Monday, February 21, 2011
The InfoGuide is a great publication to pick up if you are looking for things to get out and do, and is available at most hotels and tourist destinations around the greater Puget Sound area.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
To my disappointment, Tower Falls was not available during my visit. Nor was Gibbons Falls - both due to construction.
Rustic Falls, north of Mammoth Hot Springs, is quite nice. But it is north facing so the sun never hits all of it. It is best photographed on a cloudy day for even light.
Another waterfall worth checking out is Undine Falls, in the north section of the park. This might be a better autumn picture.
Sunny days are best for geysers. Mostly blue skies allow for contrast and definition of the eruption. Overcast days cause the plumes of water to blend against the cloudy sky and detail is lost.
Obviously, you don't want to be shooting in the direction of the sun. Likewise, you don't want to be down wind of the erupting geyser! Understanding the direction the geyser will erupt will allow you to plan your composition, rather than be reacting to the elements.
Know the estimated schedule for each geyser's eruption ahead of time. This will put you in the best possible position to succeed. Schedules are available as handouts at the visitor center, posted at most of the geysers, and available on the park's web site.
Friday, February 11, 2011
|Rocky Mountain elk issues a challenge to nearby bull elk.|
|Rocky Mountain elk playfully spar.|
|Rocky Mountain elk stand alert.|
|A Rocky Mountain elk anticipates feeding time.|
I recommend arriving here around 10:30, right after the feeding of the big horn sheep (once they are fed there isn't much reason to stick around). The first tour truck departs at 11:00 am. They then run every hour, or half hour depending on the demand. Sign-ups are in the visitors' center and can fill up fast. You can also call ahead and reserve your group's spot on the trucks. Information is available at their web site, as well as information and directions to other viewing spots within the Oak Creek Wildlife Area.
|Guided tour at Oak Creek Wildlife Area.|
|Oak Creek feed truck prepares for food drop.|
This is a winter feeding program only, and numbers of animals can vary from year to year depending on the harshness of winter. Numbers were way down this year during my visit, sporting only 670 elk vs. the 1,000+ I have seen other years. However, this decrease actually made it easier to photograph them, offering easier isolation of the animals.
|A feed truck makes it's way through the herd at Oak Creek.|
January and February are the best months to view these animals. December is too early due to its closeness to hunting season; the animals are still quite nervous and stressed. It is not uncommon to see maimed animals. A three-legged cow has been present the past four years. Unable to run or even walk fast, I'm amazed at her resiliency.
Oak Creek Wildlife Area is a place you want to visit and take the family. I return each year with my kids in tow, and they absolutely love it. Try it - you'll be hooked!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Spring is actually considered to be the best time to photograph these barns. The mountains still have interesting patches of snow on them, and the side lighting is stronger for better detail. Autumn sees much flatter light at sunrise.
Of course, my visit took place during autumn, so I had to deal with the hand I was dealt. I still enjoyed photographing from this location - enough so that I returned for sunrise after shooting in late-morning the previous day. The barn up top is probably the most photogenic of all the barns, and makes a great sunrise to mid-morning subject.
I found mid to late morning to also be quite interesting, and for more than just the barns. There are also numerous fences, gates and corrals available to frame the Cathedral Group with.
One can easily spend a full morning at Mormon Row, and still have reason to come back. Maybe you will photograph the barns on the north side of Antelope Flats Road one day, and the ones to the south on another day. Or maybe you will simply return with fresh ideas to try after reviewing your initial images. However way you choose to explore this historic area of Grand Teton National Park, enjoy!
I have recently completed my new Grand Teton National Park gallery, and have made it available for viewing. It includes my visits to Schwabacher Landing, Oxbow Bend, Triangle X Ranch, Mormon Row, and many places in between!
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
This body of water was formerly a portion of the Snake River that has been bypassed and has formed a lake. The results are very pleasing to the eye and attract photographers and tourists alike!
Photographers would do well to arrive early for sunrise. After my experience at Schwabacher Landing the day prior, I made certain to arrive at Oxbow Bend 1-1/2 hours before sunrise. I was alone much of this time! I would still recommend an hour early (as I would with any sunrise). The great thing about Oxbow Bend is that it offers a very large area for photography, unlike Schwabacker Landing. Photographers can set up in the parking lot or along the 1/4 mile of road to the west. Personally, I recommend staying close to the parking lot. I also found my best shots to be from mid to late morning. Early morning light in autumn is very flat here.
Plan on spending much of the morning here as there is a lot to do! After first light on Mount Moran, you'll have some dead time until the foreground begins to light up. As the morning moves on, I recommend moving further up the road.
There are many other posibilities as well. Above the road to the north is a trail that is frequented by horseback riders. Wandering along and near this trail offers all kinds of compositions not available from the road.
There are many other wanderings available in the area as well. Don't be in a rush to get back to camp!
When you are done, don't miss driving 1 mile further up the road to Jackson Lake Junction and visiting the viewpoint. While it doesn't offer much for photography, it's a pretty incredible panorama.
Next up: Mormon Row!