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Mares Tails

Seasons at the Thomas A. Moulton Barn:

“The Most Photographed Barn in the World.”

Moulton Barn Fall Sept26

I’ve heard people say this is the most photographed barn in the world quite a few times since I’ve lived in Jackson Hole. I am not sure who would keep such statistics, but let’s just say the two Moulton Barns on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park get a lot of attention. The T.A. Moulton Barn is the southern barn on the West side of Mormon Row. Another similar barn is located just to the north, built buy John Moulton. It’d be easy to get confused if someone simply said they took pictures of “the” Moulton Barn once you understand both of them are Moulton Barns.  I plan on doing a page for each, but for now, I’ll begin with the south barn.

Barn Photographers Oct1

The barns draw photographers from all over the world. I find myself constantly drawn to them. I admit it. I am addicted to photographing them!  I’ve photographed the barns during all seasons, from about every conceivable angle and at about every different time of the night or day you can do it. During the Summer and Fall months, it’s difficult to go there and not have a handful or a bus full of photographers lined up taking their shots of the iconic old barns. Once the snow falls and people are warm and cozy back at home, it’s possible to go to either barn at the prime times and be the only one there. Even in the busy times, most people stay for only a short period. If you are patient, you can usually get the shots you want. Still, there are times I shoot away, even with people in the shot and clone them out later in Photoshop!

Moulton Barn Snowstorm April21

Late April Snow Storm: With “Sequester Cuts”, the Park Service did not plow Antelope Flats Road in 2013. They waited until the road was bone dry down entire length before opening the gates at either end. If it helps, in 2012, my last image at Mormon Row was taken on November and my first shot in 2013 was taken on April 12. We’ve had a lot of snow over the 2013-2014 Winter, so it is difficult to predict when the road will reopen this year. Needless to say, I will be anxious for them to open it again. Even after the road opens, we can get a late storm that pelts the trees and buildings with fresh snow. It is possible to walk in to the barns during the winter months. The area is not closed, but it takes a 3/4 mile hike to get to the intersection and another half mile south to get to the T.A. Moulton barn. I’ve hiked in numerous times. It helps to have either snow shoes or cross-country skis and plenty of warm clothes.

.A. Moulton Barn & Fence 1964

The Barn in 1964: I’ve been hoping to see a photo like this for years! Sue Ernisse and her family spent three summers in Jackson Hole, living in the cabin behind the Peach House. She was a youngster at the time. Her Father took the image above. Luckily was a painter/artist and could see the beauty of the scene even if many others saw it as just another old farm.  My wife and I moved to Jackson Hole in 1986. Unfortunately, the corrals and outbuildings were gone by then. I would have loved to be able to include the elements in my photos now! Sue’s Father had a great eye! Sue is allowing me to use this image, and many more on another Feature Post: The Moulton Barns: 1963-1965  The images document a time slice of life in Jackson Hole! Sue’s accompanying comments add so much to the page. They are told with the words of an adult, yet seen through the eyes of a child.

Spring:

Winter in Spring 2008

Winter or Spring?: This was taken on April 4, 2008. I am writing this post on April 6, 2014. I’d guess it looks similar there right now, but the roads are not plowed. March 20th was the first day of Spring this year.

Moulton Snow storm April21

Spring?: This image was taken on April 21st in 2011. On big snow years, it can take a long time for the snow to melt around the barns and a late storm can turn everything back into something that looks like Winter in just a morning. Most people around here think of April as “mud month”, but it depends on where you are in the valley when you say it.

Moulton Barn May3

May 3rd at the T.A. Moulton Barn: In this early May image, you can see the beginnings of green grass.

Spring at the Footbridge

The Old Footbridge: I took this image on June 10th of 2007. You might even suggest this is a summer shot? Either way, the lush green reminds me of Spring and shows what most people see after Memorial Day here in the Tetons.

