September is a busy month with lots of changes. This page will contain mostly wildlife and landscape images, plus area tidbits, events and activities. The Foliage Reports page will be a little more “foliage” specific and include updates as I get around to the various areas of the park.
Click the link above to get a quick look at what you might expect to find with all 12 months side by side. Hint: Click any of the months below to see how previous years looked!
September 13, 2015 : Sunday
Young Pronghorn: Taken on the two track dirt road running east and west from the Kelly Warm Springs. I’ve heard the road called “Warm Springs Road”. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Lewis in Ditch Creek: This bull used to hang with another similar sized bull. I called them Lewis and Clark. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Lewis in Velvet: Sept. 23rd along the Snake River.
I took quite a few shots of this bull while he was in the river and was able to match the pose fairly well. I’d be fairly certain this is the same bull. Currently, his antlers are still partially covered with hardened velvet. Some of it, especially the velvet on the inside portions of the paddles, will be difficult for him to remove now. He’ll be easy to recognize throughout all of the fall and winter. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Moose Calf in Changing Ground Cover: A cow and calf were not far from the bull. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Bees: There were a few thistle plants near the Shane cabins. I was focusing on the bee on the flower when another one flew into the scene. D4 and Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.
One-On-One Excursions Openings: A few openings are available in September. Just ask! The trips are designed to help people learn to use their DSLR cameras and help photographers find some of GTNP’s nice shooting locations. Click the link for more information. (Golden Era Studios / Mike R. Jackson is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service and the National Elk Refuge.)
September 12, 2015 :
The Moose-Wilson Road is still closed, but that’s not the only area of the park with bears. They are seen regularly around String Lake, Jenny Lake, Signal Mountain, and Spaulding Bay. We saw a sow Black Bear and cub not far from Pilgrim Creek yesterday. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Black Bear: They will often be on the move from one tree to the next. It helps to have your camera next to you, with the appropriate settings dialed in, so you can roll the window down and get a couple of shots before you are forced to move on. Grizzly 610 and cubs were reported back north recently. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Many people get bogged down trying to capture images of the big mammals. Be sure to keen an eye out for the more plentiful Critters. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
If you are in town tonight, you might consider going to Tom Manglesen’s Artist Reception & Book Signing at his shop downtown. Hours: 5-9pm.
September 11, 2015 :
Moose-Wilson Status: Road Closed! Larry, a Wildlife Management volunteer is seen here telling a driver the road is closed and he has no idea when they will open it. He told me there were still lots of bears on the road. Additionally, several Grizzlies have been reported in the region, one as close as the Taggart Lake area. Larry also told me Grizzly Sow 610 caused a big bear jam near Oxbow yesterday. The small sign taped to the Road Closed sign tells people they cannot bike or hike through the area. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.
Reflections: The Tetons, reflected in the large window on the back side of the Chapel of the Transfiguration. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.
Pronghorns: These youngsters were sparring near the road along Mormon Row Road. There were lots of Bison at Elk Flats, much farther north. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Coyote: Based on the size, I would suggest this is a youngster. It was crossing at the T.A. Moulton Barn. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Oxbow Bend: I snapped this shot from the van to show the status there. Skies were essentially cloudless all day. There is a LOT of yellow up north. Check out Foliage Reports September/October 2015 : for a lot more foliage photos from today. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.
If you need some guidance for the day, check out some of these posts:
The T.A. Moulton Barn will be getting a new roof soon. There is a trailer, Loadall, and supplies along the back side. The John Moulton barns appears to be getting a new roof right now, too. There a trailer on the back side, plus one side is stripped of shingles. A porta-potty sits just to the north along the dirt road.
September 10, 2015 :
Black bear bonanza closes Moose-Wilson JH News & Guide story in today’s paper:
September 09, 2015
Temporary Closure at Jenny Lake and Surrounding Trails
First of the Stars at the John Moulton Barn: I took this one late in the day yesterday. The light was added using a 2 million candle power flashlight. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.
Milky Way Over the Pink House: The John Moulton Barn is a popular site for night time photography, especially for milky way shots. Last night, there was a construction trailer parked on the back side. D810 and Nikon 14-24mm F/2.8 lens.
