Jackson Lake Red Kayak

Parts Unknown

Anyone watching Bourdain’s show on the CNN? I have been watching his “Without Reservations” program for years and liked most of the episodes. With the new show on CNN, while some episodes are very interesting, I have some mixed fillings about many of them. The show is much more scripted now and has very few events that didn’t go exactly as planned. It just somehow lost the flavor of a less budgeted production, which I assume with CNN power and presence they can pull more resources into each place to bring all logistics together.

Some episodes are too on the political side – I guess this is CNN influence on what angle they want to push the show. Like, the latest one about Russia. Pretty much entire hour was about corruption of government power with couple visits to super fancy restaurants that I bet 99.9% of Russians never heard of and it is not how they eat. I was hoping that after short visit to Moscow or St Petersburg, they would go to some other Russian cities and show how the rest of the Russia outside of glitzy and cosmopolitan Moscow lives, but it never happened. At least segment about St Petersburg “communal” apartments was interesting. It is very hard not to bring up politics when you talk about Russia, especially with all the latest events related to Ukraine, and it is fine, I just didn’t see anything else outside of the stereotypical – lots of vodka and caviar – views. I bet 99.9% of them don’t eat caviar on a regular basis either. I haven’t been to Russia for almost 20 years and was kind of interested to see what they are going to show, as I was curious to learn about new “parts unknown”, and was slightly disappointed in this episode. The information about corruption was nothing new to me, as it is pretty much all over the news, unless of course you live under the rock, but maybe CNN’s target audience are folks who live under the rock and have no clue about anything else in the world.

Also, couple episodes ago there was show about southern France, all pretty much around some famous chefs from Michelin starred restaurants. Who cares. One of the most boring episodes ever. At least to me. I’m sure he finds it very interesting to be in that company and eat at all those fancy restaurants and at their private gatherings. For me as a viewer it gave nothing, no desire to go any of those places, no new inspiration about “parts unknown”. I just hope that this show will not lose the adventurous angle. Otherwise it will start losing my attention.

OK, enough complaining about not important stuff and wasting time, lets see something eye pleasing.

Jackson Lake by Kayak

While visiting Grand Tetons National park, do plan to spend a few hours on the Jackson lake, preferably kayaking or canoeing around its shore line. You will be treated with none stop gorgeous views of the mountains, occasional wildlife and if you put some energy and just go one or two extra turns, you will be all alone, without any other tourists or kayakers insight. And, of course, watch out for mama grizzlies!

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Friday Mystery Photo

After going on a short vacation I think I get some type of minor travel depression syndrome, getting back to normal life is not as fun and I end up not making many photography posts. This is a bit annoying. Like last week we were in southern New Mexico and El Paso Texas. Most of it actually was not that exciting, we went there to see White Sands National Monument and as part of the trip stopped in Texas. Unless I ever want to go back to White Sands again, nothing else really will bring me back there voluntarily. I did not find it very exciting.  I was in northern New Mexico a few years ago and it seemed much better looking than the south part. The Rio Grande below “Truth or Consequences” is nothing but the “Grande”. They suck all that water out into the water reservoirs and it is dry as the desert. Way to go folks, way to go.

Friday Mystery Photo is today, can’t miss it, have to post something, this is my mental commitment, at least post on Friday if every other day does not work out. Something has to be posted, not from very obvious location and see if anyone know where it is. How about this one? Pretty mountains isn’t it. Much better if you are actually there see it all in natural glory. It is not in New Mexico, if you wondered, nor in El Paso TX.

Weekend Update: Thanks all for stopping by! We were on the way back to Salt Lake City to catch our late evening flight and decided to drive the more scenic route in the park. I saw this curve with the mountains behind me and thought that it would make a nice composition, but there were a few cars behind me and I could not immediately pull off the road. I drove over probably for another half a mile or a mile where I could safely turn around and come back here. Then had to wait for this quick fraction of time when there was no one else on the road. It was fairly busy! A few of you nailed it right down: Bri-Tri and avian101 and nildarcook !

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Friday Mystery Photo

This is another place I’d rather be right now than seating at the airport and typing this. We took a double kayak out for half a day as well and had really nice time exploring different parts of the lake. Next time I’d like to have enough time to hike in those mountains as well, not just seeing them from the distance.

Since this is Friday, as usual, the location is not disclosed till sometime later. Anyone know where it is?

Weekend Update: Thanks all for nice comments and for your suggestions on where it is. Avian101 and mithriluna got the overall place, but kristineskis got it right on the spot. This is actually taken at the Colter Bay on Jackson Lake. There is a nice little marina with a few nice boats and you can rent kayaks and canoes to take on the lake and explore its shoreline.

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Good Morning

At the end of our two week vacation we decided to spend two more days in Grand Teton National Park. On one of the days we got up super early to see if he can catch a nice sunrise and went for a little hike on the hill. As I was walking through the thick brush I noticed some fur between the sticks and at first I thought that it was a deer, getting some rest, but after a slow approach it happen to be a sleeping red fox.

He saw me but at first didn’t really care that I was there. I have never seen red fox in such close proximity and didn’t know what to expect, I thought that he would jump and run away. He didn’t. This little guy probably hang out there for at least 4-5 minutes, glancing at me ones in a while, but otherwise he just continued to get his snoozing. During that time I was able to switch lens on my camera and get super zoom and take this shot at 400mm, making it super awesome high resolution shot.

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Grand Teton


I decided to change domain name of my site to http://PlacesUnknown.com, anything that goes to the SillyMonkeyPhoto.com name, you all use to see, will be redirected to the new name, so all your favorites and links should continue to work (well, at least as far as wordpress assertions). I chose that name because I think travel photography is about places that unknown to the majority of the people. Yes, we all know famous landmarks and can recognize many other places, but truth is that most people will never be able to see most of the world and bringing to you famous landmarks and maybe more down the road places is what I’m trying to do. So really, it just the name change of the URL, everything else should stay the same.

Mormon Row

The night before we stayed at Jackson Hole, ate at the Snake River Brewery and drank some nice IPA. We got up early and started making our way up north to the Yellowstone National Park. But first we took Gros Ventre Rd and saw our first buffalo on the trip. It was so exciting to see the first buffalo. I was taking pictures of it from far away. After the first encounter every other buffalo was just like a normal occurrence and we actually ignored most of them unless there were a lot of them and right in front of us. Over the next two weeks it was interesting to observe other cars stopping and the first site of the buffalo, they probably saw their first as well.

From Gros Ventre road we got onto the Mormon Row. I wanted to take some photos of the old barns that I saw before. I was really surprised by how small they are in real life to what I have seen on the photos. The one below is actually not the one that most commonly photographed, but I liked it more and decided to share this one first.

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