After two weeks on the road and seven hours in Grand Teton National Park, I decided it was time to head home. I didn’t expect it would be a pleasant trip, and it wasn’t. Right out of Jackson Hole I ran into a major rainstorm with thunder and lightning which slowed me down considerably and made it impossible to get some scenic shots I was hoping for. Ironically, after that I was confronted by grass fires as nearly 300 miles of Idaho was burning, and there were many highway signs warning of delays. To make matters worse, in Boise I ran into a major traffic jam caused by an obviously fatal accident. By the time I got home at 3:00 AM, I was exhausted.
Still, there was some pleasant breaks on the way. I seldom get the chance to see a Swan
in the wild, certainly never in the summer.
My favorite moment, though, came when I spotted a large flock of Franklin Gulls next to the highway. I had seen them earlier in the year at Malheur but had been unable to get a shot of them there. Even traveling at 75 miles/hour, I had to pull over and track the flock down. I followed them up the river and found a single spot where the flock landed, and it was relatively easy to get a good shot of them.
I even managed to get a shot of one of them landing quite easily.
Unfortunately, it was much more problematic getting a shot of them in flight. The rain hadn’t stopped and the light was rather poor so setting a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blur caused excessive noise.
Still, it’s never easy capturing birds in flight, so I was relatively happy with this shot,
Though it would have been nice to have blue water in the background. It was one of those unexpected treats that help to make a trip more enjoyable.