Washakie in Willows: When I found this bull, he was with a Cow and Calf not far from the river’s edge. He abandoned them and began a half mile trek to another downwind Cow. He would stop, sniff and then continue in an almost perfect straight line to her. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Resting Bull Moose: I added some extra texture overlays in Photoshop on this one. You might like seeing this post: Resting Moose: A Collection of Less Seen Lifestyle Images D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Great Horned Owl Side-by-Side: Yesterday afternoon, I went out looking for Moose along the Gros Ventre. I hiked maybe 3/4 mile of the river bottom. In the process, I spotted a Great Horned Owl and took half a dozen shots of it before it flew to another tree top. The owl was backlit in the afternoon sky. I opened up a couple of stops and blew out the sky to white to get the details in the bird. In Lightroom, I dragged the Highlights slider down to bring in a little blue. The rest were just basic Lightroom adjustments to produce the image on the left. In Photoshop, I added several textures and used a filter or two from the Topaz Adjust filter set to create the one on the right. I cloned out the small branch on the left and one below the branch. MJ D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Here are a couple of Blogs you might find of interest:
September 9, 2015 :
Moose-Wilson Road Closure: Last evening, GTNP officials closed the Moose-Wilson Road due to bear activity. At the time, they told us it was because of too many Black Bears along the roadside.
Wednesday Morning Update: LeAnn Rogers Yeates on Facebook wrote, “Mike, a Ranger told us as we were driving out that there’s at least one Grizz in the area, too…….so this will be a 72 hour closure, then they will reassess the risks. Typical for Sept., sure glad we came over when we did!”
GTNP News Releases: In theory, you could click the top button in the list in the navigation bar and go to the GTNP site for closure information. I did that just now and do not see any closures. I called the park dispatch line and was told the road is closed “due to bear activity”, but she was not sure if Grizzlies were part of the decision. The dispatcher said she would send a note to see if they could update their page.
With the closure of the Moose-Wilson Road, you might want to look over this page: Outside the Park: Alternative Places to Visit, Hike, Fish, and Photograph If the Park Service follows their previous policies, the Moose-Wilson Road will remain closed until after 72 hours of their last sighting of any Grizzly Bear in the area. Grizzly Sow 610 has a tracking collar, but they haven’t disclosed specifics. I’ve heard of a Grizzly roaming the Teton Pines subdivision just south of GTNP. Grizzly Bears are also seen regularly along the road towards Dubois (along Togwotee Pass). There are 100 yard restrictions there, too, but you can photograph from the window of your vehicle.
Check this out: Grand Teton National Park on CBS Sunday Morning: Charles Schultz is credited with the footage. Some of it looks like it was filmed in Yellowstone to me.
Photos From this Morning:
Washakie Lip Curl: If you are not sure what’s going on here, check out: Flehmen Response or “Lip Curl” in GTNP Moose D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Custer in Cottonwoods: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cow Moose in Gold: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Crossed Legged Calf: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Custer and a Rocky Crossing: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Pronghorn Does: These were beside the Gros Ventre Road. I didn’t see a buck, but one was probably close. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
September 8, 2015 :
The Labor Day Weekend is over but the park and town are still crowded. The JH Rodeo and nightly Shootouts are over for the season. The Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival will be beginning soon. A gallon of Self-Serv Unleaded gasoline “plummeted” to $2.89 from $2.93 last week. Kids are back in school. Some of the summer worker headed back to college. You get the idea—a shift in the business calendar’s seasons! Inside the park, the wildlife is going on about its business of the Fall rut and building up fat and food stashes for the upcoming winter months.
New Feature Post: Foliage Reports September/October 2015 : This page will be updated regularly throughout the month. Keep an eye on it!
Custer, Cow, and Curious Calf: After stripping their velvet, bull moose are beginning to get interested in the cows. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
After A Quenching Drink: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cow and Calf: Crossing the Gros Ventre with first of the morning light hitting the willows and cottonwoods. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
In Pursuit: The cow and calf crossed, followed by the motivated bull. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cinnamon Black Bear in Morning Grasses: Bears are feeding on Black Hawthorne berries, moving from tree to tree looking for the “low hanging fruit” at the moment. Some are climbing the trees to get to higher berries. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
The Easier Route: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Black Bear Cubs: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cinnamon Cub: I have a folder of images of the Black Bears and am working on a Feature Post about my experiences along the Moose-Wilson Road. If you are not already a subscriber to this site, now’s a great time to do so. I’d love to have a couple hundred new subscribers! D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Loose End Wildlife Reports: Over the weekend, I saw two young foxes in the Dornan’s area, along with a weasel on the Moose-Wilson Road. Robins, Western Tanagers, and Cedar Waxwings are feeding on the berries, along with a bat that flew within arm’s length of me. Grizzly Sow 610 and her cubs were spotted over the weekend along Shadow Mountain. At least for the past couple of years, she finds her way to the Moose-Wilson Road for the peak of the berries, and when that happens, expect the road to close.
