WAYLAND — Norman Maclean once wrote, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood, and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
Wildlife Photographer and Dansville-native John Adamski presented a photo tour of some American and Canadian National Parks entitled “Majestic Mountains” and shared his experience of capturing wildlife and gorgeous landscapes along the way. The Wayland Free Library hosted this event for the Wayland Lowell Club on March 7.
Adamski has been a professional wildlife photographer for 40 years, founder of the Finger Lakes Museum, and is an outdoor columnist for several publications.
Lowell Club Member Marian Crawford said she appreciates Adamski taking the time to share his experiences with them.
“John we are very appreciative of your willingness and your time to share these wonderful and very unique experiences with us,” she said.
The presentation encompasses photos from Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Banff National Park, and Jasper National Park.
“I started out in Grand Teton National Park at Jackson Hole in Wyoming,” Adamski said. “I took some photos there after a rainstorm. They have the most picturesque mountains in the United States. They have canyons great for hiking.”
Some of his photos included a beautiful barn.This barn in the shadow of the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has been called the most-photographed barn in America. It was built on Antelope Flats in 1912 and is all that remains of the Thomas Moulton homestead.
Adamski added that Snake River is the best place to get photos of moose.
Onward to Yellowstone National Park there was about 20,000 acres destroyed by a wildfire that went on for weeks. It took a rainstorm to finally put it out. You can see the burned woods and mountainside.
“It is not a complete disaster. The pines shed needles during the fire and in about 10 years you will have many new pines,” Adamski said. “Yellowstone was our country's first national park. It goes through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. There is a volcano in the park that scientists say may erupt again someday. You can see steamy hot water come out of the ground, and see boiling mud.”
There was a military fort built in the valley of the park in the late 1880s. The US Army had their presence there, and the buildings still remain after all these years.
There are Bison all over the area as well, and long ago there were millions.
“Makes me think about how 100 years ago they slaughtered the animals to force the plain indians into submission,” Adamski said. “There used to be millions of Bison and now there are only thousands left.”
There used to be thousands of Rocky Mountain Elk as well; in the 1990s they introduced Timber Wolves to the area, and now there are only a couple thousand left.
Through the course of wildlife photography Adamski is always at a safe distance from the animals, and uses about 4 different lenses to capture the beauty.
The list of animals on this journey includes Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Black Bears, and Pronghorn Sheep.
Adamski also visited the Glacier National Park in Montana that reminded him of the classic film, “A River Runs Through It.”
“Seeing Columbia Falls, Montana is well worth the long ride,” he said. “The Two Medicine Lake was named by the Blackfoot Indians. The area is devastated by wildfires, and the glaciers turn the water a green-blue-tint. You have to be very wealthy to stay at the lodge there. The scenery is simply magnificent.”
Adamski drove through the Columbia Icefield in the Banff National Park in Canada. Jasper and Banff national parks join each other.
“It is about 300 miles of beautiful wilderness out there,” he said. “You can get the best photos of elk up there. I saw Donald M. Jones who is the most famous wildlife photographer in America up there.”
“Every wild animal has their own circle of comfort, so we push the line to see how far we can go,” Adamski continued. “I got the pictures I wanted and left the Black Bears with the crowd.”
Adamski added that everywhere he went he would see a long line of people trying to get photos on their cellphones of these wild animals.
Adamski was gone 31 days in September 2016, drove 8,377 miles, took 6,255 photos, and kept most of them. He likes doing these trips alone, so that he can stay or go whenever he wants.
“I didn’t make any reservations. It was like a tumbleweed trip,” he said. “I went with the wind and slept when I was tired. Most of the places I stayed were less than $100 a night. I stayed in Jackson Lodge that costed over $300 for 6 hours of sleep. I stayed at 14 hotels and a couple bed and breakfasts. I saw a railroad through Jasper, and it amazing to see those tracks go over the mountain.”
“On a trip like this I will move around a lot because of the wildlife,” Adamski continued. “I will sit all day long at some places. I lost my wife several years ago, and she used to be my travel companion. Now I like to travel alone. There is a lot more flexibility when you are alone. The danger of not being alone is that is something happens you might not have anyone come by for a long time.”
Adamski would like to go back and see more of the national parks one day.
The Finger Lakes Museum was founded in 2008 after a trip Adamski made to the Adirondacks. He noticed a great museum up there, and wanted the same for the Finger Lakes area. He had to talk it out in Albany, and has gotten several grants for it. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, and donations are greatly appreciated.
They took an old Branchport school and turned it into the museum exhibit hall. It rests along Keuka Lake. There is a kayak class offered along the lake as well.
You can find out more about it by going to https://www.fingerlakesmuseum.org/
It is located at 3369 Guyanoga Road, Branchport.
Phase one is about complete, and now there is work on phase two, which is creating an aquarium, and walk along the bottom of the lake in a glass tunnel. After this is complete it will be the largest freshwater aquarium in the Northeast. Adamski also wants to create a Bald Eagle Exhibit and River Otter Exhibit.