Welcome to the blog for Steve Hinch Photography.

On this page you'll find photographic information on the places I've photographed recently as well as some technical information on the photographs themselves. I'll also post updates on what I've seen and experienced in Yellowstone and abroad, current wildlife sightings, and anything else of interest.  Check back often for updates!

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Updated Galleries

October 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Along with everything else I've been working on lately, I've updated the following galleries on my website.  I've added some new photos, changed the file size, and removed some images that weren't popular.  So feel free to check out the new galleries.  The image above can be found in the new Badlands National Park gallery.  The images below will have links to their respective galleries also.

Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes, found in the Death Valley National Park gallery.

 

Cades Cove, found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park gallery.

 

Everglades National Park, found in the Florida gallery.

 

And Red Sand Beach, found in the Maui gallery.  Thanks for reading!


Autumn in Yellowstone and the Tetons

September 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Autumn came about a week to ten days early this year in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park area.  When it did arrive, cottonwoods, aspens, and willows all peaked about the same time, something that doesn't happen often.  Even at Oxbow Bend, in Grand Teton National Park, photo above, doesn't reach peak color until around now.  When I heard the colors were near peak in the Tetons, I packed up my car and headed down to Jackson Hole for a week of camping.  It's been a wet September, after a wet August, but sometimes "bad" weather can lead to interesting photo opportunities.  I've struggled a bit at Oxbow Bend because I always seem to have cloudless skies on the mornings when I've been there.  But after a couple of attempts last week, conditions worked out well.  As seen above, fog lay low in the valley while the clouds cleared enough for Mount Moran and a few of it's neighbors to peak through.  Ironically, further south, the low lying clouds blocked views of the rest of the mountains.

One of my favorite views of the Tetons, featuring Grand Teton, is not from any paved overlooks.  I found this location last autumn and really liked this grove of aspens in front of the what is referred to as the Cathedral Group, which includes the peaks of Grand Teton, Teewinot, Middle Teton, and South Teton, among a few others.  Even in a park photographed as often as Grand Teton National Park is photographed, it's nice to find something a bit different.  I'm sure there are other locations that work well too, if only I could find them!  I waited several minutes for the sun to rise high enough to light the tops of the aspens, in order to present different light from what I've photographed here in the past.

Yellowstone National Park is often overlooked as a destination for autumn color, and for good reason.  Eighty percent of Yellowstone's 2.2 million acres is forest and eighty percent of that forest consists of lodgepole pine trees.  That doesn't leave a lot of aspens and cottonwoods to provide autumn color!  But there are stands of deciduous trees scattered around the park and finding these hidden gems can provide unique Yellowstone images.  Finding colorful aspens can require some hiking and exploration.  I photographed aspens on a foggy morning, providing an interesting take on this scene.

This photo above shows another aspect of Yellowstone that is more commonly seen in autumn colors.  What Yellowstone lacks in colorful autumn trees, it makes up for when it's meadows taken on rusts, oranges, golds, and reds.  Fountain Flats is a great example of a meadow area that provides some great colorful grasses.  An added bonus to Fountain Flats is the Fountain Paint Pots geothermal area.  At sunrise, when it's cool, the steam rising from the hot springs and geysers provides an interesting backdrop.  Autumn also provides some interesting wildlife activity when the regions deer species start their breeding seasons.  Moose and elk go into the rut in mid September while mule and white tail deer start their breeding seasons in mid to late October.  Pronghorn also rut in September and October while bighorn sheep begin in November.  I'll post a follow up on autumn wildlife activity in the near future.  Thanks for reading!


Yellowstone's Backcountry- Bighorn Pass Trail

September 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Yellowstone National Park has over 900 miles of hiking trails yet most park visitors only visit the roadside attractions, never stepping foot into the park's vast backcountry.  This article is number five in the series and features the Bighorn Pass Trail.  There's a good reason many don't walk Yellowstone's trails, the road system was designed to take visitors directly to the park's most famous features, including Old Faithful and Lower Falls.  In fact, in modern times, the roads have been re-routed, moving them a little further away from roadside attractions.  The paved trail from the Old Faithful Inn to Morning Glory Pool was once the main park road.  If you've ever walked this path, imagine the impact today if this remained the main park road!  Many trails are long and/or difficult to access.  While this trail isn't particularly difficult, it is located along US 191 in a section of Yellowstone National Park that few people visit, though many travel through it from Big Sky or Bozeman on the way to West Yellowstone.

