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Best of the Tetons

Moulton Barn Sunrise Nov11

Early November Landscapes:

Morning shots taken in and around Grand Teton National Park.

For most of these images, I was up well before first light so I could be at a spot of interest when I’d get the “light show”.  For me, clouds are the key ingredient needed to go with the morning light. But, it’s also possible to get too many clouds! As I am driving North from the Town of Jackson, clouds or lack of clouds usually influences me in regards to focusing on landscapes or finding some wildlife. You might also notice I didn’t include a shot of the Grand or the traditional mountain range in this group, with the exception of the Snake River Overlook star shot. The Tetons are typically the star of the show, but when they are covered with clouds, I usually shoot in other directions on purpose. Obviously, I am not telling you to do it when on vacation here, other than to suggest additional possibilities that many people seem to overlook.

Cottonwood Homestead Nov1

Chambers Homestead: November 1st. There were quite a few clouds the day I took this one. I waited until the close subjects were in shadows and when the old house and barns were lit by a band of light. This is a composition that might not appeal to some, with the dark tree dividing it. And, there is a lot of clutter and a bit on the busy side. Still, there’s something about it I liked at the time—and something that still draws me to it. The Chambers Homestead is on the opposite side of Mormon Row as the old Moulton Barns. The barn behind the house has an aluminum roof on it and is not generally as photogenic as the other shingle covered barns.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 70-200mm lens at 125mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, Wimberley Sidekick, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/16, 1/100th second, -2/3 EV. I shot this one at F/16 in hopes of getting as much in focus as possible. Many people suggest going no higher than about F/11 with a D800, but I find it still works well on some scenes.

Flat Creek Sunrise Nov2

Flat Creek Sunrise: November 2nd. I was heading north and saw the sunrise light beginning to turn the low clouds purple. Water at the bottom of a sunrise or sunset always helps add light and color to an area that would typically be dark. It is always nice to sprinkle in a little wildlife into a landscape shot! That’s easier said than accomplished. Even here, the first few shots were with long exposures and the ducks were blurred. I opened up the aperture to speed it up enough to eliminate most of the blurred birds. I didn’t include it in this image, but Sleeping Indian mountain (Sheep Mountain) is just to the right. Here’s an older post with just Sleeping Indian images: Sleeping Indian: A Lesser Photographed JH Icon if you haven’t seen it!

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 70-200mm lens at 180mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, Wimberley Sidekick, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/3.5, 1/20th second, -2/3 EV

Schwabacher Buck Mtn Range Nov9

Schwabacher Landing: November 9th. I got up early and walked down to Schwabacher. Clouds covered the top of the Grand, but a thin ribbon of clouds danced along the tops of the peaks to the south. Buck Mountain is the pyramid shaped peak to the far left. Beavers have created a series of dams in the channel this year, allowing for more reflection shots than in most other years.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 50mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/2.8, 1/200th second, -2/3 EV

Schwabacher Left Bend_Nov9

Schwabacher Side Channel: November 9th. This shot shows a couple more of the beaver dams and reflection pools. If the Grand had been visible, I would have changed angles slightly and included it.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 24mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/8, 1/100th second, -2/3 EV

Snake River Overlook November 10

Snake River Overlook before sunrise: November 10th. I arrived at this scene long before there was enough light to tell if there would be clouds covering the range. The camera was able to pick up the clouds over the peaks long before I could see them! The very top of the Grand was covered with a small cloud, but the rest worked out as I had hoped. The pink at the horizon just behind the Cathedral Group is likely coming from the small towns of Victor, Driggs, and Tetonia on the Idaho side. This photo was taken during the “blue light” time of morning and just before there were really any hints of morning light. I shot a few at this spot, then headed on north.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 24mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 3200, Manual Priority, F/2.8, 30 seconds, Manual Focus

Mt Moran Buck Rail Fence Nov10

Buck Rail Fence and Mount Moran: November 10th. Again that morning, the peak of the Grand was covered with clouds so I concentrated more on Mt. Moran. This fence and little gorge is located across from Triangle X Ranch along the highway. I was there early enough to be able to add some light to the foreground with a large flashlight.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 70mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/10, 15 seconds, -2/3 EV

