I moved up to Mammoth Hot Springs campground the end of August for several days. The fires in both ID and Montana are causing a lot of smoke to blow this way. It’s rare to see a blue sky and when the moon rises it is orange. This makes a good base to head over to Lamar Valley in search of wildlife so I’ve been there a few times and expect to return before I leave here. There is a small herd of Pronghorn Antelope that is sometimes visible so I took advantage of that one day.
I’ve heard of and seen some photos of the Big Horn sheep that live on the cliffs on the road to the North Entrance. Finally spotted them on the way back from Gardiner so I stopped and spent quite a while watching them. I wanted to see where they would go on the cliffs. They moved across the cliffs then went up and around out of sight.
Back in Lamar the bison are all over the place it seems. Yesterday morning I stopped to watch one group and was pleased to also see a Coyote hanging around them. They didn’t seem particularly worried about it but finally one of the bison chased it off. Before that happened I watched a calf following a raven around for about 5 minutes. The calf was always about 6′ behind the raven and seems quite curious.
Then I moved further into Lamar Valley and saw that some of the bison were on the move from up in the hills to down by the river. I parked where I thought a group would be crossing and sure enough, I was right there, too close for many photographs as it turned out.
This last image shows how much smoke has been around.
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The mountains here are spectacular! Everywhere I look I see them towering above me. I’ve done the Bow Valley drive 2 times and have seen 2 black bears, 2 elk cows, 2 elk bulls, 2 mule deer, and 3 Big Horn Rams. Not all photographed well but the rams and the bear today were nice captures.
Drove out to Yoho Valley NP but the road into the valley was closed. There is still a lot of snow on the ground around here. Then drove up to Crowfoot Glacier on the Icefields Parkway. It was snowing up there!
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The adventure has begun. I decided to stop at Badlands NP on the way to Alaska. Back in 2012 I visited here for a few days and since I’ve started doing night photography I thought this area would provide some impressive foregrounds for the Milky Way. Unfortunately Mother Nature isn’t up on the game plan. The last 2 nights were cloudy, so I made the best of it and got some nice images of lightning over the area.
At Pinnacles Overlook
Storm clouds and lightning over the Badlands.
There has been some sunshine and the Big Horn sheep have been in their usual location so I tried using my new-to-me telephoto and am pleased with the results. The young ones are fun to watch as they romp around. They romp with abandon for a while then crash and sleep.They’re also very curious and at one point got so close I couldn’t focus the lens, right about then one of the ewes came along and shooed them away.
A visit to the area isn’t complete unless you stop by Wall Drug in Wall, SD. It may have started out as one store but it has expanded over the years, now occupying many square feet, and carrying a large variety of items. As much fun as shopping is looking at the many displays.
Very intricate stained glass window above one of the entrances to Wall Drug.
Patience paid off and Sunday night I was able to photograph the Milky Way over some of the peaks in the park.
Milky Way over the Badlands, after moon set
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