Barn with Passing Bison

Barn with Passing Bison: Sometime in late 2008, the Park Service ripped out the old footbridge. I was terribly bummed! I the early Spring of 2009, they rebuilt the footbridge and added two new head gates. When they closed both panels, the little irrigation ditch filled to the brim, allowing me to get a unique reflection as I was shooting from my stomach. I took this shot on May 19 of 2009. Grass has filled the area now, so this shot is almost impossible to get again.

Summer:

Barn and Clouds July8

July Barn: It is difficult to say when Spring ends and when Summer begins. On the calendar, Summer begins on June 22 of 2014.  Most areas of the valley floor are lush and green in June and then start to thin out and brown slightly in July and into August. The image above was taken on July 8th from one of the popular locations in front of the barn. There are many options. You might enjoy this older post which examines how getting closer to the barn can make the mountains appear smaller: Distance and Scale Relationships in the Tetons (and elsewhere)

There will always be people standing very close to the barn, but in doing so, they lose the Teton range. There are lots of barns in the world, but what makes this one special is the backdrop of the Teton Range. I like to include them when I can or when they are visible, but of course, photography is a personal endeavor. So, shoot from anywhere that makes you happy!

Morning Mormon Barn June26

Moulton Barn June 26, 2013: When the Tetons are shrouded with clouds, I tend to point my camera in other directions and at different angles. I liked the low fog bank in this shot and thought it helped isolate the distant trees from the mountains. The nice clouds were a bonus that day.

Storm From the South

June 30th Storm: This was taken from about the same angle as the previous image, but the image is completely different. Mother Nature’s storms can add drama. I like to capitalize on the drama when it is nearby, even if the drama doesn’t contain the Tetons. There is a good chance I had a Lightning Trigger attached to the camera at the time, too.

MoultonBarn_Ditch1_July8

The Irrigation Ditch in July: Each year, more grass grows in the irrigation ditch, prohibiting too many more reflection shots. I like this angle quite a bit because of the “foreground, middle ground, and background options. You might like this post on the subject: Anatomy of a Teton Landscape. This wide angle shot brings in the Tetons and Mt. Moran. Again, storm clouds can add drama to a landscape.

Moulton Barn and Bison 2006

Parade of Bison: Bison range across the area regularly during the summer.

Streaks of Light July21

Streaks of Light: Late in the evenings, especially if there are clouds in the West, it is possible to get streaks of natural light across parts of the valley floor. I captured this image from a long distance using a telephoto lens.

Fall:

Barn2_Aug21

August 21 Barn: Towards the end of August, grasses turn rusty brown and some trees start showing hints of yellow. In the background, you can hear the grunts of the bison in the rut. Elk will begin to bugle on some mornings. Fall will be coming soon.

Lightning Strike_Sept17

Lighting Strike: This image was taken on Sept. 17th last year with the aid of a Lightning Trigger. The cottonwoods around the Mormon Row barns are some of the last trees to turn in the JH Valley in most years.

Moulton Barn Fall Sept26

Fall at Mormon Row: By late September, Cottonwood trees can start turning yellow and dropping their leaves. This was taken on Sept. 27 of 2012.

Mares Tails

Mare’s Tails: I took this shot with the camera on a bean bag on the ground just above the water in the irrigation ditch. Get Down—and sometimes dirty!.

Days of Gold

Days of Gold: Most people like to photograph the barns in the mornings. It’s probably the “safest” time, or should I say it is the most reliable time. Still, afternoon shots can work there.  This on was taken on Sept. 21, 2010. This is one of my “Artistic Images” at www.tetonimages.com.

Rain Clouds Oct1

Rain Clouds: Taken in the late afternoon on October 1st.

Rainbow Oct1

Rainbow: The storm clouds in the previous image moved across the valley and eventually developed a rainbow. Also taken on October 1st.

First Snow of Fall

First Snow of Fall: Taken on October 10th of 2008.

Winter:

Long Shadows and Early Snow

Long Shadows and Snow: Once the leaves fall from the Aspens and Cottonwoods, this scene could happen anytime. In this particular shot, the snow fell in early December of 2009. At this time of the year, morning shadows are cast across the scene. In mid-summer, shadows from the cottonwoods are cast onto the barn itself, not to mention your own shadow.