Cunningham Cabin Nov10

Cunningham Cabin with Mt. Moran: November 10th. I left the buck rail fence at Triangle X Ranch and quickly drove to Cunningham Cabin a couple of miles north. The pinks and purples had disappeared and the sky was a darker, more moody color of blue, but there was still no light hitting any part of the scene. It did eventually light up some.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 62mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/8, .4 seconds, 0 EV

Cunningham Cabin Buck Mtn Nov10

Cunningham Cabin with Buck Mountain: November 11th.  Color finally started showing in the sky to the south so I change angles. Again, the top of the Grand was covered over with clouds so I shot the best of the alternatives. Sometimes, I like them more just because the Teton shots are so common. This shot can be difficult because the roof line often hits about the same place as the horizon line or tree lines. The little bit of frost on the cabin roof and the low fog bank helped on that morning.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 70mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/11, 1/3 seconds, -1 EV

Murphy Barn Sunrise Nov11

Thomas Murphy Barn: November 11th. The Murphy Barn is the Northernmost barn and homestead remaining at Mormon Row. I had great clouds on this morning. About all I had to do was point in a direction and shoot. I always like this composition with the flow of the slope of the mountains drawing the viewer’s eye to the subjects. The flow of the clouds also points in the right direction. I also like the hint of the remaining buck-rail fence in the lower left to add interest without overpowering the scene.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 70mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/6.3, 1/125th second, 0 EV

MoultonBarnSunrise_Nov11

Moulton Barn Looking to the Southwest: November 11th. The beautiful bands of clouds were streaming in over the clouds south of the Grand, so I changed angles to include them. I like this old barn because of all of the extra corrals and fences. They allow you more flexibility in composing the shots. This image was taken in the first minute of golden sun light, with long shadows being cast everywhere.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm lens at 48mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/10, 160 seconds, -1/3 EV

Hansen Barn Snow Oct29

Hansen Barn on Spring Gulch Road: October 29th. We had an early snow at the end of October so I was out quite a bit during that time. While the title of this post is Early November Landscapes, I am going to include two or three from the very end of October I didn’t post at the time. This old barn has a lot of character and is balanced nicely with the old cottonwood tree and fences.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 70-200mm lens at 110mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, Wimberley Sidekick, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/5.6, 1/40th seconds, -1/3 EV

Buck Rail Oct29

Buck Rail Fence on Spring Gulch Road: October 29th. There were low clouds at the top of the image with nothing too interesting in them. I chose to crop it tight with only a hint of the clouds. The dip in this old fence was the attraction for me that day. If it had been perfectly straight, I doubt I would have stopped to photograph it. I also like the way the entrance at the upper right brings the viewer’s eye back into the scene.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm lens at 400mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, Wimberley Sidekick, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, F/9, 1/1600th seconds, 0 EV

Box L Ranch Oct29

Box L Ranch on Spring Gulch Road: October 29th. I shot this one with a telephoto lens which compressed the scene. I liked the random size and spacing of the close fence posts and the layers of subject matter behind it, with the barns and trees standing out against all else. There are probably thousands of similar farms and ranches around the country, but having the distant mountains puts them somewhere different than the Great Plains or Midwest farm belt.

Shooting Info: Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm lens at 360mm, on a Gitzo 1348 Tripod, Arca Swiss Z1 Ball Head, Wimberley Sidekick, ISO 400, Aperture Priority, F/9, 1/1250th seconds, 0 EV

Please Note: All of the images on this page are fully copyrighted with the US Copyright Office.  ©2013 Mike R. Jackson – All Rights Reserved

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Comments (2)

  1. LaGail West

    These pictures are incredible! Absolutely beautiful!!

  2. Lowell Schechter

    Mike, great landscape images. I wish I had had more time to see all these great places in the Grand Tetons. But I could come back another time and map out some of the places I missed

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