August 30, 2010
Mammatus clouds over Bearhat Mountain. Ursus is the scientific name for bear. To have these unique clouds over an iconic mountain like this is rare.
August 19, 2010
Following several minutes after the photo of the previous post, this shot was taken at the peak of the light that evening. What an incredible dream she must have had!
August 18, 2010
Sinopah Mountain is reflected on the crystal clear waters of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. Supposedly the mountain is named after an Indian princess. Normally, the lake is boisterously wind blown. However, this evening I guess she turned in early.
August 9, 2010
I had just finished shooting a sunset shot in the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. After the color had faded from the sky, I found a place on the beach to sit and watch the light slowly dim in the sky. That far north, it doesn’t get completely dark until well after 10:00 pm. After returning to camp to turn in for the night, I noticed some lightning happening in the distance. So, instead of going to sleep, I got in my car and went for a drive to look for a good vantage point to photograph it. The lightning storm was so far away that I couldn’t hear any thunder. The summer storm was quite violent, with strikes happening at least once every second. The clouds, hence, are illuminated from the inside rather than the outside by reflecting light from the sun. This was taken at around 11:00 pm at night.
July 22, 2010
This was taken in the evening. However, I wanted a morning shot as well, so I returned the next day. I arrived at this location at around 5:00 am. Light was barely starting to show in the sky and landforms were barely becoming discernible. As you can see from the photo there are a lot of trees and bushes in the area, making hundreds of fabulous hiding places for a grizzly bear. When I arrived, I got out of the car and started yelling, screaming, hollering, shouting, whistling, and making as much noise as I could to let any bears know I was in the area. It was still dark so I remained by my car until I had to go down in the bushes anyway.
After a few minutes I looked down the road on which I had just came and noticed something in the distance moving. I wasn’t sure what it was, but there was definitely something down there coming toward me. As it came close, I noticed it was a dog. At first I thought it was a coyote. Then a second one appeared, which I thought was strange for coyotes. It wasn’t until I saw a black dog that I realized these were wolves. Instead of scaring away a bear, I called in a pack of wolves. All my shouting must have been like a dinner bell for them.
The pack came within about 40 yards of me. This still felt like a safe distance, so I remained outside my car. Soon 2 wolves broke and flanked me on my left side and another went to the right to surround me. These guys are smart. It was fascinating and troubling to watch them act. I was soon looking in all directions. As I considered my options of what to do if they came any closer, 2 things kept coming back to me: 1) jump in my car and 2) cry like a baby.
The thought occurred to me to try to take some pictures, but my camera gear was packed away in the car. To set up for a shot would have required me to turn my back on them and drop my attention, which I didn’t want to do. These guys were all intently looking at me, sizing me up. I didn’t want to let down my guard at all. After awhile I guess they figured I wasn’t worth the trouble and they took off into the woods. A little later, I started shooting. I could hear them howling in the woods, and I continually checked behind me.
July 7, 2010
This was my first up-close encounter with a grizzly bear. The bear was about 50 yards off a steep embankment. Although the slope of the hill was steep, I still didn’t feel safe. Bears can move quite quickly if they need to. For about 30 minutes, he fed on the branches of these willows. You couldn’t see any bit of him, but only could see the branches moving. Finally he emerged.
June 11, 2010
The barren, colorful hills of Bryce Canyon National Park have intrigued me perhaps more than the hoodoos for which Bryce Canyon is so well known. I’ve always wanted to photograph them, and this particular evening I got my chance. However, this area of the park is accessed via a horse trail. Of course, where there are horses there is horse manure. Navigating the trail requires a strong stomach and strategic skills. In places it can be a disgusting, stinking mess. The stench can be so overpowering that the urge to gag is strong. Going down hill is usually tolerable, since you can hold your breath in bad spots. However, coming out of the canyon is another story. When you’re climbing the steep trails, carrying 30 lbs. of camera equipment, you get breathing hard. Holding your breath is not very possible, instead sucking in the horrid stench. It’s a miracle to me that I didn’t vomit. If you ever hike the horse trail, don’t wear sandals.
June 7, 2010
At 4:00 am the alarm went off. I quietly slipped out of the room in which I was sleeping so I wouldn’t wake the other guests. A few years ago I toyed with the idea of camping in southern Utah during the winter. I thought winter nights in the desert would be milder than in the north. However, during the past two winters, southeastern Utah has had some of the coldest temperatures I’ve experienced in my life. Temperatures (at the time I visited this area) regularly hovered around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. On the morning I took this photograph, the little thermometer on my backpack–if it can be trusted–read -5 degrees.
I arrived at the trailhead a little before 5:00 am. Of course, no one was there. I exited the car and quickly began to question my decision. It was dark. A two mile hike in sub-zero temperatures awaited me. I was all alone and began to wonder, “What if?” I knew that “if” something happened, someone would be along sooner or later. But did I want to lie in pain and the bitter cold, “if” something went wrong? Yet, I love the outdoors, and I knew what experiences awaited me.
I cautiously began the hike. After about a half mile I arrived in an area where a vast landscape could be observed under moonlight, I stopped and surveyed my surroundings. The sound of the wind gently blowing; the cold biting at my nose; the salient feeling of solitude, knowing that I’m alone in this incredible landscape, produced feelings that this terrain, though marvelous, demanded respect. I continued my solitary trek through the desolate, snow-drifted terrain. After arriving at this spot, I set up my tripod and waited for the sun.
June 4, 2010
Winter in Eden
The Garden of Eden in Arches National Park can be a challenging place to shoot. Finding an organized composition from the chaotic jumble of rocks took a little work. Light from a setting sun makes the rocks glow nicely. However, I wanted a unique image with snow on the rocks. After finally getting these two elements crossed off, I needed an evening with some interesting clouds. After several attempts, all three came together this particular night.