Blooms, Bees and Butterflies in the Beartooths Regional Event (JULY 27-31, 2022)
July 27 - July 31
Join Clay Bolt and Kathy Lichtendahl to photograph wildflowers, bees, butterflies, and insects of all kinds in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains of Wyoming. Described by former CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt as “the most beautiful drive in America,” the Beartooth Highway is our gateway to three full days of photography in some of the most stunningly scenic landscapes in the west. Late July is a perfect time to capture many of the wildflowers that bloom at high elevation in mid-summer, as well as the large variety of insects that frequent them.
We will be based near the tiny remote community of Crandall, Wyoming, off Chief Joseph Highway near the banks of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River. Our time in the field will be divided between the lower elevation area to the south and the vast expanse on top of the Beartooth Plateau to the north, to provide a variety of habitats for us to explore.
This event is an excellent opportunity if you relish unplugging for a few days, immersing yourself in unspoiled nature, and photographing – especially at the macro level.
It is important to note that Mother Nature is in control of many factors in the Beartooths. While we have specific destinations in mind for the event, last minute changes may be required for reasons as diverse as the absence of wildflowers, road construction, or unexpected weather conditions.
Last date to register: June 1, 2022
Cost: $1,695 NANPA Members/$1,895 Non-members (includes 4 night’s lodging and meals at Hunter Peak Ranch)
Spring arrives late on top of the Beartooth Plateau with wildflowers blooming in July. © Kathy Lichtendahl
Clay Bolt is a Natural History and Conservation Photographer specializing in the world’s smaller creatures. He regularly partners with organizations such as the National Geographic Society, National Wildlife Federation, and Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He is an Associate Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and past president of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). His current major focus is on North America’s native bees and the important roles that they play in our lives. He was a leading voice in the fight to protect the rusty-patched bumble bee as a federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act, which became North America’s first federally protected native bee in 2017. In 2019, Bolt became the first photographer to document a living Wallace’s Giant Bee—the world’s largest bee—as a part of a four-person exploration team to rediscover the species in the Indonesian islands known as North Maluku. Learn more at www.claybolt.com.
A resident of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for almost thirty years, Kathy has been photographing the wildlife and landscapes of the region as a professional photographer since 2012. In addition to teaching photography at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, and leading photo workshops throughout Wyoming, Kathy has worked part-time as a hiking guide in Yellowstone National Park since 2018. In the summer of 2020, as a volunteer with the Yellowstone Phenology Project, Kathy photographed hundreds of insects and wildflowers as a way to document the various species found in the study areas within Yellowstone. Kathy’s biweekly podcast, “What I Do All Day,” features short stories about living and photographing in remote Wyoming and can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or through the link on her website kathylichtendahl.com
Because of the remote locations in which we will be shooting, all participants are required to stay at Hunter Peak Ranch, located on Chief Joseph Highway in the Beartooth Mountains. Lodging (4 nights) is included in the price of the event. Five accommodations consist of two bedroom/one bath suites (one bedroom is an open loft) that will be shared by two people. One accommodation is a four-bedroom/two bath ground floor suite, suitable for four individuals or two couples. Suites will be assigned as single-sex accommodations unless registrants indicate they are traveling as a couple or consent to co-ed or gender inclusive arrangements. Instructions for making lodging reservations and for special dietary requests will be emailed after registration.
Hunter Peak Ranch (HPR)
4027 Crandall Rd, Cody, WY 82414
Note that there is no internet or cell phone service at Hunter Peak Ranch, but attendees may use the ranch’s landline for incoming and outbound phone calls.
Airports and Ground Transportation
- Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD), Cody, Wyoming (1 hr 20 min drive)
- Billings Logan International Airport (BIL), Billings, Montana (2 hrs 30 min drive)
- Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Gallatin Field (BZN), Bozeman, Montana (4 hr drive)
Transportation to and from the ranch and during the event is not included and is the attendees’ responsibility. Participants will need to rent a vehicle or arrange an Uber to Hunter Peak Ranch if flying in to one of the regional’s airports at Bozeman, Billings, or Yellowstone Regional.
Meals (4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners) are included in the package price for the event. Alcoholic beverages are not included in your registration fee and will not be available to purchase at Hunter Peak Ranch.
Photographers of all levels of experience are welcome to join us as we explore how and where to find and photograph our many subjects in the vast landscape of the Beartooth Mountains. We will cover the basics of macro photography, including gear and techniques for shooting. The leaders are available to help out and answer questions as required but are happy to allow accomplished photographers to seek out their desired images.
Please be aware that a moderate level of fitness is required. The plan is to stop in a couple locations each day and hike a short distance at each site to reach the best spots for creating images. Depending on the wildflower conditions, we will be hiking in spurts of up to three miles total each day. Much of our time will be spent far from inhabited areas.
Because of the unique conditions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, participants will be required to follow several important safety procedures, including staying with the group when we are in the field, which will be outlined for participants.
Maximum number of attendees: 12
Leaders are very familiar with all the sites, and we will photograph in the areas that offer the best photography opportunities at the time of the event.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
- Arrival and check in to Hunter Peak Ranch (HPR).
- Dinner at the ranch or on your own along the way, depending on your arrival time.
- 7:00 pm – Informal meet and greet at HPR.
Thursday, July 28, 2022
- Morning – Breakfast at HPR followed by the official beginning of the workshop with introductions and a short description of what to expect of the next three days. Presentation by the instructors on the basics of photographing insects in the field.
- Drive to an area just south of HPR known as Swamp Lake to search for dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and more. Box lunch in the field.
- Afternoon – We will make our way up and over the summit of Chief Joseph Highway to a pair of wildflower meadows known for the variety and quantity of butterflies present at this time of year. Return to HPR for dinner with possible after-dinner program at the ranch in search of moths.
Friday and Saturday July 29 – 30, 2022
- Breakfast at HPR.
- We will plan to spend the next two days at higher elevations as we travel north from HPR up to the top of the Beartooth Plateau in search of bees and more in the high meadows, lakes, and riparian areas between 8,000’ and 11,000’.
- Lunch in the field.
- Dinner at HPR.
Sunday, July 31, 2022
- Breakfast at HPR Depart at your leisure.
NANPA is committed to the health and safety of all participants and leaders at any of our events. We have taken steps to reduce the inherent risks surrounding any public location where people are present. We ask that you familiarize yourself with our COVID-19 health and safety precautions and requirements prior to your trip. Masks are discretionary unless required by a particular venue or location.
You should evaluate your own risks when determining whether to participate. By attending this event and signing the NANPA Regional Events Liability Release you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with your attendance as we have explained them to you.
If you have been feeling sick or have been exposed to someone in your household who is feeling sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, PLEASE STAY HOME.
NANPA follows the CDC rules and the rules of the state in which an event is held. Those rules currently are
Wyoming state COVID guidelines link: COVID-19 Information and Guidance – Wyoming Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control Travel Link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Hunter Peak Ranch has no restrictions in place for COVID-19 at this time and does not provide testing for guests. If you are more comfortable, you are welcome to:
- Social distance
- Wear a mask
- Request meals to be plated, as opposed to being served family or buffet style
Sanitary wipes and hand gel are provided in each lodging and in the lodge.
NANPA will let you know if anything changes prior to the event.
We thank you in advance for your adherence and support as we work together to keep everyone safe.
Thank You to NANPA’s 2022 Regional Events Sponsor