Posted by: merlyn9 | 23 February, 2009

Winter Wonderland in Yellowstone – Part I

Ah… The Trip has Arrived!


E-mail Announcement about this Adventure

Road Trip Departure

Friday Morning… The truck was loaded, all the gear in the bed, except for those camera’s which were nestled safely in the back seat with pillows for their comfort.  (ok, so this sounds too much like a holiday story… let’s get back  to reality)
Off we left early Friday morning and even though we were heading south on I-88 we really didn’t have a whole lot of traffic.  For most of the drive it was pretty moderate traffic.  I think the longest slow moving period was when we got caught up behind some very wide equipment being transported, and No One wanted to move around it down the side.  Honestly, I think the fact that the police were escorting this with their light on intimidated a lot of folks… finally one brave soul in another pick-up moved past, and then things began to trickle through.


Getting From Here to there... even with a change in the middle!

So the Original plan for the day way to drive from home to Lincoln, Nebraska and spend the night there.  Somewhere along the route with Diane my Trusty Navigator monitoring things… we changed our over-night destination from Lincoln to… Ogallala, NE.  Still right on I-80, but about another 278 miles.  Which in reality turned out OK, since there was some slight miscalculations about the midpoint of travel and we ended up passing through Lincoln at about 3:30 in the afternoon as it was.  None the less, we were in Ogallala shortly after dinner, but with the Timezone change, we still had plenty of time to find something to eat.  A good nights rest and off again in the morning.  Dinner Saturday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming!

Saturday evening we pull into Jackson Hole from the South.  The 49’er Inn on Pearl Street is right off the main drag and was easy to find.  Nice place, friendly folks behind the desk.  We had requested an upgrade from the `normal` room, after Diane see-sawed over a gas burning fire place… Interestingly enough, this put us over in their 2nd building, and that is where as a group, we would be holding our meetings the next few evenings.  So we ended up just two doors down from this conference room.  After we turned OFF the Heat and Opened the Window, we relaxed from the journey and checked out stuff to do before the Big Meet-up on Sunday.  The Gas Fireplace was really nice too.

Sunday Morning Window shopping, Diane trying things over at the Fur shop, T-shits and vests… Quick stop at the grocery store for some supplies.  Back to the room in time for the start of the Super Bowl Game… Go Steelers!  The game started such that Halftime started just as the GAPW meeting was kicking off.  So I got to watch that much.  By Halftime folks were starting to gather down the hall for our first meeting.   I thought this little get together Before we all headed out was good, not only because we would get some good info… but we would begin to recognize the other folks in our group before we were all busy out in the field.

Day One

Get together time… we all gathered into this conference room, in pairs… two to a table. George Theodore and Tom Bol were just finishing getting stuff set up, and began with introductions.  We had 18 folks total, including both instructors.  Based on folks professions, we would be pretty covered for just about any medical emergency.   Two classmates were missing as we had just learned of a near tragic accident they had with a semi truck in town.  Both would be OK, and join us later.  Then we all threw our names into a bucket which would be used for nightly drawing of prizes leading up to a Big Finally on the last night in Yellowstone.  As Tom and George were covering logistics and a little about what to expect for the next week, Tom stopped to introduce a Guest spot… hum?   Diane got up, walked up to the front… picking something up on her way, only to discover while she was out picking up a few food supplies… She had picked up a Cake.  (brat!) See this whole going on a trip came about as part of my 50th Birthday celebration.  I was originally going to Antarctica this year, but due to some unexpected expenses and important Implant surgery we had to put off that trip for a few years… and Found this Great adventure into Snowy Yellowstone.  So now everyone here knows…  Thanks Diane!  (I mean that too!)

We eventually took a break form slides and discussions. Upon returning… there was about 3-1/2 minutes left in the Super Bowl game on the TV in the conference room…  Majority rule, we left the game on until the end… Watching the Steelers Crush the failed hopes and dreams of Arizona!!!!!   Some more discussions, and planning for breakfast and morning meet to head out shooting.  Then just before we broke for the evening, the first Drawing for the week….    Ta Da… Diane Won!  How lucky is that?  She got a 2 or 4GB Flash Drive.  Very Cool!  We also had a chance to meet with Margaret, a very nice lady from Houston, originally from Scotland.  Comments had been circulated about car pooling for travels around until we got to Flagg Ranch, and then returning as well.  I had offered space and Margaret had E-mailed asking to ride with Diane and myself.  So we had a nice cosy group for the week.

