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Usually, mid to late August means summertime flowers covering the landscape in Mount Rainier National Park. This year however, summertime arrived about 8 weeks early and the flowers of summer have mostly departed the fields…mostly. There were still some blooms to be found but not only were there a few summer flowers hanging on, but the colors of an early fall have started appearing.

Both the remaining summer flowers and a little of the early color of fall are captured in the photograph above, taken during a glorious morning at one of the Reflection Lakes. The air was crisp and the fog was rolling through the woods and over the lake.

Fog was a major component of my recent trip to Mount Rainier. It dominated the views and continually changed the landscape.

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While fog and clouds obscured the sun, it presented a great opportunity to photograph the streams and waterfalls in the park. Nice, even lighting is perfect for compositions that include running water.

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Hiking the trails of the Paradise area of Mount Rainier is a good test of your physical conditioning and it provides breath-taking scenery such as this sunset along the Tatoosh mountain range with the yellows and reds of fall starting to appear on the landscape.

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One last sunset image taken at the edge of Tipsoo Lake which sits on the eastern edge of Mount Rainier National Park.

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During my recent trip to Yellowstone, I was delighted to witness a wolf passing through a field and later that same day, watch a grizzly cross a body of water. With a 500mm lens attached to my camera in both instances, I attempted to grab some shots. For me, it is rare to see a wolf in the wild at a relatively close distance and I had never witnessed a grizzly swimming before. It was very exciting and I was glad I could document both of these events (btw, both the wolf and bear were wearing tracking collars). It was a long day and I was tired and looking at another very early morning the next day. I thought I would prepare my equipment before heading to bed. Now whether due to extreme tiredness, fuzzy thinking, or just having a senior moment, I actually formatted my SD card in the camera and soon realized I had not downloaded my images first… let’s say I wasn’t very happy with that realization.

After returning home from the trip, I was relaying the story to my nephew, Matt Hazlett, who mentioned he had a photo recovery software app on his computer. He took my SD card and was able to recover many of the images I took that day. The software he used recovered the images in JPEG format so I could not get back raw files but a JPEG is much better than nothing!!

Neither of these images are great shots but I was just trying to document these events and I am very happy to have ‘found’ these shots for my personal archive. The morale of this story, “DOWNLOAD AND BACKUP YOUR IMAGES BEFORE FORMATING YOUR CARD!” However, in the unfortunate event that you accidentally delete images, don’t despair. First, do not use that card to take more photographs, and second, search for a photo recovery software app for your computer system, you just might be able to find your lost images.

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Yellowstone National Park has its share of wonderful landscapes in addition to the variety of wildlife. Above are the intense colors of the runoff from the Grand Prismatic Spring which pumps out 566 gallons of water every minute.

Below, early morning fog obscures the background from this grouping of bare trees.

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The constant steam coming from the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone always gives the landscape a mystical appearance. Usually, the steam shows off better in the early morning.

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I found this section of the vertically straight grass mimicking the trees to be very graphic and interesting. An example of searching for the details in the big picture!

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The last image below, taken during another early, fog-covered morning, reminded me of the Smoky Mountains back east.

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After visiting Grand Teton National Park, I headed north for a couple of days in Yellowstone National Park to look for wildlife. It didn’t take a lot of looking as the animals were out and about. In one day, Bison, Elk, Wolf, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Eagles, Hawks and Coyote were seen. Yellowstone is the place to be for wildlife watching in the U.S.

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While I saw a wolf and grizzly bears (one with cubs) in the park, they were too far away for good photographs (at least that’s what I tell myself since I absent-mindedly deleted a card with the images I took of them before downloading to my computer…). However, there is a place where you are certain to see wolf and bear, up-close in a controlled environment, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in the town of West Yellowstone where I took the two images below.

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I returned again to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in early July. It is a place unique in its combination of wonderful landscapes and variety of wildlife. The weather during my visit was a bit more challenging than usual, but it brought wonderful clouds in the sky and along the Teton range that you don’t often see.

The image above was early morning at Schwabacher Landing, which on still mornings, provides a great reflection of the Tetons.

I was in the park with Jennifer King Photography Workshops and our group was fortunate to time our visit when the Great Grey Owl below was hunting each morning in the same area. We were able to capture some very nice portraits of this large bird with the camouflaged pattern feathers.

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While the John Moulton barn on Mormon Row has been photographed millions of times, the morning we were there turned out to provide my very favorite image of this iconic scene. The fog bank along the Teton range makes the image in my opinion.

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The group took a ride over to Idaho on the other side of the Tetons and stopped to photograph some birch trees in a field of grass being tossed back and forth by the wind. I like the way this turned out converting to a black and white image.

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