Sunday, November 1, 2009

Antelope on the run...

Last weekend the wind was so strong that even the turbines along the Interstate were shut down to avoid spinning so fast as to come apart. After a long drive west and north I pulled off the highway on a piece of state trust land along the New Fork River. I zipped up my down coat and walked from my car down to the river. Sheltered from the wind by a stand of aspens and willows, I made a little nest in the grass and laid down for a nap. The sound of splashing water woke me up and I lifted my head to see this little group fording the river on their way south to the winter range. Best of luck to you over the coming months, prongies!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prongie Flight

The fall migration has been moving for the past couple weeks. I've been on the ground and in the air, watching hundreds of animals move south. Last week I flew the corridor with LightHawk and Chris Boyer. Check out this short video I made from the flight.

I wouldn't have the opportunity to photograph the corridor without Chris Boyer and LightHawk, they donate their time and money to get me up in the air so I can photograph and show the general public what the pronghorn encounter during their migration.

Tomorrow Emilene and I are walking deep into the core of the corridor, in the mountainous section of the migration path, we'll probably spend a couple days with a spotting scope watching the antelope move south to their wintering grounds. Most of the leaves are on the ground and winter is coming, this is my favorite time of the year.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Early Snow

First snowstorm of the season ... I left Laramie this morning to drive up to Big Horn where I'd been invited to give a presentation about Pronghorn Passage to three high school science classes. I zipped out of town on wet highways with patches of ice. The farther north I drove toward the Shirley Basin, the more snow-packed the road surface became. Herds of antelope were bunched up along the highway, their tan and white markings blending into the gold grass and white snow on the ground. By the time I reached the little town of Rock River, the light was entirely flat, the surface of the highway entirely white, and the air filled with feathery snowflakes. Because I still had over 250 miles ahead of me and the weather was only getting worse, I decided to cancel the trip and head home.

The sudden turn of seasons that comes with the first snowstorm of the year bends time. Overnight the brisk sharpness of autumn has transformed into a deep winter blizzard. The antelope mark this change in weather by moving from their summer grounds to new territory, as if the year for them is laid out not in months or days, but in passage from foothills to basins.

Joe is already setting his cameras up north in the corridor of the Teton herd, and I'll be heading up there in a couple of weeks to join him. That is, if the weather breaks enough to let me make the drive.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Video

The spring migration is over and I am waiting for the antelope to start birthing, it's been a great couple months. We made a short video for you, check it out if you have some extra time.

Right now Emilene is canoeing the Jago River in ANWR, hoping to catch a glimpse of the caribou migration. She'll be back in a couple weeks. I had to stay here in Moose, WY for the birthing season, Emilene watched the birthing last summer. I've been working on my computer here in my cabin a lot lately, here is a photo of my pad!!

Thanks for reading, best, Joe

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Into the Mountains

About two weeks ago the Teton antelope had pushed far enough north to follow the Green River up into the Bridger-Teton National Forest. However, one impenetrable barrier still prevented them from continuing to their summer range in Teton National Park: a deep snowpack blanketed about six miles of their migration corridor over the 9,000 foot pass they have to cross in the Gros Ventre Mountains.

Thanks to a week of clear, sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s, the snowpack softened and diminished. My brother and I were camped in the forest near the pass and watched each afternoon as strings of antelope punched their way up through the snow drifts, making trails from one patch of sagebrush to the next. Afraid of spending the night in the snow, at sundown they would turn and run all the way back to the dry land at lower elevations.

Finally, on a Sunday evening, the lead group of antelope reached the pass. My brother and I sat perfectly still next to our tent while 150 antelope quietly flowed past us through the snow. They moved head to tail at a steady pace as if pulled along by their yearning for the summer range. To see antelope in a snowy forest high in the mountains is very unique. We couldn’t believe our luck to observe the heart of the migration happening around us. At the pass they disappeared into the trees. What had been a perfectly smooth snowfield before was stitched with their narrow winding trails.