Barn and Ditch Nov27

Barn and Irrigation Ditch: Taken in the early morning light on November

Moulton Barn Pano Dec11

Morning Panorama: Taken on December 11 of 2011. This is a stitched pano made up of five or six vertical images using a Nikon D300. (click the image to see it much larger)

Frosted Barn1 Dec11

Frosted Cottonwoods: Taken on Dec. 11th from a distance using a telephoto lens.

Alternative Angles:

Below are a few random shots showing various additional angles and locations around the same barn.

Looking North

Looking North:

Looking West

Looking West: Taken from the other side of the road.

Barn In Trees Nov13

Barn in the Trees: Taken much farther East and shot through the cottonwoods.

Frosted Barn Dec10

Looking Southeast: Taken with a telephoto from Antelope Flats Road.

Barn And Trunk April23

Tree Trunk: Taken from Mormon Row looking Northwest.

Moods of December

Moods of December: Taken from the North end of the Barn Yard.

Distant Peach

Distant Neighbor: Taken looking North.

Details, Etc:

Leaves 2008

Leaves: There are plenty of other options for tight shots at any of the barns. For this one, I opened the aperture all the way and focused on the close leaves. I liked the idea of seeing the recognizable barn and Tetons, even if they were out of focus.

This post is getting long enough, so check out this older post from last fall about taking some of the detail shots of hinges, logs, textures, and so forth: A Few Steps Closer: Capturing the Finer Details

Big Dipper June16

Big Dipper: Both barns are popular Light Painting subjects.

Light Paint 2007

Night at the Barn 2007: Light painted with a couple of flashlights

Moulton Milky Way 2013

Milky Way Over the Moulton Barn:

In Closing:

I hope some of these shots give you some ideas about how you’d like to photograph this barn, and other barns. I tried to capture most of them with great light, usually very early in the morning, or with storms and dramatic skies. Shadows can be big players.

Remember, check out The Moulton Barns: 1963-1965. Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. I am positive the time will be well spent!

If you like this post, please click on any of the Social Media icons below and share it with your friends and family. Also, if you like what you are seeing, sign up to follow the blog and get automatic notifications of new posts! Cheers! Mike Jackson

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Comments (7)

  1. Lowell Schechter

    Hi Mike
    Great Captures over the years of the Moulton Barn. You captured this place at about every angle, time of day, and different seasons. I know I had to drag my wife out real early in the morning to get to the barn and it was worth it. We had beautiful morning light and I tried to get as many angles of the place. The problem was that we had that morning smoke from the fires which obscured the Tetons in the Background. But that was okay. Also Bison had gone through earlier in the morning hours, and they left there calling card. lol

  2. Beautiful gallery. Thoroughly enjoyed viewing it and experiencing the seasons at the Moulton Barn through your lens.

  3. Terry Stone

    Mike, can I order a print from you of the 2009 photo of the barn with the two bison and pool reflection?

  4. Hi Terry, Yes!!!
    That print is on Teton Images at my Photoshelter site. You can order a print from there. There’s also an option for me to print it, sign it and ship it from here as detailed in the order page.

    http://tetonimages.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Barns-Buildings-Structures/G0000qHdxxcku4Rs/I0000W8.enpK7Cy8/C0000VtOmSd1D44A

    LMK if you have questions or need any assistance. Thanks! MJ

  5. Ann Van Breemen

    Hi Mike, I love the snow shots of this barn. I’m hoping to get some myself this year. Will be there for the last few days of October and early November. Also love the milky way shot. Is there any chance of getting a Milky Way shot at the time that I will be there or is it too late in the year. (And too cold.) What time of the night did you get yours?
    Regards,
    Ann.

  6. Sheila Chandler

    Mike….is there an order site for Fall at Morman Row , the photo that was taken September 27, 2012

  7. Mike, this is an incredibly diverse set of photos of Mormon Row. You say you have taken shots at every conceivable angle and this set of images certainly demonstrates that you have. They are all nice but there are some real beauties … REAL BEAUTIES ! ! !

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