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Web Grand Range Jan22

Capturing a Winter Sunrise “Out the Window”!

For this group of images, I never left my warm truck…

I am working on an upcoming post about viewing the area and taking photos with disabilities or mobility issues while in GTNP. That Feature Post should be completed fairly soon. As an experiment, I drove towards the small town of Kelly to document possibilities had I needed, or wanted, to stay in the vehicle.

Web GTNP South Entrance Sign Jan22

South Entrance Sign Pullout: Taken just north of the National Fish Hatchery just before first light. This group of photos will be presented in the order I took them. This image was captured with a Nikon D4 and a 24-70mm lens. I changed to a 70-200mm lens for the rest of the shots.

Web Sleeping Indian GV Jan22

Gros Ventre River and Sleeping Indian: I was trying to time my excursion to have the best clouds and sunrise light a little farther down the road, but I pulled over to shoot this early morning image over the Gros Ventre River. This spot could be spectacular on some mornings, especially with a fiery sky.

Web Grand Over Blacktail Jan22

Grand Over Blacktail Butte: Color and clouds were just beginning to show on this image taken along the Gros Ventre Road. I’d like this shot better once the end of the butte starts catching the first of the morning light. I was in a pullout at the time.

Web Grand Over Hay Fields Jan22

Grand Over the Kelly Hay Fields: The Mormons, early settlers in the JH Valley, cleared large chunks of sagebrush from the flats northwest of Kelly. This was taken along the road before getting to Kelly, looking back towards the North End of Blacktail Butte and the Teton Range. Clouds were starting to break in the East, allowing light to hit the top of the Grand.

Web Grand Over Ditch Creek Jan22

Teton Range over Cottonwoods at Ditch Creek: By the time I made it to Ditch Creek, most of the range was fully lit. I’d have loved to have put a big bull moose this scene, but I didn’t see any in that area today. Light was getting good and clouds were filling in nicely.

Web Sunrise Pano Jan22

Sunrise Panorama: (Click the image above to see it much larger!) This shot was taken from a pullout just north of Ditch Creek and just south of Antelope Flats Road. I took three horizontal images and stitched them together in Photoshop for this jumbo sized image. It’s actually a pretty good spot for a pano image, even if you get out and set up a tripod, as I normally would have done. Antelope Flats Road is closed to vehicle traffic in the Winter. The light and clouds were probably best this morning while I was taking this shot. You could probably visualize how any of the other locations, especially the earlier ones, might have looked this morning if I had been there instead of this spot?

Web Mt Moran Jan22

Mt. Moran: I love to add some sort of foreground subject in any landscape. This rolling hill and tree line help this photo quite a bit. It was taken from the road just north of Antelope Flats Road.

Web Grand and Aspens Jan22

Grand and Aspens: Clouds put these aspens into shadows for a few minutes making this one a bit more moody looking than if they had all been lit up. Thee was another photographer’s vehicle parked in a place where I could have eliminated the telephone pole in this image.

Web Grand Range Jan22

Grand Range with Lodgepole Pine Trees: Taken just a little farther north than the shot of Mt. Moran, but with the same stand of trees in the foreground.

Web Grand North End Jan22

North End: This shot was taken near the end of the asphalt road (East Boundary Road). Just past this shot, the road bends sharply back to the East and under a power line. I find it hard to get many shots with the power line in the way. The road north is closed to vehicle traffic in the Winter. Cross Country skiers use the road bed in the winter.

The Wrap Up: I had a pretty good morning with good light and interesting clouds. It is possible to get some “portfolio fillers” from the roads. Portfolio shots usually require numerous trips to get lucky at a particular location. They usually require  spectacular light and clouds to go with the visible mountain range. Remember, the images on this page are a cross section of what I captured just today! Maybe someday, I’ll try the same experiment when heading north along the highway.

Hopefully, the images above will help a few visitors/photographers with disabilities, along with any other person wanting to stay close to their warm car! I drove the entire trip today in two-wheel drive, however, after a big winter storm, it takes the snow plow crews a while to get to the side roads and pullouts. There is a restroom just north of the Kelly Warm Springs pond. While in the Kelly area, there is an option to spur off the East Boundary road and go up Ditch Creek Road towards the old Teton Science School, or go “up the Gros Ventre” to the Atherton Creek Campground at Slide Lake.

Cheers! Mike R. Jackson

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Comments (5)

  1. Lowell Schechter

    Mike , as usual beautiful images. You certainly can get nice images from a vehicle. I wish I had that clear view of the Tetons when I was there. Did you a window bracket to stabilize the camera and lens or maybe a beanbag?

  2. Lowell,
    No, I just put the Nikon 70-200mm lens in VR mode and hand held them out the window. I have a bean bag and also a piece of foam insulation, but didn’t use them for this set of blog post photos. The goal today was to hit a lot of places quickly while the light was good. On a normal day (non-dedicated blog images), I’d be much more methodical and be more interested in a couple of good shots at a couple of locations. With that said, I liked the pano shot. I was at a good spot at a good time of the morning. For that shot, I would normally be standing next to a tripod and be shooting with a D800 for larger file sizes. Still, I hoped the exercise today would highlight it is possible to find good spots to shoot from, even if somewhat limited in mobility.

  3. Lowell Schechter

    Mike, thanks for that valuable info. Yes, I see why you were taking these photos hand held. The light does change quickly in the morning and evening. We have some nasty weather here in the northeast so I think i will take a cue from and have the camera ready on the seat and be able to shoot out the window. One day we will make there in the winter time .

  4. M Linafelter

    Mike – I have enjoyed your images here and on the Y’stone forum for several years. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and tips. Your work is always inspiring. Michelle

  5. Hi Michelle, Welcome to the blog! Feel free to post or comment at any time. I am truly enjoying sharing some of what I find here in the Tetons.

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