I hadn’t planned on writing again about my visit up to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park but I was inspired by the company, Cotopaxi, to share a little bit of my Park Pride. And since it’s still chilly and I’m in the thick of calving, it’s nice to revisit a warmer time!
Cotopaxi is a company focused on spreading positive vibes and encouraging people to live actively and get outside. They’re also a benefits corporation focused on giving back. A percentage of every sale goes to various organizations that support global health initiatives, and their hiking backpacks help provide the most aid.
Now, the actual date of the 100th Anniversary of National Parks was August 25, 2016 but hey, we can continue the celebration, can’t we? I think so. In fact, last month, Yellowstone marked it’s 145th anniversary.
We went Yellowstone in late May last year which was a great time to see the newborn Bison calves.
We hiked on paths around the Geysers and they were breathtaking. Not just because of their beauty, but because they wreaked of sulfur!
The wildlife is certainly wild, but also quite cute.
And of course, there is always Old Faithful. Incredible to experience.
I was thrilled with Yellowstone but I think my favorite part of the trip was The Grand Tetons.
The word majestic doesn’t even do them justice. And neither do photographs. You must go and visit them for yourself.
Where the antelope run through tall sagebrush,
where the water of Schwabacher’s Landing reflects the peaks,
…and where wildflowers line many hiking paths.
The Grand Tetons stole my heart. If you want a refresher on our adventures in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, go ahead re-visit my posts. (start here for Yellowstone and and here for Tetons) Who knows, maybe they will inspire you to hit the road and visit a National Park this year! 🙂
I do want to mention that I am a cheerleader for State Parks as well. When you are on the road, headed for a National Park, instead of RV’ing or camping at a side of the road camping facility, park your RV or camp in a tent at a state park instead. It can at times be less expensive and most always be more enjoyable. I traveled Wyoming in 2014 for a project with the State and 9 times out of 10, folks were headed to Yellowstone. And all of those families had planned their route to Yellowstone by locating and staying at State Parks along the way. They said they wouldn’t do it any other way. I have to agree!
Cheers and happy exploring!
Please not that this post was inspired by Cotopaxi. This is not a paid advertisement for the National Parks Services or for Cotopaxi. Opinions and photos are strictly my own. I’m just sharing my #parkpride. 🙂
I have had a lot of client work lately and haven’t been here blogging as much as I’d like. I’m so thankful for the work and it’s been a great few months. Not to rub it in but I did get to spend the weekend with the Tetons to photograph a wedding on Friday. We were concerned about the fires going on in that dry part of the state but on Thursday, the day we arrived, it rained! It hadn’t rained there in a couple months and we had rain showers throughout the entire weekend. The next morning was clear and we spent time at the ranch while the bride got ready and had a first look with her groom. So romantic! We took a drive, walked across a beaver dam and stood with the Tetons as their backdrop while they said their vows. Everything went off without a hitch and we enjoyed every minute of it. The people we met, dare I say new friends, were a delight.
But the weekend wasn’t over. With a day off in between, I had the good fortune to photograph a newly engaged couple that came out to our gorgeous state from Illinois. He found me on the web, wanted a photographer for engagement portraits in that part of the state and I just so happened to be there that same weekend. We met on Sunday morning and had such a fun session. The clouds capped the mountains for the first hour and after a quick rain, it cleared off and we finished with a great view of the Tetons.
I’m now back at home and feverishly editing and processing. I do have more to share here…it just may be a little while. It’s cooling off and the leaves are starting to change. Yay for autumn! xo
Needless to say, it was an amazing adventure in the northwest section of Wyoming. Yellowstone and Tetons are both a sight to see.
Pelicans and geese float the lake. A clear sign that the fishing is probably pretty good!
A western meadowlark grabbed up some yummy breakfast!
Moulton Barn on Mormon Row. One of the most photographed scenes in the world. I put my own spin on it with a delicate spiderweb in the foreground. I’m sure I’m not the first but hey, here it is.
Bison in a field of dandelions. We stayed here a moment and looked through our tour guide’s spotting scope. We saw a brand new bison calf getting used to it’s long legs. So cute!
If the mosquitoes weren’t so bad, I could have watched this swan until dark.
This pond is in Jackson not far from the elk refuge.
We took this trip in late May, early June. I will be heading back to Jackson in September to photograph a wedding with the Tetons as the backdrop. I am excited to see how it looks as autumn begins.
