Monday, May 24, 2010

By clicking on to each image will enlarge it for a better view of this magnificent country and its inhabitants
May 22, 2010
It is just not that uncommon to have snow here well into June but as much as we continue to receive it is really something. We usually get a few days and even weeks of reprieve. Not so this year. Saturday morning we awoke to find it had just quit after falling most of the night. My Gallery pardner, Tom Lucas, artist friend, Les Lefevre and myself are determined to go back up Horse Creek where I have dutifully been searching for this years Grizzly. Photos and just to say we saw one has pushed us on in our quest. One has actually been seen several days ago where I have been going. The road into this particular area is actually pretty good even in the mud we are experiencing so I am not too concerned about it. As has been so typical all spring we immediately are into Deer and Elk soon after leaving town. I shot this group. What a mangy looking bunch still recovering from winter tribulations. We ran into a nice Pronghorn Buck and I thought I had taken the perfect picture of him only to discover my telephoto lens that has been giving me some trouble has completely quit working. What a frustrating moment. And with no camera repair in this country.

May 22, 2010
It is a snow clad world and picture taking is wonderful even having to use my regular lens. I had shot this same scene as shown on my last blog posting and it is a real contrast to compare the two photos together and to see the difference even though both had snow. We slowly drive into the lower Horse Creek canyon area slowly glassing the area as we go. No tracks. No animals. No Grizzly. We comment on the fact there are no wildlife at all in the canyon and this has not been the case on my other trips of the past two months. We specualte that that may be because of the presence of Mr. Grizz. We are not surprised to not find any sign of him as he would probably be holed up yet from the nights storm. Probably in the Creek area proper that is out of our sight over the next hill.
No one take me up on my offer of being dropped off and walking through the willows to be picked up at the lower end and see what comes out with you.
May 22, 2010
What a white and gray world. Seemingly devoid of color and yet exuding color in every way. There is no wind and the heavy wet snow has covered everything in a blanket 3-4inches deep. It is beautiful and it is wet and muddy underneath.

May 22, 2010
Back out on Horse Creek we marvel at the beauty around us. This is heaven for an artist and we can't help comparing values, color and designs that confront us in every direction. The road hugs the creek here and it is a drop off allowing one to look out the truck window directly below to the creek where a Green Wing Teal couple are sound asleep on a rock with heads tucked warmly inside back feathers. Still trying to get my telephoto to work but it won't. The male awakens and quickly swims off followed shortly by the female as she suddenly notices things are not what they seem. She serenly swims up creek to join him on out of sight around a creek bend.
The storm is lifting and the clouds slowly roll back across the face of the peaks above such as here on boedicker Butte like a stage curtain slowly revealing its volcanic forms.
May 22, 2010
I go as far as I dare without getting into mud that will tear up road and vehicle both. these Strook Ranch horses seem to think it is nicer and a little warmer stnding on the road rather than in the snow covered brush. I don't blame them.
May 22, 2010
As we start back the sun is trying to pierce the overcast and does a job lighting this wonder world of white.

May 22, 2010
I stop on the Horse Creek bridge and we all shoot a number of light filled photos with painting possibilities. Even though it is only 23 degrees it feels warm with absolutely no wind and with the sound of the creek slowly flowing by as the only noise we sit there a while in silence listening and looking. I can truely enjoy folks who can do this with the same reverence of place that I have. Then someone mentions that Tom and I have to be back by 9:00 to open the gallery and we have not had any breakfast.
May 22, 2010
After showing pictures to my wife of our morning sojourn she and Les's wife decide it would be nice if we would take them back to where we had been this morning. I don't have to be asked twice so at 6:30 in the evening we again head north on the Horse Creek road. It is an even worse mud road than this morning. A lot of snow has melted during the rather cold day even though Dubois was hit with nearly blizzard like snow squalls hourly during the day. Things are now clearing a lot and it promises to be a beautiful evening. Cathy, Les's wife has never been down this road so it is a treat for her. We again jump many elk and just off the Horse Creek road on the road down into the canyon we jump a number of Bulls who are just now beginning antler growth. A month from now they will be sporting a head of magnificent antlers. Antler growth in the deer family is the fastest growing biological material that there is. Still without my telephoto lens I am relegated to a small lens and photos such as this of the Ramshorn beyond the canyon we are in. I will leave it up to Les to shoot wildlife.
Slowly in and out of the canyon we drive and wait at times hoping to see what we are looking for. Several thousand bears on hillsides reveal only rocks and or stumps and brush through the binoculars. Nothing. The girls like the guys this morning decline to walk through the bottom willows to jump something out.
I have since learned that a cow was killed by a grizzly on the Rocking Chair ranch at the edge of town the night befor. This is very close to the town grade school. That becomes pretty scarey. Several years ago a grizzly ran across the school yard raising a lot of concerns from folks.

May 22, 2010
Back at the Horse Creek bridge we stop and shoot and listen to the stream much as we did earlier this morning. The sun is low on the western horizon and shooting into it produces a photo that I think would make a great painting. This is from the opposite side of the bridge from what I shot this morning.
Heading back to town we stop several times to watch Elk. They are everywhere and Les tries counting for a while. Over 100 and more appearing here and there from every nook and cranny. He is missing many.