Winter Spawn

I started flyfishing in the winter many years ago because one of my friends thought it was a good idea. It was really cold, the eyes on our rods would freeze, if you got wet it could lead to frostbite and we didn’t always catch something. Despite all that, it turns out he was right. Winter fishing has become one of the things I look forward to the most out of the year because the trout that we do catch has some of the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen. Rainbow Trout move out of lakes and up the river to their spawning grounds and during that time the males mainly turn the most vibrant colors. Females can also get good colors but nothing like the males. Just one of these beauties makes the whole day worthwhile.

The Bridgers Got Some Light

Well, I did say some, unfortunately, I was too slow to get to a good spot in time before the light was completely gone. I have always liked going out to shoot in between storms because that’s usually when the most dramatic skies appear. The other was no different. I got the camera as quickly as I could, drove out to a local spot, and photographed what was left of the light. the results, a nice evening, and a couple of quick clicks.

Good Old Black and White Mountains

I do love winter in Montana. The Bridger Mountains really come to life with a good snowfall and you get to see this entirely different side to the slopes. Even better when you get on a pair of skies and go back into some remote place and see the peaks that otherwise you just don’t get to. As always I had my Z50 with me and I couldn’t help but stop at this clearing and take a quick click of the peaks as the sun came out from the clouds. Naturally, the scenario screamed for a black and white conversion because all that contrast just made the scene pop.

Straight Plane or Straight Horizon?

The Hawker Hurricane is an amazing fighter plane with a very colorful history. It’s sad that so few exist in the world. At the time of its conception, it was a ground breaking plane with its retractable landing gear, speed, and armament. Like most planes, though it was merely a stepping stone along the line of the next great thing to come along. Still one of my favorites. While in England many years ago I had the chance to photograph a Hurricane on a beautiful evening shoot. This question popped up like has happened so many times in the past, do you level the subject or the background? I’ve dealt with this a lot and for me, the answer has always been the subject because that’s where the eye goes first. It just looks weird to have the subject crocked to me and if that means the horizon is at a slant, well then that just means the subject is on a hill.

One Heck of a Flying Boat

Ever since I got started with Aviation photography, I was drawn to the PBY. Something about the design of the plane made it stand out compared to the others, which isn’t to say that the others were bad looking. Made by Consolidated Aircraft Company the Catalina PBY had a wide array of roles throughout WWII, including as I have just learned, a horizontal bomber during the first year of the war. It was quickly found out that the PBY-4 was a terrible horizontal daylight bombing aircraft. 

The two greatest contributions the plane made was as a patrol aircraft and a search and rescue plane. Downed airmen or stranded sailors looked to the skies in both the Pacific and Atlantic for these great winged birds descending from the skies to bring the stranded back to safety. As a patrol plane, the PBY could go large distances and with a nine-man crew, there were lots of eyes scanning the horizons for ships. Unfortunately, like most things in time they become outdated and more trouble then they are worth. Due to the size and limited interest, only a handful of airworthy PBY’s are still flying today.

Sitting up Top

They say the view from up top is pretty good but I doubt that’s what these three were thinking when they decided to take an afternoon nap on top of this null. Elk tend to sleep in covered areas but in the afternoons they’ll bed down in between meals in plain sight. With the wind howling that day I have no doubt that where they were positioned they could’ve easily detected any predator that might be in the area.

A Sad Day in the Rockies

I had the chance of meeting Brutus many years ago and I still remember that sunny January day when he came out for a photoshoot. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, as you can see, he made a nice little hole to curl up in. Brutus has been a part of the Montana Grizzly Encounter for the last 19 years but sadly passed away last week. He was a joy to work with and be around and he will be missed by all that met him.

Iceberg Ahead!

It is not atypical in the winter months for large chunks of ice to come floating down the river. Dams need to regulate the flow of water that is coming out of that dam. As a result of this the rising and lowering of the water height, combined with the changing of the temperature, will cause large chunks of ice to break off and float downstream. It’s a lot of fun to watch the icebergs float away and occasionally others partake too. While I was out the other day I enjoyed watching a Dipper perch on an iceberg and float away downstream before eventually flying off.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Yes, it is that time of the year again where the tradition of relying on a member of the rodent family predicts the weather for us. It truly is an American tradition made famous of course by Bill Murray in his classic film Groundhog’s Day. Personally, I hope the little guy sees his shadow and we get 6 more weeks of winter because it’s been one mild winter so far and I will never turn down the more water here in the valley. In case you were wondering, no this is not a Groundhog but is in the same family and same group, the Hoary Marmot.

The High Slopes

While out skiing I came across this scene and it stumped me. The mountains looked amazing and the clouds rolled back enough that it created a lot of drama but the light was so bright that I couldn’t see the great photo opp. While obviously I still tried to make the photo happen it still feels lacking. If this happens to you then you have to ask yourself, is the photo worth it or is it better to just soak in the moment?

 

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