Bison Blizzard, Yellowstone NP, WY
January 1, 2011
This past week the temperatures plummeted with -15
degrees in the Lamar Valley. Winter is shaping up to
be a hard one for the grazers (bison, elk, deer, and
proghorn) ~ possibly like that of 1996-97, and it
could be the predator to many of Yellowstone's
ungulates. This bull bison faced the wind, plowing the
snow looking for dry grasses near Barronette Peak.
A magnificently strong creature, the bison faces the
storm rather than turning away from such adversity.
HAPPY NEW YEAR...
Aspen in Chevron Formation, Yellowstone NP, WY
January 17, 2011
This new year has found me in a new position with the
Yellowstone Association Institute. I am now an
Assistant Program Manger, and with this position, I
don't see the outside as often... This image was taken
adjacent Pebble Creek Campground. I have always
enjoyed this view! Photographed by other well-known
photographers, this angle is a bit different, filtered
through my perspective. Mount Hornaday (10,036')
with frozen waterfalls dwells to the north of this
Mouse over this image of a view of sunrise on the
slightly frozen Yellowstone River, seen from northern
Rocky Mountain Lion, Paradise Valley, Montana
January 24 2011
For an image of a mountain lion - there are 4 options.
First, go to a zoo. Second, pay someone to help set
the shot at a "wild" game farm. Third, take a blurred
image while you are running in the opposite direction.
Or, the final and fourth option, go out with a person
who trains dogs to tree a truly wild mountain lion (i.e.:
catamount, cougar, painter, panther).
I chose option #4... This female cat, estimated to be
near 100 lbs., was "treed" after 45 minutes of a chase
from two trained 'cat hunting' dogs. She was not
killed or injured, other then a nick to the nose after
moving through her natural terrain, she eventually ran
A very illusive predatory creature who happened to
be captured on camera in the wild open country of
Nature's Roll, Firehole River, Yellowstone NP, WY
February 1, 2011
Nature's role...I mean roll...no, I mean role, what is it
In the bigger picture, is Nature's role specifically for
our personal amusement? Sometime it might seem so.
But in reality, Nature is beyond our realm of
comprehension. We might try to interpret it, but our
interpretation has already been filtered through our
human perspective. In this image you see the amazing
plasticity of snow. It fell from a cliff and became
larger as gravity took it down in elevation. I would
have liked to have captured such an image immediately
after it rolled, but this is a few days after being
warmed by the mid-winter sun.
||Bison On The Edge, Yellowstone NP, WY
February 15, 2011
WILD BISON NEED HUMAN
As a friend in Gardiner pointed out, "bison are going
to get killed one way or another...if bison are designated
as 'wildlife' rather than 'livestock', bison will have gained a
measure of respect that they have deserved for many
years...with the defeat of HB 253 in the Montana
legislature, it meant that we will continue to kill them in a
redneck way, rather than a dignified way that would
benefit the state financially". Another Gardiner friend
said it this way, "Yellowstone, the world's first national
park..but what good is 'America's Best Idea', if we can't
keep the magnificent bison wild and free".
SHOW YOUR HUMAN COMPASSION...
Write your State Representative
Write your U.S. Senate
Stay up to date with this issue!!!
||Frosted Bison, Yellowstone NP, WY
March 15, 2011
WILD BISON NEED HUMAN
The two bison images were taken this week of March,
but in 2008. This bull is lying out near Hellroaring
Overlook on the N. Range of Yellowstone, while the
tri-colored, late born bison calf (mouse over the
image) is standing on the Gardiner H.S. football
field, just outside the park boundary. This year, like
2008, has been a rough year on ungulates in
Yellowstone. Most of all, the controversies that
surround bison are still very much in full swing. Please
keep up with what is currently going on with your tax
dollars and bison management in Yellowstone.
SHOW YOUR HUMAN COMPASSION...
