An Evening Stroll Around the Cabin

I’ve had a wonderful week here in Montana. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to this private conference here in Yellowstone. We get together and talk about science, art, and Libertarianism… It’s a very cool and interesting collection of people!

A few nights ago, I took a dusk walk around the main cabin. The horses come graze all around the meadow in the evening… I finally convinced one of them to stand still for a bit.

An Evening Stroll Around the Cabin

The Ice Lake in Summer

I made a video! When I took this shot a few days ago in Yellowstone, I had a little video camera to record the process. It’s not the highest quality thing in the world, but at least you guys and gals will be able to see a little bit about how I took the shot in the field. I’ll probably include the video in the next newsletter, which is free and I invite you to subscribe.

This place is called the Ice Lake. I saw it on the map and it sounded like a cool hiking destination. I didn’t expect it to be icy, so I wasn’t disappointed.

Ice Lake in the Summer

The Morning Steam Through the Forest in Yellowstone

I woke up just before 5 AM today so I could get out there and do some sunrise shooting. It was a great morning and I found all kinds of interesting spots. I drove by a bank of trees that had some steam from a nearby river flowing through them… and it looked so cool that I hiked around the forest to find a nice configuration of trees and steamy fog.

I was exhausted after shooting most of the day. I drove over the the Firehole River to have a swim. There was no one else around, and I didn’t have a swimsuit, so I just went in my undies. This seemed like a great idea until my underwear ripped on a rock. This, combined with very sensitive feet that make me look crazy when walking on a rocky shore, made for quite a scene.

The Morning Steam Through the Forest in Yellowstone (by Stuck in Customs)

Cutting the Wheat

I am headed back to Montana tomorrow for a week. I’ll actually be in both Montana and Wyoming in Yellowstone National Park. I think it’s my 5th or 6th trip there! I’m really looking forward to it… This will be my first trip with the D3X, so I look forward to rediscovering some old favorites with the new camera. Also, since it’s Yellowstone, the weather patterns are always unique and unexpected.

This shot is from the northern part of Montana, up where the fields go on forever. These nice crop rows are the ones that get caught in your eyes when you are driving by at super-sonic speeds…but you can still make out single rows like frames in an old movie.

Cutting the Wheat

The Granite Cleaves

I’ll be going back to Montana towards the end of the month, so I decided to process this shot from Glacier National Park.

I took my wife and son down to the edge of the lake, and there were these giant granite blocks on the perimeter. The regular freezes and thaws around the lake created these right-angle cuts. It was nice to have them there with me… they got to hear me drone on and on about rocks and whatnot. I used to have a double-major in Geophysics and Computer Science, so I know the sorts of things about rocks that only come in handy when you have a captive audience like a family stuck on one while you are taking photos.

I ended up dropping the Geophysics part of the double-major after an ideological fight with a professor. That’s a longer story.

The Granite Cleaves (by Stuck in Customs)

Fly Fishing Behind the Ranch

There is a perfect stream here on the edge of Montana that backs onto a ranch where I have stayed a few times. At night, you can hear the stream rushing by while you sleep. Sometimes, in the morning, you can see a bit of steam coming off it as the air adjusts. In the middle of the day, the fish are biting and there isn’t another fisherman for miles.

It looks like it might be easy to cross, but, believe me — it isn’t. There’s a few deep pockets in there that you won’t find until you’re one step too late. I’ll never forget the time my chest waders started filling up with cold river water. Once a little bit starts, it’s a slippery slope!

I also ended up doing a bit of tubing down this river too… which I’m sure was completely confusing to the fish underneath.

The River Behind the Ranch

Where Geothermal Steam Covers the Land

Every time I go to Yellowstone, I see something different. There are hundreds of great locations, each one of which should be visited for at least an hour during three different times of the day.

This is a new area I visited on my most recent trip there. I don’t think it is always this steamy, since the air temp has to be a certain delta to the water. I don’t know why, but it’s always fun to sit there and watch the boiling water. I don’t enjoy watching boiling water in my kitchen, but the sight there is always mesmerizing.. There is also the strong smell of sulfur carried through the area. It wasn’t repulsive at all, but it did give me the just-took-off-my-helmet-on-an-away-mission feeling.

Where Geothermal Steam Covers the Land (by Stuck in Customs)

A Canyon Oasis

This place is deep inside Glacier National Park. The only bad thing about photography is I can’t show how deafening the sound of the waterfall inside the canyons was! It ricocheted around the rocky walls and seemed to be perfectly acoustic echo chamber. I didn’t get in, but the water seemed super-cold.

It was a nice spot to stop and take a break for a bit. You would think the noise would kind of relaxing, but it was less of the alarm-clock-bubbling-brook and more of the 747-emergency-landing…

A Canyon Oasis

Sunflowers at Sunset – Oh, and I’m making a short film

This photo from Butte, Montana, was much harder to take than it might seem!

First of all, these sunflowers are tall – and I mean tall! They must be between 6 and 7 feet in the air. I was on the ground with them, so, of course, I was looking UP at them. No one wants to see a shot like that…!

So, I put the camera on the tripod, set the timer to 5 seconds, extended the legs, set the manual settings correct, then jacked the whole thing in the air, holding it rock steady while it took the exposure. Getting a steady horizon while holding the camera 12 feet in the air is not easy… and after a number of takes, my shoulders were just about spent for the rest of the night.

As for the little announcement there, I am working on a short film. It’s from Patagonia and somewhat experimental. I expect the debut to be right here on www.stuckincustoms.com on Friday, April 17, so stay tuned! :)

Sunflowers at Sunset

Where the rivers start

The Rockies are the source of a few rivers, and here is one of them. I can’t remember the name of it for sure (although I am sure some of my smart readers can), but I am pretty sure this is the Yellowstone (or maybe the Madison?) river, flowing westward out of the park. This part of the river is impossible to see from the road. I had to pull over and then walk over a tiny little hill/mountain to get there. I stayed at the top, listening to my ipod, waiting for the sun to set… It was all quite serene, as you can see! :)

Where the rivers start

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