I always felt these old jack fences were one of the most charming things about Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National park. They remind me of the old days with this land was home to big ranches settled on a dangerous frontier. Today these fences are being ripped out. Destroyed in the name of wildlife management. After 150 years of wildlife migration through the valley it has been decided that these remnants of a culture past need to go.
Damn stupid if you ask me! I am all for preserving our wildlife but there are ways to accomplish wildlife conservation and preserve things from the past. What about the simple concept of putting in a fence the current bureaucrats think is more wildlife friendly every few hundred yards? Naw, it is easier to destroy a reminder of the past. Maybe, just maybe, we can remove the idea that this land was settled by men of great courage and self-reliance who built fences from the the material at hand.
Of course that is silly, time moves on, the wooden boardwalk sidewalks are slippery, a log fence might slow down a migration that has been going on for 150 years.
Who knows what is to come. Maybe they will build a bicycle path in a place that is suppose to be the home of predators who chase things that run away from them. UMMM
We had waited a long time for this moment, photographing lion cubs playing with their tails, chewing on their moms ears, elephants bathing at sunset, cheetahs forever on the hunt as we reviled at their clever ambushes. But this was what we had come for; just to feel the earth move as the Wildebeest, Zebras, and Impala crossed the plane was a experience beyond belief.
Yet we waited, each with our own thoughts, watching the event unfold. The movement across the miles of grassland and the heat had taken its measure on the now thirsty herds. But the migrants knew of the danger that lay in the water, for the Crocks were hungry too.
We had loaded the van in silence, still groggy from a nights sleep that was to short. When we met my friend and guide Ray in the parking lot near the Mittens over look there was not yet a hint of sunrise in the eastern sky, but we had high hopes for things to come.
Soon the suburban rattled and lurched over the torturous road into the core of Monument Valley. We were headed for the scared locations in the backcountry where you are not allowed to go without a native guide. The land of the Totem and Yei Bi Chei.
After many trips into the valley I am still in awe of the beauty and silence as the morning unfolds in this sacred place. My heart beats faster as we quickly walk over the sand dunes now hurrying to catch the best angle of light, I can now see just a hint go orange glowing beyond the monuments.
Setting up our tripods we concentrate on the changing light, sometimes uttering a whisper of awe. I move with the light trying to capture the scene the best I can while helping my student to capture their vision. Then too soon the light becomes harsh and it is time to move to a better location. Walking back to the suburban we now are fully awake to a brilliant day in the heart of Navajo land, looking at each other with a smile on our faces and sand in our shoes we move to the next location.
I have had a crazy schedule this spring with Slot Canyons, Monument Valley, CanyonLands, Arches, Sedona and the Grand Canyon all one on top of the next. Luckily I get 3 days before heading off to Rock Spring an Wild Horses. Maybe after I finish there I will actually have time to look at some of the images I shot over the past couple of months. This is the first photo I took yesterday morning after the snow storm at the Grand Canyon.
We had a great display the first night of my Aurora workshop. This is from the wild country north of Fairbanks at around -20.
The best thing about desert storms is the light before and after the storm. The problem is know where to be when the light is right. There is no way to beat having been to a place many times before, but if you haven’t had that luxury get out your maps and get in position early.
We had waited for over an hour in near zero temps with only the ears appearing over the snowbank, the sun had passed behind the ridge along the Madison River and he light had gone as cold as the air. Then he chose to start his hunt. We followed him with our lens till he silently disappeared in the forest.
What a way to finsh another great day in Yellowstone
We made a very quick trip for a job in the Pacific Northwest this fall and had a chance to grab a few Autumn photos. Looks like a place I need to get to more often.