Write your State Representative
Write your U.S. Senate
Stay up to date with this issue!!!
||Cranes and Idyllic Bull Moose, Yellowstone NP, WY
April 6, 2011
Sandhill Cranes have returned to a still very wintry
Montana landscape. This image was taken last year in
Lamar Valley on the edge of the Lamar River. Snow
still blankets this elevation, but has melted out at the
5-6,000' elevation of Gardiner and Mammoth Hot
Springs area. Mouse over this image to see another
unique view - about a year ago I led a program based
out of the B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin, north
of Gardiner. This bull moose is actually a life-size
bronze statue near the cabins. I thought it would be
nice to play with the stationary moose as the sun set
to the west of Paradise Valley below with Emigrant
Peak (10,915') that dominated the background
Enjoy spring where ever it might find you. And don't
forget about the controversies surrounding
Yellowstone's bison management - over 500 wild
bison are still held in a capture facility north of
||Spring Melt Crossing & Spring Road Trips
April 23, 2011
(I think I need to call this section, "Picture of the
Month" - sorry for the delay in updating images)
This image was taken exactly 5 years ago today as
this young bison crossed the Lamar River during the
beginning of the spring melt. The water was cold, but
the thick hide and fur of this animal help it to
persevere. Bison management is still going strong in
the Gardiner Basin, adjacent the north entrance of
Yellowstone. Please keep up-to-date with what is
going on - it is history in the making, right now!
Mouse over this image to see an image of The
Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
Lucy and I took a road trip there in 2008 - away from
Montana's winter to the canyon country. The image
is not far from Chesler Park.
Morning Meal - Lamar Valley, YNP, WY
May 11, 2011
As the snow melt brings water to the lower elevation
valley, this old bull bison could not make it until the
'green up'... After persevering the long winter months,
it died along the edge of the Lamar River. A collared
grizzly bear (w 2 red ear tags) smelled the carcass a
few miles away - standing and scenting the air from as
far away as Slough Creek. The grizzly walked the
road corridor to the bison for a morning meal. The
bison lived a long life and with his death, new life will
begin in the form of nutrients to the soil and to the
scavengers. Mouse over this image for a close-up
look at the grizzly bear! I assume this medium-sized
bear was collared not too long ago, as the right front
forearm looks like it has a shaved spot - maybe from
an iv that was used during the collaring process?
Male Violet-green Swallow, YNP, WY
June 1, 2011
Winter is still trying to stick around Yellowstone it
seems... Many of the migratory birds have returned,
but some to no nesting sites! Sandhill crane
locations are under melt water and not to dry out for
quite a while. This Violet-green Swallow was
perched just long enough for me to capture this image
near the Calcite Springs / Tower Waterfall area of
the park. I was aware that the swallow would blend
into the background, so I tried to compose this image
with the white cliffs of the opposite side of the
canyon walls directly behind.
This is by no means an uncommon sighting in
Yellowstone (especially near Overhanging Cliff), but
an adult male can appear quite dapper in the
Black Bears & Beartooths - Yellowstone & Montana
June 12, 2011
A sub-adult black bear was sleeping in a tree that
burned during the 1988 summer of fires. With the
backdrop of Hellroaring Mountain, I thought this
made for an interesting composition... Too bad I
missed the next scene ~ a larger male black bear who
chased the younger bear up the tree earlier, returned,
and there was an "all out battle" on the limbs of this
dead Douglas Fir tree...
Mouse over this image to see a look at the snow
drifts along the Beartooth Highway, the high
elevation road that connects Red Lodge to Cooke
City, Montana. Taken on June 12th, the drifts were
over 20 FEET in height! With amazing snowfall this
year (and still dropping), skiers and snowboarders
have quick access to slopes that will last well into
Reflections on The Lamar - Yellowstone N.P. , WY
June 22, 2011
Reflections abound in Yellowstone at this time of the
year... With the melting snow and spring rain,
ephemeral ponds and long-standing lakes make for
great compositions with a camera. Seen here, a
section of Rose Creek flows into the Lamar Valley
floor, creating a temporary pond. The morning light
and wispy clouds made the reflected Specimen Ridge
beyond, a fun photography outing.
Happy Summer everyone!
A Tapestry of Color on the Hills, Back-country,
July 4, 2011
Ascending a off-the-beaten-path summit can always
be interesting! On this day of this year, Palmer
Mountain was still snow covered... After a summit
view, the walk down was amazing - Arrowleaf
Balsomroot and Larkspur was everywhere! The wild
flowers are amazing this year and still there are many
yet to bloom...
Happy 4th of July everyone! Cheers.
Badger Heart, Little America, Yellowstone N.P.,
July 11, 2011
The American Badger, by some, has been referred
to as a pest or vermin...
