Sunday, October 11, 2009

What is Cooke City, Montana without the tourists?

It’s a peaceful friendly little town.

If the weather allows, I’m vacationing when you are home for the season, and vice versa. When you’re on vacation, I’m home. You see, some of my best trips are before Memorial Day and after Labor Day – those two holidays mark the “official” tourist season.

This year, as in previous years, Yellowstone was calling. It took two days to get there. Day 1 was to Red Lodge, and Day two was to Cooke City, Montana. Day 3 was the big park.

Cooke City, Montana—the last incorporated city before the northeast entrance to Yellowstone, about 4 miles down the road. Normally Cooke City is a tourist jump off, but once the tourist season is over, it returns to its normal personality. The first night there was just after it had rained, and the streets were wet. Bikers were still exiting the park and stopping in town for fuel and to get on more wet weather gear.

They moved on without getting to know a few of the locals. Their loss. Because if you visit Cooke City after tourist season, you’re likely to meet friendly young folk at the Miners Saloon, or at the coffee shop, or at the Beartooth Café.

Nights are like any other small town until the full moon glides up over the mountains, and the city’s lights take on a ghostly glow. I had no idea what that glow was over the mountain until it made it’s full appearance.

I had only my monopod with me; a tripod would have been better. So I gripped it against the post on a covered porch, took a deep breath and eased the shutter open – then held my breath for 15 to 22 seconds for the camera to soak in all the light needed to record the images you see here.

I like shooting at night with cooperative natural light such as the moon and the city glow. You’ll find more photos like these over at and soon, even more from the German band at Red Lodge!

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