The spring in Grand Teton National Park, like the fall, is a great time to be there. The flowers are blooming, the wildlife is out and about and you can even have a snowstorm come through.
Sometimes the clouds are hiding the mountains, which can make the photography a challenge, but patience will eventually pay off. The iconic locations of Oxbow Bend, Schwabacher’s Landing, Mormon Row and the Snake River are hard to resist photographing.
The clouds hid the mountains for a few days so I went up to Yellowstone National Park to photograph the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I created a large panoramic photo based on 32 photos that are stitched together. This results in a huge photograph with amazing detail. This location had been on my list to do this for quite a while.
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Next up is the Grand Canyon in July. We’re hoping for some dramatic summer weather.
Spring is a great time to photograph in Yosemite National Park. The Dogwoods are in bloom, the fields are green and the waterfalls are running from the snowmelt. At certain times in the afternoon, the sun will hit the waterfalls just right resulting in beautiful rainbows in their mist. I don’t know if there is a view anywhere as impressive as that of Yosemite Valley. It’s been photographed a zillion times, but it’s hard not to make a good photograph from there.
We got just a little bit unlucky with a lack of clouds that could have given us some dramatic sunrises and sunsets. I guess you can’t always have it all but maybe that’s just an excuse to come back.
With a lack of clouds in the forecast for Yosemite, we shortened our time there and decided to go see what might be happening on the rocky coast of California between Mendocino and Fort Bragg. We were able to photograph a really cool sunset at the Cabrillo Lighthouse. Late one morning the fog rolled in off the ocean and we happened to be near the Pudding Beach footbridge allowing us the capture it appearing to vanish in the fog.
It was another good photographic expedition and opportunity to witness just a tiny sample of the beauty of our planet.
We made a quick trip to the Southwest to revisit some locations in Utah and Arizona. On my first trip to Canyonlands National Park several years ago, there was only one day with the sky clear enough to photograph Mesa Arch. If the rising sun is not blocked by clouds, the light reflects off the wall beneath the arch lighting up the bottom side.
On my previous trip, I did not know that getting there 90 minutes before sunrise was not early enough to get one of the few good spots to capture the sunburst from and we missed out. This time we arrived at 4:30am for the 7am sunrise and although we were the second to arrive we got a good spot. I can finally check this one off the list!
The close-up image shows the formation in the distance known as Washer Woman, as it resembles a woman leaning over a rock as if she is washing clothes. I suppose to be politically correct there will be a movement to rename the formation to Washer Person. Uhg!
With the main mission accomplished, we headed down to Sedona, Arizona. This is truly the land of the red rocks. My primary goal here was to photograph the formation know as Cathedral Rocks and capture its reflection in Oak Creek. There was enough breeze to keep moving the water and blurring the reflection, driving me nuts. Finally, just before we lost the setting sun to the cloud bank on the horizon the breeze gave us a short reprieve, just long enough to get a decent reflection. Yay! Mission number two accomplished.
Weather prevented us from our third goal but the landscape isn’t going anywhere so we’ll get that one next time.
I really enjoy the beauty of a fresh snowfall and I had always wanted to spend some time photographing the Grand Tetons during winter. So, a trip in February seemed just the ticket. I had been there before in February for other reasons and had experienced beautiful weather.
Well, this time Mother Nature was not so kind. Over a 9 day period there was only one day you could even see the Tetons. I made the most of it, getting a nice image in the morning with the Snake River. I scurried around to several other locations that morning trying to get something else decent but the sky was getting more overcast so no luck.
Then, just after noon, it began to clear again. I decided to put on my snowshoes and hike the mile out to Mormon Row where several historical barns and other structures are located. This was the longest distance I had ever traveled on snowshoes but it proved worthwhile. I had about an hour to get some images before the sky started to lose its beautiful blue color and go overcast again. That was on day two and it was the last time I saw the mountains during the nine days here.
I made a couple of side trips and gathered information that I can use down the road so I still grade the trip as a success. I may have to come back in June when all is lush and green with better skies.
After photographing the Canadian Rockies a few years ago in the summer, we knew we had to come back for the winter. After learning of the bubbles frozen in ice layers at Abraham Lake, Jason and I could wait no longer. The plan was to spend four days at the lake and 5 days at the southern end of the mountains between Canmore and Lake Louise.
The plants in the shallow areas at the south end of Abraham Lake release methane gas. These gas bubbles are first trapped by the top layer of ice and then by layers of ice that form repeatedly below the top, resulting in the look of multiple bubbles vertically rising and frozen in time. The fun is searching the large shallow areas for cool formations of bubbles and cracks in the ice. The mountains in the background really make it work.
The Canadian Rockies are magnificent in any season. Most of the iconic areas to photograph in the summer are not accessible in the winter so it becomes a real hunt down a variety of roads to figure out where is the best place to be at various times of day. We had a lot to learn and made a few mistakes but, in the end, did well for the limited time we were there. We only had it snow one night about an inch, not enough to impact the trees as I would have liked. The weather was otherwise great, with temps in the 20-30F range.
As a fun note, I purchased snowshoes prior to this trip to allow us to get to areas away from the road. Wow! What a difference. I didn’t know it could be that much easier to walk in deep snow.