Foliage Reports September/October 2017

Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park

Changing LeafDuring September, I’ll work on two pages simultaneously. This September Foliage 2017 post will contain more specific information about the ever changing foliage status in the area. The September 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP Page will contain some foliage information, but will focus more on wildlife and landscapes. You’ll want to go to both regularly.

Note: Think of this page as a day to day or week to week resource containing mainly “record shots”. The photos are not intended to be “wall hangers”, but more documentary in nature. Also, this page will grow in size and scope as the month progresses. Check back regularly!

Archived Resources:

You can go back to the September Daily Updates and Photos pages for the previous few years and probably get a good idea of how the entire month unfolds.

September 2017 | September 2016  |  September 2015   | September 2014:  | September 2013: It will probably be apparent that not all areas change at the same time and some of the fall foliage can go well into October.

Foliage Scale 2015

Foliage Scale 2017

This scale should help with visualizing the approximate color hues. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being summer green and 10 being peak), I will give a three part number. The first one is an average of the least changed. The middle number is the overall average and the last number is the status of the most advanced trees in an area. Note: Some aspens and some Mountain Maple turn orange and red, while many aspens, cottonwoods, and willows peak at something in the 8 or 9 range before the leaves fall or turn brown.

Remember, peak Fall foliage is not a one day event! It evolves over several weeks. Some areas go first, then lose leaves while others are just beginning. You should be able to find colorful foliage anytime from around the 10th of September to the first week in October.

September 7, 2017

Choke Cherry Leaves

Welcome to the 2017 Foliage Report! Last year, I started it in late August, but last year was early. Even now, the 7th of September, you’ll find very few stands of yellowing aspens or cottonwoods. There are a few random trees in near peak color, but they are randomly scattered. With that said, things are changing! It usually doesn’t take long, and quite a few zones have begun to shift.

Black Hawthorne Berries

Berry bushes, like this Black Hawthorn tree can have advanced color. Berries are thick on most Black Hawthorn trees and a few Black Bears are finding them. 399 and her two cubs have been seen munching on them along Pacific Creek Road, but photography there is limited to only a few seconds if rangers are around.

Mid-Sized Moose

Underbrush is bright yellow in a few zones like the Moose-Wilson Road, and a few of the low willows are changing along the Gros Ventre River. The Snake River bottom is still mostly bright green, but I see evidence of changes on the horizon. The Aspens around Oxbow Bend are still green as of yesterday.

This is an ongoing page! I will be adding to it regularly throughout the Foliage Season—going well into October. So, check back often, and please let people know about the page and site.

If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to

Teton Photo Excursions

Jackson Hole’s Historic Fences

Mormon settlers moved into Jackson Hole in the late 1890’s and began “taming the valley”. It’s difficult to imagine how difficult the century long task must have been while I am sitting in my warm truck—complete with heated seats and steering wheel, and wearing a goose down jacket and insulated boots. But the settlers did it! Along the way, the hardy group built towns, businesses, and farms and ranches. To maintain their horses and cattle, they needed fences. Today, there are numerous styles and kinds of fences remaining in the Jackson Hole valley to remind us of earlier days.

Back in 2015, I posted this page: Grand Teton National Park’s Buck Rail Fences. That page featured the area’s distinctive Buck Rail Fences, but there are several other types of fences used by the settlers and homesteaders. A few days ago, I cruised some of the valley in an effort to document some of the remaining fences.

The Old Jackson Hole Road

This is a Harrison Crandall painted postcard showing the Old Jackson Hole Road. The caption on the back reads, “The Old Jackson Hole Road” which follows the east border of the Valley. Fences of the “buck and pole” type such as these are remnants of early days and are still a distinctive feature.” Another postcard featured a buck rail fence and included this caption, “The Tetons from Park Headquarters—Fences of the “buck and pole” type such as these, are a remnant of the early ranching days, and are still a distinctive feature of Jackson Hole scenery. (Security Lithograph Co, San Francisco, CA)

Personally, I love the old buck rail fences. They are romantic icons of earlier days and have been photographed by countless visitors. Lodgepole Pine trees are abundant in Grand Teton National Park. The materials were free, readily available, and close-by. Just add labor and a few long nails! They didn’t require digging holes in the rocky soil, and this type of fence could follow the terrain effectively.

