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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

En Route to Yellowstone

September 1st, 2012 · 1 Comment

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This winter when I visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks for the third time in my life, I knew that I would continue to keep coming back. I just returned in mid-August especially because I wanted to experience Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley in the summer.

The Lamar Valley sits in the far northeast corner of this huge national park that is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. While this is probably the most beautiful part of the park, it is also the least visited.

My destination was a “Roughrider Cabin” at Roosevelt Lodge in the north central section of of the park. These cabins are the accommodations closest to the Lamar Valley. My friend Carmen Todd had told me about them during our tour of Yellowstone this March.

These “rustic cabin units are sparsely furnished and heated with wood burning stoves and typically contain two beds and are all without bathrooms,” according to the Yellowstone website. “Communal showers and bathrooms are located nearby.”

Accordingly I assumed that the cabin I had rented would have two beds. Consequently, I invited my friend Mark, who used to live in Boulder but now lives and works in the Silicon Valley, to join me there. He gladly agreed to fly to the Jackson Hole Airport, where I could pick him up with my SUV.

But then when I called the lodge to confirm the reservation, they told me that the cabin I had rented had only one bed. When I called Mark to cancel my invitation, he instead agreed to sleep on the floor with my sleeping bag and air mattress.

So on August 16 I drove the 526 miles from my home in Boulder to the town of Jackson, Wyoming, in order to meet Mark’s plane early the next afternoon. En route I didn’t see anything worth reporting until late in the afternoon shortly before arriving in Jackson.

Three Female Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) in the Last Light of Day (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800)

Three Female Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) in the Last Light of Day (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Close-up of One Female Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) Beside the Road (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800)

Close-up of One Female Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) Beside the Road (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The next morning as I awaited Mark’s flight to arrive, I had just enough time to write my weekly article for HealthCentral.com, to eat lunch at a lovely outdoor restaurant, and to go back to my two favorite places in Jackson, Thomas Mangelsen’s Images of Nature Gallery, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. I had visited both the gallery and the museum this winter, but I didn’t have the right lens with me then to take pictures of my favorite paintings (the museum allows photography, but only without tripods or flash units). Anyway, on my earlier visit to the museum I concentrated on studying the paintings to see what photographic lessons I could draw from them. On my recent visit I concentrated on finding and photographing the paintings that I liked the most. I surprised myself by appreciating brightly colored paintings more than the classic Hudson River School paintings, which as a genre I have studied the most.

"Coyote" 1993 by John Nieto (1936-) (Canon 7D with 50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/60, ISO 800)

"Coyote" 1993 by John Nieto (1936-) (Canon 7D with 50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/60, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
"Lake O'Hara," circa 1935, by Carl Rungius (1869-1959) (Canon 7D with 50mm lens, f/2, 1/90, ISO 800)

"Lake O'Hara," circa 1935, by Carl Rungius (1869-1959) (Canon 7D with 50mm lens, f/2, 1/90, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

And my overwhelming favorite, one of the 61 versions of “The Peaceable Kingdom” that Edward Hicks painted.

"The Peaceable Kingdom," 1822-1825, by Edward Hicks (1780-1849) (Canon 7D with 50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/500, ISO 1600)

"The Peaceable Kingdom," 1822-1825, by Edward Hicks (1780-1849) (Canon 7D with 50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/500, ISO 1600)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Then, the time to pick up Mark arrived. After meeting him at the Jackson Hole Airport, which is within Grand Teton National Park, we drove north to Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. This was the first wildlife that I photographed on this trip to the park:

A Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) Swims in the Yellowstone River (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 200)

A Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) Swims in the Yellowstone River (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 200)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
One of Yellowstone's 4,000 Fumaroles Produces a Rainbow (Panasonic DMC-TS3 at f/5.8, 1/1300, ISO 400)

One of Yellowstone's 4,000 Fumaroles Produces a Rainbow (Panasonic DMC-TS3 at f/5.8, 1/1300, ISO 400)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Coyote Hunts but the Bird Escapes (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 400)

A Coyote Hunts but the Bird Escapes (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 400)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Mark and I were off to a good start. And we hadn’t even yet come close to Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. We still had to drive 125 miles north of the airport before we could reach the cabin that would be our home for the next four nights.

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Posted in: Photography

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Fran Stearns // Sep 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Likely your vision has shifted, sightly blurring detail and enhancing your appreciation of pattern…to speculate from your evidence here!

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