Best of the Tetons

Kelly Structures

The Grungy Side of Kelly

~ Common Scenes from a Historic Corner of Jackson Hole.

Kelly Wagon Wheels

Some subject matter is “grungy” by nature. In post production, you can make something appear grungy (or grungier) by adding textures and patterns over the original capture. The look and techniques are popular in ads and on TV, and as an artist, I like the options of adding a little of my aesthetics to a captured image.

You don’t have to make a trip to Jackson Hole to find little gems worthy of photos. Abandoned vehicles and dilapidated buildings can be found sprinkled across the country. I like old things and old places — so I find myself driving around looking for them. In this case, I didn’t have to go far!

Kelly Chevy Truck

The small community of Kelly, WY rests inside the southeast corner of Grand Teton National Park. At least to my eyes, and aside from the three new residences currently under construction, it looks almost identical today as it did when we moved here 30 years ago! The town has a small grade school, a post office, and a coffee shop. Kelly was established in the 1890s. Much of the original town was swept away in the Kelly Flood of 1927 following the failure of the natural dam left below the Kelly Slide of 1925.

Kelly Sheep Herder's Wagons

Most images on Best of the Tetons are “straight photos”, meaning they haven’t been given my artistic license to tweak them and take them to new places. That’s not the case on this page! Hopefully, the images are interesting, moody, and captivating.

Kelly Junk Wall

All of the images on this page were captured using a Nikon D5 and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. The properties in the town of Kelly are all privately owned. I don’t believe the owners would be particularly happy to see people roaming around on their property, so I sat in my vehicle and took the photos over a bean bag in the window. That’s where the telephoto lens comes in!

Kelly Gas Pump

The images on this page were composited using the base image and then stacking several different texture layers over the top using Photoshop. Each texture layer was assigned a layer mode of either “multiply, overlay, screen, soft light, linear light, and saturation” (just to name a few). In most cases, I also adjusted the layer opacity slider.

Kelly Weathered Cabin

I like the challenge of taking a photo something relatively plain and making it worthy of a second look.

Kelly Power Station

This foggy image was essentially “gray” and lifeless. A few textures later, it takes on a mysterious, moody look. It’s not a shot people would typically think of when visiting a National Park!

Kelly Structures

Screen GrabThe previous image had an ambiguous cool and warm color scheme, while this one has a strong warm color scheme. The screen grab on the left shows the original base layer and three texture layers. The top one adds the golden glow, set to Overlay at 74%. I spend a lot of my spare time capturing textures like these for use in projects like this. They are free — and they are everywhere! Still, if you prefer, you can purchase textures or add third party plug-in filters for Photoshop containing an abundance of textures and texture effects.

If you were to scroll back up to the gas pump image, there would be dozens of texture images available to me. I’ve also spent time photographing the steel grills in the campgrounds. They are loaded with rust, drips, and stains from years of use and abuse. Textures are everywhere! How about the texture on a piece of toast, or a slice of watermelon, orange, grapefruit? Maybe a shot of a waffle or pancake? The power station in a previous image can be a texture on some other project, even though it is the subject of the image.

How about something wonderful  for FREE! Go to Google/NIK and download their collections for FREE! You’ll love ColorEfex and SilverEfex!

Kelly Water Tank

There should be a couple of takeaways from this post. First, you don’t need to go to a spectacular place like Grand Teton National Park to find similar subjects. Second, post production doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to a realistic image. Expand your horizons! Photograph something every day, and then allow yourself to experiment in Lightroom and Photoshop! > MJ











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Comments (5)

  1. You know I love images like this. These are fantastic. I’ve seen the cool old stuff in Kelly, but I hate to intrude on peoples property, or lives. Great solution you had though.

  2. Mary, I’d bet many of the people in Kelly would let me walk on their property if I asked, but the option to shoot out the window works okay. There are lots of places, like Virginia City, MT that is a tourist attraction, so they are used to people walking around with cameras.

  3. Lowell Schechter

    Mike, really enjoyed looking at these images. All you have to do is drive around a bit and you can come upon places like this to get old rustic, cars , and gas pumps. I think out there you would really apreciate the off the road travels to come upon wonderful back in the day objects .

  4. Marcy Starnes

    great presentation of textures – I am always looking for those type of textures too –

  5. Patricia Neal

    As always Mike you have made my day.Love spending time in the Jackson Hole area and leave a peace of my heart when I leave.

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