Panel Fence

There are a few remnants of these plank style fences remaining along Mormon Row. The three historic photos above were taken in 1962-1964 by Al Pounian during this three summers in the area. Fences around the John Moulton barn were all six to eight feet tall. The Moultons housed their horses in the corrals. I’ve always assumed the tall fences were to keep elk and predators out. Each year, more of these fences fall to the ground.

Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed Wire fences were apparently common in Jackson Hole. There are very few remaining inside Grand Teton National Park, but you can still see them along some portions of Mormon Row. Last year, the Park Service replaced the barbed wire fence in front of the TA Moulton barn with barbless wire. In many other areas of the park, volunteers have been systematically removing the fences for the safety of the migrating animals. As far as I know, only one sections of land still grazed by cattle in the Elk Flats area and another herd of Longhorn cattle grazes behind barbed wire fences near Kelly.

This fence style may have a name, but I can’t find a reference for it. It was a hybrid buck rail fence and barbed wire fence. As before, this style of fence didn’t require digging post holes in the rocky soil. This fence was along what is now called the East Boundary Road, just north of Antelope Flats Road. The fence and cabins were gone before we moved here 31 years ago.

Shane Cabin

Buck Rail fences, like the old barns and houses were never meant to last forever. Weather takes its toll on about anything left to the harsh environment. The Park Service replaced the old buck rail fences around the “Shane Cabins” (properly labeled the Luther Taylor cabins) about 8 years ago, but are now letting the cabins and structures deteriorate. Currently, they are rated as non-essential “ruins”.

Worm Fence

Worm Fences (sometimes called Snake Fences) can be seen along the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis roads. I don’t know how prevalent they would have been in the early 1900’s but I’d bet you could find a few that took advantage of the plentiful Lodge Pole Pines. I am unaware of any stacked rock fences being built in Jackson Hole in the early days.

Post and Rail Fence

Post and Rail fences were common in Jackson Hole. You can still find a lot of them along Mormon Row as seen above and the historic photo below.

Viewers might recognize this as the T.A. Moulton Barn, taken at a time when the farm was fully functional. The corrals and out buildings were gone when we moved to Jackson Hole in 1986. I’ve asked if these structures could be replaced, but the Park Service spokesperson says they barely have the budget to keep the existing structures from decay.

Post and Rail Fence

The image above runs along the property line of the Bed & Breakfast on Mormon Row. (Moulton Ranch Cabins) I’d suggest this is a contemporary fence built out of necessity for the safety of their guests. Bison migrate north and south along Mormon Row. Iit takes a hefty fence like this one to influence them to go around. The low mesh wire portion probably keeps the critters out. Oh yes, if you have a spare $5,000,000 you can pick up the historic bed & breakfast complex. Tell Hal Blake I sent you!

Wildlife Friendly Fence

Over the past few years, this style of “Wildlife Friendly” fence has been replacing miles of Buck Rail fencing. Advocates suggest that some animals, like Pronghorns, can climb under the smooth wire, while others can safely jump the fence. Unlike the early settlers that had to hand dig the post holes, modern day tractors with augers can make short work of a tough job.

Friendly Fence

The new Wildlife Friendly fences aren’t as photogenic as the old Buck Rail fences. Wildlife advocates, some of which helped pay for the new fencing, suggest the fences make it safer for the migrating herds. No problem! I’ve wished for several years that the Park Service would replace about 100 yards of this fence at Triangle X ranch with the old Buck Rail fences. Historically, that spot was a popular stop for tourists and photographers, and photos from there were featured on posters, calendars, book covers, and so forth. The fence is used to keep the trail horses in the pastures, but the horses are only in the pastures during the mid-summer months—after the spring migration and before the fall migration. With no horses around during the migration, some of the top rails could be lowered in a few sections. At least from my perspective, it looks like a workable solution.

Buck Rail Fences

Where to see Buck Rail Fences now:

Buck Rail Fences are disappearing, but there are still numerous places to see them.

