Supporting Ukraine

Skylum Software, created by Ukrainians, is a great tool to use when processing landscape photography. Having used Luminar by Skylum for years, I was happy to support their recent fund raising effort for fellow Ukrainians now suffering terrible hardships during the Russian assault on their homeland.

This landscape photo from the Heber Valley in Utah was processed by Luminar AI, made by Skylum.

Ukraine, Heber Valley, horse, snow, mountains, landscape, skylum,luminar
A golden brown horse accents this landscape of the Heber Valley and the snowy Utah mountains on a sunny morning.

Daybreak in the Wasatch Mountains

Before the rising sun can light Squaw Peak, it has to clear some pretty tall mountains to the East. Here is the first morning light on Squaw Peak.

Wasatch, Heber Valley
First light makes the Wasatch Mountains look like a giant sculpture, rising from the Heber Valley, Utah.

I’m exploring the mountains around Park City, Utah for the first time. It’s fun for a Floridian to experience a bit of Winter, even if the temperatures are frigid. A good pair of gloves and hand warmers are a must!

Frozen Beauty

As freezing temperatures grip the Northeast United States this week, we are reminded that a frozen landscape offers a new kind of beauty. The colorful palette of autumn leaves are nearly gone, and winter’s snow introduces a new aesthetic.

The Grand Tetons are draped in a blanket of fresh snow, while the valley underlines the scene with golden foliage. The Wyoming winter is approaching.

This image is one of 12 featured in Cathy Kelly’s 2022 Wyoming Nature calendar. There is still time to order one for the holidays. Email Cathy for details.

Crystal trees in Jackson Hole

As we begin another week in Southwest Florida of temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a heat index around 100, I’m thinking back on a bitter cold morning in Jackson Hole when my fingertips and toes were frozen.

Venturing through Grand Teton National Park with two other photographers, we spotted elk, bison, eagles, trumpeter swans, big horn sheep and a coyote during the day. We also admired the shapes in the snow-covered landscape.

#hoarfrost, #frost, #jacksonhole, #winter, #snow, #snowy, #cold, #ice, grandtetonnationalpark, #gtnp, #morninglight, #sonyalpha
Hoarfrost coats the branches and leaves of this enormous bush in Jackson Hole, WY, February 2020.

A visual treat of the early morning light was the hoarfrost on the trees along the creek. Rising water vapor coated branches and froze overnight. Before the midday sun melted the ice, we were able to capture some photographs of these crystalline trees.

#hoarfrost, #frost, #winter, #snow, #snowy, #cold, #winter, #landscapephotography, #naturephotography, #landscape, #nature, #morninglight, #sonyalpha, #gtnp, #jacksonhole
Hoarfrost makes the trees look crystalline in early morning light, Jackson Hole, WY, 2020. Zoom in to see the branches in detail.

Big Horn Sheep Family

Continuing with our family theme during this pandemic as we gather only in family groups, I have some recent wildlife photographs to share with you from Wyoming. My friends and I spotted a mother with her yearling as well as male Big Horned Sheep nearby. The location was the Elk Refuge in Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, a wonderful place to visit in any season.

#bighornedsheep, #mother, #yearling, #family, #wildlife, #wildlifephotography, #sony, #sonyar7II, #200-600mmlens, #nature, #naturephotography, #nationalpark, #nps, #grandtetonnationalpark, #jacksonhole, #winter, #elkrefuge
Big Horned Sheep, a mother and her yearling in Grand Teton National Park. February 2020.
#bighornedsheep, #ram, #sheep, #wyoming, #wildlife, #wildlifephotography, #nature, #elkrefuge, #jacksonhole, #family, #horns, #nationalpark, #gtnp, #grandtetonnationalpark
Male Big Horned Sheep looked up from its grazing on the rocky hillside as horses passed by. Image captured with Sony ar7II and Sony 200-600mm lens in Grand Teton National Park. 2020

Best wishes for continued good health to all as we stay home and minimize the spread of the Coronavirus.

