Close Encounter in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone's Black Wolf

 

During my first visit in Yellowstone it wasn’t hard to find wildlife… at least not for me.  I saw everything from Eagles to grizzly bears. This particular morning near Lamar Valley, I pulled over at a lookout spot where dozens of people  with spotting scopes trying to find the majestic Yellowstone wolves. The group had gazed over Lamar Valley the past 3 mornings with no lucky of spotting a wolf. I decided to hike back down the road 1/4 mile to where I saw an Eagle sitting in a nest. I had to venture off into the field so I could get closer for a decent shot when I felt a force over my shoulder. I turned around and saw a black wolf jogging over the hill to my right. I instantly stopped dead in my tracks and focused all of my attention on this wolf running right at me. I quickly realized I am 1/4 mile away from my car with a full-grown wolf, 300 feet away.  The only thing I could think of was to keep taking pictures, and so I did just that. At about 190ft, the wolf stopped and stared at me for several seconds sniffing the air. He posed for another 20 seconds, turned around and left.  It was a wonderful experience out in the wild with a black wolf, and live to tell about it. I had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, it was one wildlife encounter I will think about forever.

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2012 Lyrid Meteor Shower: A Look Back

Meadow In The Sky

I found myself at 3,500ft in elevation with crystal clear skies on Friday April 20th, 2012. Being “Park Week”, I had no choice but to visit a long time friend of mine; Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. With the forecast looking poor during the peak activity, I arrived a couple of days early to  maximize my chances at a clear night. The first night was clear, but the dew point was causing issues with creating tons of condensation, which formed on everything. Things got a little hairy at point when a black bear approached us at 11pm in the pitch dark. I didn’t realize he was there until I heard a stick break and then noticed the bear 50 feet away. He growled and made noises, but kept on moving towards the east with no issues at all.

Sunset was even a pleasant palette of pastel colors in the western skies facing West Virginia

Valley View

Shenandoah Celebrated it’s 75 year anniversary last year as I celebrated my 12th year there at the highest Point in the Park, Hawksbill Mountain

Self Portrait - Hawksbill Mountain

Rain water created tiny pools of water along the highest cliffs in the park

Cliff Water

The second night there wasn’t a problem with condensation forming on my gear because we had gusty winds near 40mph or higher along the ridge preventing that from happening. The sturdy tripod made all the difference this night taking the stronger winds. Keeping the tripod low to the ground increases the stability. A steady rain, followed by 6″ of snow blocked any chance of observations for the “peak night”.  But the night before offered some gorgeous views of the heavens.

2012 Lyrid Meteor

 

The TOP photo is featured on MSN Photo Blog.. Check it out here.  http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/27/11434037-looking-back-at-the-lyrids

2012 is a great year for meteor showers unlike 2011. The next “major shower” is May 4/5, but the full moon block out all but the brightest meteors.

 

 

Spring – The Changing Wind

The Divide

The Divide

Flowering plants and trees were already past peek before April even begun, which is very unusual, but when is weather ever usual?  The arrival of warmer temperatures in the month of March has set spring into action a few weeks early. I saw birds building their nests in February when we should have been shoveling 20″ of snow, but I am looking forward to the warmer weather and the vibrant colors of nature during the summer months. How about you?

Happy Easter Weekend!

WARNING! Sunset Sky Show Tonight!

Sunset Sky Show -  The Crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Sunset Sky Show - The Crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter

For the second night in a row we will be able to witness a Celestial Triangle in the western skies around sunset.  Tonight, (Feb. 26th, 2012)  the Moon and Jupiter will be near to each other with Venus shinning bright just below them. The clouds and 50 mph wind gusts last night worried me some,  but the weather worked out perfectly. The clouds actually added a little flavor to this photo.
 
 
 
Where should you look tonight?
 
Look to the west just after sunset and you will see the “trio” piercing the sunset colors.  The best time is to check it out is 15 – 30 minutes after sunset.  The ambient light is much lower making the objects really stand out.
 
 
 
**UPDATE**   –      February 26th, 2012   –   “THE REUNION”
 
I decided to head out again Sunday night for a follow up appointment with the celestial triangle. I did some time lapse photography and still last night. The video will be available shortly. Here is a photo from the “firepit” last night.  The exposure is a couple hours long. Note all of the air-traffic.
 
 
 
Firepit and Celestial Triangle

LAUNCH OF THE NEW WEBSITE!

Jeff Berkes Photography just got a drastic overhaul on the website! New and improved galleries make viewing all  galleries faster and more enjoyable!

Whats new with the website?

Well, just about everything! The entire format has changed, litterally. The “image collection” has a brand new format with large thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail to enlarge it, see captions and descriptions for each image, click on that image again to return to the thumbnail gallery, simple right?

 The “Photo Tours” page has up to date information on 2012 workshops! As of now there are two (2) Nighttime / Meteor Shower Workshops planned for 2012, with others being added in this Spring. The “Exploring America”  Photo Tour page  has two (2) Adventures planned for August and September, one visiting Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as Deadhorse State Park.  The other Tour will be in Yellowstone National Park – Geysers, Landscape and Wildlife.

Hope you enjoy the new design!  If you happen to find any errors please inform us, so we can fix any issue asap! Thanks in advance.. Feedback is always much appreciated!

2012 Meteor Shower Photo Tours now up!!

Tree of the Desert, August 2011.

Tree of the Desert, August 2011.

Hi Everyone!

I have just released my first two nighttime / meteor shower workshops for 2012. The First is the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower, our destination is Shenandoah Naitonal Park, in Virginia. The second, is the Orionid Meteor Shower in October 2012  at Acadia National Park, in Maine. 

More information can be found at my website                  www.jeffberkesphotography.com