  • Buck Rail fences can be seen along Mormon Row Road, along with almost all other fence styles mentioned here .
  • There are still stretches of Buck Rail fences along the highway north of Triangle X ranch. They are deteriorating fast, so hurry!
  • New fences replaced the Buck Rail fences north of the drive into Cunningham Cabin, but look on the north side and around the Cabin.
  • Watch for Buck Rail Fences south of Moosehead Ranch near Spread Creek.
  • Luther Taylor (Shane) cabins have Buck Rail Fences.
  • Buck Rail fences surround the Chapel of the Transfiguration. There aren’t a lot of the fences on the West side of the Snake.
  • New Buck Rail Fences have been installed at Antelope Flats Junction.
  • Buck Rail Fences are seen in several sections of Spring Creek Road.

Of course, you may have found picket fences around the house at a few pioneer homesteads, and you can find a few examples in the Town of Jackson. Chain link fences and other contemporary style fences are common in town, but this page was focused on the fences I’ve seen in the Park area. You can also find a few electric fences being used along Mormon Row today.

Additional Fence Links

Wyoming Wildlife Foundation

Facts about fences

Smoky Mountains History: Fences. Additional photos of fences.

Area History and Cultural Events:

Jackson Hole has a rich heritage and history. The area was originally homesteaded by Mormon settlers. Their history has always intrigued me.


September 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

“My Favorite Month!

Daily Updates Archives:
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2016: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan: 
2015: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
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2013: Dec: | Nov: Oct: | Sept: | Aug:

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .


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September 1st:  Welcome to Fall!

Fall's Sentinel

Fall’s Sentinel: It’s not exactly Fall yet, but there are hints of changes in all corners of the park. A few leaves are changing, but so far, they are not going off quite as early as last year. Then again, I thought the changes were early last year. A few of the bull Moose are beginning to shed their velvet before their rut. Elk are bugling. Pronghorns have been fairly dependable subjects. Bison are seen mostly around Elk Flats and possibly along the RKO road. Grizzlies are being seen in the North part of the park, but can be challenging to photograph. Owl sightings have been scarce in the summer of 2017. It’s berry season and there are plenty of berries. A few Black Bears are being seen.  The photo above was taken during the last few minutes of light on August 31st along the Gros Ventre Road. Notice the hints of Fall color! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

August was a great month! August 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP. Until I begin filling this new September Journal, check the August page. The first week or so of September should resemble the last week or two of August.

Foliage Scale 2015

2016 Foliage Reports: I will create a 2017 Foliage Reports page in the near future. For now, the 2016 page should give you a good idea of what to expect this year. To start September, most trees are still 1 or maybe a few 2. Some of the underbrush is turning and a few of the Black Hawthorn bushes on the Moose-Wilson Road are turning.

Morning: September 1st

Sliver of Sun

Sliver of Sun: Taken along Gros Ventre Road. September mornings can drop to temps in the high 30s and can climb to the low 80s. Weather reports suggest clear skies through the Labor Day Weekend, though there is some smoky haze throughout the valley. Morning photos often have a beautiful amber  or rose color cast. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Captured along the Gros Ventre River. Another smaller moose was in the background. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Early Morning Moose

Early Morning Moose: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck: Moose, Grizzlies, and Wolves occasionally pass through Schwabacher Landing, but you can almost always find a few ducks and other potential subjects like Pine Martens, Squirrels, Mule Deer, Beavers, Otters and so forth. This Mallard is in one of it’s less colorful phases. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher: This morning, a Belted Kingfisher was working the area. They are almost always difficult to photograph. Kingfishers seem to know when you are trying to photograph them and tease you right up to the point you begin to press the shutter button before taking flight. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.


Soro: All About Birds says this about Soros, “A small, secretive bird of freshwater marshes, the Sora is the most common and widely distributed rail in North America. Its distinctive descending whinny call can be easily heard from the depths of the cattails, but actually seeing the little marsh-walker is much more difficult.” That makes two difficult birds in one day! Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Female Barrows Golden Eye

Female Barrows Golden Eye: Golden Eyes seem to like the Schwabacher Landing area’s calm waters. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: If you were to watch the 1950s movie “SHANE” you could see little Joey crossing the stream in exactly this spot! Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, handheld. 


