I arrived in Jackson, WY on February 15th. I thought I was going to be able to live with a photographer friend, but that fell through on my way into town. I scrambled and found a friend of a friend and her and her roommates allowed me to crash on their couch. Not having a place to stay was a big issue, because finding housing in Jackson is very difficult. I at least had a place for a few nights, and would go from there. I got up early the next morning and went on to the elk refuge to look for wolves. In the winter, there is a huge gathering of elk just outside Jackson, and it is really neat to see. With all these elk around it attracts wolves too.
I didn’t have any luck in the morning, but was good to figure the area out. In the afternoon I went into the Grand Tetons to look for red fox. There was suppose to be an area where a fox was seen regularly, but I didn’t find it. Not a good start at all. On my 4th morning I found a pack of wolves on the refuge. It was very exciting to see them and be the only one that knew where they were. I waited around all day, but unfortunately they never came close enough for any pictures; still very neat to see a wolf in the wild.
For the first 2 weeks in Jackson I got up early and went to the refuge looking for wolves. I only found the wolves a couple times and never got any images out of them. I did find an ermine, a white weasel, and it was fun to photograph. I continued to try and photograph the red fox too, but with no new snow the pictures were not very good. It only snowed once my first 2 weeks in town, and it was only an inch. I came out west for winter, and the east got way more snow after I left. The pictures were very uninspiring and I felt like I was just wasting gas, but at least gas was cheap.
After a couple of weeks of searching for a place to live, I got lucky and found a place in Wilson, the town just down the road from Jackson. They only had a couple months left on the lease and were guys my age, so it was a great situation. When I realized the picture taking wasn’t going to be very good, I began to look for a job to fill my time and to make some money. Let’s just say job searching did not go well. After a few days I began applying for anything that seemed interesting, and that I wouldn’t have to be trained a lot on. I waited for any reply, and none ever came.
With all this down time, because I wasn’t photographing and had no job, I spent days and days on my computer. Those who know me know that I hate being on a computer, so this was tough at first. After a few days and many hours, I began to make large strides in organizing all of my photos and started to like it. I would spend 6-7 hours a day or more on my computer, somehow, but I liked the results and I know I will benefit from it down the road. I also began working out daily with p90x to get in shape for the summer, and seeing fast results from that was encouraging. The first 3 weeks of March went slow, but at least I was productive and caught up on many photographic things I didn’t think I would ever catch up on.
On March 19th I flew to Florida for a cousin’s wedding. It was a great time of hanging with all of my extended family and catching up. It was very hot for me, and it was 90 degrees on the day of the wedding! It still went well and I was very glad I could be a part of it. I flew back on the 22nd and finally heard from a job and that they would hire me. It was about time! I hoped to start the next day, but I didn’t get to start until the 26th. To say that I am broke is an understatement, so any income at this point will be good. The only bad thing is the ski resort closes on April 5th and the town shuts down for the month of April basically, so I will only get a week and a half of work. Oh well.
I was glad to be working and it was a driving job, so I knew I wouldn’t have any issues with the job. I would just have to learn how this company operated. My first 2 days were training only and I could tell I would be just fine. On the 28th they let me have some of my own runs and they went smooth. I continued to get some work and they worked me very early in the morning, which didn’t bother me because it’s getting my body for the early days of photographing soon. I’ll still be in the Grand Tetons most of April, but once the bear photography gets good I will be on the move notherward.