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Trip over - page 2


And speaking of the Snake River, I heard some commotion and loud voices from the direction of upstream. Then suddenly, seemingly from out of nowhere, appears a raft full of excited people churning and gurgling through a little bit of white water.




I got up to Grand Teton National Park around an hour before sunset, and off of the main road by a pond was a cluster of parked cars. That is the unmistakable sign that wildlife is in view. There was a bull moose on the other side of the pond, accompanied by a cow. There is something stately about the large rack of antlers that the bull sports. He is much more photogenic.








To the disappointment of the crowd, he just sat there. He did not get up and walk around and do bull moose sorts of stuff to give us better shots. Deer are all over the place, and there is a semi-tame herd of elk roaming just north of Jackson at the elk refuge, but there is no guarantee you will see moose. So I was glad to see this one. I did see some elk, but I could not get a good shot of them. Bison are further up the road in Yellowstone.




The color in the trees really light up when they are backlit by the sun. This was right around the entrance to the park.





Here is a glimpse of the Grand Tetons right around sunset. When in the park, the mountains are viewed looking to the west, so they are more of a sunrise, rather than sunset range. The sun was already behind the range, so it is tricky not to end up with the mountains just backlit out of any detail.




I stayed until after dark at Jenny Lake. Here are a couple of shots of Jenny Lake shortly after sunset. In shots where the sky is much brighter than the landscape, I will use Cokin split neutral density filters, which help even out the exposure. It is similar to placing sunglasses on the top part of your camera lens. Film just does not have the same wide latitude as the eye, so it can expose properly for a bright sky, or for a very dark landscape, but it is very difficult to expose for those two elements at the same time. So split neutral density filters are essential, especially for sunsets and sunrises.









Back to the town of Jackson WY, they have their own antler arches -- four of them. What they lack in length, these robust arches make up in sheer bulk. Here are a couple of night shots of two of them. These are several second exposures.








I stayed at the Motel 6 in Jackson. It was more expensive than normal for a bland Motel 6, but then again, this is Jackson, gateway to the Tetons and Yellowstone and nearby skiing areas.

This area was originally called “Jackson’s Hole” back in the early 1800’s. A hole was a low lying area with mountains around it, usually with a stream or river going through it. A good spot to find beavers and other furry animals. It was named after an early trapper/settler, David E Jackson. It was later changed to just “Jackson Hole”

The Snake River runs through the Jackson Hole valley, which is just north-west of the town of Jackson.


Day 4 – Jackson WY to Cody WY

I had planned to bypass the very popular and certainly crowded Snake River Overlook for sunrise pictures of the Grand Tetons. Even ol’ Ansel Adams himself has a well known shot of the Tetons from the Snake River Overlook. Instead I chose the closer and certainly less crowded Schwabacher Landing.

But alas, I was running late getting out of the motel in Jackson, and did not get up there until almost an hour after sunrise, and after a mile or so on a dirt road, I knew I was getting close to this isolated spot when I saw in the distance the parking lot overflowing with cars, and the dirt road lined with parked cars on both sides for about 50 yards. Ah yes … like I said … the middle of nowhere can be a really cool place to be!









The atmospherics were not great that morning. It was mostly a bright clear blue sky, with some little clouds wafting amongst the peaks, as we see in this picture. Clouds have the habit of forming around the mountains later in the morning.





I took about a half a roll of pictures, and talked to a couple of photographers there, mainly about how I might switch to a digital camera soon. At a popular shooting place like this, you can usually tell the more serious photographers by the bigger and bulkier tripods they lug around. Bigger tripods usually mean medium and large format cameras.

I use a medium weight Bogen/Manfrotto tripod with a ball head, which does just fine for a 35mm camera




A little later that morning, I saw a nice reflection scene looking north across Jenny Lake





Here are a couple more views, showing how the clouds intermingle with the mountains.








These Teton shots below were taken with Jackson Lake in the foreground. This is the ideal situation for a polarizer. It makes shots taken in the harsh midday sun more acceptable, meaning -- it helps to reduce the washed out effects of very bright sunlight. Also, a polarizer works best when the scene is around 90 degrees from the sun, as this was. Deeper blues, better defined clouds, better color saturation are hallmarks of a polarizer filter. But you don’t want to overdo it. I tend to back off the full effect when it’s too pronounced.









Here is some colorful foliage on the north end of Jackson Lake. You can see how a good sky really adds to any picture, as we also see with the picture of Yellowstone Lake to the right. When the sky is this good, I am basically just looking for anything to place in front of it.










Another scene in Yellowstone where the sky is the star of the show. A fire a few years back gives these trees a bare matchstick look.

I did not have time to do a full tour of Yellowstone, but seeing that my girlfriend and I had visited there a few years ago, I just wanted to press on. Here are shots from my previous trip to Yellowstone.






This pleasant woodsy scene was close to the Shoshone River, just to the east of Yellowstone. This is prime grizzly bear country. There were numerous signs along the road saying just that.





I got to Cody WY late in the afternoon, in time to take a peek around the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. I found the statue of Mr. Cody doing contortions on his horse rather interesting.











I stayed at the “Rainbow Park Motel” in Cody. It was a pretty decent place to stay. It had a lot of room, with a full kitchen and wireless internet. Much better than a Motel 6. But then again ... anything that is not ... a Motel 6, is usually by default, better than a Motel 6.


Day 5 – Cody WY to Sundance WY

I depart Cody heading to Greybull, and press on to the Bighorn Mountains. I will be passing by Buffalo and Gillette on my way to Devils Tower and then Sundance. I like the names in Wyoming.

The Bighorn Mountains are the last outpost of the Rockies on this route. After that, there are just hills until you get to the Appalachians, which by altitude comparison, are hills too. The Bighorn Mountains have at least one peak over 13,000 feet, but the pass to drive over is only about 9000 feet.




Entering into the Bighorn Mountains is Shell Canyon. This is a very steep and rocky canyon. It reminded me a little of Zion in Utah.






And wherever there is a canyon, there is usually a creek or river running through it.

And wherever there is a canyon creek, there is usually a waterfall.






There’s not a whole heck of a lot going on out here in the Wyoming prairie. Just open grasslands and low lying hills.

So -- this is prime real estate for Pronghorn antelope. You see them everywhere in Wyoming and S. Dakota. They are by the road, way off in the distant open prairie, alone, and in groups. Almost all that you see are females, just like with deer. Here are a couple of shots of roadside pronghorns, where I just pulled off the road and rolled down the window to take a picture.








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