Updated: Nov 4, 2019
My 2019 Grand Tetons tour/workshop did not disappoint this year. It was an excellent trip and there was an absolutely great group of photographers attending. We had attendees from California, Texas, Washington and as far away as Germany. We experienced a special time in the Tetons.
Wildlife seemed to be the most desired subject, so we spent a lot of time searching for what turned out to be abundant and diverse amount of critters. I lost count on the number of moose sightings we encountered.
Shoshone, the largest moose in the area made a couple appearances. He always had 3-4 cows nearby.
There were other males around including one that hung around the meadows near Dornan's trading post and created a couple large traffic jams. I don't know his name but he's a young uprising bull. He had a couple cows around and didn't seem to mind the hundreds of photographers, clambering around to try to get a photo. He even treated us to "lip Curl" or ( Flehmen response).
The rut was still in full session, however most of the mature males seemed to have things settled. However, a couple young males were still jousting about, but there still was no harem in sight for either of them.
The Tetons are also one of the most icon landscape areas in the country. Two of the top 3 landscape locations in the USA are located within Grand Tetons National Park. (Tunnel view in Yosemite is #1). We were even treated to a swimby by a beaver, but none of us were fast enough to snap a shot as we all had setup for low light landscape shots.
The bison were on the move. First day nothing, then the next day we saw 3 herds of bison with hundreds of individuals in Elk Ranch flats, But days after that the herds stayed aways off in the distance not near any roads and much too far for our lens. But while they were close they put on quite a show!
The trees have grown but you just imagine Ansel Adams making a photograph of this site and hoping yours will be half as nice.
The elk were out in force, with the rut in progress, and hearing the bugling in the morning was just special! We even got to witness some Not Safe for Work encounters and also various weather conditions. But the fall colors in the background made images extra special.
The next photograph is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. or shows elk doing what elk do during the rut.
The Tetons have so many iconic photography opportunities in which photographers have to figure out some new ways to shoot them. This is probably the most photographed barn ever. T.A. Moulton Barn
Pronghorn Antelope dot the meadows. Typically you see their white rear-ends at a distance as they much on the various grasses. But occasionally, they come close to the road and you can appreciate the second fastest land animal on our planet.
The fall colors were late arriving this year, and only lasted a short time as another early winter storm came through the day after this tour and knocked most of the leaves to the ground.
Several coyotes were seen in the meadows. You could watch them from afar hunt for moles and other rodents. But what was funny was one day a herd of female pronghorns chased a coyote all over the meadow in between the bison. Finally the male pronghorn had to come and round up his herd and left the coyote to hunt. It was really fun watching them on the hunt and pouncing quite often to our enjoyment. But where else in the world (besides Africa) do you see multiple large animal species with a single frame?
Black bears were busy preparing for their winter's nap, feeding on berries and roots, and whatever carrion they could find or catch. Sightings were made of both a brown colored and black colored black bears. These do not happen every year and so it was indeed special.
Smaller animals also were seen. We saw two beavers, One while we were taking landscape photos at Schwabachers landing, however all our cameras were on tripods with wide angle lens that none of us was able to get a shot off during the brief encounter. Earlier however we did photograph one swimming up the Snake river. Squirrels and chipmunks also were darting about, making preparations for winter.
Not to be overlooked as they usually overlook us. Our feathered friends, while usually present, seldom are they in a photographically easy location. Bald eagles made a few appearances, often without notice and only a brief fly over. Osprey also showed up occasionally.
There is just so much to see in the Grand Tetons, Not many other places allow you to combine large sized animals with incredible landscapes!
These are only some of the highlights of the trip. We spent most of the time except one late afternoon of a snowstorm out and photographing. People on the standard trip got over 28 hours in the field, and those on the extensions experienced another 22 hours immersed inside of this incredible piece of earth.