Photo blog 2024

When Candy and I moved to Wyoming in 2014, I started keeping a photo diary of what we did and saw. This is my current 2024 blog page. For archives of past years, please follow these links:

 

May 10-11, 2024: The Great Geomagnetic Storm

The aurora borealis is occasionally seen from Wyoming, but usually it is fairly low on the horizon. Although predictions were for a significant storm, I was somewhat skeptical. We went to Ocean Lake for darker skies and a good view of the horizon in case the display was low down. Even before true nighttime, we could see the glow of the aurora, and after nightfall could see that it extended up more than 45 degrees above the horizon. We could see faint columns that changed over time, but due to humans having poor night color vision, could appreciate only subtle greens and reds. It was a joy to behold but not the fantastic displays I had seen photographed at higher lattitudes. By simply holding our smartphone cameras up we could see much more light and color. Still, for first-time aurora viewers, it was satisfying. This first video is a time-lapse looking over Ocean Lake taken during that first hour. This video and those following are time- lapses so the result is sped up. Most of these short videos are equal to approximately 8-10 minutes in real time. If on a computer, click on the bottom right symbol to make the video full screen. If on smartphone, it will usually be largest by rotating the phone to horizontal. These are very large files, so first time playing may be a little jerky, but second time through should play great.

Shortly after this, the display appeared to be quieting down and the green glow became amorphous without visibly shifting columns, so we decided to pack up and head home. We were were only 1/2 mile down the road when our good friend Jackson saw bright flashes of light even through the car window. He “suggested” we turn aroud, stop and see. The entire sky had exploded with very bright flashes of light, swirling patterns and now easily visible bright colors. The aurora was now directly overhead and extending to all horizons. We quickly drove to where we could pull off the road and stood mesmerized for the next hour. I had a very wide angle lens on my camera and it could only capture a small portion. It was difficult to decide where to point it next because everywhere was so beautiful, and when one area was fading, another would be flaring up. I hope you enjoy these timelapse videos and photos, but none of this can do justice to what we saw. Just like the 2017 total solar eclipse, it has to be experienced. This first video is looking toward the NW horizon.

The next 2 videos are looking straight up at the zenith.

Considering I took over 1300 frames that night, it was very difficult to pick just a few still photos.

5/16-5/20/2024: Yellowstone.

We have generally had bad luck over the years when searching for grizzlies in the Tetons and Yellowstone. This weekend was much better. On the drive over Togwotee Pass, we spotted a mother grizzly and Candy saw a small cub behind it. Couldn’t pull off for photo while towing the camper. Then the following day in Yellowstone, we saw a mother grizzly with 1 year old TRIPLETS. We watched them feed and play for quite a while.

Yellowstone grizzly with cubs
Yellowstone grizzly with cubs

My favorite shot of one cub standing watching the humans and mom looking perturbed.

Yellowstone grizzly with cubs

It’s always fun to go to LeHardy Rapids and watch the amazing Harlequin Ducks. While mostly a northern Canada and Pacific Ocean bird, there is always a small population here. They thrive on the rough waters of the rapids, swimming easily against the strong current and even diving for prolonged priods.

Harlequin Ducks
Harlequin Ducks
Harlequin Ducks

Check out this short video of them swimming and then diving under at the end.

Bison were everywhere. Here are 2 resting with the Gallatin Mountains in the background.

Bison

We can photograph Canada Geese any day in our own backyard, but they are usually very adept at hiding their little yellow fuzzball goslings. It was fun to see them here. (Candy’s photo is much better than this.)

Canada Geese with goslings

Everyone who visits the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone sees the Upper and Lower falls which are very large and powerful. However, many don’t realize there is another wonderful waterfall right next to the Upper Falls. It used to be quite a secret and difficult to find, but the NPS now has signs up and built a great lookout point to see Crystal Falls. 

Crystal Falls

As long as we were in the area, we took the short walk to the Brink of the Upper Falls. The first photo is of the Yellowstone River just before plunging, and the second is a video from the brink of the falls.

Yellowstone River just above the Upper Falls

We began our second full day hiking to the Grand Prismatic Spring overlook.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Then we went to the Upper Geyser Basin. The NPS puts out geyser eruption time predictions for about 6 geysers. I have enjoyed studying the data put online by independent geyser watchers and have done fairly well predicting other geysers in the past. I decided to first head up onto Geyser Hill for the slight possibility of Beehive Geyser erupting. We had only seen it erupt once in the past and I always wanted to be up close for an eruption as it is just off the upper boardwalk. As we were crossing the bridge to get to the hill, Beehive started erupting. It was a picturesque sight with the Firehole River in the foreground and framed by trees.  I guess I’ll have to keep going back to one day get a closeup view!

Beehive Geyser

Shortly after we arrived at the Beehive cone, Old Faithful erupted.

Old Faithful with Beehive cone in foreground
South Scalloped Spring and lone bison.

Riverside Geyser is always a crowd pleaser.

Riverside Geyser

You can’t really tell because I was only carrying my wide-angle lens, but the middle bison had a baby (often called “red dog”) nursing.

5/30/24: If you’ve followed my blog over the years, you know we had found a very unique (and our little secret) area of multi-color paintbrush in the sagebrush area east of town. Classic Indian Paintbrush (and the Wyoming state flower) is a vivid red. We have also seen many areas that have a pale yellow variety call Sulfur Paintbrrush. But these are the only 2 colors listed in my wildflower books. This area usually blooms around Memorial Day and some years are better than others, so we went to check them out. I also wanted to try some of my macro photography techiques this year. Feast your eyes on some of the most unusual colors of paintbrush: orange, pale yellow (sulfur), classic red, salmon, white, bright yellow, and pink/white combo.

Orange Indian Paintbrush
Sulfur Indian Paintbrush
Classic Red Indian Paintbrush
Classic Red Indian Paintbrush
Salmon Indian Paintbrush
White Indian Paintbrush
Yellow Indian Paintbrush
Pink Indian Paintbrush
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