Grand Tetons in 2013

October 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Well I finally got in a trip this fall and was delighted that I got it in before all the politics closed the national parks down. My fall trip is usually the one that gives me the most satisfaction because it usually lasts longer and is someplace "special" for one reason or the other. It actually was my third trip there, but it was made special by my wife going along for the first time in many, many years! She owns a business that seems to demand a lot of her time.

A real bummer this trip was that upon returning to my workstation at home, I found that the second of two Lexar cards I had bought had failed and caused me to lose all the images. Very frustrating for me to put in all that effort and not get the use of any of the pictures. From now on I will stick to SanDisk cards and not trust Lexar ever again. Once may have been a fluke but twice is not

Many of the lost images were of the iconic Mormon Row barns. One of the main objectives on this trip was to capture the barns at a time when there was grass in front of the barn. When I photographed it last year it was after the freeze had begun and of course between the weather and the bison there was little or no grass at the time of my visit. This year I had grass present, but then it was lost with the bad flash card. Timing your trip across the country is difficult at best but having Facebook friends does help. It seemed a consensus that the timing of the middle of September would have been ideal yet it was too early this year. Last year I went in the second week of October and was too late! LOL!! What can you do...??

Lucky that it is such a beautiful place to visit. Friends there make it a joy to visit and they are usually ready to show me a place that I would not have found on my own. This year Barbara Hayton took a lot of time to show my wife and I around the park. I have admired Barbara's work for some time now and she was very kind to show us the sights. You will enjoy her work too, if you will visit her website at when you have time to look at some outstanding animal and scenic work! One morning before sunrise the three of us visited Lupine Meadows at the foot of the Tetons and photographed a bull elk and his harem. Amazing at how close we were able to be while still respecting the wildlife in its element... Lupine Meadows Bull ElkLupine Meadows Bull ElkWhen the elk rut is happening, the bull elk is in a state of perpetual motion, continually on watch, for the approach another male to challenge him for his harem!

There is so much wildlife there that most of the "press" the Grand Teton NP gets seems centered around animals of one kind or another. I have over 2000 friends on Facebook and it seems most of them are photographers. Wildlife certainly is the main interest they seem to enjoy most. Many are like me and also appreciate the scenic value of a fine landscape as well. Because there are so many natural scenic views there photography really seems to be an unending pastime! One of the places that I had passed without thinking too much about was Colter Bay, WY. No excuse really but there it was each time I drove north to Yellowstone NP. This time at Barbara's suggestion I captured what has become one of my favorite images. Colter Bay at SunsetColter Bay at SunsetIt was really cold as I photographed this scene. My teeth were chattering and my wife and friend really needed to get back to the warm car. But they stayed because of the rapture we felt looking at nature at its finest...

Lake Jackson was very low in water but the majesty of the mountains at sunset was honestly mind boggling! I had just raced there from Oxbow Bend not really knowing what to expect, but hoping that it was a promising photo op! Man, did it live up to and surpass expectation... This is what photographers call the blue hour, which is usually the time right after the sun has fallen below the horizon. There were several exposures made for this scene and this is the one I selected arbitrarily. When I first arrived there was a long low level beam of golden light that was still visible from the sunset that was just completing. Sure wish that I had made it there 15 minutes earlier. By the time I had finished setting up my equipment it was too late for that yellow glow that we all appreciate so much... Maybe next year!

Oxbow Bend is always spectacular but in the fall with the Aspens and Cottonwood trees lining the shore it makes a special treat. Because I was a little early for the color change I decided to shoot at sunset. The strong yellow you expect were not quite up to par but most of us see the beauty of the place regardless. When I got there cars were lined up all the way down the highway and of course had filled the parking lot. Being a little shaky when it comes to walking around on a bad leg I almost drove on. But seeing the crowd just inspired me to push on I suppose. The luck that always seems to follow me got me right to the very front of the crowd at almost the perfect time somehow. It is really unbelievable that someone had just finished his picture and walked away leaving me the perfect spot to shoot from... Oxbow Bend SunsetOxbow Bend SunsetThere were at least 25 photographers shoulder to shoulder attempting to capture the beauty of this sunset. Most of us were at least 10 minutes late and still wanted to capture the beauty...

Living here in Atlanta, seeing the aspens and cottonwoods requires quite a trip, but it always seems to be worthwhile as the beauty of these natural sights just inspire me to seek more and better venues. This one is truly hard to beat but I do enjoy getting around our country and photographing the natural wonders that I find. 



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