The Bighorn Pass trail can be as long as a 21 mile round trip hike up to Bighorn Pass, gaining about 1900 feet elevation, or it can be a short or medium length out and back hike, going as far as you like and then hiking back to the trailhead.  Once you reach campsite WB6 at about 6.5 miles, no off trail hiking is allowed as the trail enters the Gallatin bear management area.  Up to this point, the trail is mostly flat, with amazing views and plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.  Be sure to carry bear spray and keep alert for grizzly or black bears, which may be seen in this area.  Crowfoot Ridge dominates the views for much of this hike, and that's not a bad thing.  Like other hikes in this area, while wildlife can be encountered anytime, anywhere, the scenery is the main attraction here.  This is another one of those hikes where the trail itself and the spectacular scenery are the attraction.  Also, you shouldn't find a lot of other hikers here, providing solitude that probably won't be found on the popular trails inside Yellowstone such as the trails up Mount Washburn or to Fairy Falls.  If solitude and beautiful scenery are what you're looking for, then you'll love this trail!


Yellowstone's Backcountry- Daly Creek Trail

September 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Yellowstone National Park has over 900 miles of hiking trails yet most park visitors only visit the roadside attractions, never stepping foot into the park's vast backcountry.  This article is number four in the series and features the Daly Creek Trail.  There's a good reason many don't walk Yellowstone's trails, the road system was designed to take visitors directly to the park's most famous features, including Old Faithful and Lower Falls.  In fact, in modern times, the roads have been re-routed, moving them a little further away from roadside attractions.  The paved trail from the Old Faithful Inn to Morning Glory Pool was once the main park road.  If you've ever walked this path, imagine the impact today if this remained the main park road!  Many trails are long and/or difficult to access.  While this trail isn't particularly difficult, it is located along US 191 in a section of Yellowstone National Park that few people visit, though many travel through it from Big Sky or Bozeman on the way to West Yellowstone.

The Daly Creek trail features some amazing scenery yet isn't particularly difficult, at least for the first 3.5 miles or so, where it reaches a backcountry campsite and then begins climbing into the surrounding mountains.  In July, the meadows here can be full of wildflowers, creating beautiful carpets of color mixed in with the sagebrush and occasional wooded areas.  In fact, much of this hike is in the open, so sunscreen is a must and bug spray can be helpful.  Bear spray is always recommended and a variety of wildlife might be viewed when hiking here.  The trail is about 10.4 miles in length, if you hike out and back, but a number of long loop hikes can also be done.  Check trail maps for this area in order to choose a loop, or just hike out as far as you like and then return to the trailhead.  While some hikes lead to waterfalls or thermal features, providing a destination for the hiker, on this trail, and others in the area, the destination is the trail itself.  Beautiful scenery abounds and is experienced from the very first step on the trail and solitude is almost guaranteed!


Yellowstone's Backcountry- Gneiss Creek Trail

August 27, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Yellowstone National Park has over 900 miles of hiking trails yet most park visitors only visit the roadside attractions, never stepping foot into the park's vast backcountry.  This article is number three in the series and features the Gneiss Creek Trail.  There's a good reason many don't walk Yellowstone's trails, the road system was designed to take visitors directly to the park's most famous features, including Old Faithful and Lower Falls.  In fact, in modern times, the roads have been re-routed, moving them a little further away from roadside attractions.  The paved trail from the Old Faithful Inn to Morning Glory Pool was once the main park road.  If you've ever walked this path, imagine the impact today if this remained the main park road!  Many trails are long and/or difficult to access.  While this trail isn't particularly difficult, it is located along US 191 in a section of Yellowstone National Park that few people visit, though many travel through it from Big Sky or Bozeman on the way to West Yellowstone.

There are actually two access points to the Gneiss Creek trail, one from US 191 north of West Yellowstone and the other is inside Yellowstone National Park, along the West Entrance road, near a bridge over the Madison River.  This trail is closed to hiking until July 1st as it traverses a bear management area and the closure is to keep hikers and bears away from each other.  Other times of year, it's unlikely to encounter a  bear here, though it is always recommended to carry bear spray.  This hike has very little elevation change over it's 14 or so miles, and features some stunning scenery.  In July, once the restriction has been lifted, wildflowers bloom in abundance in the meadows, making this trail one of the best in the park to see wildflowers.

Most people will do this hike as an out and back hike, starting at either end and then hiking back to where they started.  Doing this, I actually prefer to start outside the park on US 191.  At about the middle of the hike, the trail can be flooded early in the season, in this case, early July, though it will be mostly dry the rest of the summer.  In fact, since much of this hike is out in the open, it can be pretty warm during the hot days of summer, so bring sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.  If you do choose to give this trail a try, the scenery is wonderful and you should have lots of solitude, despite the ease of access in finding the trail.