Entries by Ben Blankenship

Trip Report: Night Skies of the Southwest II – March 2021

Few landscapes are as dramatic as the United States’ southwest deserts. Bright reds, yellows, and even blues accent jagged peaks and badlands, creating a Martian-like terrain. And it was here, in this alien-looking landscape that Backcountry Journeys embarked on its maiden voyage into the desert at night. BCJ has been running trips into Zion National […]

The Joys and Pitfalls of Astro Photography: How to create compelling images in the nighttime, from the Milky Way to Star Trails

Backcountry Journeys is in the field this week (and next) on our Special Departure ‘Night Skies of the Southwest’ photo workshop. It seems like the perfect time to lay out some of my tips and tricks for creating compelling photos of the night sky. It is hard to argue that some of the most compelling […]

The Sea Turtle and the Gold Miner: The story of grassroots sea turtle conservation on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula

Thick jungle lines the dusty roadway as it leads deep into the rainforests of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica’s remote southwest. From the small town of Puerto Jimenez, the road traverses narrow ridgelines and shallow river fords. After an hour and a half’s drive, those who venture this far will see a small wooden […]

Looking to The Yellowstone Wolves: Colorado Passes Historic Legislation to Reintroduce Wolves 

On November 3rd, 2020, one of the most historic elections in United States history took place, with the highest voter turnout in the history of the country. But, in Colorado, another piece of historic legislation was passed. Winning by a slim margin, Colorado Proposition 114, the Gray Wolf Reintroduction Initiative, was passed. This represented the […]

Bear Stories: Glacier National Park’s Night of the Grizzlies

Bear stories. Bear Legends. Bear Myths. Few tales of survival and death are more compelling than those dealing with the greatest of North America’s predators, Ursus Arctos Horribilis. The Grizzly Bear. From the cave paintings of ancient North American peoples and the tales of 19th-century fur trappers to today’s complicated relationship humans and bears share, […]

The Return of the Elk: The Reintroduction of Elk to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

For nearly two centuries, the mountains went silent. Where once there was a mournful cry echoing through the Appalachian hillsides, the song of the wapiti had disappeared. Wapiti is the Shawnee word for elk, and for thousands of years, the eastern elk ranged throughout the expansive Appalachian range. But, this magnificent animal, larger and more […]

Trip Report: Yellowstone & Grand Teton in Autumn ‘standard’ – September 2020

Few places stir the imagination like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. These parks were host to the first trip that I ever ran for Backcountry Journeys (BCJ), and they remain some of my absolute favorites. One of the main reasons for this is the sheer geological and ecological diversity one encounters when moving from […]

Timelapse Photography: An Introduction

I would assume that most people reading this article know what timelapse photography is.  We’ve all seen the dramatic sequences in Planet Earth with stars and clouds whizzing across the frame, of little saplings crawling up from the jungle floor, wriggling like snakes, and then ascending up a tree trunk.  In its simplest definition, timelapse […]