Category Archives: Wildlife Photography

West Glacier National Park, Montana

Farm Montana

My journey to West Glacier National Park did not start out as I had planned. Less than two hours into the trip, I encountered snow and strong winds. There were travel advisories out, especially in the direction I was heading. Hearing the travel advisories only 2 hours into a 12 hour trip, I debated about turning around and cancelling. That thought would come again as the time passed.

During the journey, I struggled to see the road, was unsure if I was even on the road, and had to slow to an almost crawl in order to prevent spinning out. Almost no one was out, save for some power crews who gave me a thumbs up and smile as they traveled in the opposite direction. I am not sure if their thumbs up and smile was to say, “good job dumbass for being on the road in this white out”, or, “way to go for having the balls to get out in this shit”. They either thought I was extremely mad, or extremely brave, or maybe even bravely mad. Regardless, it was good to pass them occasionally on the otherwise human-less journey.

The trip ended up being about 2-3 hours more than originally planned because of the weather, but it eventually cleared or maybe I had just driven through it, and when I saw the mountain peaks off in the distance I knew it was going to be worth the obstacles.

The tiredness and stress from the trip disappeared as the sky cleared and I entered what was going to be my stomping grounds for the next few days.

As soon as I was crossing one of the bridges, I spotted this remarkable barn. It was postcard perfect and I couldn’t resist coming to a stop and jumping out of the car to snap a few shots of it.

Farm Montana


The scenery that was to follow was just as beautiful and I oohhh’d and ahhh’d the entire way to the lodge. I wasn’t disappointed when I checked into the inviting West Glacier Lodge with its comfortable bed and warmth against the cold. The hot shower after the long drive was magnificent. I don’t know if it was from the stressful drive, the beauty around me, exhaustion or what but I cried the first night and sank into the big bed to drift off to sleep.

I stayed at Glacier Outdoor Lodge. Beautiful view, great room, and relaxing atmosphere.

One day, I ventured out of the park down an old back road and happened upon a unique store, Home Ranch Bottoms, that is “off the grid” in Polebridge, Montana. The owner was out changing batteries (that’s where their electricity comes from) and offered to open the gift shop store for me. Even with no electricity, I wandered through and found some gifts to send back to some of my Florida family. The owner was pleasant and gracious even though I had interrupted his chores. I’ll definitely revisit the store on my next trip.

Great little place to spend some time and unwind.
Home Ranch Bottoms
Home Ranch Bottoms BBQ. Wasn’t done when I got there. Maybe I’ll get the chance to try it on my return trip.







Over the next few days, I discovered nothing but spectacular beauty, experienced a relaxation difficult to find, discovered a magic I did not know existed, and lavished in Mother Earth’s wonders.

After this trip, I decided to add this to my “must do destinations”. It was simply one of the most refreshing and wonderful trips I had in a while and I am looking forward to going back!

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Not Just Bears

Regal, Proud. Out of all the pics I made from Bear Country USA trip, this one remains my favorite.
Regal, Proud. Out of all the pics I made from Bear Country USA trip, this one remains my favorite.

Recently I was able to enjoy a tour of the infamous Bear County USA located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Opened in the 70’s it started out as a small park by a man and his wife to 1 black bear, one cougar, one wolf, three buffalo and one large bull elk and has expanded to what it is today.

After paying admission at the gate and hearing the warning to “keep your windows up at all times”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The park is one you drive through, at your leisure, or take the tour bus offered. If you’re interested in taking pictures, I suggest either having someone drive for you or taking the tour bus so you’re free to photograph as much as you want.

The animals seemed to be well fed, taken care of, and generally “at home”. However, I cannot help but feel a bit saddened by the fact that there are still fences, etc. that keep them confined….even if the areas look wide open to us. I even had the nagging feeling of a Jurassic Park feel to it as we followed the paved pathway around the park.

Regardless, I was greeted to some of the most beautiful animals I have seen in a long time. There were many bears there, but there were also other animals basking in the warm sun or enjoying shade in the nearby wooded areas.

IMG_0050 IMG_0046 IMG_0033 IMG_0036 IMG_0031 IMG_0027 IMG_0025 IMG_0023 IMG_0020 IMG_0016 IMG_0002 IMG_0001Some of the animals were not into having their photos made and that’s okay. I can definitely relate to them.IMG_0039 IMG_0018 IMG_0004

I really was impressed with the man-made dens for the animals. There are many of these various structures throughout the park.IMG_0035And I guess we know where the reindeer vacation now.IMG_0012 IMG_0011 IMG_0009





This bear reminded me of how I feel about going to work after having a day or two off. He inspired me to make a collage for the week. You can check it out at the end of this blog.

IMG_0028At the end of the tour, you come to a gift shop, but I did not see anything there I could not live without or that could not be found on any number of online sites. However, there also is the baby section of the park which boasts even more animals to capture your heart.

IMG_0069 IMG_0068 IMG_0067 IMG_0065 IMG_0062 IMG_0060 IMG_0059 All in all, I think this is a good place to go see some animals you may not otherwise get a chance to see. Children would especially enjoy it.

So, if you’re in the area and have a couple of hours to kill…go visit the animals. Try to keep your windows up at all times. I failed miserably at that rule.



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Greeting the New Year in Pt. St. Joe, Florida

WOW! We are already 12 days into the New Year! I do not know about you, but I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions and have not made any in years now. I do, however, make goals to try to accomplish throughout the year.

For instance, this year I am writing down my goals on little note cards. When I complete them, I will drop the note cards into the  “objectif Finale” jar I decorated.  At the end of the year, I will go through each one to see what all I have accomplished. But I digress and will cover that in another blog post.

As for the cold and wet first day of 2016, I found myself down in Pt. St. Joe with Ben, a fellow photographer.  We had went down to spend some time on the coast, but the weather was presenting a problem for us.

We ended up securing a room at the Pt. Inn. The service was fantastic and the room was clean and comfortable. It’s one of those places I intend to stay on future outings there.

Pt Inn, Pt St Joe, Florida, New Year
Pt Inn
Pt St Joe, Florida

Since it was a holiday and we did not want the fast food offered by the usual places that are opened on holidays, we opted out at a meal at Pepper’s Mexican Grill. It was fantastic! Great service, atmosphere, and delicious food.

Fajita Fixings – Peppers, Pt. St. Joe
Combo Fajita – Peppers, Pt. St. Joe
Burrito – Peppers, Pt. St. Joe

Saturday was still cold, but we braved it long enough to get a few shots of the Cape San Blas lighthouse that was relocated to Pt. St. Joe in 2014.

IMG_4622blog Cape San Blas Lighthouse Pt. St. Joe, Florida

The beach was littered with a various assortment of seashells. I even found a couple of bones of some type. IMG_4613blog

The water created unique designs in the bay, nature’s artwork.IMG_4616blog

We were  treated to a blue heron dancing in the cold surf and a hitchhiker catching a ride on one of its sea companions. The blue heron then moved closer to shore to hunt for food with another feathered friend.IMG_4629IMG_4632blogIMG_4621blog

And my boat finally came in. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it made a photogenic model.IMG_4606IMG_4612blogIMG_4610blog

So, New Year’s Day has come and gone; as has the first full week of the year. Time does “march on”, whether we want it to or not. Here’s to a FABULOUS 2016!

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