I've Got the Music in Me

May 04, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

TEARS OF JOYTEARS OF JOYSoft rain bathes this crab apple tree, creating huge droplets on the blossoms nearly ready to bloom.

Newfields, New Hampshire
I heard that song the other day for the first time in a long time. Don't know it? The Kiki Dee Band: you can find it online.

The timing was perfect, because in my view there is nothing more lyrical than the month of May, and there's absolutely no better tonic for whatever might be getting me down than heading out into nature to enjoy the magical springtime display. 

The landscape is bursting with renewed life and sings at the top of its lungs in May. It shares that music with anyone who wants to listen. 

It's exhilarating to try to capture all of that energy with the camera. 

(And yes, spring has made a dramatic entrance into Teton Country, too!)

The weather situation here in this part of the Rockies has been schizophrenic of late. It was still snowing at elevations as low as 4,800 feet two weeks ago and Grand Targhee had closed the books on its ski season only a few days before that. Temperatures were running well below normal.

Then things reversed course in a big way with a miniature heat wave and nearly record-breaking highs. That was all it took to rather abruptly shake the landscape from its winter slumber.

Naturally this also created accelerated snowmelt. The Portneuf River and all its tributaries are running very high and most of Eastern Idaho has been - and continues to be - under a flood watch.

To be sure, much snow remains. The roadsides in Yellowstone are piled high with it and the Tetons remain beautifully blanketed in white. Significantly cooler temperatures are forecast for the next week.

Once the natural world has begun to awaken, though, there's no stopping it. 

If things are just heating up where you live as is the case in my neck of the woods, don't miss the opportunity to capture what's happening outside with the camera. Use a macro lens to catch buds as they're opening or leaves while they're unfurling. Follow early flowers as they begin to bloom. Combine a long lens with extension tubes to create washes of color. 

Especially if you enjoy making abstract images, this is a great time of year to experiment; subject matter is everywhere! An added bonus: things can change rapidly, especially when there's an extended period of warm temperatures. It's likely you'll see something very different from one day to the next.

It doesn't matter whether you end up doing anything with the photographs you create. If you're at all like me, it's an exercise that will make your heart sing. 

Is there such a thing as a "best month?" Of course! It's May.

The world's favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.
-Edwin Way Teale

In Local News

The east entrance to Yellowstone opens tomorrow (east entrance to Lake Village, and Canyon Village to Lake Village). The south entrance will open on the 12th. Speaking of Yellowstone, the red dogs have arrived; the first baby bison there was spotted on April 18th. 

In Grand Teton NP, the Elk Refuge/Route 89 pathway is now open for the season. Antelope Flats Road is also open, as is the Inner Loop Road. Still closed: Schwabacher Landing and the road up to Signal Mountain.

If you're heading into either of the two parks, make sure you have bear spray and know how to use it. Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in March with females following in April and May - so it's prime bear season. They're hungry and any mamas with cubs will be protective.

No news yet regarding 399. If she emerges from hibernation with cubs, it will only add to her celebrity as that would make her the oldest monitored grizzly in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to bear a litter. When she came out of hibernation in 2020 with four cubs, that in and of itself was noteworthy since four-cub litters are rare. And at that time, 399 was the oldest monitored sow with cubs in the Ecosystem. So she's already made history.

It was a tough winter. Whether or not she has cubs, I hope she made it through okay.



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