Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 7: Yellowstone / Grand Teton National Park GroupShoot (FINAL MPEG GROUPSHOOT DAY)

Jared and I "slept in" today after 6 days of an average of 4.5 hours sleep/day. We have been busy guys.

Also, today was the last official day of the MPEG Groupshoot as most everyone is headed home tomorrow to begin the arduous download/post processing task.

Jared and I  realized this was a day where we may see little since we didn't get into the Park until 10:30 am.

Each day since Tuesday this week, the Park has gotten more populated as the tourist season ramps up next week.  Except for one day (out of the 5 GS days), we have had perfect to near perfect weather each day for the Groupshoot!

This morning, Jared and I started into Madison (one eagle on the nest with a mild "eagle jam") but the eagle was backlit  so not good light. The best light for this nest is late afternoon, about 2 hours before sunset.

Otherwise, nothing going on in Madison except for the usual elk and bison. Nothing in Norris to Mammoth. We had lunch in Mammoth and visited the great horned owl's nest there, snapped a pic of the adult but she kept her eyes closed. On to Gardiner canyon but no big horn sheep. An osprey flew at us and over our car there. Mammoth to Tower- nothing significant.  We went to Slough Creek to check on the golden eagle's nest and the eagle was soaring high over the cliffs when we arrived.

While in Slough Creek, a couple of tourists told us about a carcass in Canyon with grizzlies, blah, blah. We skipped Lamar Valley, went to Canyon and found nothing, asked a Ranger and he never heard of anything (and these guys are in the know) so we have no idea what the tourists were talking about.

We continued on through Hayden Valley. We were "complaining" how boring it was and suddenly, we see two cars stop and two ladies jumped out of their cars. I said to Jared, " wonder what's up"? Jared said, "oh, it's just a bison" and I saw the same brown blob on the hill, he thought was a bison but when the big grizzly bear lifted her head, I knew it wasn't a bison! It was the grizz sow and her two cubs that I photographed in pouring rain a few days ago... now, I have another shot at them in better light.

I set up quickly and started shooting away.  The bears were 100 yards away across the field from 4 elk. The elk "ignored the bears" until the bears got a little closer then all 4 elk "froze and stared" in the direction of the bears but we could see no bears.... then here the bears come towards the elk... and the elk slowly but surely retreated into the woods. By this time, there is a massive traffic jam and a 150+ people watching these bears. See pic posted above of the sow and her two cubs with one being the runt...

We all thought we were going to witness a grizz-elk confrontation but it didn't happen.

We stayed at the bears until 6:00 pm or so then headed back to West Yellowstone to meet everyone for the final MPEG Groupshoot dinner at 8:00 pm

All 13 Groupshoot attendees (including me) had a group dinner at the Wild West pizzeria. Good times had by all. Everyone had a great Groupshoot and all were telling exciting stories of their Yellowstone/Grand Teton experiences at dinner.

This Group was a real pleasure to work with! I want to thank my son, Jared for his assistance with the Group and his companionship throughout this trip.

Also, My Thanks to Jim and his wife, Eve; Steve and his wife, Judy; Peter; Tim and his wife, Julie ; Wilma, Cindy and Judy and her son, Toby for being a delight to work with and it was my pleasure to show them around these two great National Parks.

Everyone will have some terrific images and stories to post soon.

Jared and I are staying two extra days and will return Sunday, June 19, on Father's Day.

We plan to revisit the Grand Teton National Park Friday most of the day then return to Yellowstone in the afternoon. We will give Yellowstone one last go around on Saturday. We will head to Salt Lake City early Sunday morning and hope to visit Antelope Island State Park (suggested by my FB friend, Gary D.) on our way back to the airport.

I gotta run, we have a 5:00 am wake up call in 5.5 hours.

We are rounding third and heading for ...... home.


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