Category Archives: Wyoming

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.

Wild Yellowstone – Day 10 (Gardiner to Cooke City )

Day 10 was another day of travel as we were moving across to Cooke City, which would be our base for the remainder of the shoot. Our only planned stop along the way was Mammoth Hot Springs.  The thermal features at Mammoth are at their best before the hot sun burns off the mist and steam that comes off the hot pools and springs. We arrived about 8.30 am and began photographing the various thermal features and terraces making up Palette Spring. Our treat for the morning was a small heard of elk making their way across and down the terraces. While it would have been nice to have got an odd number in the same frame one always seemed to be looking away or doing something that spoiled the composition.

Elk on Palette Spring Terraces

As with all of the thermal features in Yellowstone the hot springs and pools are in a constant state of change, none more so than those at Mammoth. On my first visit to Yellowstone (winter of 2006) Canary Spring was absolutely spectacular, but on subsequent visits it was obvious that the feeder pool was moving further down and across the hillside. Fortunately, it seems to have stabilised for a while because the springs and terraces, albeit much further from the boardwalk viewpoints, are again full of colour.

Canary Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs

We arrived in Cooke City (Montana) in late afternoon.  After unloading our belongings at the motel we headed west out of town along the Beartooth Highway. This road is closed during the winter as it rises to around 11,500 feet and is snow covered. Even in late June there was still plenty of snow to be seen. The highest parts of the Beartooth Highway level off into a wide plateau near the top of the pass. Panoramic views over the numerous lakes that are typical of the  Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area are available from the plateau. The area is also part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

We made numerous stops along the road to photograph the wild flowers and even the odd Yellow Bellied Marmot who found us just as interesting as we did them.

Yellow Bellied Marmot, Beartooth Pass

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 – Day 9 (Yellowstone National Park)

This was our last full day within the official park boundary. Most of the morning was spent driving along the Grand Loop road towards Gardiner, which we hoped to get to by early afternoon. Our route took us past many  of the areas we’d visited earlier in the week (i.e Gibbon River, Elk Meadow, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Dunraven Pass), but was just as rewarding as it had been previously.

A few miles short of Tower Falls we came across about a half dozen cars parked by the side of the road. Not being an official stop we were fairly sure that this was because bears had been spotted. Are suspicions were correct, but to our delight it was actually a pair of Black Bears (mother and cub) playing amongst the meadow flowers.

Black Bears (mother and  cub), Tower Falls Area

A quick stop in Gardiner to check into our motel was followed by the short drive down into the Gardiner Basin. This area is usually the best place to find Pronghorn Antelope, and we weren’t to be disappointed.

Pronghorn Antelope, Gardiner Basin

The Gardiner Basin road is really not much more than a dirt track bounded on one side by mountains and the other by the Yellowstone River. Apart from a few farms and the Pronghorn there usually isn’t a lot else to photograph. However, on this occasion we found a Wheel Line irrigation system in full flow.

Wheel Line Irrigation System, Gardiner Basin

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 – Day 7 (Yellowstone National Park)

Day 7 began very early (5.30 am) as we wanted to photograph sunrise over the river in Madison Valley and the steam and mist rising from the various geysers, hot springs and thermal pools of the Lower Geyser Basin. During winter and fall the steam and mist linger for much of the day, but in summer the high temperatures burn it off very quickly.

Lower Geyser Basin

By the the time we reached Tangled Creek (7.00 am) much of the steam and mist was already gone. Nevertheless, we decided it was still worth stopping and trying to make the best of what remained.

Skeleton Trees at Tangled Creek

The plan for the remainder of the day was to make our way across the park to the West Thumb Geyser Basin. This basin lies on the shores of Lake Yellowstone and is always very popular with tourists coming into the park via the South East Entrance Road. As it happened we arrived at West Thumb at the same time a two fully laden buses of Chinese tourists. A sturdy tripod comes in very useful in such occasions 😉

Tree Swallows Mating, West Thumb Geyser Basin

On our journey back to West Yellowstone we made a short stop at Black Sand Basin, which has always been a personal favourite of mine. Given the lack of steam and mist from the thermal pools we wouldn’t normally have bothered, but on this occasion it provided an opportunity for panorama shots of Sunset Lake.

Sunset Lake, Black Sand Basin

 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.