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The Last Year In Recap

Variety Of Photo Opportunities

by Dan Hartman
Oct. 20, 2012


     As autumn moves toward winter here in the high country, I have time to pause and reflect on the past year.  From the rutting moose below our cabin last November to the head-butting rams along the Gardiner River, I was able to photograph events that had always somehow eluded me in the past.  Watching our blue grouse antics helped keep away winters doldrums, as did the Lamar Canyon Wolf Packs visits to our area.

     Black bears emerging from their dens welcomed in spring.  The many inter reactions between sows and cubs gave me my best bear photo opportunities of my life.  The big male grizzly frequenting Silver Gate must have been a fore warning of my scary grizzly encounter in Sunlight Basin, some twenty miles east of the park.

Summer gave me the chance to participate in a great gray owl family’s life and the opportunity to attempt a two-nest system that saved an owlets life.  By mid summer, bluebirds, flickers, wrens and flycatchers raised broods all around me.

     Fall invited me inside the life of pikas.  I had always been fascinated by the tiny rock rabbits, but spending many hours with them as I photographed for their book revealed many unknowns of day-to-day life.  Also, while hanging out with pikas I was exposed to other characters of the rocky slopes.  Mountain goats, golden eagles, falcons, golden-mantled ground squirrels and weasels were an almost daily occurrence.  Weasels in particular were fascinating as I was able to observe them more intricately than ever before.

     At the end of each year I always proclaim “It was the year of the …”!  as one species always seems to stand out.  But this year has had so many high points.  Each one more than just a chapter to my year, but more like a volume that stands alone.  It seems I barely had time to emerge from one adventure when another was already starting.

     So here we are about to say hello to November and the start to the Holiday Season and I wonder how the next year could possibly keep me entertained.  Looking back, I think this has been the most gratifying year of photography I’ve ever experienced.  And this includes several forays over the years to Alaska and Canada.  Almost all my photos were taken outside the Park, which means I was by myself.  When it’s just you and the wildlife one not only gets more intimate shots, but it also offers good opportunities to better understand what they are all about.

     I got to hear the elk gasping for breath as it ran by and the wolfs hoarse breathing as it followed.  I learned how a bear cub bats at its mother’s muzzle when it wants to nurse.  When a pika colony suddenly grows silent, a weasel is about, and just because a grizzly looks friendly, does'nt mean it is1


     It seems the more I learn, the more I realize how dumb I really am to the ways of the woods.

     We always like to look back and remember the good old days, but years like this remind me that like the song says,  “These are the good old days!”

     As autumn moves toward winter here in the high country, I have time to pause and reflect on the past year.  From the rutting moose below our cabin last November to the head-butting rams along the Gardiner River, I was able to photograph events that had always somehow eluded me in the past.  Watching our blue grouse antics helped keep away winters doldrums, as did the Lamar Canyon Wolf Packs visits to our area.

     Black bears emerging from their dens welcomed in spring.  The many inter reactions between sows and cubs gave me my best bear photo opportunities of my life.  The big male grizzly frequenting Silver Gate must have been a fore warning of my scary grizzly encounter in Sunlight Basin, some twenty miles east of the park.

Summer gave me the chance to participate in a great gray owl family’s life and the opportunity to attempt a two-nest system that saved an owlets life.  By mid summer, bluebirds, flickers, wrens and flycatchers raised broods all around me.

     Fall invited me inside the life of pikas.  I had always been fascinated by the tiny rock rabbits, but spending many hours with them as I photographed for their book revealed many unknowns of day-to-day life.  Also, while hanging out with pikas I was exposed to other characters of the rocky slopes.  Mountain goats, golden eagles, falcons, golden-mantled ground squirrels and weasels were an almost daily occurrence.  Weasels in particular were fascinating as I was able to observe them more intricately than ever before.

     At the end of each year I always proclaim “It was the year of the …”!  as one species always seems to stand out.  But this year has had so many high points.  Each one more than just a chapter to my year, but more like a volume that stands alone.  It seems I barely had time to emerge from one adventure when another was already starting.

     So here we are about to say hello to November and the start to the Holiday Season and I wonder how the next year could possibly keep me entertained.  Looking back, I think this has been the most gratifying year of photography I’ve ever experienced.  And this includes several forays over the years to Alaska and Canada.  Almost all my photos were taken outside the Park, which means I was by myself.  When it’s just you and the wildlife one not only gets more intimate shots, but it also offers good opportunities to better understand what they are all about.

     I got to hear the elk gasping for breath as it ran by and the wolfs hoarse breathing as it followed.  I learned how a bear cub bats at its mother’s muzzle when it wants to nurse.  When a pika colony suddenly grows silent, a weasel is about.

     It seems the more I learn, the more I realize how dumb I really am to the ways of the woods.

     We always like to look back and remember the good old days, but years like this remind me that like the song says,  “These are the good old days!”

Photos

View slide show

Rutting Moose

Splintering Horns

Our Blue Grouse

Pygmy Owl & Chickadee

06

Paws

Black Bear & Nursing Cub

Stalking Grizzly

Great Gray Owl Nest

Blue Bird / Pilot-Index

Pica & Weasel

Mountain Goats




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