What’s happening in Montana or the Rocky Mountains? What’s the latest adventure and the newest story? Every photoshoot is something different and each one has its own lessons to be learned. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned.
Well, it certainly has been a while since I’ve updated my field reports so it seemed like the appropriate time to. 2018 has been one crazy year in the Gallatin Valley with a long winter which went into a long and wet spring and then culminated with an incredibly short summer. It snowed through till April and then it was wet all the way until the end of June. The temps didn’t get warm until the beginning of July and then unbelievably it snowed in August. There was snow on the Tobacco Roots, the Gallatin Mountains, the Bridger Mountains, and the Spanish Peaks were covered. Now of course all of that was gone in a day but all these weird weather systems make for some unique photography because it throws the natural cycle out of sync.
Everything this year seems to be early or late by a couple of weeks. From spring kids to spawning in the rivers, fall color change, you name it, everything is a little bit off. It’s mid-September and the spawning is starting to take place for the Brook Trout that live in some of the upper elevation lakes and rivers. Cutthroat Trout inhabit some of these areas, such as the Hyalite Reservoir. Although this seems to be a couple of weeks early compared to last year due to the temps now staying warmer throughout the Fall. Of course, Fall is also the time to go after Big Brown Trout as they begin their Fall spawn. Please be respectful of their spawning areas and avoid the reds.
Fall color has started to happen in select areas throughout Gallatin Valley and neighboring areas. While we won’t hit peak season for a few more weeks, now is a perfect time to be out exploring trying to find those great groves of Aspens and Cottonwood trees to go photograph when the color does come through.
Besides the trout and the Fall color, this time of the year is also ideal for North America’s large Mammals as the rut begins and the winter coats come flourishing back. Fall and Winter are two of the best times to be working with large mammals species, such as Elk, Deer, and Bighorn sheep because they grow back their large winter fur coats which make them look, for a lack of better words, grander. When it comes to these ungulates you can photograph them with really anything from 70mm to 600mm depending on the scenario. I recommend not just going for the tight portrait shot but also a wider more environmental shot adding in that extra beauty and drama of the Fall season.
That’s all I got for right now but keep tuning in for you never know what else might come up.