Tuesday, October 12, 2010

By the light the quivering Aspen made

Looking inside an Aspen grove on an early autumn morning in Grand Teton National Park.
Sir Walter Scott was describing a woman in his epic poem "Marmion" when he came up with the line that is the title of this post (near as I can tell anyway). I'm borrowing the phrase to try to help describe the amazing Aspen groves in full fall color I was able to walk in this fall. I hope the old boy wouldn't mind my borrowing of his line. Either way, I thought I'd invite you to step inside the Aspen grove with me and enjoy the scenery. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for looking.

Looking up... Many of the groves had very tall and majestic trees in the them.

This is along the Snake River. I liked the serenity of the lone fly fisherman with the aspen and pine in the background.
I believe this was Jackson Lake near a picnic area.

Pine and Aspen reflected in Jackson Lake.
A superb grove in a small meadow bathed in the early morning light. Something about the scene really drew me in. Simple beauty, I guess. That is the best thing I can come up with.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn in the Tetons

The Grand Teton from Willow Flat viewpoint in Grand Tetons National Park.
Words don't do them justice so I won't write any... well... other than telling you where and what you are looking at. These selections are from two different days in late September with blue skies and absolutely beautiful fall weather in one of the more stunning mountain ranges in the lower 48 states! Click on an image for a larger file to view and enjoy!

A wooden fence near the Historic Cunningham Cabin provides foreground to the Teton Range.
The cabin with the Grand Teton in the distance.
Through one of the open windows... nice view for a ramshackle cabin!
Another window view.
Through two windows for an interesting illusion of art on the living room wall. I submitted this to National Geographic's "Your Shot" and it made the daily dozen for October 6th. So now it has an outside chance of making November's issue. Link for the daily dozen is here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/your-shot/your-shot
Grand Teton and her sister peaks with the Snake River valley in the foreground.
Mount Moran reflecting in Jackson Lake.
Mount Moran from the Oxbow bend viewpoint. This is also the Snake River in the foreground.
I like the panoramic version better.

Mount Moran a little further down the trail with a stunning grove of Aspen in the foreground.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

YNP - Wildlife

An American Bison (Buffalo) moves through the tall grass of Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley.
Besides great scenery I also enjoy National Parks for the opportunity to see wildlife. Zoos are fine, but seeing the beast of the field actually on the field doing what they've done for thousands of years is pretty cool in my book. Below are my best efforts to capture the wildlife I saw in YNP and the surrounding area. Click on the image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by.

Near the original entrance at Gardiner, Montana we saw a small herd of Bighorn Sheep almost immediately. This old boy was kicking up the dust in this photo. He ended up laying down on this spot... so maybe he was just kicking the rocks out of his bed?!?
After stopping to photograph a colorful valley, I was able to capture this coyote as he popped out of some nearby trees with his supper. He crossed the highway and quickly was lost in the lodge pole pine forest on the slopes beyond.
A Redtail Hawk perched on a dead pine tree.
Mother moose and calf in Grand Teton's national park, near the village of Moose. Funny how that works.
A small elk herd near the West entrance (Madison Valley). It was fun to watch the old bull move amongst his harem. All were unwilling for the 15 minutes we watched and he bugled a few times because of it. Very cool to witness in person.

Aspen in the foreground, Bison in distance. Taken in the Lamar Valley of YNP. The day was hazy due to the nearby Antelope forest fire.
A lone coyote hunting in the Lamar Valley bottom.
I'm not sure what kind of rodent this guy is, but someone had left sunflower seeds at a scenic lookout on the Beartooth Mountain highway (on the way out of YNP's Northeast entrance) and he didn't mind getting his photo taken.
A lone buffalo in Hayden Valley of YNP.
My first bear in the wild. This was taken east of Tower Falls in YNP. I saw two black bears but no Grizzleys.
2nd Black Bear a few miles further up the road in the hillside forest.
Buffalo and Aspen in the Lamar Valley of YNP.
This buffalo was ahead of the herd and walked right up to my vehicle... well he would have if I didn't jump in and move out of the way before he got there. Made for some interesting photos though.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

YNP - Yellowstone Falls

The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.

I ended up visiting the Lower Yellowstone Falls three times during my week in YNP. I still didn't go on all the trails or see all the viewpoints by a long shot. There are trails taking you near the base and also trails taking you to the brink. The amazing thing is that the falls and resulting canyon are so immense and breathtaking that you don't really notice the trails or the people. Late September in full sun is probably not the best time to photograph the falls as they seem to be in constant shadow one way or the other. My best shots are probably when I was there the last time late in the day and the camera was basically looking right into the teeth of the sun. Regardless, the place is spectacular and here are my best efforts to take the the portraits of both the upper and lower falls. Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for looking.

The lower falls on my first visit early in the morning. Notice the viewing area right at the brink to the upper right of the falls in the photo. That will give you some perspective on size.

This is looking back at the canyon carved by the river from the Artist's viewpoint. Only the Grand Canyon in Arizona is a more impressive canyon that I've ever witnessed.
The upper falls.

A couple views from Uncle Tom's trail. Starting in 1898 Tom Richardson was one of the first people to construct a trail into the canyon for people to get a better view of the falls. He used rope ladders and wooden steps as well as provided a meal for the day long excursion, all while making a nice profit from each tourist. Luckily there are steel and cement stairs now and as long as you paid to get in the park, the hike is free. I realized on the climb back up just how much of a flatlander I really am though!

The famous view from the Artist's viewpoint.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

YNP - Geothermal Wonderland

Old Faithful in late afternoon. This was my first time seeing her go live and in person.

Yellowstone National Park... what a place! I knew it was a geothermal area as much of the park sits on a massive caldera from an old supervolcano, however knowing and experiencing are two very different things. Seeing the geysers, smelling the sulfur, hearing the mud pots and feeling the heat from the steam made for an all encompassing experience indeed. I also enjoyed the surprising color mixed in the seemingly colorless dead zones around the geothermal sites. Below are a few photos and brief explanations for you. Click on the image for a larger file to view and thanks for stopping by.

A dead tree on the edge of Mammoth Hot Springs. In the distance you can see some yellow of a boiling pool. Certain colorful bacteria thrive in the scalding water.
A stream of hot water flows into the Mammoth Falls formation. Standing over this site on the boardwalk, you could feel the waves of heat rising from the water.
Close-up of the mineral and bacteria formations in the stream.
This is one of many geyser basins you will find in the park. Behind me in this shot are mud pots where the mud bubbles and boils... from a distance the sound reminded me of a dryer going with a pair of shoes in it.
Some close ups of the mud pots.

This stream from the hot springs area had green tendrils of something attached to branches and what not. I though the color and texture was cool.
This geyser was called the "Spasmodic Geyser" if I remember right. It never stopped gurgling for the 10 minutes I was checking it out.
I'm not sure the technical term for these pools, but I like to call them "blue holes" as the steaming water is a unique blue and the pools look very deep.
Some more colorful formations forming on the edge of the "blue hole" above.
I was able to see Old Faithful erupt twice as we stayed around the area to check out the museum and historic lodge in between eruptions. This shot below is the very end of the first eruption I witnessed.
The next two shots were taken in early evening with the sun going down behind the mountains. I really liked the dramatic lighting with the late sun only striking the top of the geyser. Old Faithful is a "must see" as far as I'm concerned. Very cool stuff.