Thursday, October 1, 2015

End of the Season

Mineral deposits and thermophile  mats at Biscuit Basin

Suddenly it was the end of the season, time to pack up, put the motorhome back on the road, and say "so long until next year" to all my Yellowstone friends.   The evening before departure I went back to Biscuit Basin to do a few more shots of two spectacular scenes, the textures and colorful mats in the photo above, and the colors of aptly named,Sapphire Pool below.    To enlarge photos click on one and you can see them as a slide show in larger size.

More colorful mats of thermophiles, this time at Black Sand Basin.

During my last week in Yellowstone, Bill and Millie came for a short visit in their tiny little "motel 2" trailer which Bill designed and built.  They parked beside me in the employee RV trailer park, where fortunately the construction worker who had the site moved shortly before their arrival.  Besides riding my photo tour and doing some exploring in my free time, they headed out for locations around the park.   I did manage to schedule a spectacular rainbow for them.  I met them through the reunions of the USS HAGGARD.   Bill's dad, Angelo, and my late husband served together on the ship.  They also both attended Berkeley High School.

The end of the season always means the elk rut.   The sound of bugling ( a misnomer; its more of a high pitched squeal) is heard throughout the park and sometimes we witness battles between bulls.
This bull, near the Madison River lost out.  He had no harem and was hanging out by himself.

 On Wed., Sept 23rd, I did my final paperwork and hit the road, not that I was going far.   Several times, pre- and post season, I have stayed at Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park. I only saw one moose in Yellowstone this year, a magnificient bull who favored the guests on my tour by walking in good light across a meadow, in front of us, and then crossed the river.   But I generally do better seeing moose in the Tetons.  This year was no different.  The moose, and all the wildlife photographers are quite an attraction.

Bull and cow at the edge of the campground

All the photographers who show up before sunrise are almost as much fun to watch as the moose.  Although it wasn't cold by September standards, it was cold enough to see the steam from the cow's nose above the grasses and for the photographers to be well-bundled.

This cow was feeding on aquatic plants along the Moose-Wilson Road.  Her calf was in the reeds with only an occasional flicker of its ears visible.  A few times she called, checking on it.  
Fellow photographer, Doug Hilborn came down to the Tetons for his weekend.   He couldn't handle all the photographers around the moose, and he'd rather do landscapes.  But we did get together for a day of shooting and checking out where there was good fall color.  His two favorite spots were past their prime this year, but we found a couple new spots.

I can't let an admission from Doug that I was right, he was not,  slide by.   We found some good color with the Teton peaks in the background.  He said he was going to return there for sunrise.  I said the light wouldn't be as good on the trees as it was in the afternoon.  But the next morning I photographed moose while he returned to the spot, way out past the Kelly slide.  He called me later to admit that I was right about the lighting.

That's okay, Doug.  Love you anyway and appreciate how you restored my interest in photography a few years ago, encouraged me to upgrade my camera and to become a photo guide in the park.
Here is the fall color, in the afternoon from our new spot

Here is Doug checking out another angle.

Fun photography in the aspen grove.

This forest service cabin is staffed by a couple of retired park rangers.  It is off the grid, in a quiet spot where they enjoy a summer watching wildlife.  The barn, shown here, was built by the C.C.C back in the Depression Era.

After all the fall color shots, Doug was driving me back to my motorhome and car at the campground when he spotted the Bald Eagle in a tree beside the road.  

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