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.
I visited Saugatuck Dunes State Park yesterday morning. Here are some photos.
I arrived early, an hour before sunrise, to take advantage of the light during the “blue hour.” The water in this vernal pond reflects the brightening sky.
This tree, with its exposed roots, captured by attention and held it for some time.
I experimented with a technique called “photo stacking,” in which I took several photos focusing first close by and then successively deeper into the photograph. Photo stacking is used to get a tack-sharp photo throughout the image.
Yesterday, I explored the Houdek Dunes Natural Area. Houdek Dunes is five miles north of Leland on M-22. The property is owned by the Leelanau Conservancy. It comprises 330 acres and has about 3 miles of trails that take you through open dunes and several types of forests. What stood out to me yesterday morning were the birch trees, many of which, protected by the dunes, have lived for over 100 years. That’s quite unusual for a birch tree. With their white bark, the birches caught my eye for this series of photographs.
I made one more visit the the Leelanau Peninsula near the end of March to have one more shot at winter photography. I headed straight to Good Harbor Bay to get some shots of Shalda Creek before sunrise. I had great light for about 15 minutes and made the most of it. Then the clouds rolled in.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
After the clouds rolled in I wandered around the park taking random shots.
On the 26th and 27th of January, I set out to shoot photos on what was the start of a polar vortex. The temperature was 20 below zero Fahrenheit (actual temperature) when I stopped for gas in Cadillac, Michigan, at 5:30 a.m. When I finally made it to Point Betsie, north of Frankfort, the temperature had risen to 4 above, but with a steady wind at 20 mph gusting into the high 30s, the windchill was well below zero.
The Point Betsie lighthouse is a favorite of photographers in the winter because the area around it becomes covered in ice creating a magical scene. I shot there last January for the first time and found it stunning. Click here to see those photos. I wanted to give it another go this year.
The waters along the coast at Point Betsie always are stunningly vibrant. Here, the waves crash against a breakwater.
I would return to Point Betsie early on Sunday morning, but on Saturday, I made my way up the Leelanau Peninsula to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, starting at the beach at the end of Esch Road. The shore ice building up on the beach made a great contrast with the dark clouds and light snow over Empire Bluff in the distance.
Otter Creek enters Lake Michigan at the Esch Road beach. Here the creek fights its way through the shore ice.
The fading paint on this old shed on Norconk Road caught my eye.
This tree along the Platte River also caught my eye as a study in tones of gray and white.
Even in winter, the world is not black and white. I made this shot along the Platte, thinking it was not going to amount to much. But when I opened it on the computer, I quite liked the orange and yellow colors with the hint of blue sky peeking through the clouds.
This time of year, the Crystal River is just a sliver of water.
I returned to Point Betsie on Sunday morning. The wind and cold were intolerable. I lost the feeling in my fingers within two minutes. I wanted to catch the waves crashing against the breakwater. With so little light, I pushed the ISO to 400 and shot with a wide open aperture in order to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the wave action. I didn’t expect much success but was surprised how well this came out. The red sky to the north was an added bonus.