The official "first photography day" started off with a 4:30 am hotel departure, arriving at our location before twilight. Believe it or not, we were the ONLY photographers there until a few more showed up after we had the BEST sunrise at Mormon Row in my 7 trips to this location. REALLY GOOD! The weather was perfect. Everyone was amazed at the beauty of the scene. They admitted it was worth getting up after 4-5 hours of sleep. We proceeded quickly to the other barn and got perfect front lighting on it, then hustled to the Chapel of the Transfig and photographed it... again, we were the only photographers there. This is way I schedule this GS on a weekday... to avoid "crowds". After the Chapel, all of us proceeded to the Signal Mountain Lodge for a great breakfast.
After breakfast, some of the members split off to explore the park on their own. Jared, Dena and I (followed by a couple of members), proceeded to look for the well known GTNP bears. They were not sighted by us but we were out of our cars... and hear a "cry" that sounded like a calf in distress from the woods but couldn't see anything. I spoke with 2 photographers who saw a Grizzly harassing an elk cow and her calf, they (the bear, cow and calf) then disappeared in the woods. We suspect the cry we heard was that calf as it was coming from that area where they were sighted. It was surmised that the calf was taken down. Nature is not pretty at times.
We proceeded South (made a couple of stops) as the road construction delays going North made travel that way a time waster. We saw bison, elk, and pronghorn.. the usual. We then had some lunch at the Snake River Brewery (great food!). A place recommended by one of my FB followers. I never heard of the place nor would I have found it as it sits two blocks off the main road in obscurity.
After lunch, we went up to the Canyon area (back country) and photographed the Tetons (aerial view) and with wildflowers (balsam root). This area is often not photographed. Jared and I found it two years ago on our own. Nice "off the beaten path" place.
We went back in the park around 5:00pm and looked for wildlife. I suggested we visit the osprey's nest and see if "anyone was home"... we arrived at the nest and everyone was home! One adult in the nest and the other adult sitting in a tree by the road looking pretty. We photographed him for 15-20 minutes. This was the first osprey that Dena has seen in the wild or photographed! Good for her.
We got back in time to round up at the 13/19 members who wanted to attend the cookout hosted by my Facebook friend and fellow Buckeye who moved to Wyoming a some years ago (See photo in this post). Howard and his wife were very gracious and great hosts. Everyone loved it- getting out in the back country where it's very quiet and serene. The burgers were good too.
The cook-out location has a high elevation unobstructed view of the Tetons. The clouds were just right and I suggested we hustle and get out gear as this looks like it may be a great sunset (which doesn't happen often here) as the clouds have to be "right" and in the right position with the mountains.
We were treated to a spectacular sunset! I mean, the best sunset I have ever seen in my times in this Park. Really beautiful! I couldn't have been happier for the MPEG members that were there. It was deserving of all the "high fives" that took place.
Overall, a "perfecto" sunrise and sunset kinda day plus other good stuff sprinkled in.....
Tomorrow, we are off at 4:15 am for sunrise at Oxbow. The forecast is perfect at this point. Could we have two perfect sunrises in a row?
After sunrise tomorrow, we will be heading North to Yellowstone where we will be staying the next 5 nights in two locations.
It's 12:04 Am MST and I am beat.
I have a 3:45am wake up call...
Stay Tuned for Day 3!