I on the other hand see this animal as quite beautiful
yet capable of being dangerously defensive! This
family of 4 used a den near the roadside and created
quite the stir for park visitors. Badgers are part of
the Mustelidae family, like that of weasel, ferret, pine
marten, fisher as well as the wolverine. I was hoping
for a unique composition of 2 or more of the family...
This turned out to be my favorite!
Mouse over this image for a look at an early summer
storm over Swan Lake Flats.
Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Broadwater County, Mont.
July 23, 2011
This weekend was full of relaxing around cool water
(with tons of mosquitoes!) A weekend getaway from
the heat of Gardiner (mid-90's) took us on a road trip
outside Helena, Mont. Truck camping with all the
"amenities" was nice, but the mosquitoes were
horrible! Not many images were taken this week, but
this one stood out to me, mainly because I will be back
on the Eastern Shore of Maryland at the end of this
month for a visit... Sitting next to this large body of
water reminded me of my childhood growing up sailing
on tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. As much as I
love the wildness of Montana - I do enjoy open water
and fishing (beyond just trout-filled waters).
||Lamar Canyon Wolves & Black Bear, Slough Crk,
Yellowstone N.P., WY
August 9, 2011
Through the 200+ year old sagebrush and glacial
boulders, the alpha female from the Lamar Canyon
Wolf Pack (06F) waited her turn at an elk carcass
while a black bear fed in the early morning light. Not
far off the Northern Range roadside, near the
entrance of the Slough Creek Campground, this
interaction took place in front of a slew of people!
Among the tall lush grass and wildflowers, we watched
the 06 Female charge toward the food while the black
bear defended it's nourishment... A wonderfully wild
interaction, yet not one that is witnessed from the
road's edge very often.
This took place in late July before I flew to
Maryland. New images to follow!
Isolation on the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone N.P.,
August 20, 2011
On "photo assignment" with Outdoor Photographer
Magazine's Contributing Editor, Jim Clark - I
focused on this isolated scene of a lone pine clinging
to the North Rim walls, far below the Lower Falls. It
is a composition that I have been playing with for a
while now, but never captured the scene that I
wanted... With a bit of assistance from Jim Clark, I
got the exposure right. Back lighting the tree with the
mist of the falls, the colors of the rhyolite rock make
for a wonderful backdrop.
Storm over Heart Lake, Yellowstone N.P., WY
September 3, 2011
Storm clouds surrounded us over a 5-day
backpacking trip around Heart Lake, but luckily for
us, they were always around us, not over us! As we
set up our first night's camp at site 8H6 on the shore
of the lake, this cloud began to build and changed with
each second... I liked the contrast in colors, from the
rain below to the ever-building cap on the top!
Autumn seems right around the corner, with lack of
much spring rains, the clouds are building up now with
the evening temperatures dropping into the 20's.
Space Needle in the Emerald City, Seattle, WA
September 11, 2011
I am always looking for a unique perspective to a well
known subject... The Space Needle is 605' tall at
it's highest point and 138' wide at it's widest spot.
Built for the 1962 World's Fair, it was dubbed "the
tallest structure west of the Mississippi River" at this
time... Now many sky scrapers exceed such a height,
but the Space Needle still is an amazing structure
towering among the Seattle skyline buildings. It
weighs 9,550 tons and was built to withstand
earthquakes up to 9.1 magnitude. An observation
deck and a rotating restaurant can be found up above
- but on this visit to the Emerald City, we observed
from ground level...
||Autumn In Yellowstone Country, Yellowstone N.P.,
October 3, 2011
A mountain that I hold close to my soul is Electric
Peak, a 10,992' tall slab of rock that dominates the
view shed of Gardiner, Montana (my hometown)... It
is a mountain that has been reached numerous times,
by me and others, and "wows" all those who watch it
change in season and color! I enjoyed taking this
image in early morning light from the Blacktail Plateau
Drive, a one-way dirt road on Yellowstone's
Northern Range. This image was shot with a
Mouse over the image to see a close up of bison in
the Soda Butte Creek drainage... Their mating
season has come to a close and are starting to
migrate out of the valley floor, separating in smaller
groups across the Northern Range.
Autumn Fox & Swan Lake Elk, Yellowstone N.P.,
October 19, 2011
On a photography-based tour along the Northern
Range of Yellowstone, we were blessed with many
scenic moments. Starting with an 18 degree morning
on Swan Lake Flats (mouse over this fox image for
that view) with bugling elk and snow on Electric Peak,
we moved on towards Tower Junction.
