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Photograpy

Ahh, finally eighteen below zero and beautiful. I have been waiting for a day like this for months. Sadly, too often winter temperatures hover between 20 and 35 degrees, much to warm for the magic of the arctic cold. You draw in that sub-zero air and it’s more refreshing than a mouthful of Minto peppermint with a dash of dry ice.

Ahh, finally eighteen below zero and beautiful. I have been waiting for a day like this for months. Sadly, to often winter temperatures hover between 20 and 35 degrees, much to warm for the magic of the arctic cold. You draw in that sub-zero air and it’s more refreshing than a mouthful of Minto peppermint with a dash of dry ice.

A frosty sublime; winter in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton Park is a special time. The snow showed valleys, and towering peaks create an ambiance much different from summer.

My favorite dozen photos of 2013, a year in review

“Photography according to me” I boiled down what I believe is the essence of basic photography into a 25 minute presentation which logically walks you through the photographic process.

This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park.

While living in Lake Tahoe in August 1986, I read in Outdoor Photographer Magazine a feature about Fred Joy and his gallery. As with all featured artists Outdoor Photographer profiled the highlights of Fred’s portfolio and Fred’s stunning imagery of the Grand Tetons spilled out all over several pages

I momentarily gave pause to think of what a bad dad I was for suspending common to endeavor a nonessential photo excursion when the weatherman and the Department of Transportation, both were telling everyone to stay home. I really had no time to fret over it much, or the roads would close, and my long weekend would be spent at home.

Yep, we’ve all been there “Post Processing Hell”. We get home from a great day of photography, never has trip into the field ever been so good. Then it’s over, into the cave we go.

Luck favors the prepared mind, as does serendipity. Webster’s definition-Serendipity – an apparent aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally. Audacious, is the photographer who chooses to make his living stalking serendipity from one location to another then back again hoping to capture light as it has never been captured before or tougher yet as they may have captured it in the past.

I woke up early and rolled those dice and took set out on the 1.5-hour drive to where I hoped serendipity might smile upon me knowing full well that the mountains would likely block an eclipse scheduled for a setting moon at sunrise.

I find these opportunities quite problematic; you are shooting a landscape at your widest aperture so there is very little depth of field. What do you focus on? Once you figure that out you can’t see what you have decided on because it is darker than the resulting photo.

Shooting on the manual mode setting isn’t as hard as most people think because they haven’t given it any thought. Today’s DSLRs have opened the door to shortcuts, I love shortcuts!

When you put a 500mm lens on a Canon EOS 7D (1.6 crop factor) you do not get a 811mm lens – it is still a 500mm lens. The focal length; hence, the magnification of a photographic lens is fixed by its optical construction, and does not change with the format of the sensor that is put behind it.

About three quarters around my loop I stopped to photograph a six point bull looking for the ladies and while photographing him a black wolf walked into the frame, stopped, posed then moved out of the frame. How fortuitous, I love it when serendipity smiles upon me!

At the Oxbow at this early hour, we are hoping for the first hint of light to reveal an expanse of cirrus clouds above Mt. Moran to stop the warm rays of morning light from spilling over the edge of the world to an un-captureable point beyond the Grand Tetons.

Well, time to get out of here! I grabbed my tripod and purposefully started walking backwards. When being approached by carnivores it is important not to look alarmed and running is suicide

I put all attention on my camera to get some proper adjustments fully expecting the wolves to be gone by the time I was could resume shooting.

Seeing is a funny thing possibly because it is so entwined with the vagaries of our human mind. We often times don’t register beauty we see all the time, we pass it by for the rarer but no better beauty on the other side of the proverbial fence.

Yellowstone National Park has been a photography destination ever since Henry Jackson took the first photos of Yellowstone in 1872, Yellowstone’s plethora of nature demands documentation from all who visit this world treasure.

A photographer that has read about wildlife behavior will have learned the behavioral signs of when an animal is getting irritated. When a bison is mad we will lift his tail, moose and elk will lay their ears back like a horse and start pawing the ground just to name a few. It is important to learn these things before approaching animals.

Most photographers create random acts of beauty; enlightened nature photographers deliver consistent encapsulations of light and time. Galen Rowell once said: “The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I’m searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible.” Galen did so because of his mastery of light.

When we choose to shoot in auto exposure modes instead of manual mode we forfeit our judgement, when we forfeit our judgement we are outsourcing our thinking to a computer. Auto exposure settings on camera computers are great but they calculate input to achieve an average. Calculated algorithms are great for good results in average light but algorithms fail in extraordinary light.

I don’t know how many times I have hit my front door at four AM to find miserable slush or pounding rain on my front step and had the overwhelming urge to go back to bed, but over the years I have found that some of my best photos were born in inclement weather situations.