Morning Moon in Jackson Hole

I can hear these words echo in my mind, “The Moon carries tremendous visual weight.” My photography mentors remind me to consider this when I compose a frame with the moon. I am listening. The viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to the moon. To create balance in the composition, the other side of the frame needs some “weight.”  That’s where the Grand Teton comes in, the high peak on the right.

#moon, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #schwabacherlanding, #fallcolor, #fall, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #jacksonhole, #wyoming, #mountains, #snakeriver, #trees, #yellowandblue
While the lodgepole pine directs they eye to the full moon, the Grand Teton range cuts a jagged line in the morning sky.

This image also features a contrast of cool and warm tones. The blue and grey in the sky and mountaintops contrast the warmly lit fall color in the trees and grasses in the valley. Good morning, Jackson Hole! I’m enjoying a deep breath of your fresh air and cool Fall temperatures. It’s time for a warm cup of coffee.

 

Black Bear in Grand Teton NP

While Black Bears are not considered as dangerous as Grizzly Bears, they are still no match for a human, so we need to keep our distance and take care not to attract or provoke them. I spotted this bear quite a way up the hillside above the road, and I was able to use my 400mm lens, steadied with a tripod, to capture this photograph. (I was not as close to it as it appears.)

#bear, #grandtetonnationalpark, #grandtetons, #nationalpark, #wildlife, #sony, #RRS, #tripod, #staysafe, #keepyourdistance
Black bear grazing in Grand Teton National Park, observing a cluster of excited humans with cameras.

I have read that the Black Bear’s eyesight and hearing are better than a humans. Its sense of smell is WAY better, seven times better than that of a dog. Signs warn national park visitors not to leave food in a cooler inside a car, for a black bear might smell it and destroy the car to reach the food. Food lockers are available, but you better hope that everyone locks the locker well, or everybody’s supplies will be gone.

A human is no match for the speed and the strength of a bear. Take your photo, and then get back in the car and move on!

Fall’s Fog and Color

I love to watch fog moving along the surface of a river in the Fall. I have memories of that fog on the Potomac when I lived in Washington D.C. and on the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. In Jackson Hole, morning fog crept across the Snake River as we watched the sun rise.  A thicker layer of fog — not so translucent — filled in the valley closer to the mountains.

#fog, #fallcolor, #mountmoran, #jacksonhole, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #sunrise, #nationalparks, #snakeriver, #fall, #landscape, #wyoming
The changing colors of the trees and the morning fog on the river made this sunrise scene in Jackson Hole extra special.

The trees are reaching their colorful peak in Pittsburgh today, and the sun is shining, but rain is on the way. I hope to capture some Fall color close to home. Happy Halloween!

 

Statement Tree in Grand Teton NP

You have heard of a “statement dress”? Well, in my mind this would be a statement tree. She stands apart, makes a bold statement and pulls the whole scene together. I’m proud to share her.

#fallcolor, #grandtetons, #jacksonhole, #trees, #nationalparks, #grandtetonnationalpark, #september, #golden, #yellow, #seasons, #landscape, #photography, #sony
How would you describe this pair of Cottonwoods in golden splendor, standing tall in Grand Teton National Park?

Grand Tetons from the Mormon Barn

It was another dark and frosty morning before dawn, when I found myself trudging down a dirt road with my camera backpack on my back and tripod in my gloved hand. At least two dozen photographers had already arrived at this iconic location, and many were in no mood to share their space.

Finding a spot along the edge of a creek, I waited for the rising sun to color those wispy clouds pink. What I like most about the final image is the warmth of the barn, the grass and the foliage in contrast to the cool blue and grey in the sky and the mountains.

#mormon, #mormonbarn, #warmandcool, #yellowandblue, #foregroundandbackground, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #mountains, #sunrise, #dawn, #clouds, #iconic, #sony
Sunrise at the Mormon barn in Grand Teton National Park, a pleasing blend of warm and cool tones.

Bear and Berries

It’s not too hard to spot a black bear by the side of the road in Grand Teton National Park. They are gorging on berries and getting ready for hibernation season. I used my 100-400mm Sony lens on my Sony aIIr7 mirrorless camera, mounted on a  tripod to capture this close-up.