We saw a lot of Pronghorn Antelope. Or Speed Goats. Whatever you wanna call ’em.
Lupine grows in the meadows all around the Tetons. It is a flowering plant in the legume family.
In the Tetons, we saw some amazing species of water fowl at Schwabachers Landing. Schwabachers Landing is a boat landing located a few miles south of Snake River Overlook, along the east shore of the Snake River.
We also saw a lot of little baby ground squirrels. They were everywhere and weren’t all that shy.
I wish I knew the official names of the water fowl that we saw but I don’t recall. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable but I didn’t retain the names of them. Dad may have written notes on them so I’ll check with him. If you know, feel free to name them in the comments!
Debbie booked us a tour of the Grand Tetons because honestly, we just didn’t know where to start and how to get to where we wanted to go. We needed some direction and we got more than we bargained for with our tour guide, Mike. He was a former National Parks employee and knew so many facts and details of the park, the land and wildlife. It was a great experience having him show us around.
I hoped he would show us the view of the Tetons and Snake River. Sure enough he did but the view I saw was different from the Ansel Adams image that I knew and loved. Of course, Adams shot it in 1942 so obviously the terrain has changed a bit. But Mike also told us that he used a ladder to get this image.
Here is mine:
And here it is cropped, and photoshopped to mimic the look of the large format camera.
Of course, my 70D can’t compare to a large format, but it was fun to post process this into black and white.
More on the Tetons later. Cheers!
Thanks to a comment from a friend yesterday, I learned that baby bison are called red dogs.
I had never heard that term before and she said she’s only heard that in Yellowstone.
Her comment also reminded me that I hadn’t shared the couple of shots I got of the babies. It looks like it was a good calving season because we saw a lot of the little furry babies on the ground.
I love the little nubs on their heads. They are much cuter than their mothers that’s for sure!
As I’ve already said, we had a wonderful time in Yellowstone and I feel confident in saying that we left it just as we found it.
The only things we brought home were a couple souvenirs, maps, memories, and lots of photographs.
I don’t have the high speed equipment to get a good photograph of a black bear AND stay safe so I kept my distance when we came across this fella. I’m fine with that.
We saw beautiful waterfalls and at this spot, we met a nice gentleman with his camera on a tripod shooting in the opposite direction of this waterfall.
He pointed out a baby osprey atop a pillar of rock in the canyon waiting for it’s mom.
There is a wolf den somewhere up in those hills but we never saw a wolf up close. Obviously.
This Bison crossed the stream nervously, looking back again and again. Not sure what was after her but she seemed quite nervous. She joined the herd after this.
One of our last stops was at the Grand Prismatic Springs…along with the rest of the tourists.
This is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world.
It’s colors match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.
A great experience was had by the three of us. I’ll admit that I had a little separation anxiety when leaving Yellowstone. We just grew to love it so much and wanted to see more. Fortunately our next stop was Grand Teton National Park. So with butterflies in our bellies, we continued on for the adventures ahead of us!
Once the Bison traffic jam dissipated, we were able to get further up the road the next day and see some Geysers.
Our first stop was the Norris Geyser Basin.
There are two areas of the Norris Geyser Basin. The Porcelin Basin and the Back Basin. The Porclein Basin is barren of trees and the Back Basin is a good hike through the trees. We stuck with the Porcelin Basin so that we could get a good look of the geothermal activity.
These colors are living thermometers. The orange color from the iron-rich water is a temperature anywhere from 122-140°F. The green has green algae called “phototrophs” and they use the sunlight for energy. They live in temps of 100-133°F.
Some folks in front of us pointed out that there was worm like creature moving around in there. Unbeleivable that an insect could live in such high temps.
Our next stop was Old Faithful. We ate at the Old Faithful Lodge and admired the incredible architecture. After a fantastic lunch we joined the hundreds of other tourists to wait impatiently for the next eruption.
He erupted in a timely manner, as expected, and it really was a sight to behold.
Our next stop was West Thumb basin at Yellowstone Lake. It was so colorful and absolutely gorgeous.
Percolating Spring. When it was named, it bubbled vigorously like a coffee pot.
This is a part of the surging spring. It can be as hot as 167°F and sends hot water into the lake.
