Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Another iconic location within Yellowstone is Artist Point Overlook. It offers a magnificent view of Lower Falls plunging 308 feet. Framed by colorful canyon walls, forest, and sky, the picturesque scene has been photographed countless times for more than a century. I first photographed this in 1958 so more than a half century for me!
Artist Point is thought to have been named by park photographer F. J. Haynes, possibly as early as 1883. He and his son, Jack Ellis Haynes, photographed and hand-tinted Yellowstone images for eight decades, including numerous works from Artist Point.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Lamar Valley at sunrise. This wide, expansive valley is home to bison, elk, coyote, grizzly and wolf, and is must-visit area for serious wildlife watchers. Bison and elk are readily visible, and coyotes can oftentimes be spotted. Visitors who are willing to rise early in the morning or wait up until dusk also may have the opportunity to see bears and wolves. In fact, Lamar Valley is the #1 destination for viewing wolves but I was not able to find any when I was there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


This was the first time I made it up to photograph the northernmost entrance to Yellowstone. Here is a little of its history.

Roosevelt Arch ~ Gateway to a New dea

To President Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone's uniqueness was not the geysers or wildlife he had observed during his visit. Its uniqueness was being the first national park anywhere in the world. It was a new symbol of democracy - land that the federal government set aside from development or settlement, land that belonged to all the people. President Roosevelt recognized this would be Yellowstone National Park's legacy.

Our example has inspired countries around the world to establish more than 100 national parks - modeled in whole or part on Yellowstone National Park.

Arch Facts

  • The Arch idea is attributed to Hiram Martin Chittenden
  • The Arch design is attributed to Robert C. Reamer
  • Construction started about 19 February 1903
  • The Arch was finished on 15 August 1903
  • The Arch is 50 feet high
  • The main opening is 30 feet high by 25 feet wide
  • Each tower is: 12 feet square at the base, tapers to 6 feet where Arch begins
  • The rocks were hewn from basalt, a volcanic rock, quarried locally
  • Cost for the Arch was $ 10,000.00
  • Above the arch is carved: "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People"
  • On east tower is carved: "Yellowstone National Park"
  • On the west tower is carved: "Created by Act of Congress, March 1, 1872"
  • President Theodore Roosevelt was already in the park on vacation when asked to lay the cornerstone
  • Several thousand people came to Gardiner - mostly by train - on April 24, 1903 for the dedication

In the early years of Yellowstone National Park, most visitors came through the North Entrance. Visitation increased in 1903 when the Northern Pacific Railroad reached the adjacent town of Gardiner, Montana. The arch was built to serve as a formal gateway to the park.

President Theodore Roosevelt, while vacationing here in the spring of 1903, agreed to lay the cornerstone of the new arch at the North Entrance. Several thousand people attended the ceremony marking this event.

During his vacation, Roosevelt viewed the geysers and hot springs, and spent many hours watching elk and bighorn sheep. To Roosevelt, though, Yellowstone's uniqueness was as the first national park set aside anywhere in the world. It was a symbol of democracy--land set aside for all the people and belonging to all the people. President Roosevelt recognized this would be Yellowstone National Park's legacy to the rest of the world.

President Theodore Roosevelt was a also a mason. The corner stone ceremony was presided over by the Grand Master of Montana. When they came to the point of being ready to lay the corner stone, the Grand Master handed the trowel to President Roosevelt, who spread the mortar on the stone that was to be the resting place of the corner stone. The corner stone was then lowered into place.

With the corner stone in place, President Roosevelt addressed the crowd of residents and visitors.

"The Yellowstone Park is something absolutely unique in the world...This Park was created and is now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the people...it is the property of Uncle Sam and therefore of us all."

President Theodore Roosevelt
April 24, 1903 at Gardiner, Montana
Speech dedicating the North Entrance Arch


Monday, March 28, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Driving north from Mammoth Hot Springs we drove through a rain storm which was followed by this gorgeous rainbow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


It was a cold and cloudy day when I shot this reflection.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Here is a close-up of yesterday's Bacteria Mat. It looks like a very bad sunburn, which is what your skin would look like if you put your hand in some of these hot springs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Bacteria Mat or Life on the Edge - The billions of colorful microorganisms lining this hot spring's runoff channels are called "extremophiles" because they live in conditions that were once thought to be too extreme to host life. Extremophiles that live in hot springs are called "thermophiles" - heat lovers. Within the rainbow of orange, brown, and red colors, some microorganisms live in communities of thick mats. Like miniatures forests, these mats have a vertical structure and stratified functions. Microbes that live on or near the top of the mat (similar to forest canopy) use sunlight to perform photosynthesis, which fuels the mat community. Organisms living deeper in the mat (similar to forest understory) derive energy from chemicals produced by the surface microbes. They perform other vital functions such as decomposition and recycling nutrients to the mat's "canopy" just like their counterparts in a forest. All of these organisms create an ecosystem in the expanse of a few inches. Cool huh? No - HOT!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Picture yourself here as you view this beautiful image of Silex Spring, consider how its hot water arrived at the surface. Deep beneath your feet, heat from the molten rock of the earth's interior is transmitted up through the solid rock of the earth's crust. Ground water circulating through these rocks becomes heated and follows cracks and fissures upward. Where the hot water can escape at the ground surface, a hot spring is formed.