One just has to keep a safe distance, because bears move very fast despite their heavy weight and they and kill a human quickly if they want to.  Photographers and hikers are urged to carry bear repellent spray to use in case a bear comes at you. The grizzlies are considered more dangerous than the black bears (which come in black, brown, cinnamon and golden colors), but you don’t want to startle a black bear or find yourself between a mother and her cub. Rangers (“wildlife management’) try to manage the enthusiastic humans who would otherwise get too close. These rangers should be called “tourist management.”

#blackbear, #berries, #wildlife, #bear, #bears. #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalpark, #trees, #fall, #september, #hiibernation
This black bear ignored human spectators while harvesting berries in Grand Teton National Park along Moose Wilson Road.

See the earrings and necklace on the bear (tags)? This bear was trapped, tagged and released, so rangers can monitor him.

Moonset on Mount Moran

My visit to Grand Teton National Park was well timed to coincide with the peak of fall foliage and the moonset as well. For every month, the full moon sets at virtually the same time that the sun rises. That singular morning is a great opportunity to capture the full moon close to the horizon while the sun has only gently lit the scene.

When I’m at home, the moon sets behind my neighbor’s house. The view is not at all comparable to the rugged peak of Mount Moran with fall foliage in the foreground. Traveling out West with a group of photographers gave me a better opportunity and the incentive I needed to wake up in the dark and venture outdoors in the cold.

#fullmoon, #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalpark, #mountain, #foliage, #fallcolor, #september. #moonset, #sunrise, reflection, #snakeriver, #mountmoran, #mtmoran, #wakeup, #frozentoes, #landscapephotography
In the moments before sunrise, the full moon slid toward the horizon alongside Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park.

A large number of photographers gather along the shore of the Snake River at Oxbow Bend to take advantage of the possible reflections of the mountain, the trees and the moon in the water. As the sun rose, fog began to form and the wind blew it across the surface of the water. My fingers and toes turned to ice cubes before we finished the shoot, but the experience was worth it, especially in the company of friends.

 

 

Shooting into the Sunset

Landscape photographers understand that shooting directly into the sun, even at sunset, creates such extremes of brightness and darkness that it is difficult to make a successful image. The foreground falls into shadow, while the sky becomes impossibly bright. What to do?

Photographers planning to shoot sunset in Grand Teton National Park face this challenge every day, because all views of the mountain range face west. While today’s digital software can help brighten the shadows and darken the highlights, it ain’t easy!

One approach is to wait until the critical moment when the sun touches the edge of a tree or a mountain in the foreground. If you set your camera manually to a small f-stop such as f/22, the sunlight will refract and create a brilliant sunstar. I like this technique, as it gives punch to the scene.

#sunset, #grandtetons, #schumacherslanding, #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalparks, #sunstar, #noclouds, #sky, #reflection, #stillness, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #evergreens, #howto
The Grand Tetons and the evergreens reflect in the beaver ponds of Schwabacher’s Landing as the sun sets.

Reflections in the beaver pond as well as the V shape of the trees that flank the mountains give this image a peaceful symmetry.

After this capture, I packed up my tripod and camera quickly, for soon it would be dark.

Magical Sunset in the Grand Tetons

On my first evening in Jackson Hole, I was blessed to witness a magical sunset behind the  Grand Teton mountain range. I cannot tell you how different every sunset was during  my week in Jackson Hole. The clouds, the colors, the lack of clouds — you never know what will develop. Every minute during a sunset is also unique. Here is one of those fleeting moments during sunset behind the Grand Tetons from Cunningham’s Cabin in Grand Teton National Park.

#grandteton, #nationalpark, #sunset, #gtnp, #jacksonhole, #jackson, #september, #grandtetonnationalpark, #landscapephotography, #nature, #sunbeams, #clouds, #fence, #cunninghamcabin, #cunningham, #brilliant
Brilliant sunbeams streamed over the Grand Teton peaks during sunset in a moment so brilliant, I had to turn away.

If you like this image, stay tuned to this blog. I have just begun to process my images from numerous sunrise and sunsets in different scenic locations in Grand Teton National Park. Soon, you will be planning your own trip!