The last known eruption of Lakeshore Geyser, pictured above, happened in 1970 and erupted up to 50ft. They say that one day, however, earthquake activity or other processes may cause the geyser to gain energy and begin erupting more forcefully again. It didn’t happen while we were there. It was calm and serene.
This is Black Pool. Not long ago, Black Pool really was black. But the water temperature rose and killed off the heat-loving microorganisms that made the pool appear black. It also erupted in the summer of 1992 and the following winter. It is such a beautiful color and turquoise and deep green. Just lovely.
Thank you for your kind comments yesterday. I always enjoy hearing from you guys. While I was typing replies and looking over the shots from yesterday, I realized that some of them just didn’t have anything to help with scale. I mean, I’m sure you get it that it’s a large hot spring because the name is Mammoth Hot Springs, but my close-ups and detail shots may not have really shown that.
So in this image above, on the left and beyond the trees, you can see the boardwalk and people. Not only is it huge, it’s high. It was definitely a climb.
Pretty darn impressive.
As I said yesterday, since we didn’t make it to Old Faithful, we sought out landscapes and wildlife in other areas of the park.
One creature that isn’t shy in the daylight or at any time of day in fact is the Raven. They are HUGE! Much larger than the crow that we have at home.
Not only is the size difference a way to determine a raven from a crow, the fluffy feathers around the head and neck is a feature of the raven.
Tower Fall. One of the several waterfalls we visited along the way.
I rolled the window down to get this rumble between two bull bison. The drama didn’t last long.
This coyote casually ran past the bison fight and trotted along with a mission. Not sure where he was going but I thought since he was close, I’d keep the window down for a quick portrait.
We drove for a bit and saw cars pulled off and people out with their cameras just snapping away. Three bull elk were grazing. The one farthest away is a young bull. The two older ones would stomp and chase him away but he’d always come back to graze with them. It’s typical behavior between the young and old. Competition at it’s finest.
I’d like to say that we stayed in the car to get our shots of these guys but we didn’t. We stepped out to get a closer look and we became the average tourist taking a risk to get “the shot”. It’s not a smart thing to do. This is not Disney or a petting zoo. These are wild animals and at anytime, they could look up and see that they are surrounded by a threatening presence of humans. And out of that fear of threat, they could injure any one of us. All I can say is that they are more than likely used to humans ogling at them but if anything were to spook them, we’d be in danger.
Fortunately on this day, these guys were pretty docile and were mostly interested in grazing the bright green grass. I shot this with a telephoto once back in the van. Must be nice to have an impressive rack to scratch that itch.
We stayed in Gardiner Montana, just near the north entrance of the park. Located about 5 miles from the entrance is the Mammoth Hot Springs, our first stop in Yellowstone.
Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine, a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs.
“It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes. Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas”- Thank you, Wikipedia
It was a cool morning but the steam coming from the springs warmed us right up.
Detail shots of mineral build up.
It’s quite a hike touring these hot springs and fortunately there is a boardwalk to steer us in the right direction.
Just look at those two. ♥
We sat for a bit to take it all in then took to the road to make our way to Old Faithful, one of the most predictable geographical features on earth. It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes. Our plan was to have lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge and sit out and watch this geyser shoot boiling water up to 185 ft in the air .
But it’s so hard not to stop at every turnout to admire the great scenery.
Here, we stopped at Roaring Mountain. Roaring Mountain is full of microscopic organisms wearing away at the mountain amid the sulfur rich gases. It is inhospitable to humans but is the perfect home for heat-loving microbes.
We loaded back into the van and headed south. We came upon a long line of cars about 10 miles or so from the Old Faithful Historic District. We sat for a while and waited. And waited. You expect long lines and a lot of traffic through the park but we felt something bigger was going on. Plus, at the time of year that we were there, the crowds hadn’t made it to the park yet. Surprisingly so far, the crowds were not that big. So we flagged down a driver coming the other direction and in her thick and kind British accent, she told us that a large herd of Bison had parked themselves in the road and weren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So, we turned around and made a different plan. We found lunch and happened upon some wildlife along the way and finished out the day admiring the gorgeous landscapes. More on that tomorrow. 🙂
I’ve been travelin’.
My dad and stepmom came out a couple of weeks ago and we hung out around here for a couples days. Then we packed up their minivan and the three of us took off for an adventure in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks that we will never forget.
What a drive, let me tellya. Dad drove through wind, rain, hail, sleet, and heavy fog. It was wild and I was so relieved to be the passenger.
