As the year comes to a close, it is a good time to look back at the year’s batch of photos and assess how I did. Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photos in any one year is a good crop.” I can’t claim significance for these twelve photos but they are my favorites of 2019.
Each time I look at the photos, I see imperfections, which to me is a good sign since it tells me I am learning my craft, both the field work and the post processing. I have edited most of these photos several times with the goal of attaining what I envisioned when I was on location. Hopefully, they do not look over-processed to you.
We spent a week exploring Yellowstone National Park. What an incredible place! I have lots of photos to edit. Here is the first bunch. We spent our first night in Bozeman, Montana, and then drove down Paradise Valley from Livingston, Montana, to Gardiner. We traveled along the Yellowstone River, as it flowed north to its eventual meeting with the Missouri River in North Dakota.
It had snowed in the higher elevations. These mountains are part of the Absaroka Range on the east side of Paradise Valley.
We stayed at the Grizzly Den Cabin, an Airbnb about 5 miles north of Gardiner on the Old Yellowstone Road. (Click an image to see it larger.)
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a beautiful double rainbow.
In the river just outside are cabin was an island. The owner told us that bears liked to bed down on the island. But, all we saw were these elk. Within a few hundred yards of our cabin were about 100 elk in what looked like three different harems.
A prominent landmark near our cabin was Cinnabar Mountain, with the unusual red formation that the sun nicely highlighted in this photo. The feature was named “the Devil’s Slide” by members of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition in 1870 and captured in a drawing byThomas Moran the following year when he was part of the Hayden Geological Survey.
The drive from the Grizzly Den Cabin to Gardiner was along the Old Yellowstone Road, a dirt road that traveled along the base of the Gallatin Mountain Range.
At 10,969 feet, Electric Peak is the tallest mountain in the Gallatin Range. Electric Peak was given its name by members of they Hayden Geological Survey in 1871.
I loved the texture of the landscape along the Old Yellowstone Road.
A pronghorn seen along the Old Yellowstone Road.
After traveling four miles or so along the Old Yellowstone Road, you come over a hill and get your first view of Gardiner. Montana. On the right in this photo you can see the Roosevelt Arch, the north entrance to the park. The large building in the foreground of the town is the Yellowstone research building.
A view of main street Gardiner.
I took several pictures of the iconic Roosevelt Arch. The arch was build by the U.S. Army in 1903. At the time, the Army supervised the park from Fort Yellowstone in Mammoth Springs. The National Park Service was not established until 1916.
President Teddy Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the arch in 1903.
“For the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” words from the Organic Act of 1872, which established Yellowstone as the first national park in the world.
The light on the arch seemed to be different each morning.
This bull elk was keeping a watchful eye on his harem near the arch. The harem spent most of its time in and around Gardiner. We often saw them on the high school football field.
As soon as we entered the park the first day of our visit, we came across on confrontation between this bull elk and another that was showing a little too much interest in this bull’s harem.
The rut was on during our visit and the air frequently filled with the bugling of male elk.
The Gardner River (spelled differently than the town) as it flows out of the park to the town of Gardiner, where it flows into the Yellowstone River.
Looking back toward Gardiner from Mammoth Hot Springs, the headquarters of Yellowstone National Park.
If you have visited Inspiration Point on Big Glen Lake, you have undoubtedly seen the old log cabin. I set out yesterday to take some photos and learn about its history. The cabin was built for Mary and George Faust, of Chicago, in 1929, on land purchased from D.H. Day. The architect was Frank Sohm, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Mary lived there nine months each year until her death in 1977. Her children continued to use the cabin for some years before selling it to the National Park Service in order to preserve it.
A lily nicely framed by a basement window of the Faust cabin
The basement door.
Just steps away from the cabin is this stone bench overlooking Big Glen Lake.
I recently got a new mid-range zoom lens for my camera. My old lens was frustrating me because it was hit or miss whether a photo would be tack sharp. So now that I have a better lens, what do I start shooting? ICM, which stands for “intentional camera movement.”
This past weekend I saw the photos of a British photographer Andy Gray (www.AndrewSGray.photography). Andy uses ICM to create some remarkable abstract landscape photos. I had taken some ICM shots last fall, and seeing Andy’s work, I thought I would give it a go once again. Here are some ICM photos I took last evening in a swamp a few blocks from our house.
The National Park Service conducted the first ever controlled burn in the park in May. The Service burned about 917 acres west of M-22 between Trail’s End Road on the north and Peterson Road on the South. I visited the area on Saturday.
The morning started at Bass Lake at the end of Trail’s End Road. The sky was covered with clouds, but a hint of reflected sunlight peaked through the clouds about twenty minutes before sunrise.
The shore of Bass Lake is lined with cedar trees. The roots of this upturned cedar are a work of nature’s art.
As I hiked the trail from Bass Lake to the burn area, I at first did not recognize it. I had imagined that the large trees would be burned more than they were. The leaves covering the ground had not burned. And ferns had spouted.
The area south of Deer Lake was in the burn area, but this small area was spared the flames.
After exploring the burn area and grabbing breakfast in Glen Arbor, I went to the dune overlook on the Pierce Stocking Drive, hoping to get photos of a storm coming. The storm, however, passed far to the south.
The roots of these trees at the dune overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive have a precarious hold on the shifting sand.
The struggle of plants to stabilize the dunes is ongoing.
These trees give a large hint to the direction of the prevailing winds at the top of Sleeping Bear Dunes.