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?

 

Finding the Photo in the Forest

The Rocky Mountains have a lot of great places to go take pictures and one of those areas is the dense forests that surround Gallatin Valley. Hyalite Canyon and Reservoir is a wonderful place to go for a walk or this time of year a ski. Being in a dense forest can lead to some amazing photos but the light options inside the forest can make it a challenge. Forests are a  conglomerate of highlights and shadows which create a high dynamic range to work with. It can be easy to miss the photo by taking in too much so going small and focusing on a small area can lead to a more powerful image.

Afternoon In the Snow

Photographers all know to take their cameras with them where ever they go because the moment when you don’t have one is the moment when you need one. Well, I don’t normally take my camera with me when I go skiing because let’s face it, I fall down at times which can be scary when you have a camera, but this time around Hyalite I made sure I had mine. Beautiful powder and some great light made for a fun afternoon outing.

Black and White and Snow

I’ve talked about this multiple times in the past but the fact remains the same, wintertime is one of the best times to shoot in black and white. Now I say that but I always do my conversions in post-processing just to be clear. Snow has lots of natural gradients to it and when combined with light the drama can really pop within the landscape to make for some great images. This is one of the few times I like finding an anchor to put in the landscape like a dark object to add some contrast to the overall picture.

Spot Light on Fish Works Too!

Yep, spotlighting works with fish as well as just about anything else you can point a camera at. It can be difficult to get the lighting right with a subject that is flopping all over the place but if you take a second and look around you for the right light then odds are your photograph will end up stronger. I wanted the light only on this male Brown Trout’s head, specifically the eye. In this case, the sun was behind me and I used my legs to block out the light in the areas where I wanted the shadow. A simple click with the Z50 to preserve the memory of a really good day.

Ice Caps!

There is an actual name to these things but I can’t remember what it is. When rocks in rivers and lakes are sticking up above the waterline they sometimes will get covered with snow and form these little white bubbles which look really cool! In a fast-moving river, the rocks act like anchor points in the photo. The eyes will stop on these rocks and be a place to rest. If you go to black and white, then these rocks are a great contrast to the rest of the river.

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