Jackson Hole is famous across the planet as one of the best locations for wildlife and landscape photography. Our naturalist programs make the most of this by offering photo safaris twice per week throughout the year. This week, we explored Grand Teton National Park with cameras, tripods and lenses to find historic barns, abundant wildlife and expansive mountain views. Taking advantage of our Spring wildflowers, we took a 20-minute walk to find this meadow of daisys with the majestic Teton range providing the perfect photographic backdrop (seen in the image below).
One of the packages that we are currently promoting here at Spring Creek Ranch focuses on the fact that June and July is a wonderful time of year to see wild newborn animals. Appropriately, our safaris have had excellent sightings of these particularly cute critters during the past couple of weeks. Each of the images below were taken on recent wildlife safaris and include (from left to right) a grizzly bear cub up a tree, a bison calf, elk calf, coyote pups playing and a moose calf (with a very protective mom nearby.)
I am always thinking about the relationships between humans and wildlife, and ended up thinking about patriotism as a result of seeing these American kestrels on today’s safari. Most of us would associate the bald eagle with the U.S.A. since it is our national symbol and they do look really cool and majestic.
Nonetheless, the American Kestrel is not only the only bird-of-prey with the word ‘America’ in it but also actually displays all of our red, white and blue colors. These little falcons are quite small and easily mistaken for a robin or other medium-sized bird, but are as deadly as any other raptor. The male (on the left) is a bit more colorful, but the female also has charismatic markings.
One of the coolest wildlife behaviors to see during Winter months is a red fox stalking and diving after its prey and today we had the good fortune to witness (and photograph) this on our safari. The fox begins by walking carefully on the packed snow so as to not alert rodents underneath. Once it hears or smells activity underneath the snow, it tenses its entire body, leaps high into the air and lands, jaws first, into the snow. If it is lucky, it emerges from the snow with an unfortunate rodent within its teeth. This action-packed sequence was a lot of fun to photograph and fortunately this fox gave us a couple of opportunities for trial and error.
We left Spring Creek Ranch at dawn this morning to take advantage of nice lighting for this morning’s photo safari.
These excursions differ from our wildlife safaris in that we work to put ourselves in the best possible photogenic locations while discussing camera equipment and useful techniques for nature photography. We ended up with excellent opportunities to photograph the Teton Mountains, this coyote stalking prey, and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.
“My wife and I went out with you on a photo safari on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. Thank you for a great time and help with photographing the wildlife. Got some great pictures and got some great tips. We are already planning on coming back hopefully in the Summer. Thanks again!” –J. Marlow
Shortly after returning to Spring Creek Ranch after a successful wildlife-watching safari, an incredible thunderstorm rolled across the valley and provided spectacular views of intense clouds and constant lighting strikes.
Sitting almost 1,000 feet above the valley floor of Jackson Hole, we were right in the middle of this storm and were able to safely observe (and photograph) all of the action.