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Best of the Tetons

Chambers

Snow Day On Mormon Row:

Photographic opportunities for anyone willing to brave the elements.

We’ve had snow here in Jackson Hole on the 4th of July, so getting a blast of it in April should not be a surprise to anyone. It’s great for the high country snow pack and the reservoirs that hold the water it produces. My kids are always saying something is “bad” when they really mean it’s good—like “that’s a bad ride”. So, when it’s “bad” outside, it can be “good”. If not good—unique!

On most snow days, the majestic mountains in the Teton Range are covered with clouds. This more or less forces me to look for alternative angles and views. Most shots of the two historic barns are taken from only a few spots. Right? I enjoy just milling around and looking for interesting compositions—even if the Tetons are not part of the picture.

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Half Mile Barn: I took this shot from Antelope Flats Road using a Tamron 150-600mm lens on a D800. This image was captured at 600mm.

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Chambers Barn: Taken from the same spot with the same equipment.

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Heavy Snow captured at 1/125th second: The flakes are mostly frozen.

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Heavy Snow captured at 1/8th second: The flakes streak as they pass in front of the subjects.

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TA Moulton Barn — Front View:

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TA Moulton Barn — Front View: On snow days, I typically take dozens of the same shot. They won’t be exactly the same, of course, because of the endless concentrations of flakes. This is a random pick out of the group. On a “real” project, I’d go through all of them looking for the best one. When photographing animals in the snow, like moose, I shoot even more! I end up looking for images without a big flake across their eyes.

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Long Distance Shot to the John Moulton Homestead: I’ve never measured it, but I’d guess the distance between barns is around half a mile.

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Windmill:

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Remains of the Old Fences:

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Chambers Homestead:

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Chambers Homestead: The snow lasted long enough for me to walk around the various homesteads. The Bed & Breakfast is still privately owned and is marked with signs, but tourists and photographers are allowed to mill around the rest of the areas.

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Cart: This cart is actually on the Bed & Breakfast property, but I don’t think they care if you shoot from outside the fences. It helps to find subjects with dark areas behind them to show the falling snow.

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The Gate: I shot this one with a telephoto lens from across the road with a wide open aperture. It helped blur the background and isolate the gate.

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Gate and Wheel: The snow was not coming down as briskly on this shot of the corner gate at the Bed & Breakfast. Here’s their link: Moulton Ranch Cabins | Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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Chambers Shed: For a lot of the images on this page, I “opened up the shadows” by dragging the Shadows slider to the right in Lightroom. Doing so helps reveal some of the snow flakes against the dark zones.

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TA Moulton Barn: For the snow shots today, I set my camera up with “back button focusing”. Large flakes can play havoc with the camera’s auto focus. With back button focusing, I am able to put the center focusing sensor on the corner of the building. When the focus locks down on the corner, I let up on the back button. That sets the focus. I can recompose the scene. When I press the shutter button (even half way), the back button focus settings prevent the AF from trying to find a new position. On a daily basis, I go back and forth between the default focusing and back button focusing, but this is definitely a good time for the latter. Here’s a YouTube tutorial if you are not familiar with the feature: Back Button Focus : Steve Perry on YouTube

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TA Moulton Barn: I moved back and shot through the cottonwoods on this one. I am not sure if I like it, but it was worth a try.

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Moulton Barn with Wintering Robin:

A Softer View

A Softer View: The artist side of my training is always tugging at me after a photographic shoot. For this image, I dragged the “clarity” slider to the left instead of the right to create a soft layer in Photoshop. I made a second version of the image in Lightroom with more traditional settings and brought that into Photoshop. I used the “Find Edges” filter in Stylize group of Photoshop filters on that layer, then desaturated the results. I pasted that image on top of the soft layer, and changed the blending mode to Multiply, then adjusted the opacity to fit. This little image took only a few minutes to make (for this blog post). If I were doing a more serious version, I’d soften or reduce the dark edges on the branches at the bottom. If someone asked, I could do a tutorial on this technique in a future Feature Post. If you were to scroll up to the gate image, you might notice this is just a cropped area of that image. On a personal level, this image trips my trigger more than the literal photograph.

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Winter Robin: For this image, I desaturated everything but the Robin.

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High Key: This is the same image as the one at the very top. I did a quick “curves” adjustment. Snow day images leave you will tons of post processing flexibility.

Comments: “Bad” weather is all the more reason for me to want to be out. I am not a big fan of heavy, steady rain, but I love being out as storms are moving in or moving out. Snow storms usually offer opportunities at showcasing familiar subjects in an entirely different manner. We’ll probably get additional snow days through April and possibly into May. Count on me being out, and if you are around, I’d suggest doing the same!

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Please, if you like this post, share it on any of the Social Media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. And, please respect my copyrights! MJ

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Comments (3)

  1. Becky

    Hey Mike — Thanks for sharing the beautiful winter scenes. Can you do a tutorial on the “Softer View” technique in a future Feature Post? Thanks!

  2. Yes, I’d like to see a tutorial, too. I like the effect!

  3. Becky and Andrea, Yes…I’ll try to do that tutorial soon after getting back from Sanibel. It’s a nice effect…very flexible and relatively quick. Cheers, MJ

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