A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!
Recent Daily Updates Archives:
Jan: 2015 | Dec: 2014 | Nov: 2014 | Oct: 2014 | Sept: 2014 | Aug: 2014 | July: 2014 | June: 2014 | May: 2014 | Apr: 2014 | Mar: 2014 | Feb: 2014 | Jan: 2014 | Dec: 2013 | Nov: 2013 | Oct: 2013 | Sept: 2013 | Aug: 2013 |
Most of the winter months offer similar opportunities for both wildlife and landscapes: Dec: 2013 | Jan: 2014 | Feb: 2014 . Also check out: The Dead of Winter: The Cold Realities and Exciting Possibilities of Winter Photography in GTNP.
Suggested “Opportunities”: Right now, here are my top spots to check out, especially for wildlife. Some will be a bit of a gamble, but they might also pay off in a big way if you hit it right:
- Flat Creek Observation Deck: Look for Swans Along Flat Creek, Geese, Ducks and occasional River Otters.
- Boyle’s Hill Pond: Trumpeter Swans of Boyle’s Hill: (The link includes a map)
- Miller Butte: Look for Bighorns and a herd of around 45 Pronghorns.
- Gros Ventre River: Look for Moose , Bald Eagles, Elk, and Bison there.
- Kelly Area: Look for Mule Deer at the edges of town and around the Shane Cabins.
- Alpine Junction: Watch for Mountain Goats near the mouth of the canyon.
- Camp Creek along the Hoback River: Check out Bighorns along the road.
- Sleigh Ride on the National Elk Refuge: Best winter deal in the valley!
- Around Town: I found a few Pine Grosbeaks feeding on crab apples in east Jackson.
Important Winter Links
- Best of the Tetons : Start Here!: This page will give you a good overview of the earlier Feature Posts
- Helpful Links and Resources: Weather Reports, Web Cams and Ski Reports have links in the right navigation bar, but this page has many additional links.
- Winter Closures: Many areas are closed during the Winter months. Click the link, scroll to the Winter section and look for the Winter closure maps.
- Winter In the Tetons: Travel and Photography Tips: A “must read” for winter visitors.
Oldie But Goodie Post of the Day
The Dead of Winter: This is a relatively recent post, but it pertains to current opportunities for the month of January.
January 1, 2015
New Years Fireworks: Last night, I drove out to Teton Village to photograph the torch light parade and fireworks. Since I’ve never been to this spot on New Years, I wasn’t sure where the skier would come down, and was not sure if they’d shoot the fireworks off at the same spot as they did on the 4th of July. It was around -14°F when I parked the van along the highway.
At the Teton Village torch light parade, the riders are already at the top of the mountain on Apre Vous peak. At 6:00 PM, on New Year’s Eve, the stream of skiers carrying torches begin to snake down the mountain. If I get to go back next year, I’d start with a 70-200mm to zoom in slightly.
Last summer, I was able to move close to the barbed wire fence and shoot from “under” a power line that runs along the highway. Last night, I found a large berm of snow piled up in that spot, eliminating that option for the night. I ended up shooting from the road. The spot was actually a good one, but there’s a couple of power lines in the images if you look closely. There might be a better spot. Maybe I’ll go out earlier next year and spend some time looking for it.
Skiers worked their way to the bottom as you can see in the small photo above. After the last skier reached the bottom, the fireworks began.
The fireworks display lasted a quite a while with plenty of explosions going off regularly. Still, the entire event was overall quick and efficient—which is good knowing it was so cold.
Snow King Fireworks: After leaving the JH Mountain Resort, I headed on home, but when I made it back to town, I noticed a few skiers still going up the lift. At Snow King, all of the skiers started at the bottom. After lighting their flares, chair after chair carried skiers up the mountain. At the base of the mountain, hundreds of spectators lined up to watch the event. I don’t know the actual number, but it appeared there were 150 skiers, maybe more. Eventually, all of them make it to the top and they begin their descent. The skiers split up and snaked down a couple of different runs before gathering at the base. Fireworks followed.
The image above is a composite of five or six shots. Four or five fireworks blasts are layered over the base layer with the spectators and string of skiers.
Snow King Fireworks Diplay: This is a single capture: Aperture Priority: 2.5 seconds, ISO 500, F/11, 28mm with a 24-70mm lens on a Nikon D4.
Teton Range January 1: Taken from the Elk Refuge Road near the Miller House.
Sleeping Indian and Rising Moon: Taken from the Elk Refuge Road. If you checked out yesterday’s Daily Update (Dec: 2014), I mentioned going to the National Elk Refuge and didn’t see a single Bighorn. At about the same time of the day today, I went to the same place and found four or more groups of around 10-12 Bighorns scattered along the road.
Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond: Flat Creek is frozen, so quite a few Trumpeter Swans are at Boyle’s Hill for some free food and open water.
Happy 2015! I’d like to take a second and say THANKS to all the people coming here daily or weekly, along with the readers that make comments here! And SPECIAL THANKS to all that have signed up to follow the blog. I hope to continue to add a variety of “content” for all of 2015. Even if you aren’t planning an immediate trip to the Tetons, hopefully I can include information that can help you back at your home town. Lastly, if you like what you’ve been seeing, I’d appreciate it if you help me spread the word about the site!