Diorama Sale !

Here it is again! Our February Inventory Clearance sale of overstocked Dioramas! That’s right throughout the month of February *The Institute is making all of our Overstocked Dioramas available to the public at a vastly reduced price. Everything must go to make room for our new Spring line. We are offering especially low prices for all of our top sellers regardless of size or overall approval rating from the traveling public.

Shown above is our deluxe Spruce Tree House Surprise diorama from our exclusive Mesa Verde National Park series. One of our all time best sellers. This is an extraordinary 1:1 reproduction of one of the most scenic views from famed Spruce Tree House, a centuries old Anasazi dwelling normally off-limits to all but the richest visitors. You heard us right! That’s a 960′ wide by 1530′ high, 18″ thick exact copy of Spruce Tree house. Unlike the original you can walk right up to this reproduction and touch it without fear of repercussions or arrest from Rangers or others seeking to protect our National heritage. Avoid being Tazed or tear-gassed by over zealous authorities. With your own personal copy you could even tag it with your own slogans or art work using our own proprietary spray paint that washes off easily with a power washer and ultra-strength bleach. Make it your own by using your own designs or purchase, for a reasonable cost, our own patented stencils for fun and artistic display. Fix what the Anasazi left out. Add those missing items to your diorama like your street address, or personalized messages like “Emma’s Garden” should you choose to install it in your backyard.

We were able to get into the park late in the evening and pull rubber molds from the dwellings and rock face adjacent to them allowing us to get the realistic detail and character that you have come to demand from our dioramas. In fact, on some of the earlier serial numbered dioramas you can even find small pieces (not more that 6″ in diameter or less) embedded in our reproductions. Proudly show your friends bits of these unique pieces of dwellings from a World Heritage site. Note: we cannot guarantee that all dioramas will have these exclusive chunks of Anasazi history embedded in them so order soon to get the pick of the litter.

This beautiful one piece diorama is made from our own patented, trade marked, super-secret foam and pumice material guaranteed to last for months and months with little or no upkeep. Order it with our own optional specially formulated sealer that will protect it from the elements, bird droppings, rain, (acid rain excluded) sun, most unexpected mishaps, small children, civil disobedience, war, dog urine, and other acts of mayhem. Not suitable for Rock Climbers. Note: this is a non-smoking diorama, keep open flames, jerks smoking, and kids with magnifying glasses away. This puppy will go up like a Roman Candle if not properly protected. Burning chunks will stick to the skin if contact is made. Use at your own risk. The Institute is not responsible for any claims of damages or loss of life due to improper installation and use. Read and understand any directions included with this product. Dispose of packing materials properly. Installer is responsible for the placement of guide wires and other supports and all necessary permits.

Order now for immediate delivery. We have less than sixty of these beauties left and they will go fast. Marked down from our every day price of $106,975.00 to $3900.00 these beauties won’t last long. Cash,Credit cards, checks (please allow nine weeks for us to clean out your bank account) bearer’s bonds, items of gold, silver, platinum and/or precious stones gladly accepted. Se Hable Espanol. Please indicate your preferred method of shipment, PP, UPS, or Common Carrier. Call us for shipping charges. Purchaser responsible for unloading.

As this may be your first exposure to our National Parks and World Heritage sites dioramas you might like additional background information on these wonderful additions to your State or County parks, or for that mega-mansion you’re building, or even to dress up that local trailer park, please see the following post for more information.


We look forward to cashing your check and doing business with you. Remember order now and order often. We can’t do this all day.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.


I Can See You, You Know


Us wildlife photographers have to be a wily bunch to be able to sneak up and catch our quarry without being discovered so we can document their lives without them knowing about it. We do this so that you can see what they do behind closed bushes as it were. Some of it is pretty weird but usually they’re just doing normal stuff, eating grass, laying a round, having quiet discussions and so on.

Lots of times the subject we’re stalking doesn’t want to be photographed so we have to resort to subterfuge and disguises. Disguises work best unless they don’t. If they don’t work that means you didn’t choose your disguise very well. Some larger photographers will disguise themselves as a Winnebago because the elk in this case are used to seeing Winnebago’s and pay them little attention. However one cannot take a Winnebago into the bush so it has limited applications. Another is a Ranger suit. It also has its limitations due to the fact that although the elk are used to seeing Rangers, when they do, it’s usually because they want to do something to them so they’re suspicious and unphotogenic. There is also that little thing about it being unlawful to imitate a federal employee. Besides Rangers get really cranky when you do goofy stuff while wearing a Ranger suit. At least at Rocky Mountain National Park.

We use a foolproof disguise, a full-sized flowering Mountain Mahogany bush suit that almost always fools everybody and lets us get right in the middle of everything without being outed as human in a bush suit. But… having said that, once in a while one of the elk figures out what’s going on, we’re not sure how yet, but they do, and then there’s the inevitable embarrassing confrontation. There is yelling and name calling. If it’s a big cow who has had a bad day or has some other type of feminine problem, kids acting up, the bull not coming home for dinner, or worse coming home loaded, then things escalate pretty fast. That’s when it is prudent to haul tripods and retreat to the safety of a bunker or some other fortified building.

A bit of warning. Do not, repeat, do not  wear your bush suit from September on. That’s when the bulls are coming out  of their velvet and they will flat tear up a bush trying to rub the velvet off their antlers. A nine hundred pound bull doing his best to tear off every limb on the bush by repeatedly sticking his rack into the center of the bush then violently shaking his head back and force can cause equipment failure even to Nikon’s or Canons and lots of times put the eye out of the photographer hidden inside it. Just saying. Don’t do it.

