Last Saturday it was very overcast with rain every once in a while.
Barn on Mormon Row
Rain down here in the valley often means snow on the mountain tops and sure enough there was fresh snow up high. Since Sunday night was very clear I headed out to see if I could capture the moonlight on the mountains at a couple of favorite spots. The effort paid off with a couple of really nice images.
A friend who was camping here told me about a good spot for viewing elk. She said a good time is early morning so I went there so early it was too early for photos. But as I parked I could hear several bulls bugling and even the sound of antlers clashing. Wow! Where’s that sun when you need it?! Once it got lighter and I had the camera out I did see a bull with his harem. There were a couple of other bulls nearby but all were rather far away.
Chasing in interloper off
I went back last evening and the elk were out but again rather far away. I will return to the location.
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On this trip west I returned to a NFS campground in Colorado that I first visited in August 2017.The election is about 9300′ so it was very pleasant after the extreme heat to get there. There are some interesting birds there,including the Western Tanager and Stellar Jay. Both photos were taken through the trailer window so not the best. I even saw a bit of wildlife in the form of numerous chipmunks and a marmot.
The goal was to get to the Tetons and it’s wonderful to be back here. The first night was very clear so the pull of the night sky won out. What a spectacular view of the Milky Way.
Two morning later when I got the dogs out I looked across the main drive and there was a bull moose grazing on the willows! He kept looking off a ways so I thought there might be another moose around. Sure enough, there was a cow.
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Before leaving the beaver dam I spent a bit of time taking images of it and the creek.
Departure day and what do I see when I looked out the back window of the trailer at 0630 but a moose cow and calf next to the pond in addition to two of the beavers working. I grabbed the camera and went out, staying well back from the water. She spotted me and was leery, disappearing into the bushes quickly. She eventually came into sight as she left the area.
As I kept scanning to see her I spotted another cow and calf way across the area near the tree line.
The beavers continued to work on the dam, unimpressed by the moose or me. If I were to rate camping spots this would be at the top, simply the best and the one I’d love to return to some day.
On my way to Yellowstone I stopped in the Tetons for only 4 nights. Got another great site at Gros Ventre CG. There is a lot of smoke around, sometimes you could be at the south end of the Tetons and couldn’t even see the north end of the range. Last year the fires were raging in both Yellowstone and GTNP, this year they are not in the parks but still affecting them.
The second night I was there it was wonderfully clear so I went out to see what I could photograph. First stop was one of the old Mormon barns. There were a couple of guys there already and they were using some LED flashlights to light the barn. Not the best light since it tends to be a very cold white but I warmed it up a bit in the processing.
The night was so clear I wanted to take advantage of it so I headed down to Schwabacher’s Landing unsure if the setting would work or not. Yes! Just the spot to capture the Milky Way over the calm waters.
Tuesday morning I met up with a fellow photographer I’d met at Bosque del Apache and he
Milky Way over String Lake and the Tetons
kindly showed me one of his favorite locations in the area along with lots of tips about other places to go for wildlife. He also suggested I try String Lake for some night images. That night was wonderfully clear and the images I got are special.
Wednesday was full of moose. After feeding and walking the dogs I spotted a young bull in the area behind the trailer so I grabbed the camera and tripod. One of the fellows already out there said the big bull was laid down nearby. As I carefully went across the area I spotted another young bull and two cows. Wow, all the ingredients for action there! The moose spend a lot of time laid down with little
Young bull moose tempting fate
action going on but eventually the big bull did a good job of chasing one of the young bulls away, the other one left on its own. Another cow joined the other 2 and all the animals laid down, again. After 4 hours I quit and went back to the trailer for some food and to get some stuff done. Later I went back out and found the big bull and 3 cows laid down with one of the young bulls still close by. Eventually he wandered right over near the others and the big bull chased him up into the campground. I wasn’t in a good spot for any of the chasing shots, but managed to get a few other images.
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Our trip was cut short and I’m sorry to have ended the posts rather abruptly. We got home OK and I’ve helped Donna get some great mods done on her Casita.
Milky Way at Shell Mound, Lower Suwannee NWR
Fortunately we’ve had a couple of decent nights out, the first was an extremely clear night a good friend an I went to Shell Mound. It was about the best view of the Milky Way we’ve ever had.
We watched as a storm grew over Cedar Key and caught some of the lightning.
Milky Way and storm over Cedar Key, FL
Even the north end of the Milky Way was clear.
A couple of night later I went to Yankeetown with friends. The Perseid Meteor Shower was supposed to peak and we were hoping to
Storm over Withlacoochee Bay, FL
photograph a few. There was a big storm north of where we stopped and we got to see some very interesting cloud formations lit up by the lightning.
Very late the storm subsided and the clouds cleared a bit. The next morning I discovered I had captured a meteor after all.
We left Moab and had one night at Monument Valley, staying at Gouldings RV park. It’s only about 5 miles from there to the Monument Valley Tribal Park so we went over late in the day then again the next morning before heading out to the Grand Canyon.
I saw this puddle on our evening drive but the Three Sisters were in shadow so the next morning we were able to capture them reflected in the puddle. I bet most folks just drive on by, never seeing the reflection.
Fortunately the night was very clear so I went out to capture the Milky Way over some of the monuments. There is no access into the Tribal Park after 8 pm, so I stopped at a couple of pull outs along rt. 163 to get these images.
Thursday was my last full day in Moab proper so I went into Arches to see if I could get a few more photos. As expected there were lots of folks around but I managed to pretty much get people-free shots.
I really wanted to get at least 1 photo of Double Arch and was rewarded with more than 1 nice one. Including a rather unique one a reflection of the arches in a puddle.
Another place I stopped was Park Avenue, a canyon with a trail through it. I didn’t do the hike but got some nice shots of the canyon walls and vista.
Park Avenue vista
The clouds gain provided wonderful accents to the deep blue sky. The wide angle lens has been so useful this trip, needless to say the polarizing filter makes things really pop.
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