Hot water is a better solvent than cooler water; it dissolves large amounts of silica, the major element of these volcanic rocks. Silica, in the form of sinter, lines the bottom of Silex spring. It forms terraces along the runoff channels and gives the spring its name: Silex is Latin for silica.

Silex Spring overflows most of the year. This overflow creates a hot environment where thermophiles thrive. Thermophiles become food for several kinds of flies that live in and on the hot water. The flies then become food for mites, spiders, various insects and birds - yum!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Midway Geyser Basin contains a small collection of mammoth-sized springs. Midway is part of the Lower Geyser Basin, but because of its isolated location between the main features of Lower and Upper geyser basins it became known as Midway. Rudyard Kipling, who visited Yellowstone in 1889, immortalized this basin by referring to it as "Hell's Half Acre." This is a picture of Turquoise Pool which has a Temperature of 142-160°F and a dimension of 100 by 110 feet. The 1878 Hayden Expedition named this pool for its milky, white bottom and gem-like, blue-colored water. Suspended mineral particles in the water also add an opalescent iridescence.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


As promised here is the complete Grizzly family, Sow and her four cubs. I felt truly blessed to photograph them. My whole body was shaking with excitement watching them. It doesn't get any better than this, so this is where I will end my Yellowstone/Tetons wildlife images. Next week I will start showing more of my Yellowstone/Tetons landscape images.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Grizzlies are considered by some experts to be the most aggressive bears even by the standards of brown bears. Aggressive behavior in grizzly bears is favored by numerous selection variables. Unlike the smaller black bears, adult grizzlies are too large to escape danger by climbing trees, so they respond to danger by standing their ground and warding off their attackers. Increased aggressiveness also assists female grizzlies in better ensuring the survival of their young to reproductive age. Mothers defending cubs are the most prone to attacking, being responsible for 70% of fatal injuries to humans. With this in mind I was very cautions of shooting this Sow and her cubs. Normally they give birth to one or two cubs but this mother had four cubs! Here she is looking around to see where they all were. Check back tomorrow to see the complete family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


The grizzly bear is a large predator that is different from black bears due to a distinctive hump on its shoulders which is evident in this picture.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


This week I will be showing my pictures of a Grizzly Sow and her cubs. The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), also known as the silvertip bear or just the grizzly or North American brown bear, it is a subspecies of brown bear (Ursus arctos) that generally lives in the uplands of western North America. This subspecies is thought to descend from Ussuri brown bears which crossed to Alaska from eastern Russia 100,000 years ago, though they did not move south until 13,000 years ago.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


This Black Bear was madly striping this tree of its berries to fatten up as much as possible before winter.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


This herd of Bison all have one thing on their mind. Fatten up and get ready for winter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


The Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the Prong Buck, Pronghorn Antelope, or simply Antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and fills a similar ecological niche due to convergent evolution. It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae. During the Pleistocene period, 12 antilocaprid species existed in North America. About 5 existed when humans entered North America 13,000 years ago; all but A. americana are now extinct. Don't you love his cute face?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


This Mule Deer was about 100 yards away from me when I shot this picture. I'm sure he thought he was hiding in the bushes and grass but with my 400mm lens I brought him up close without disturbing him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


I went toe to toe and eye to eye with this "wild animal" and he didn't blink!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) once numbered in the millions in western United States. Bighorn sheep are named for the large, curved horns borne by the males, or rams. Females, or ewes, also have horns, but they are short with only a slight curvature. Sheep range in color from light brown to grayish or dark, chocolate brown, with a white rump and lining on the back of all four legs. These sheep only wanted to show me their rumps.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yellowstone/Tetons


The Black-billed Magpie Pica pica is a bird in the crow family that inhabits the western half of North America. It is notable for being one of only four North American songbirds whose tail makes up half or more of the total body length. The bird is normally black with white shoulders, a white belly and iridescent blue-green wings and tail. The one in this image was very blue. It was the only one that I have ever seen this blue.