We had to stop for this gorgeous view of Beartooth Mountain as we weaved in and out of Montana and Wyoming on Beartooth Highway.
We made it into the park by mid-evening and the light was beautiful. Right off the bat we saw Bison. What a great time of year because Bison calves were everywhere!
Pronghorn and Bison graze on the flats together.
When you visit Yellowstone, there is a lot of driving. I’m not kidding. It’s a HUGE park. So we had to get organized as to how we were going to tackle this place. We had a Geyser day, a wildlife day, a waterfall day, etc. They all kind of melded together and didn’t always go according to plan. In fact, the day we were headed to Old Faithful, the road was completely blocked by a herd of Bison so we had to turn around and change our plans. We were in a line of cars 10 miles long and didn’t even see the herd but it is obviously not an uncommon event (see above). This isn’t Disneyland. This is Bison, Bear, Pronghorn, Wolf, Elk, Deer; basically all God’s Creatures’ land. We did make it to Old Faithful the next day.
I’ll share more images from this trip throughout the next few days. It was a fantastic time and a wonderful trip to share with my Dad, also a photographer. I am so thankful to my stepmom, Debbie, for making this happen. She is a heck of a trip designer and orchestrated a spectacular adventure for the three of us. They just started their travel blog and you can visit it by clicking here: Travels with Skip & Debbie
I’ve been away from the ranch for a couple of weeks to take on a big dose of southern charm. My best friend is getting married so six of her closest friends piled into a minivan and headed for the Cajun streets of New Orleans. We enjoyed shopping, local art, good eats, and fabulous concerts in the parks and on the streets.
The bride-to-be and a couple other girls got airbrush tattoos and we all wore our best friends bracelets.
You didn’t really think I was going to show you the unedited version of the bachelorette weekend did you? Oh we had a fun and very innocent time together. 😉
Now we are back in Georgia getting ready for the big weekend of wedding festivities. Getting excited!
Earlier this summer, I took a trip to Colorado for business and was fortunate enough to have to drive through the Colorado National Monument to get to where I needed to be.
From Wikipedia: Colorado National Monument (locally referred to as The Monument) is a part of the National Park Service near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone and even granite–gneiss–schist rock formations, in some areas. This is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests on the plateau.
Driving the winding Rim Rock Drive at sunrise was magical.
This was the Serpent Trail. Because I had a limited amount of time, I couldn’t put my backpack on and hike it. But I do look forward to making the trip back to spend more time exploring.
Canyon Monument runs the width of the park with many different rock formations.
When the road leveled out, I knew I had reached Glade Park, my final destination. The elevation of Glade Park is approx. 7,000 feet. I went to visit the folks I drove up to see and had a great morning. However, this trip ended up being not about the destination, but all about the journey.
Have a great weekend my friends!
We took a road trip recently traveling through back roads of Wyoming and into Colorado.
And wouldn’t you know we saw a momma moose and her calf.
They were distracted by something else and didn’t pay much attention to us. We kept our distance anyhow.
We drove off, made our way around the corner and there was another one all brushed up in the willows.
This was my first sighting of a moose and it was super cool to watch them move so gracefully around the land and in the tall brush.
A few moose facts:
-Moose are the largest of all the deer species.
-The flap of skin that sways beneath each moose’s throat is known as a bell
-Their hooves act as snowshoes to support themselves in soft snow and in muddy or marshy ground.
-Moose are at home in the water and, despite their staggering bulk, are good swimmers.
-Females give birth to one or two calves in the spring—each weighing some 30 pounds.
-Calves grow quickly and can outrun a person by the time they are just five days old.
(Thanks for the info NatGeo!)
We surprised Dad last week for his birthday on Martha’s Vineyard. Also known as Amity Island, it is where the movie jaws was filmed 30 something years ago.
And Patrick spotted Jaws right here on the island!
A wet seagull feather sparkled on the sand.
An osprey nest is housed up high and we watched as one circled in and joined it’s mate and young ones.
Joey enjoyed tossing sand into the ocean at sunset.
A few folks were fishing off the jetty.
Seagulls were everywhere. If you brought a picnic to the beach, you had to make sure you didn’t leave any food unattended or else you’d go hungry. These little thieves are fast and sneaky!
Sunsets were few and far between. The skies were overcast most evenings but we lucked out with this one.