The next morning I followed the antelope towards Teton Park, while my brother returned south out of the mountains. Check back soon for a video of antelope adventures in the springtime journey to the summer range!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green River Crossing

I've dedicated the past couple weeks to photographing the Teton herd cross the Green River, it's been quite the fulfilling experience to say the least. Yesterday evening, my good friend Callie and I watched the last band of pronghorn nervously cross the river. Right now, all the Teton pronghorn are preparing to enter the forest. In a month from now, the pronghorn will enter Grand Teton National Park and give birth to twins in the lush sagebrush flats of the park.

In my mind, it's the rivers and the forests that the Teton herd moves through that makes them distinct from all other pronghorn on earth. This herd of 300 are the only pronghorn that travel through thick timber and swim swelling rivers like the Green and the Gros Ventre. Pronghorn like to see far and run fast, river bottoms and timber are not usual habitat for these hooved speedsters. 

I am at the Murie Ranch right now, getting ready to pack deep into the Gros Ventre with my cameras. The Murie Ranch is truly inspiring, it's the former home of Olaus, Mardy, Adolph, and Louise Murie. Olaus was one of the first field biologists and was the first president of the Wilderness Society. I feel lucky to be able to base out of here, I hope I can help continue the Murie legacy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pronghorn Passage event in Sheridan, Wyoming

Pronghorn Passage is finally getting off the ground. Joe and I will be publicly presenting our work for the first time this coming Thursday, April 23 in Sheridan as part of an Earth Day celebration hosted by the Wyoming Wilderness Association!

Joe and I have been creating our presentation via phone and email from opposite corners of the state (I'm in Laramie and he is in Jackson) over the last couple of weeks. We can't wait until this Thursday when we'll both drive to Sheridan (with a bunch of friends and supporters in tow) to start spreading the word about the amazing journey of the Teton antelope herd.

The event will take place at the Wyo Theater in downtown Sheridan, Wyoming, from 5:30 to 9:30 pm and will include an art auction, live music, food and drink, the Patagonia Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, and our presentation. Tickets are $10, so come support the conservation efforts of the Wyoming Wilderness Association. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Emilene's Snow Leopard Video

This post really isn't about Pronghorn Passage, but it's important.

I need to tell you about this, because I know Emilene won't. First of all, Emilene is the most inspiring and humble person I know. With that said, check this out....

Emilene worked with National Geographic Magazine photographer Steve Winter in 2007 on his snow leopard story in India. Steve and Emilene spent the majority of that year tracking and photographing the snow leopard, which is one of the most challenging and elusive species to photograph. While there, Emilene decided to film the experience. 

In my opinion, the snow leopard pictures from this project formed the best wildlife photography story ever made. This year already they have won two of the most prestigious photography competitions in the world. And, just announced this morning, Emilene's video won the prestigious MPA award for "Best Online Standalone Video".

You can view her video here: NGM Snow Leopard Video

Congratulations Emilene!!!

PS- Emilene and I will be presenting our Pronghorn Passage project in Sheridan, WY on April 23rd at the Patagonia Wild & Scenic Film Festival. The event will be in the evening at the WYO Theater, sponsored by the Wyoming Wilderness Association.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

National Geographic Wild Chronicles

It's been a while since the last post, don't worry though, Emilene and I are busy working on Pronghorn Passage. We've been brainstorming ideas the last couple weeks and are excited for the upcoming year. I am heading back out in the field for the spring migration in 2 weeks!

Our good friend Rick Ridgeway is addressing the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands today at 2pm EST on "The Role of Federal Lands in Combating Climate Change." Rick will present wildlife corridors across public lands as a solution to wildlife habitat shifts due to climate change. He will suggest that the federal government should create a legal definition for corridors, identify critical corridors across the United States, designate key corridors, and create funding sources for their protection. And he is using Pronghorn Passage pictures to move the point across to our nations leaders!!

Below is the YouTube clip of a recent NG Wild Chronicles TV feature...