Youngster: This young Moose soon followed her mother across the channel. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens, handheld. 

Labor Day Weekend: Remember, things will be winding down in regards to “tourist season”. The last two JH Rodeos are tonight and Saturday. Dornan’s Chuckwagon will stop their breakfast and dinners after this weekend, but will continue lunch for a couple of weeks. The last JH Shootouts and Stage Coach rides will end after this weekend.



A client had to cancel two trips in the “prime time of September” due to an unplanned surgery.  His dates were September 20-23. I believe I had to turn away a couple of trips requested for those dates, but they are now available. LMK if interested in taking any of them!  I also have openings for the end of August and several for early September.

If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to

Teton Photo Excursions

Local Color and Close-Ups

Photographers are naturally drawn to Jackson Hole’s wildlife and abundant scenic opportunities. Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding area have some of the best of both! While most people pass them by, there are additional “small scene” opportunities. This page is a collection of some of the close-up images I captured in late July and August. Morning Flowers I have a tendency to start my day watching for the “big stuff”, and if that’s not happening, I begin to look down for the “little stuff”. In reality, there’s a lot more of it! Weather plays a big role in most people’s success rate. Rain and fog can “ruin” some photographer’s day, but if you are willing to deal with the weather, you can get shots others don’t. In most cases, it is just a matter of looking down for alternative subjects. Rain drops are a great addition to flowers, leaves, pine cones & spider webs. A duck in a quiet pond with rings from raindrops may be more compelling and memorable than a standard duck on calm water. Continue reading "Local Color and Close-Ups"

South Africa’s other national parks

Kruger may be the granddaddy of South Africa's national parks but it is certainly not the only park you will want to visit on a photography safari. Our two-month visit in the spring of 2017 took us to ten national parks, each with a unique flavor that will attract many visitors and photographers. Tsiitsikamma-2874-EditTsiitsikamma-2874-Edit   I cannot do justice to these parks in a short description but will try to highlight some features of particular interest to photographers touring the region. I also did not visit parks in the west, northwest, central or southeast parts of South Africa nor did I visit the dozens of nature reserves and private game parks in the country. It would take years to see all of the public lands and wildlife sites in South Africa but the following are some of the highlights arranged somewhat in the order of the number of photos shot in each park. I don't try to equate more shots with greater interest or higher priority but rather use this a a means of judging what I personally enjoyed. Kruger National Park was the focus of nearly a month of our visit so I will save that for the next and final post about photographing South Africa. Continue reading "South Africa’s other national parks"

August 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

August 1st, 2017:  Tuesday

Note: The first week or so of August should resemble the last two or three weeks of July. Check out: July 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP Sunrise Pano Sunrise Pano: It’s a tough call when you have a sunrise like this one developing on one side and three Bull Elk on the other side. I took this three shot pano, then concentrated on the Elk! (Click the image to see it much larger) Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld, VR ON.
Continue reading "August 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP"

Teton County Fair 2017

Teton County Fair The Teton County Fair happens each year during the last week of July—smack dab in the middle of the busy Summer season. I’ll be running the snow blower and shoveling snow soon enough, but for now this colorful event offers a welcome break! Our kids are grown and “out of the nest” but that doesn’t mean I can’t return to the Fair for my own form of fun. Continue reading "Teton County Fair 2017"

Total Eclipse Book Success

I’m excited to have sold over 12,000 copies of my Total Eclipse Guide series for the August 21, 2017, total eclipse!
I never thought a book series I wrote would sell this many copies. It started off as a small book for the Jackson area and it grew into a big series of thirteen titles.
The various state books I wrote are now in all states that are will enjoy the total eclipse.
For example, they are in the Idaho Falls Zoo, Oregon Capital Gift Store in Salem Oregon, the Wyoming Territorial Prison, Wort Hotel in Jackson Wyoming, Prairie Books in Hastings Nebraska, the Bookworm in Carbondale Illinois, the Boonville Visitor Center in Missouri, Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville Kentucky, Union Avenue Books in Knoxville Tennessee, Sunrise Books in High Point North Carolina, Barnes and Noble in Charleston, South Carolina, and countless other locations and bookstores.
Continue reading "Total Eclipse Book Success"