We had an opportunity spend two nights at the Sunlight Rangers Cabin in the Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. No cell service and no TV, but we did have four walls, a roof, heat, plumbing and electricity, unlike the folks who were boondocking in the area. We did some hiking and some four-wheeling...not really four-wheeling, but the narrow roads were muddy in spots and I did engage the 4WD a couple times. We were hoping to go over Beartooth Pass (US 212) on the way home today, but it was storming and snow was expected.
Friday, May 20, 2022
Our previous record for bear sightings in Yellowstone was two in 2020. These past two days we saw 13. The breakdown is eight griz/brown bears (three adults, three cubs, two yearlings) and five black bears (three adults, two cubs). The road going south from Tower-Roosevelt is only open for 2.5 miles, but it is a hotspot of bear activity. The highlight was two unbearably cute cubs crossing the road and climbing a tree as their mama kept a watch on the 50 or so tourists who were witnessing. We also saw some bison babies today, which is what we expected to see on this trip. BTW, the white spots on many of these images are snowflakes. I know much of the country has already had a heat wave, but in Yellowstone it was in the 30s with intermittent snow yesterday and today.
Here's the list of bear sightings.
- Bear #1 - Griz near Tower Falls
- Bears #2-5 - Griz mama and three cubs north of Old Faithful
- Bear #6 - Griz west of Tower Falls turn
- Bear #7 - Black bear near Tower Falls
- Bears #8-10 - Black bear mama and two cubs near Tower Falls
- Bears #11-13 - Griz mama and two yearlings in Lamar Valley
See thomasoneil.com for all of the images. We also saw fox, coyotes and pronghorn but didn't get images of those this time.
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Every few years I have that "drop the mic" moment when it almost seems pointless to snap any more images. The one I remember the most is the owls on Honeymoon Island in 2008. The bluebirds gave me something similar today. I was hanging out on the patio to see if any more hummingbirds came by, and getting shots of opportunity with the bluebirds. Then this happened.
Monday, May 16, 2022
I saw a hummingbird fly through the yard yesterday so I decided it was time to put the feeders out. I happened to have the 500mm sitting on the patio when this fellow came by. It's at the old crappy plastic feeder, which I have removed via Photoshop. I rarely change images with Photoshop in this manner, but in this case I'll make an exception.
I tried to fix the nicer glass feeder, which got the top broken off last year and subsequently leaked, by pouring latex paint into it last fall. Despite a winter of allowing the attempted seal to cure, it still leaks. I re-ordered the same one and I'll try to keep the wind or mowing crew from breaking it.
Sunday, May 15, 2022
To save wear and tear on my Canon 5D Mark III, which is almost 10 years old now, I'm using the 18-year-old 1D Mark II for my bluebird camera trap. This morning while setting the motion trigger with the 1D and 500mm monster lens, the female bluebird was buzzing around. I took control and got a few manually-triggered shots. The previous day, I got some motion-triggered images with the 1D and 70-200 zoom at 70mm. Most of these images have been added to my web site.
The 1D was a great camera in its day, but it is only 8.2 megapixels. It is hard to keep the sensor clean and I have to Photoshop out spots most of the time. The battery doesn't last all day, so today I have the AC adapter plugged in. But with a little effort, the 1D is once again producing passable images after sitting idle from 2012 until last year.
For sure, the images are miles ahead of anything out of my trailcams, even the two Reconyx.