Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 2 in Yellowstone Park

After fighting the crowds in the park on Saturday, I decided to head out of the park and take a drive to Cooke City and up to Beartooth Pass.  I was fairly tired from my last few days, and I figured a day of relaxing and just taking a beautiful drive (and not packing around my 600mm lens!) would get me rested up for a few days in the park! I think this was the day I took the fewest pictures, as I was just enjoying the day, relaxing, and taking in all of the sights of the breathtaking drive on the Beartooth Highway.  This is one drive that I never tire of, no matter how many times I make it!

 After spending some time in Cooke City, I stopped at a beautiful little pond near Colter Pass for a short hike, some lunch, and a nap.  In spite of the signs warning of grizzly bears, with myself and my cooler safely in the cab of my truck, I fell asleep rather quickly!  

 Fall colors on Beartooth Highway
 I took a short hike to Chain Lakes

Crazy Creek Cascades

I turned around at Beartooth Pass and headed back to camp, happy and well-rested after spending a day just relaxing and wandering around aimlessly! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Black Lab, Toma

Anyone who knows me knows that my absolute passion is animals, especially furry, slobbery, tail-wagging ones! So I was thrilled to spend some time this Sunday morning shooting some portraits of 12 1/2-year-old Toma! She is such a sweetheart!
 A layer of dense fog made an interesting backdrop!
Sitting by the creek where she spent her summers playing with her family!
 Such a beautiful girl!

Toma's pal ~ I had to be quick to get a shot of her!

What better Christmas gift than a portrait of a loved one's cherished pet?  Pet sitting fees are only $35.00, so call 641-2335 or email to book an appointment!

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Day in Yellowstone!

I have been so busy lately, I haven't had time to edit many of the pictures from my trip; however, I decided to take a little while this morning and at least get a few from my first day in the park finished!

I had hoped to get up early and be in the park by sunup, but sleeping in my truck in the Cody Wal-Mart parking lot proved to be a lot more comfortable than I thought, and it was almost 7:00 when I woke up...whoops! But I quickly got on my way and headed along the beautiful Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway to the East Gate of Yellowstone.  As I was driving, I realized that it was probably the first time I have ever made that drive in the daylight, as I have always tried to be in the park right at dawn, so I just took my time and enjoyed the beautiful scenery!
Full Moon over the North Fork of the Shoshone River

I was thrilled to come across a pair of moose having some breakfast just outside the gate of the park...

Then a grizzly bear out for a stroll at Mary Bay...

As I was putting my lens away, a coyote paused during his morning travels...

I had decided to camp at Mammoth Campground for at least a couple of days, so I figured I better head that direction first thing and get my campsite, as I knew the campgrounds would fill up quick, so I headed north towards Tower and Mammoth.  I got to Mammoth Campground just in time, as they only had two sites remaining! I got checked in, set up my tent, and headed towards Lamar Valley hoping to spot some wolves or another grizzly.  I was almost to Tower Junction when I came across a young black bear, who I would return to photograph almost every day during my visit.
 He was pretty scruffy, but he sure was fun to watch!

After spending about an hour with this bear, I headed to Lamar Valley, but with no luck.  Tired, but happy with the results of the day, I headed back to camp, ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Friday, October 1, 2010

McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Range

Morning light over the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Range

Well, I was hoping to be up in time to catch the sunrise, but I don't think I have slept so good in months!  I woke up to the morning sun beating down on me, and, much to my delight, a couple of curious colts staring at me!

I got my coffee going and had a bowl of cereal, as I took pictures of the herd grazing around me.  I think I would have been happy just spending the entire day right there!  But I wanted to see more of the range and other herds, so I packed up and headed out!

"Hey, I'll have some Raisin Bran Crunch!", but the stallion decided she was getting a little too close and drove her back!

After spending the entire day in the range, I found two other small bands, covered a lot of beautiful, rugged country, and had a fantastic day!  I had spent over 24 hours in this area and had not even seen another vehicle!

One of two wells installed by Friends of a Legacy (FOAL) volunteers and BLM

As I was working my out of the range, I saw a big band of approximately 15-20 horses grazing a few miles away.  It took about an hour to work my way to them, but I finally found them near a small pond.

Curious mares coming to visit...until something else catches their eye...
A herd of about 30 mustangs on the run to the water hole about a mile away...
The band I was watching wanted NOTHING TO DO with the larger band coming in.  
The stallion wasted no time rounding the mares up and heading out!
And these are the reason why...two very large and healthy bachelor studs trailing along with the two separate herds that came in...

And so began my best couple hours of the day! I was too late getting to the water hole to see the horses lying down in it, rolling in it, and drinking, as I had been photographing the other band and it took me a while to hike back to the waterhole, but just watching their interaction as they rolled, soaking wet, in the dirt, and then spent the evening socializing and grazing, was so much fun!

The family unit!

Sharing the waterhole!

Typical guy...loves to get dirty!

At least he stayed clean on one side!

I contemplated spending another night in the wild horse range, but I wanted to get an early start into Yellowstone the next morning (and I also wanted a shower!), so I headed into Cody.  I stopped at the KOA Campground on my way by, where you can get a terrific shower, clean with lots of water pressure, for only $3.00, and then headed to the Buffalo Bill Reservoir to catch an incredible sunset to end my day!

Sunset at the Buffalo Bill Reservoir...a beautiful close to a terrific day!