Who would have thought that this topic would actually be the hardest one to talk about? Well, the whole premise here is to talk about the latest things that are happening and how to have the lessons I have learned can help you. Sadly I haven’t had much time to go out shooting because I have spent so much time transferring everything over the old website and creating this new one. But even with that, I have been watching what’s been happening around the area and it has been odd.
I have been in Montana for twelve years now and each winter I think I have seen it all but each time something different happens and then I have to reset my scale. Well, this winter is a weird one. Snow started falling in September and we have had some really big storms come through at some odd times. Currently, we are getting warmer temps, I mean above freezing but still in the thirties, and snow. That translates to slush and rain. Mountains are getting pounded which is great! A good snowpack means more water in the summer, hopefully, cooler temps and hopefully less fire danger.
How does this all translate to your photography? With warmer temps, the critters are going to be more active. They are still going to use the trails that are more packed down because it’s less work, which equals fewer calories spent moving around, which means fewer calories having to replenish. Nice days where the temps are above freezing in the morning and the sun is out often will mean the raptors will be out chasing their meal. Find a good open field and there’s a good chance you’ll find a raptor. With the nicer temps, odds are if you’re by the Missouri, Yellowstone, or Madison River you’ll probably come across an angler, and with the morning steam and some sunlight, this can lead to some spectacular photos.
Now even though temps are a little better, go out prepared! Bring thick warm socks, shoes, a jacket, gloves, and a beanie. Wear multiple layers in case you do get warm and need to shed a layer. If you plan on working from inside the vehicle, basically using the vehicle as a blind, it will get cold with that window down. Make sure you stay warm and hydrated. You wouldn’t think it but just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink. Bring extra food for warmth too. Burning calories will keep you warm.
January is coming to an end all too soon but there is still plenty of cold temps and snow on the way, which means plenty of more opportunities to make those winter images happen.