My Favorite Photos of 2017

I can't believe it's been an entire year since I added a new blog post. Embarassing, shame on me!

I've been very active on instagram and YouTube, but I have neglected the blog. It seems fitting to revisit this blog by adding my favorite photos of 2017. Those photos are below:

If you want to know more about these photos and settings, etc, please check out my Youtube video HERE.



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My Favorite 25 of 2016 Part 5

October Snow: We had a gnarly early snowstorm this October, it was wonderful. Luckily I had been photographing an owl earlier in the week so I knew roughly where it was hanging out. Once the storm started, I knew exactly where I was going - to look for that owl in the snow, with fall colors still hanging on. Driving an hour in the dark to get there at sunrise, my mind raced with visions of how beautiful it 'could be' if everything went perfectly. Everything went perfectly. I found the owl, it was snowing ridiculously hard, and I was able to include the fall colors in the background. Yippee!

Wing Stretch: Simple. Beautiful.

Boys Club: Six Bull Moose on the sagebrush flats beneath the Tetons. The eastern clouds made the color weird that morning. I like weird.

Frozen Puddle: My friend Tim loves 'puddle season'. His excitement inspired me to photograph some puddles this fall. When I found a great puddle with interesting crystals and patterns, reflecting the blue sky and the fall colored hillside, I knew I had a winner.

Old Stump: I had been photographing owls in the particular forest regularly all fall and it was great. As I searched for owls and watched them hunt, I kept seeing this cool old stump in the forest, it was the prettiest stump around. Naturally, I hoped that someday an owl would land on it and I could make a photo.  On a snowy day in November as I watched an owl hunt, it flew up onto that old stump and paused for a few minutes before moving on. I think the owl was just waiting for some snow to complete the scene and make the photograph even better. Good boy.

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My Favorite 25 of 2016 Part 4

Growing up in the forest: A great gray owl chick that doesn't yet know how to fly. Since it can't fly yet, it climbs trees and old snags for safety, as well as to strengthen it's wings and to practice flying. 

Smokey: Some nearby forest fires this summer spewed lots of smoke into the valley, giving some interesting photographic possibilities. This photograph of the Tetons at sunset was taken as the smoke rolled into the valley from Idaho. I dig it.

Black Bear Family: I spent quite a bit of time in the backcountry with this black bear family this fall. I got to know them during several weeks while feasting on berries as they fattened up for winter. 

Oxbow Sunrise:  Going to the Oxbow in the fall is a bit of a clusterfuck. Some days (like this one) there can be literally hundreds of photographers lined up. Some of them are respectful and well-behaved, some aren't. Sometimes you can't find a place to park your car, or even your tripod. So.... I usually only go there once or twice during 'peak fall color' and try to guess at which days have potential to be spectacular. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This year, I guessed correctly and we were all treated to an amazing sunrise.

Fall Foliage: I've been dreaming of such a photograph for years. A great gray owl perched on an Aspen tree, with fall colors in the background. It happened this fall.

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My Favorite 25 of 2016 Part 3

Jackson Lake Sunset: After a wonderful evening of photographing owls with a couple friends, we headed to Signal Mountain Lodge for dinner. On the way to the lodge, the sky exploded with color and magic, so we all pulled over to enjoy the light show and make some photographs.

Great Gray Owl Awkward Pose: For some reason this photo makes me smile every time.

Well, it's 'just' a photo of an owl nest. But this nest gave me some very special moments this spring and summer. Very special.

Great Gray Owl Perch: I love the clouds. And the simplicity of the silhouette. And I just love being in the woods with owls, of course...

Fox Kits: An energetic, playful moment between two red fox kits.



My Favorite 25 of 2016 Part 2

Wicked Clouds and bison:  We had a violent spring thunderstorm that got my attention so I went out to try to photograph the lightning. No success. But as the storm was clearing, the clouds were amazing. I sat there admiring the scene as the evening light danced through the clouds. When a bison appeared on the ridge, it was the moment I'd been waiting for.

Teton Sandwich: I drove for 20 miles through thick fog, hoping there would be a gap in the weather to catch a glimpse of the mountains at sunrise. Finally, the Grand Teton appeared through a sandwich of two layers of fog. Click.

Beer Can:  Well, this definitely isn't a 'great' photograph of a wolf. But I like it anyways because of what is going on. This was my closest encounter with a wild wolf in 2016 and the wolf was playing with 'something' as I took it's picture. I figured it was a bone from an elk or bison. It wasn't until I got home that I was able to identify the object: An old beer can. Dogs will be dogs.

Great Horned Owl Chicks: This owl nest has been active for 4 out of the last 5 years and I enjoy watching the parents raise their chicks. The nest is impossible to photograph because it is well hidden deep within the tree, and the chicks are rarely visible when there's enough light to make photographs. But I still try. When I arrived this evening, I was excited to find two chicks 'branching', out in plain sight.  As the sun set a while later, the clouds lit up in gorgeous pink, orange and purple colors.  The chicks curiously watched as I repositioned myself to make sure the sunset clouds were behind them as I made this photograph.

Grizzly Highway:  After shooting some nice close-ups of this bear from the comfort and safety of my vehicle, it appeared that the bear wanted to cross the highway. I saw the potential for including the Grand Teton in the frame, so I backed away, threw on my hazards and blocked the road to give the bear some space to cross. It worked out great. The bear crossed safely, and I made a beautiful photograph of her.



My Favorite 25 of 2016 Part 1

In chronological order, the first five. Maybe these are my 'best', maybe not. They are my favorites at the moment, but the experience of making the photos influences my opinion quite a bit, so your opinion might be entirely different.

Winter Fox: I love this photo for a couple of reasons. It's the fox obviously, but it's also about the snow covered branch above. That snow could fall off the tree and cover the fox at any moment...  It adds some nice tension to the otherwise peaceful, quiet feeling of the fox resting in the snow.

Winter at the Oxbow: There was only one other photographer at the Oxbow on this morning when a cow and calf moose decided to cross the frozen river at sunrise.  Throw in some alpenglow, nice clouds, and a fog layer? Come on, this is ridiculous.

Cross Fox:  A nice portrait of a beautiful cross fox in the snow. The snow in the whiskers and on the head really add to the photo, as does the focused gaze and confident pose.

Sleeping Indian: Also known as Sheep Mountain, this mountain is one of my favorite photographic subjects. After being socked-in with fog all day, the fog finally started to lift late in the afternoon. I waited patiently (sort of) for a perfect window to see through the lifting fog, revealing a snow-covered mountain that beckoned me to make a black and white photograph.

Copulating Great Gray Owls: Wow, everything fell into perfect place for this one. I can't even list all the little things that needed to happen in order for this photograph to be made. From the perfect perch to the perfect background to the bloody beak, and on and on....