September 7, 2015 :
Cinnamon Sow On Buck Rail: I saw several Black Bears today, but only took photos of this Sow taking advantage of a step ladder to the Black Hawthorne Berries. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Buck Rail Seat: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Standing Black Bear: I’ve heard a few tourists identifying this bear as a Grizzly, probably based on the light tan patch on her back. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
September 6, 2015 :
Stripped Velvet: Today was a very long day for me. I am making this post at 10:30 pm. The image above is a crop of a very early morning shot at ISO 10,000. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Moose-Wilson Road: The rules still say people are supposed to stay back 100 yards from bears, but when Wildlife Management personnel or Law Enforcement Officers are on the scene, people are often allowed to be closer. The road is tight, with few legal parking spots. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Black Bear Crossing Marsh: This bear has a yellow ear tag. Bright summer light makes photographing black bears especially tough. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cinnamon Bear in Hawthorne Bush: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Black Bear Crossing the Creek: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Black Bear in the Forest: Late evening, low light shot at ISO 7200. I was heading home when I ran into this bear jam. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Sunset Barn: I started before sunrise and ended after sunset today! For this shot, I used an off camera SB910 strobe, triggered with a RFN-4s controller. I was holding the strobe just out of the frame (to the left), set to +3 power and zoomed to 200mm.
September 5, 2015 :
Soggy Skies: After making my normal loops looking for animals (moose with velvet), I ended up at Mormon Road. They make good foreground subjects to put in front of the mood clouds. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
Evening Storm: The clouds rolling in over the Tetons at sunset were equally dynamic and moody. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
I got a late start because of the dark skies, rain, and thick clouds.
Cattle Drive on Spring Gulch Road: D810 and Tamron 24-70mm lens.
Snow Capped Grand: In town, we had rain overnight. The Grand received a layer of new snow. D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cinnamon Bears: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. (I removed a branch across the face of the small bear) D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Cinnamon Bear and Hawthorne Berries: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Black Bear: D810 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Sleeping Indian: Taken from the highway on the way home. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.
Spring Gulch: Also taken from the highway. D810 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.
September 4, 2015 :
Schwabacher Morning: I started out looking for Moose, but ended up at Schwabacher for first light. I tried a shot from this same spot last evening, but the colorful evening sky never happened. This image is stitched from three individual captures using Lightroom CC2015. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens. Click this image to see it much larger.
Schwabacher Mossy Pool: The water level has dropped in the first pool by the parking lot, revealing aquatic vegetation that breaks up the normal mirror reflections. There is similar “trash” in the water along Flat Creek just north of the Visitor’s center, but the many ducks and waterfowl don’t seem to mind. There were at least 8 vehicles in the south parking lot at Schwabacher Landing this morning. Over the past few years, beavers have been busy building and maintaining a series of dams in that area, creating reflection pools that were not there in prior years. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
Gear: The images above were taken with my Nikon D800 body. I recently ordered a new Nikon D810 and it should be here today. My Nikon D4 now has over 670,000 actuations and is going strong! A year ago this week, we were fishing for Kokanee Salmon and the D4 took a couple of second bath. While in for service, Nikon replaced the shutter on it. At the time, it had 503,000 actuations—well above the published life expectations. In the 12 months since, I’ve added over 170,000 actuations!
THE SEVEN DEADLY MYTHS OF INTERNET COPYRIGHT: This page has been on my site for a while, written by a lawyer and specifically dealing with photographs. There are a couple more similar pages linked on that page. Since this page is essentially a Daily Journal of what’s going on, I’ll include a bit more about my personal experiences. A couple of the sites suggest copyright submissions must be made in a timely manner…they suggest 90 days from the time you take a photo. I had my June copyright submission ready for uploading on August 31, but the US Copyright Office site was down and has been down all week. I spoke with a person at the Copyright Office today. She said the “90 day window” is not an issue at all.
There’s a section in yesterday’s post called Area Tidbits: All of it applies today.
