Saturday, October 27, 2012

Palo Pinto Moonset

Moonset on a late summer morning in north Texas.  

The area west of Fort Worth around Palo Pinto County is one of my favorite places to go for a Saturday morning drive.  This summer has been one of some nice rains and even in late August there was some nice quality to the grasses.  Combine them with a moonset and some nice morning light and there was the possibility for a nice image.

I arrived on site and began photographing the hills and the moonset.  I liked the green lush quality to the grass and thought there has to be a better image, but it just was not working.  Then  I walked down the road to put the trees into the image and found just what I was looking for.

On a different note, you will find an article I did on Fisheye Lens Landscapes was reprinted in Wild Photo Mag this summer.  It's a South African based English language magazine.

You can see the article here:

Wild Photo Mag Article

The are some nice articles in the magazine from a variety of contributors and a good database of nature photographers too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oxbow Bend

On my last morning in the Tetons, I was up well before sunrise, broke camp and made the drive to Oxbow Bend.  I had saved this location specifically for this day as it worked out well with my route home.  

Being one of the popular spots other photographers started to show up and soon it was a small crowd.  It was not like my day at the Blacktail Ponds or out on the grass where I had a location to myself.

I moved along the bank of the river to get away a little from the crowd and found a place where I could catch a reflection of the wonderful morning sky.  At first it seemed it might just be a blue sunrise, but at last the light broke through the clouds just enough to put a little warmth on the scene and give me one last image from the Tetons.

After that quick morning it was time to hit the road for the all day drive to Fort Collins where an Elvis Presley Graceland pancake had my name on it.  That's a peanut butter banana pancake with bacon and caramel maple syrup.  As I drove away from the Tetons, I could only quote the king "Thank you. Thank you very much!"

See the Wyoming Gallery on my website for all of my best Wyoming images.

Wyoming Gallery

Let me know if you think  need to add some of the others from the blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bison Herd

Another afternoon in the Tetons got later in the day and with the clouds almost non existent in the sky, I decided to work on a different kind of image.  Others were headed to Oxbow Bend or Mormon Row barns, I decided to work the backlit grasses with the Tetons that I had noticed earlier in the day.

I parked over by the barns and wandered out in the knee deep green spring grass going toward the mountains.  I set my tripod low and wanted to take in the expanse of the grass and the mighty Teton Range.

I started making images and then noticed bison moving my direction across the valley.  The animals have pretty much free range over the entire valley that is Jackson Hole and they are wild.  I consider myself smart enough not to approach a wild animal and stayed where I was.  As the shadows got longer they moved closer and I just set there and watched them, taking an occasional image and wondering if that got too close what direction would I retreat.  

The animals, of course, knew right where I was and the herd split making their way around me about 60 yards away on either side.  They seemed neither interested nor bothered by one lone individual sitting in the grass.

I photographed the animals as the worked their way around me and the sun set behind the peaks.  The light lit the scene and the animals moved and grazed.  In just a few minutes the bison had moved past me and reformed a single hers headed east away from the peaks.  It was like water flowing around a rock and I was the rock.

It was an experience I could only describe as primordial and a one of a kind sight.  I sat there thinking it was another great day to be here.  Then I wondered what the next day might bring.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Schwabacher's Landing

When I was pre-planning my visit to the Tetons, I looked over many images of the park and kept noticing that I was really drawn to the images from Schwabacher's Landing.  So, of course, I wanted to work it in as a location to visit.

Like all the famous views in the Tetons it is a marked turnoff from the highway.  You follow a gravel road down to the river.  Now the only tricky part is the first place you get to is not where you want to be.  Follow the road to the end and a small parking lot.  You will see the river, and the boat put in-but that is not "the shot" either.  Follow a path to the right and you walk along the edge of some beaver ponds. Finally reach an area with a bench and the famous framed view.

I set up there one morning and waited for the light.  Several other people showed up.  There were just enough clouds in the sky to be a shot.

I got mine.

However, I was actually kind of underwhelmed with it.  Turns out that "the shot" was not all I hoped it would be.  So I started walking back along the length of the beaver pond until  found one of the beaver dams.  The pond was more narrow, the grass was taller, and  some of the trees on the far side were dead.

This had much more interest and I worked that and got this second image, which I like significantly better.

So pre-planning gave me a good place to start but actually taking some time there got me both something a little different and also a little better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Tetons

Grand Teton National Park is just south of Yellowstone, but is a completely different park. Really it is hard to believe they are next to one another.  Sure both have a lot of animals, but the scenery is topography is very different.  Yellowstone has its thermal features and is more rolling.  In the Tetons you are in a deep and flat valley with a range of huge peaks right there.

That flat valley can be useful for images and it also makes it easy to get around.  In fact most of the famous images you see from the Tetons are from easy to reach spots along the road.  Add to that fact that many are fairly close together and it really is an easy place to photograph.

What had been a clear morning in the Hayden Valley and at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone became cloudy and rainy as I made my way into the Tetons.  I set up my camp in the Gros Ventre campground, which is a little less crowded than most and very close to a few of the areas I wanted to photograph like the barns of Mormon Row.

I explored several locations for potential and watched the rain.  Late in the day it looked like it was going to have the potential for a great sunset.  I decided that I liked the view from the Blacktail Ponds area.  First, it was an area I had not seen images from, I really liked the stream that meandered through the valley there, and finally no one else was there. 

I made a few images and played around with different compositions.  I walked down to the stream but it lost something in the view down there so I walked back up the small hill.  I saw some bison not too far away and tried to frame them with the Tetons, but they did not want to cooperate.

As the evening wore on the clouds started to break up and I wondered if they would last until sunset.  What had been a completely cloudy sky soon only had clouds right along the ridge of the Tetons.  

Luck was with me as those clouds lit up nicely.  Still I had to frame the mountains tighter to keep out the clearing sky.  If only the clouds had stuck around.  I guess those are just things you have to be able to work with.  It was still an awesome view and I was able to photograph until the light was gone.  

Truly a spectacular place!