Wake up time

I’m the first to admit that I like to sleep in. Waking up to a buzzing alarm clock when it’s dark outside is NOT the way I like to start my day, especially when it’s cold outside. Proof positive that I braved the dark and the cold and forced my sleepy body out of bed at 6am in Jackson Hole is this photo of Rendezvous Mountain at sunrise. As you can see, I was in position to take this sunrise exposure before the first skier appeared on the slopes.

#snow, #mountain, #ski, #trails, #rendezvous, #tetonvillage, #jacksonhole, #sunrise, #cold
Winter sunrise on Rendezvous Mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Sunlight had not yet reached the valley floor. Can you spot a single skier on the trails? February 2020

With the temperature only reaching 8 degrees Fahrenheit, my toes felt like blocks of ice in few minutes outside, so I got back in the car to look for some wildlife. We found some bald eagles in short order!

Trumpeter Swans

Temperatures might still be below freezing in Jackson Hole with the lakes covered in a thick coating of ice and snow, but the Trumpter Swans find the perfect spot to keep warm and well fed — in the hot springs.

#trumpeterswans, #swans, #duck, #symbiotic, #snow, #hotspring, #hotsprings, #kellym #jacksonhole, #wyoming, #winter, #wildlife, #wildlifephotography
Constantly bobbing for food, these Trumpter Swans keep warm in the hot springs in Kelly, Wyoming. It is a challenge to capture a photograph of these two swans with both of their heads above water. March 2020.

There is a fine mist rising from the hot springs, as the air is around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The lakes and parts of the Snake River are frozen solid, showing moose tracks across the surface. Last night, we got 7″ of fresh snow.

It’s no coincidence that the ducks are swimming near the swans. They have a symbiotic relationship, as the swans foraging makes it easier for the ducks to forage as well. The swans reach underwater with their long necks, stirring up the underwater ecosystem. Both species can find plenty to eat here.

Lone Tree in Grand Teton National Park

We interrupt this close examination of bison 😉
for a wider view of the landscape in Grand Teton National Park. Grand it is! How glorious are the vistas of the wide open spaces. In this image, we see a lone tree punctuate the snow covered flat lands at the foot of the steeply rising Grand Teton mountains.

#grandtetonnationalpark, #grandtetons, #nationalpark, #lonetree, #snow, #winter, #mountains,
Lone juniper tree punctuates the snow field in Grand Teton National Park. February 2020

In February, it was bitter cold and windy with many nighttime temperatures dropping into negative numbers (-25!). Snow pack is higher in the mountains than in the lower Snake River Valley, but many low lying roads and areas accessible during the Spring, Summer and Fall are off limits now. During our week in Wyoming, we picked up an additional 7” to everyone’s delight. Then, we also enjoyed “bluebird skies” like this in the image. The skiers and photographers were happy.

The Continental Divide

When you take in the view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National Park, you can admire the mountain range to the South, if you turn your back to Banff and the Bow Valley to the North. These rugged high peaks in the Sundance Range reach well above the tree line are about 2 miles high. The Sundance Range is part of the Continental Divide.

Looking south from the summit of Sulphur Mountain near Banff, Alberta, Canada. The chutes on these peaks show where avalanches have cleared a path by taking down trees.

The Continental Divide is also the border between Canadian provinces Alberta and British Columbia. We were told that it is particularly hard to predict the weather on the east side of the Divide, not knowing if the weather systems flowing eastbound from the Pacific will cross this mountain range. We were lucky to have a clear day to take in the view.

I checked the Sulphur Mountain webcam, and found these peaks covered in snow today!

Is the Banff Gondola Worth the Price?

For my birthday this year, I got a ride on the Banff Gondola, which included an easy hike along a mountaintop boardwalk with views in all directions. At $51 to $63 per person, the excursion is pretty expensive, but I’d say it was totally worth it.

As long as the valley is not fogged in, the views of the mountains, the Fairmont and the town of Banff are amazing from the top.

I will be posting some of my photos from the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Today (and everyday) you can check the webcam there to see how the view changes with the seasons. As of October 10, the mountains are covered in snow.