Explosion of Grandeur

Bison are huge mammals, weighing 2,000+ pounds.  Yet the grandeur of  Yellowstone skies sometimes dwarfs even the largest of its inhabitants.

Free Roaming Bison in Yellowstone

Free Roaming Bison in Yellowstone

Posted in: Landscapes, Wildlife, Yellowstone by Mark 1 Comment

US Highway 26 – Antelope Flats Area

Captured while scoping out a sunset shoot; main highway through the park near Antelope Flats.

Curvaceous

Curvaceous

Posted in: Automobile, Landscapes, Tetons by Mark 2 Comments

Mt. Moran Turnout on Teton Park Road

Final morning in the park … and FINALLY had clouds for a change!  The Balsamroot flowers were coming on strong … a perfect foreground for a sun-speckled morning!

Mt. Moran Turnout - GTNP

Mt. Moran Turnout – GTNP

Posted in: Flora, Landscapes, Plants, Spring, Tetons by Mark 2 Comments

Pilgrim Creek Area in B&W

This cloudy morning brought to you by …. a hiatus in grizzly activity!  This exact location was packed with wildlife photogs the entire week we were in the Grand Tetons (first full week of June).  399, a local grizzly famous across the planet for surviving 24+ winters in the Yellowstone basin and for bearing multiple sets of triplets and twins, made these flats her showcase for Spring ’17.  She has two new twin cubs, and they emerged from the adjacent woods 2-3 times per day to play and nurse.  The road, which is difficult to see in this image, was the epitome of “bear jams” at least twice per day.  On this particular morning, she had been known to migrate south a couple of miles.  We still had bear spray and watchful eyes at the ready!

Balsamroot Flowers at Pilgrim Creek - GTNP

Balsamroot Flowers at Pilgrim Creek – GTNP

Posted in: Flora, Landscapes, Plants, Tetons, Water by Mark 3 Comments

Lake Life at Colter Bay

Colter Bay is a popular destination for summer tourists of Grand Teton National Park.  It is both a village with rustic cabins, a store, and many trails, as well as a marina on Jackson Lake with boating options galore.  The Teton range backdrop does not get much better than this.

Canoes at Colter Bay, GTNP

Canoes at Colter Bay, GTNP

Posted in: Landscapes, Tetons, Water by Mark 3 Comments

Mount Moran

Mount Moran from Oxbow Bend.

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.”  ~John Muir

Mount Moran

Mount Moran

 

Posted in: Flora, Landscapes, Spring, Tetons, Water by Mark 2 Comments

Yellowstone Grand Prismatic Spring

There are many iconic locations in Yellowstone, one of my favorite being Grand Prismatic Spring.  According to Wikipedia:

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica. It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin.

Grand Prismatic Spring was noted by geologists working in the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871, and named by them for its striking coloration. Its colors match the rainbowdispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

The vivid colors in the spring are the result of microbial mats around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The mats produce colors ranging from green to red; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature gradient in the runoff. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green.  The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat.

Many aerial views have been photographed over the years, as well as high angle photos from the hillside behind it.  This give the best insight into the size of Grand Prismatic.  On this particular visit, the hillside area was closed for nearby road construction.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Carl and I have photographed from above, but until this day we had never visited the boardwalk at the spring itself.

The colors and textures are unbelievable (literally), and the size of Grand Prismatic is difficult to capture or explain.  The trees on the hillside of the second image below are an estimated mile away from where I am photographing.  The hot spring extends from my standing position to within approximately 100-200 yards of the tree line!  This is ONE GI-NORMOUS POOL!  The first image captures approximately 200+ yards of calcified channels on the western side of the spring.

Channels - Grand Prismatic Spring

Channels – Grand Prismatic Spring

Fluorescent - Grand Prismatic Spring

Fluorescent – Grand Prismatic Spring

Hope Springs Eternal

Just a few miles north of Flagg Canyon we saw this!  See my previous post for the contrast.  Spring, popping through but not yet completely overtaking the snow.  Just inside the Yellowstone south entrance, much snow still remained in early June after a 700+ inch winter of snowfall!

Hope Springs Eternal - YNP Near South Entrance

Hope Springs Eternal – YNP Near South Entrance

Circle of Life – Flagg Canyon

North of Grand Teton National Park, just shy of the Yellowstone National Park south entrance, is  Flagg Canyon Trail.  It’s a beautiful trail that runs north to YNP along a fabulous river canyon overlook.  Last year this area was part of thousands of acres that fell victim to a forest fire.  One year later, the contrast of a badly charred forest slowly being renewed with a plush green “floor” was gorgeous in it’s own right.  The National Park Service often let’s nature take its course, allowing such fires to burn and die a natural death rather than extinguish them.  This allows God and Nature to administer recovery all on their own, on top of clearing out years of dead underbrush.  There are documented cases  where certain seedlings only initiate growth from extremely high temperatures of forest fires like this.  The fires are an inconvenience to us park visitors, but they are an essential part of the circle of forest life.  And as seen here, they bring their own unique brand of beauty.

Overcoming such adversity reminds me of Ephesians 3:20:  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Fire Scorched Remnants - Flagg Canyon Trail

Fire Scorched Remnants – Flagg Canyon Trail

Posted in: Flora, Landscapes, Plants, Spring, Tetons by Mark 3 Comments

Old Patriarch Tree

This old friend continues to stand through thick and thin, brutal winters and of course a lightening strike or two.  Old Patriarch is well deserving of the half mile walk through brushy terrain before sunrise.

Old Patriarch Tree - GTNP

Old Patriarch Tree – GTNP

Posted in: Flora, Landscapes, Tetons by Mark 3 Comments

Spring Awakens in Wyoming

The famed Moulton Barn on Mormon Row in the Tetons never grows old (figuratively speaking).  It is classical and magical, regardless of season!

Moulton Barn - Mormon Row, GTNP

Moulton Barn – Mormon Row, GTNP

 

Historic Downtown Norcross (The Other Side)

One of my local favorite small town vignettes is Historic Downtown Norcross.  It is a very small train depot town from years past, replete with a handful of nice shops and eateries.  It has continued to improve with age over the past 20 years, thoughtfully blending nearby historic residential neighborhoods with new homes.  Many of the neighborhoods are a short walk from downtown and a nearby park, all reminiscent of the 40’s.  Lots of folks stroll the sidewalks with their family or significant other, and the town hosts  annual events like an antique British car show to arts festivals.  You get the picture … warm, friendly, inviting, and easily accessible.

Over the years I’ve done several outdoor portrait sessions along the storefronts, railroad tracks, and neighborhood sidewalks.  Also, a favorite photo spot has been the alley behind the main set of shops.

This weekend I was on a casual motorcycle ride and decided to swing through town, not having been there in months.  I  hoped there might be a Memorial Day parade or event in the works, but this was not the case.  Things were “dead” on my early morning pass through.  So plan B – zip through the alley and see if there’s anything new and interesting to photograph.  Much to my surprise, the old sleepy back alley had seen a facelift!  The color and artistic flare have made it come alive.

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The Doors

The Blues

The Blues

Foxy

Foxy

 

Posted in: Architecture, Cityscapes by Mark 4 Comments
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