Chris Balmer from Perfect Light Camera and Supply dropped off my new Nikon D810 before lunch. We headed north for a few shots and a little reconnaissance. This is a mid-day shot overlooking Hedrick Pond. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
Aspen Trunks and Ground Cover: This was taken behind the Camas field near Arizona Creek. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
Red Leaf: There are hints of rich colors at our door step. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
Orange Aspens: After a big rain, you’ve probably seen TV news reports of a guy paddling around in a canoe in a low area of a town. There may be some actual flooding in the area, but they pick the very worst little spot for the new cast—even though much of the surrounding area is relatively dry. That’s the problem with doing random foliage shots. I’ll always find the trees with the most color to post. Right? This group of orange aspens stood out against all the green trees near Jackson Lake Junction in GTNP. There are random trees turning prime all over the park, but most are just beginning to turn. D810 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
I spent half an hour setting the Auto Focus Fine Tune adjustments on the new D810. I set the AF Fine Tune for each of the telephoto lenses using a LensAlign.
September 3, 2015 :
Custer in a Side Channel: I looked for moose all morning, including hiking a mile or so of the river bottom in two directions. Nothing! I gave up, figuring it just wasn’t my day. As I was driving home, I spotted this bull out of the corner of my eye. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Mountain Maple: I have been hearing the Mountain Maple are starting to turn in the Snake River Canyon towards Alpine Junction. We had soft, thin cloud cover this morning, so I make a quick trip down. A few of them are beginning to turn. Traditionally, the maples are bright red between the 15th of September and possibly up until October 2nd or so. Last year, many of them looked good when we went down to fish on September 7th. Check out September 2014: for more photos from down there. D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.
September Foliage Reports Page: Coming Soon! Some areas seem well ahead of normal.
- Tomorrow is the last Free Concert at Snow King ball field. Lucas Nelson is playing and I hear he’s really good.
- The Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous is underway at Fort Bridger, WY. It is the largest of the year in this region.
- I’ve driven by the barns along Mormon Row and haven’t seen much new progress lately.
- There is road construction near the Hoback Bridge and just north of Hoback Junction.
- Black Bears are still feeding along the Moose-Wilson Road. No reports yet of Grizzlies in the area.
- I’ve heard a few reports of Great Gray Owls being sighted again, including several reports of them around Munger Mountain.
- Don’t forget to check yesterday’s new Feature Post.: Antlers and Wyoming’s Shiras Moose –
September 2, 2015 :
New Feature Post: Antlers and Wyoming’s Shiras Moose – As I make this post, about half of the bulls have already stripped their velvet for the year. If you are lucky, you might get to see and photograph this important stage in the yearly rut cycle.
The Grand and Blacktail Butte: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Custer in Sagebrush: The three Bulls I photographed on Monday stripped their antlers on Tuesday. Quite a few people got to photograph it and I would have liked to be one of them. Still, I was with the bull above on Tuesday as he did a river crossing. I added roughly 650 actuations on my venerable old D4 in the process. Can’t complain! D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Today, I found this one and stayed with him until he bedded down in a cool, shady area. On the way home, I saw another one along the side of the Gros Ventre river with what appeared to be full velvet. It was close to 10:00 am as I drove by and he we still feeding in the warm sun. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
September 1, 2015 :
Sleeping Indian: Taken from the hillside along the Gros Ventre Road. Lots of possibilities yet to be explored there! D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.
Clouds Above the Tetons: I saw this cloud developing over the Tetons, so I did a quick run to the barns for first light. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.
Welcome to September!
This photo was taken on August 30th, 2015 along the Gros Ventre River. Based on a few clues like this one, it appears foliage is going to be early again this year. The 30°F morning we had about a week ago might have initiated the early changes in parts of the valley? During September, I plan on adding a JH Foliage Reports 2015 page to accompany this September Daily Updates and Photos page.
August was a banner month for me. If you missed it, check out August 2015 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH: You can get a good idea of what the first part of September will look like. Also check out September 2014:
This photo at Oxbow Bend was taken on September 21st of last year. Typically (if there is such a thing), Oxbow peaks around October 2nd or 3rd. I haven’t been that far north in a while, but when I do, I’ll report on the status here. I don’t think many leaves will still be on the trees at Oxbow on October 1st this year either.
September Crossing: Bull Moose crossing the Gros Ventre in early morning light. D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
If you like moose, be sure to look over the last half of August: August 2015 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH:
Beginning of the Month Loose Ends and Reports:
- FREE in Jackson Hole ~ Areas & Activities: Some of the Free activities end after Labor Day.
- The Fall Arts Festival will offer plenty of new activities and events.
- Wildlife is becoming very active. Moose are beginning to shed their velvet. Bison are still in the rut. Bears are looking for berries. Elk are beginning to bugle. Beavers, squirrels, and other small mammals are beginning to gather winter supplies of food.
- Smoke has mostly lifted or blown out. Lingering amounts have still been causing great sunrise and sunsets.
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