A Year Later

Okay so it’s actually been a little longer than a year when this fire first started but it was burning all throughout September 2020. This has been one of the worst fire seasons throughout the West and thankfully we’ve been very fortunate to have not had a bad season here in the Bridger Mountains. It’s sad to see the scar left on the forest after a fire comes through but forests are designed to handle fires over time. The emotional and sometimes financial toll forest fires take on people is always harder to handle but like forests, we have to learn to adapt and to make things better so that we can bounce back while continuing to push forward. Problems like the ones we’ve faced this year won’t just solve themselves, we have to help.

 

The Leaves are Turning

Fall color is starting to pop up around Gallatin Valley but nothing major yet. I’m really curious with the hot summer and lack of water what kind of fall color year it’s going to be. In theory, it should be really good but anything could happen and one big rainfall, snowstorm or a month of cold weather could change everything. I took this last year while out fishing a local creek on the same weekend last year and now I sit here waiting and watching what this year will be like.

Fall Browns Are Back!

I love this time of year! The smoke, thanks to the hard work of all the people working on putting out the fires, has slowly left Gallatin Valley making for some really enjoyable crisp clean good feeling Fall days. The air is definitely getting colder with a small snowfall last week on the mountain tops. This is also the time of the year when German Brown Trout turn those gorgeous pumpkin brown colors that make anglers get all excited for fishing. As we get closer to closer into spawning season, their color patterns will turn even more dramatic making for some great angling but remember that they are going to spawn so be careful on the small streams and side channels as they start to make reds. This was a quick click with the Nikon Z50, FTZ converter and 24-70 AF-S.

Native or Non-Native

The best part of getting up early is the reward of the catch afterward. Hyalite is a pretty cool reservoir for fishing as it has been stocked with Yellowstone Cutthroat, Arctic Grayling, and Brook Trout. For the avid angler in the valley, it’s a great place to spend a morning or afternoon. The photography can be fun as well with so many species potentially to work with. Due to the smaller size of the individuals, I opted for a smaller net with a black mesh fabric because it made for a better background prop as opposed to my usual one. It’s a small detail but it can make a difference.

Getting up Early Pays Off

I’ve never been much for getting up early but sometimes it really does pay off to get up early. Fall is here and we’re finally getting the lower temps combined with warmer afternoons making for some great photography. A couple of weekends ago I went to Hyalite Reservoir which is a place I tend to underestimate, one because of how beautiful it is and two just how much you can do up there. Despite how little time I spend up there, this was by far the most beautiful morning I have ever encountered upon the reservoir. The clouds were puffy and scattered and the sun heated up the air above the reservoir created an amazing layer of steam.

It Only Takes One

Over the years, if you are a follower of my Dad and thus me, then you’ve probably heard the sentiment that it only takes one to make a shoot worthwhile. That’s a very true sentiment! While it’s always nice to have diversity it can also be very overwhelming to have too many options and thus you might end up not seeing all the details or best photo opportunities of just one subject.

Where to fish, where to shoot?

My apologies for the hiatus recently but the last four weeks have been very busy with some really good life moments. It’s far too much to go into here but all is well. The record heat that has been hitting all over certainly has been felt here in the Rockies, which has lead a lot of people to ask me where to go fish and where to go shoot? Well, the smoke really doesn’t make it enticing to go out and take photos but there are some options for fishing, which can lead to some photo ops. High altitude lakes are a great place to fish right now because the water is still cold and fishing pressure won’t hurt the aquatic species that inhabit the lake. Not everyone has that option, but for those of you that do it is a good place to go. Try to go on a clearer sky day so that you aren’t breathing in all that smoke and enjoy nature.

Shooting into the Sun

This is always an option at sunrise or sunset but you have to remember that if you do then the range of light is going to be so great that the foreground is going to be darkened out and most of the detail will be lost. You can bring back those areas with the shadow slider in ACR but that will create more noise which will have to be dealt with. If you use plus exposure comp when taking the photo then you will have bright highlights which can also lead to loss of info. If you’re worried about either of these elements then you can try to hide the sun behind an object, like a tree, which will change the light ratio and create more beams of light. There are so many options it just depends on what you want to do.

The Summer Flyovers

Even if there are no airshows going on in your area, if you live by an agricultural area then odds are at some point you will see an air tractor flying overhead. These yellow, red, or white birds are often flying low over the wheat, alfalfa, or hay fields that encompass Gallatin valley. If you’re feeling the need to photograph some planes and there are no events in your area then maybe there’s an air tractor flying around.

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