This healthy red fox was successful with a pounce in
the still green grasses south of Rainy Lake. With a
late snow melt this summer, shaded areas are still
holding green vegetation which keeps the rodents
happy, as well as the predatory fox! I hope to see
this fox again after the snow begins to fall.
||Autumn Ungulates, Yellowstone N.P., WY
October 29, 2011
Fall is my favorite time of the year! Not only because
of the quiet & solitude found in the park, but the
feeling of change in the air. Colors and temperatures
change, but it is the lingering idea that the long winter
is not far away.
Grazers, like the bison & elk are beginning to
understand that the tough months are just around the
corner - perseverance need to be yet again on their
minds... Move your mouse over this image for a view of
a bull elk south of Norris Geyser Basin. He had
broken a tine on the upper section of an antler, but
maintained his rack during the rut - so, he will have
some greater odds of defense this winter against
predators...at least the four-legged kind! Winter too
can be a harsh predator to Yellowstone's ungulate
King of the Mountain, Yellowstone N.P., WY
November 12, 2011
November is the month for the Rocky Mountain
bighorn sheep mating season. On steep rocky cliffs,
the reverberating sound of head-butting contests can
be heard miles away! In the Gardner River Canyon,
just north of Mammoth Hot Springs, 9 rams were
vying for 1 ewe's attention. She was with the biggest
of the bunch at the base of a tall rock wall. All other
rams were waiting patiently nearby...
Move your mouse over this image for slightly different
view of the same ram.
Quiet Moments, Cinnabar, Montana
November 29, 2011
The wild Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep are still
rutting... A large herd has been spending time near
the Old Yellowstone Road a few miles north of
Gardiner. The full curl ram is usually the one to get
the attention of a camera lens, but I appreciated this
frame most - a quiet moment between mother and
young. This ewe has damaged a horn sometime in her
past. This will not affect her survival as most female
sheep do not have the head-to-head combat like the
Move your mouse over this image for a look at
Gardiner's Backyard Wildlife - a large Mule Deer
buck that was grazing with some does in the side yard.
Mighty Moose, Silver Gate, Montana
December 11, 2011
For the first time in a long while, I toured towards the
park's Northeast Gate. The morning temperature
was -10 degrees F. This large bull was just off the
road between Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT.
Not far behind him was a cow moose, she too was
grazing on lush stands of willow.
The second largest land mammal in North America,
moose can stand 6-7' at the shoulder and weigh over
800-1500 lbs. In the past few years moose have been
more readily seen along the park's Northern Range.
As the mating season has ended, he will soon shed his
antlers to conserve energy for the winter ahead.
Mouse over this image of the frost covered
cottonwoods in Lamar Valley.
||Wild Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Gardiner
December 18, 2011
These images were taken about a week ago...
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MTFWP) confirmed
earlier this week, that the herd of wild Rocky
Mountain Bighorn sheep, from the Cinnabar
Mountain area, near Corwin Springs, just 7 miles
north of Gardiner has pneumonia.
There are no known vaccines to prevent pneumonia in
wild sheep. In some previous cases,
pneumonia-related outbreaks have caused herd
"die-offs"! Since 1984, there have been 14 bighorn
sheep herd die-offs in the state of Montana; in the
1990's, Montana lost 1,400 bighorn sheep due to
In 2010, over 600 wild sheep were lost to the same
MTFWP is currently assessing the extent to
determine the appropriate response action...this might
include culling to prevent the spread to healthy
animals... As a friend mentioned to me, "Just to say,
'Wildlife Management' in the same sentence is an
oxymoron."... Thoughts to consider....
Mouse over this image for another image of the same
Lamar Valley Winterscape & Happy Bull Elk,
Yellowstone N.P., WY
December 31, 2011
Here is the last installment for the 2011 Picture of
Not meant to be ominous, but just a nice contrast with
winter on the Northern Range of the park... I am sure
that you too see the giant's face in the clouds! This
image is, how it was... Cold winds whip across the
landscape of "Secluded Valley" and a lone cloud
illuminated by shafts of light.
Mouse over this image for a look at a bull elk that I
took a few years ago. He was running through the
snow and excited about shedding that heavy burden of
antlers he had been carrying around!
HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! May it be full of
fun adventure and good laughter! Cheers to each of
you & talk with you next year!
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