind weather, but the forecast for the afternoon wasn’t so good.

The route between West Yellowstone and Jackson Hole allowed us to visit a few stops that we’d previously missed. These included the Lower Geyser Basin and West Thumb. On our way to the Lower Geyser Basin we came across a large heard of Bison grazing on the frosted grasses of Fountain Flats meadow. Needless to say we didn’t need much encouragement to stop and take a few shots. During our short stay the bison moved back and forth across the road. So, one minute the meadow was crowded with bison and the next only a few remained. The following photograph shows a couple that decided to stay put and enjoy the grazing.

Bison Grazing in Frost, Fountain Flats Meadow

The Lower Geyser Basin is only a short distance along the road from Fountain Flats, so the stop for the bison didn’t delay us too long. The following is one of my favourites, and was taken in the run-off area below Silex Spring.

Acorn in Bacteria and Algae Pool, Lower Geyser Basin

Our next planned stop was West Thumb Geyser Basin, which was a good hours drive away. When we arrived the sun was out, but clouds were gathering (here comes the rain again).  West Thumb Geyser Basin is located on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, and is inaccessible in winter. Therefore, this would be my first visit and I didn’t need much encouragement to walk around the various pools. Some are a lot more colourful than others, but all were worth a shot or two. I particularly liked the moody lighting and clouds patterns shown in the following shots of Blue Funnel Spring and Abyss Pool.

Blue Funnel Spring, West Thumb Geyser Basin

Abyss Pool, West Thumb Geyser Basin

Having finally got some photographs of West Thumb it was time for us to travel on to the Grand Teton National Park. As we drove along the lakeside we came across a grove of aspens backed by conifers. The contrast in colours was spectacular, but when the sunlight began to shine along the top of the conifers we got really excited. I think the following shot shows why we spent the best part of 30 minutes at this particular spot.

Orange and Green, Jackson Lake

Our last stop before heading on to Jackson Hole was String Lake. This is one the three small glacial lakes that lies at the foot of the Teton mountains. There are some very nice walks along the shoreline of String Lake and this presented us with plenty of opportunities to photograph the mix of colours from the trees reflecting into the lake.

String Lake Shoreline, Grand Teton National Park

Weather for day 8 is forecast to be horrid – heavy showers in morning turning to continuous rain in the afternoon. Fingers crossed the forecasters are wrong.

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

Rocky Mountain Gold – Day 7 – Yellowstone National Park

Given our intention to photograph the sunrise over the Madison Valley it was a very early start to day 7. For a change the weather was fine with broken clouds. I managed to capture a few nice shots, but nothing spectacular.

Having got the sunrise out of the way we moved on to Tangled Creek. First thing in the morning is by far the best time to photograph this particular area as the overnight frost tends to cause steam to rise off the creek, which winds its way amongst the trees. The following two shots are favourites from my time at Tangled Creek.

Skeleton Trees  in Morning Light, Tangled Creek

Morning Mist, Tangled Creek

After breakfast at the Old Faithful visitor centre we walked around the many pools, springs and geysers making up the Upper Geyer Basin. I’d photographed many on my previous winter visits, but hadn’t managed to get anything I liked of Crested Pool,  Grotto Geyser or Morning Glory. This time I was determined to get a respectable photograph of each.

Crested Pool, Upper Geyser Basin

Grotto Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin

Normally, a polarising filter is used to reduce reflections in the pools, but on this occasion I like the reflection of the cloud in Morning Glory, so removed the filter before taking the shot.

Morning Glory and Cloud Reflection, Upper Geyser Basin

Our final stop of the day was the Midway Geyser Basin. I took quite a few shots of the various pools and springs, but for a change also included some of the silhouettes of people walking along the boardwalks.

Boardwalk, Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin

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

Rocky Mountain Gold – Day 6 – Yellowstone National Park

Day 6 began with much better weather than the previous day, which was quite fortunate in that we had planned a fairly long drive across the park to Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley.

On arrival at Mammoth we drove round the loop road to the Orange Spring Mound. I’d not seen this particular feature on my previous visits to Mammoth, so was pleased to see that was it active, and the algae covered travertine was quite colourful.

Orange Spring Mound, Mammoth Hot Springs

Bacteria and Algae Detail on Orange Spring Mound, Mammoth Hot Springs

After, Orange Spring Mound we travelled the short distance to the Upper Terrace area. Sadly, Angel Terrace had become inactive since my last visit and wasn’t particularly photogenic. Therefore, we walked on down to the Main Terrace area, which as it turned out was much better than it had been on any of my previous visits.

Bacteria and Algae Detail on Main Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs

Dryad Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs

Skeleton Leaves in Hot Pool, Mammoth Hot Springs

After lunch we travelled on to the Lamar Valley in search of wildlife such as elk, bison and bears. As it turned out, the wildlife we did see was at a distance, so Plan B (landscape photography) was put into operation. Actually, the lighting in the valley along with the fall colours was quite spectacular, and many quality photographs were captured.

Fall Colours on Cottonwoods and Aspens, Lamar Valley

By chance a small group of us did manage to see and photograph a grizzly bear making its way up a hillside near the confluence of Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River.

Grizzly Bear, Lamar Valley

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