Best of the Tetons

Fort Henry Rendezvous

Fort Henry Rendezvous 2017

Photos from the 28th Annual Rendezvous held near Rexburg, ID.

Mountain Man Rendezvous are held all over the country, but head to the Northern Rockies if you want to be where it actually happened!

Rifle Range

If you were attend a Mountain Man Rendezvous, you’d find an eclectic mix of individuals that share an interest in American History. The Mountain Man era spanned from roughly 1825 to 1840—a blink of the eye in US History. Hardy trappers roamed the Rocky Mountain West in search of beaver pelts—trapping them in late fall and early winter to be used for fashionable European top hats. Lack of demand and depleted supplies of beavers resulted in the demise of the Mountain Man period.

Tim Tanner

The American Mountain Men is an association of individuals dedicated to the preservation of the traditions and ways of the period. AMM member, Tim Tapper, was on hand at this Rendezvous to show the authentic trappings of the period.


In a lot of ways, photographing at a Rendezvous might be similar to street photography in NYC or Chicago. These subjects are wearing buckskin clothing and beads, and carrying long knives and black powder rifles. Overhead, I might hear the shrill call of a Bald Eagle or the rumble of a passing 747.

Quiet Conversation

This year, I carried a tripod, Nikon D5 and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. I was able to capture moments I’ve never been able to do. Most never knew I was taking their photo, and when asked, they always said yes.

Fort Henry

Most rendezvous have four sections:

  • Traders Row, where merchants sell their wares.
  • Primitive Camps, where participants camp in historic tents and tipis.
  • Tin Can Camp, with campers and modern tents.
  • Shooting Range for rifles, hawk and knife, and bow and arrows.

Fort Henry Rendezvous

Around the edges, there are usually ranges set up for firing black powder rifles and muskets. Hawk and Knife zones test the skills of another group. (Hawk is short for Tomahawk).

Bow and Arrow

A Bow and Arrow Range is also popular at many Rendezvous. This archer was taking careful aim on a foam Wolf in the woods.

Fort Henry

This year, the dates were June 7-11, hosted by the The Fort Henry Buckskinners. The link contains maps and additional information.

Fort Henry

Kids are often dressed in period garb. I always get the feeling they are having a blast…dressed up and camping in one weekend!

Young Buckskinner

This young Buckskinner will likely follow in his parents footsteps.

Many Strings

I met Many Strings (Tony Messerly) quite a few years ago. He and his wife, Carol, sell CDs containing their entertaining music, along with beautifully handcrafted beaded items. Just down Trader’s Row, another friend, John Jolly sells his original paintings and drawings. “How did you winter?”, they’ll always ask!


As I mentioned earlier, I found the long reach of the Tamron 150-600mm G2 an asset. I could shoot innocent conversations like this without them knowing it. I like the candid moments much better than the posed ones.


On the Range, the shooters never knew I was taking their photo. I never felt I was impacting their aim and concentration.


The telephoto reach also let me isolate some of the Rendezvous’ memorable subjects.

Fort Henry Rendezvous

There are usually lots of tight shots like this one.


Especially with a telephoto lens, I shoot first, then ask permission. Expressions are always so much more natural! If they say no, I delete the photos then and there in front of them—but that hardly ever happens. Several years ago, I deleted shots of one person that didn’t want his photo taken. The next time I saw him, he came to me and told me it was okay from now on. Possibly he just wanted to know if I would honor his privacy?

Here are a couple of earlier Feature Posts related to Mountain Men Rendezvous

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Comment (1)

  1. Fun times, and great people. We have had to miss that these past 2 years. Makes me sad.

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