We also enjoyed walking through craft markets and galleries in the many villages on the island.
There was an abundance of wildflowers. The wet and humid summer has done them well.
The ferry ride to the mainland on the last day was foggy, overcast, and dreary.
But the sun peeked through at times giving a calm and peaceful view.
It was so awesome surprising Dad like this. We all had a great week and he said this was the best birthday present ever. So glad we made it out there this year. Thank you Debbie for making it happen!
My recent trip back east was very busy and so much fun.
I met the brand new son of one of my favorite couples in my hometown.
Attended a fabulous rehearsal party for another favorite couple and enjoyed the tunes of Macon’s newest and hottest bands, Jubee and The Morning After.
Spent quality time with my Dad and nephew.
Patches never missed a family gathering. She was always in the middle of everything. She would even eat when we ate.
Laughed, cried, and rocked out at the Wedding of the Year. Will and Kate who?
Photographed a newly engaged couple.
And ended the adventure in Atlanta photographing a concert with my bestie in the most difficult venue and lighting set up that I have ever been tossed into. More about that on Concert Sutra at a later date.
All in all it was a great trip. The weather was pleasant and the cicadas were loud and creepy. Dad says he can’t believe they’ve got to deal with those insects every 13 years. 😉
I was able to laugh with most but not all of my dear friends. I did not get a chance to visit my friends at Theatre Macon and I send my apologies to them. I WILL spend time there on my next trip back east because I truly miss them.
Today, I’m getting geared up for full day of shooting at the University of Wyoming tomorrow and I’m very much looking forward to it
Happy Friday my friends. Uprooted Magnolia will be back in full Wyoming swing next week. I’ve got brandings to shoot, landscapes to fill my lens, and more Wyo spring air to inhale.
I know I’ve been absent from here. I miss you.
But I’m still in the southeast and have been running around non-stop since I arrived. With a bridal party to attend a couple hours after getting off the airplane, a weekend full of wedding events with fabulous friends, stealing sugar from my nephew, quality time with the family, a visit with a 2 week old handsome baby boy and Wii bowling with his 4 year old brother, photo shoots for long time clients, oh the jam packed schedule goes on and on and on, I’ve barely had the time to check in with y’all. The last leg of this trip will be in Atlanta with my bestie for a concert and various projects we are working on.
I have so many images of this week to process and I’ll share a little of that with you here once I settle down in the meadows of home. But before any of that happens, I shall nap like the little ones on the lazy Sunday after my return.
It’s a big day for Kate and William but this weekend is a big one for a royal couple in my hometown. My great friends Jessica and Jamie are joining together as one tomorrow in true rock star fashion. I’ve made the journey back east to celebrate with them I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with longtime friends.
During my riding lessons at the South Ranch on Easter Sunday, Kate was running alongside jumping and bucking.
She’s a wild one and it doesn’t take much to excite her.
She got ahead of us, stopped, and then took off throwing her head back with her mane and tail flying in the breeze.
I like visiting with Kate but I don’t think I’ll be taking lessons with her any time soon. But a ride with her may not be near as rough as my flight was coming out here. The storms in the southeast have been devastating and thankfully I landed in between them. But our decent was so turbulent it felt like we slid in on one wing. I thought I left the wild rides and wind out west but apparently they came with me.
So far the forecast for the wedding of our local royals calls for clear blue skies. I’m craving the sun on my skin and flip flops on my feet.
Have a great weekend my friends, I’ll be in touch soon!
We weren’t sure where we wanted to go so we jumped in the truck and just drove. It was a beautiful day and I wanted the folks to see our surroundings. Along the way, we caught this Mule deer relaxing in the brush.
We happened upon this quiet ranch. The fresh hay bales means someone is there but at first glance we thought it was abandoned.
We got out of the truck to take in the view and breathe the fresh mountain air. As I walked along a short trail, I stepped on this rock and had to take a picture of it. It came home with me needless to say.
We saw all kinds of wildlife but of course antelope were everywhere we went. You can’t go anywhere without spotting hundreds of these guys in various pastures. But the thing that is a constant frustration to me and Dad with photographing wildlife is that we always get butt shots. They are always running from us and we’re sick of all the rear ends in our lens. So don’t be surprised if one day there is a post on this blog with strictly deer and antelope butts!
But as this one got away, I was glad that the grass covered his backside and I got a good view of his horns.