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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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