Category Archives: Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area

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

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.

Wild Yellowstone – Days 11-13 (Beartooth Mountains)

Days 11 through 13 were spent photographing various locations along the Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph Highway.

Throughout our stay in Cooke City a forest fire burned about 2 miles west of the town. While it seemed to be under control (well most of the time) we often had to wait for the assistance of a pilot car. While waiting we usually managed to grab a few shots of the fire leaping from tree to tree.

Forest Fire, Shoshone National Forest, Cooke City

Forest Fire, Shoshone National Forest, Cooke City

Melting Snow at Long Lake, Beartooth Pass

This part of the shoot was intended to give us the opportunity to photograph the wild flowers and birds found in the area. The wild flowers could be found in abundance on the plateau at the top of the Beartooth Pass. Our success in obtaining the bird shots was mainly due to the assistance of a local nature photographer with an intimate knowledge of nesting sites for many of the species found in the area. To avoid disturbing the birds we worked in small groups and only for short periods.

Shooting-star, Beartooth Pass

Mountain Bluebird Landing, Beartooth Pass

Mountain Bluebird, Beartooth Pass

Great Grey Owlet, Beartooth Pass

Great Grey Owl (adult), Beartooth Pass

Red Fox, Silver Gate

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.