That was the case when photographing this youngish cow elk and accidentally sneezing. They perk right up and get suspicious when a bush sneezes. In this particular case we lied and said we were from National Geographic doing an article on winsome young cows. Being naive she bought it and we even got her to prance around and do clever elk tricks before one of the older cows came over to investigate. Seeing right through us she immediately began calling for one of the herd bulls so we bailed and went and had lunch.

So remember, to be a good wildlife photographer you have to be sneaky, wear a good disguise ( but not a bush suit after August 31st) have a good line ready if you’re caught and watch out for bulls. That’s it then, happy shooting.

Wolf Wild


Some years ago, well ten to be exact, the Hayden pack had killed an elk along Alum creek. This was before the authorities began removing carcasses from being viewed from the road as a form of crowd management. If too many people stopped and watched the pack feeding on the carcass then there were traffic jams, crowd buildups, and rangers had to be sent to the scene for crowd control. So they began hauling away the carcasses to be dumped somewhere out of sight. Another opportunity to observe animals in their natural environment doing what animal do was lost. But money was saved and they could lay off some of the rangers so the balance sheet looked good.

Those were simpler days, before budget cuts and the natural fun aspect of the park was lost. When the rangers were more like teachers and helpers and founts of knowledge about the park and its residents, than like policemen who were more concerned with citations and keeping a tight control over the citizenry. Sometimes back then, to everyone’s surprise, folks chanced across a kill and could watch the natural course of events unfold in a civilized manner and no rangers were needed to police the area. It was a visual participation where you felt as if you were part of the activity. A respect was granted to the animals involved and to the other observers. No one ran up to be closer to the action. There wasn’t any interference with the wolves feedings, they basically ignored you. You just reveled in being part of the scene unfolding before you feeling like you were very fortunate to be able to witness nature at work.

This was the dominate female of the Hayden pack back then. We watched her walk along the ridge line, drop down into the valley where Alum creek flowed into the Yellowstone and approach the carcass along the creek side. Before long another young female approached and with submissive behavior politely asked if she could join the grand dame in her feeding. The pack leader graciously allowed her to and the two worked at reducing the nearly consumed carcass down to nothing but hide and a few bones.

This wolf is not with us any more, she  was apparently struck by a car and killed sometime later. But she lives on in the memories and photos of those who were lucky enough to have been in her presence for a brief while. The simpler days are missed. It isn’t often today that you get to witness the wolf wild and up close.


A Tree Grows In Arches



It’s Spring and a young man’s fancy lightly turns to …. the Southwest. Well an old man’s thoughts turn to the Southwest, anyway. There’s more than one kind of love you know. It’s still cold at night and nippy during the day here in the mountains of Northern Colorado but you can tell we’ve turned a corner. Sure we’re still going to get some snow and it’ll be cold for a short while but nothing like the soul-numbing cold of deep winter.

Right now the conditions are almost perfect for visiting the Southwest. It’s warm enough during the day that you don’t need a jacket but not the skin block sneering, turn you bright scarlet heat you find mid-summer. The desert is waking up. Trees are budding out, some of the earlier wildflowers are poking their little noses out of the ground. Animals are more visible as they go about getting nests ready for having their young. The rangers are nice because they haven’t seen all that many people yet and the oppressive clouds of tourists are still a month or so away so they’re not as quick to shoot you in the leg if you happen to stray of the trail a wee bit.

And the light. The light of early Spring in the afternoon when the sun is just considering going behind the mountains is as gorgeous as any place you will find in the world. If you pay attention and don’t forget to click the shutter you can sometimes stumble upon a scene like this. After you get the picture it’s ok to just stand there and let this experience fill your soul until it is not only brimming over but saturated to the point where you will remember it forever. It is time to fire up the Bokeh Maru, load the camera gear, and point it south, no roadmaps needed. Just follow the color. When you think it can’t get any better than this you’re there. Enjoy.

On A Mission

Yellowstone National Park


This is what we call in the trade a B.O.M. or a Bear On a Mission. When Spring happens here in Yellowstone several things occur. A Lot of the snow melts. The Rangers are nice to everybody because they haven’t seen a soul in seven months. The Geezers are running because school isn’t out yet and you can drive around the park without getting caught in bear jams, or squirrel jams, or I think I saw a wolf jam. And the bears come out. Not that kind of coming out. The kind where they wake up out of hibernation, dig themselves out of their dens, and are now ready to resume doing all manner of bear things kind of coming out.

One of the most major, cannot wait, this needs to be handled right now things that have to be taken care of, is getting something to eat. These guys have not eaten since they went to sleep last November. It is now May. That’s like, what, (counting carefully on fingers) seven months. Most of us can’t get through seven hours without wanting to hit the buffet line at the all-you-can-eat pancake house. At this point one would not want to be standing between this bear and a Quarter pounder, or even a long dead buffalo just emerging from a snow bank where it has been fermenting slowly all winter. One does not want to be wearing any Eau d’ Pizza cologne either. This is particularly good advice as bears can smell very well. They would notice you.

The bear above smells something and has set off to find it. You can tell by his body language that he is determined, confident, purposeful, a Scorpio, likes long walks in the snow, no, wait, I was just kidding about the Scorpio stuff, he’s actually a Libra, but he is determined. What is on the other side of the snow bank is unknown but since he is a bear on a mission we can assume it is food related. Spring has sprung and with it all manners of really cool stuff. So if you’re not busy hop on up to Yellowstone and check it out.