Day Two

Well up and ready before sunrise… little light breakfast and we are all on the road towards the pull-outs around the front of the Teton’s for a shoot… Only one thing, No one bothered to tell Mother Nature of our plans and it was such an overcast cloudy morning that we really could not see much of the upper halves of those beautify peaks, not to mention the Sun didn’t peek it’s head out.  

Moose on the loose in the Teton area

Moose on the loose in the Teton area

I think it forgot to get it’s Jimmy Deans Breakfast! (picture the TV commercials)

So while we didn’t bother to stop and shoot the mountains here, we went looking for Moose.  Found one, but she was alone, slightly off for great detailed shots, and there was a lot of ground clutter between her and all us photographers.  But we all got out and got off a number of shots… Heck by the time we left there must have been 4-5 other vehicles that had stopped for some photo’s too.

I had accidentally (like I would do it on purpose) dropped on the icy asphalt the lens hood for the 500mm, Didn’t notice then, but the spring clip to hold this hood in the channel on the front of the lens had popped out… Good thing I saw it before we left our vehicles to head into Yellowstone… I keep a roll of Duct tape under the drivers seat in the Truck… Always comes in handy.  


Solitair Bull Elk keeping vigil...

A few thin slices wedged between the hood & the lens, a slight twist… and we’re locked in place for the rest of the week!

We were off for Breakfast back in town at The Bunnery.  Oh, we all ate well, as the food was good and plentiful.


Happy Sleigh Rides through the Elk Refuge.


"Just look at those fools in those red boxes being paraded past us..."

After Breakfast we started to head out to the National Elk Refuge but seems 3/4-1/2 the team ended up in the Mountaineering store just a few doors down from the Bunnery.  Eventually we got to the Visitor Center for the Refuge where we are loaded onto a coach bud to take us out to meet the sleighs which will take us out into the refuge and closer to the huge herds of Elk.  This is pretty Cool, as the Elk seem less spooked by the folks in the Sleighs, but it’s not like when you are on the ground in the park where you can move around to get the composition you want, or a better one.  We ended up in a sleigh pulled by Trixie and Dixie, 2 Belgium draft horses.  These Ladies were Huge and quite powerful too.  There were few Elk off on their own, and so many of the images are clustered groups or have busy animal backgrounds.  But we got in  close…  And I think just about everyone came away with a Decent Christmas Card shot for next year! 

I think we shoot out there for around 2 hours before we packed it in and headed back towards the visitor center.  From there it was back to the hotels to clean up, change, etc. and then meet later for dinner together.  Dinner was at The Gun Barrel Steak & Game House. Quite a nice place out here in Jackson Hole.  They sat us upstairs practically in a room to ourselves.   The food was Excellent here, and we were pretty stuffed by the time we were ready to leave.  Margaret really wanted to buy Diane and myself dinner for driving this leg of the trip.  She really was sweet.

We dropped Margaret back at the hotel and headed to the square downtown.  I wanted to take some night shots, especially of the lights in the square with my new Canon EOS 5D MKII.  While there was an initial issue with this camera reported with Black Dots, when photographing lights like these… When I picked up my camera, it already had the latest firmware installed, which was reportedly suppose to mitigate this issue.  I still wanted to test this out thoroughly for myself, as well as play with some night shots.  So we shot in the square for about 30-minutes before heading back to the 49’er.  Well it was straight off to bed after downloading all the images from the day.  We were meeting for a quick breakfast at 6:30am before we tried catching sunrise across the Tetons on the way up to Flagg Ranch in the morning. 


That’s enough for Part I…   We’ll pick up Day Three in the next Part.




map source:


All Images Copyrighted © 2009 michael T. sedwick



  1. Nice entry Michael. Love your photos! Look forward to part 2.

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