Best of the Tetons

Antler Arch

Winter Night Life in Downtown Jackson Hole:

Tourists doing what tourists do!

During the holiday season, the downtown merchants decorate their storefronts with lights and boughs of spruce and pine. The town government wraps the trees and antler arches in the square with thousands of LED lights. On any given night, you can find tourists and a few locals milling around in downtown Jackson. They will be window shopping, eating, and generally having a good time. Numerous shops stay open late to cater to the visitors. I like to go downtown a few times each winter and try to capture some of the ambiance and “action”. As the night progresses, the families head back to their hotel or condo and the party crowds begin taking their places. I have a great time taking the photos, and if nothing else, readers at Best of the Tetons can get a quick glimpse of the night life and lights in downtown Jackson during the busy and festive holiday season.


Photo Review. The guy took a shot of the girl and then the two checked it out. (1/50th second)


Dad and Stroller. This one has a very short pan to try to keep the face in focus. Doing so slightly blurs the lights.  (1/20th second)


A Ghost Crossing. The town leaves the lights on the Square up well into January. Similar to the last image, this one has a short pan and a fast moving, close subject. (1/8th second)

Street Crossing

Festive Street Crossing. This scene is repeated hundreds of times nightly at each corner. I prefer going out for shots like this following a good snowfall. As you can see, the ground is white, picking up light from the various sources and allowing subtle details to emerge that would be lost if the streets and walkways are dark. (1/30th second)


Zoomed Neon Sign. Exposed neon is against the town sign ordinance except for a few historic old signs like the one over the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. (.4 second)


Zoomed Classic Bulbed Sign.  I angled this one a bit and zoomed over a longer exposure. (.4 second)


Posers! Good times in Jackson Hole. Occasionally, they see me set up across the street and willingly express their approval. (1/15th second)


Antler Arches: I added Topaz Star Effects in post production. I’ve taken similar photos before using a star filter on the lens at the time of capture. (1/2th second)


Out of Focus Arch: Experimental shot of the NW arch. (1/4th second)


Standard Shot of Antler Arches with Posing Tourists. It seems just about every tourist stops to get their shot under one of the four antler arches. (1/5th second)


I Love Big Tetons. This shot is even more funny if you know the French translation for Tetons. (1/20th second)


Youngsters Inside. I was standing outside Lee’s Tees and swung my camera around to capture these two young girls.  (1/50th second)


Father and Son. All you have to do is set up at about any corner and wait. The subjects magically appear! This Dad told me he had a D3s and would like to get a D4 or D4s. (1/30th second)


Thumbs Up. Another typical group photo under the arches. (1/13th second)

Shooting Info: I set up a tripod to help with the very slow shutter speeds, then just worked my way around the square. These images were captured with a Nikon D4 and a 70-200mm lens.  I usually keep the ISO relatively low (400-640) and concentrate more on the essence of the shot and not so much on whether they are tack sharp. Some are taken at speeds as low as 1/4th of a second with the lens wide open at F/2.8. I like to let people walk through the lights. If I do it right, I get a recognizable human figure with just the right amount of motion blur. In between the tourist shots, I also like to experiment on photos of the neon signs and downtown lights. I took all of these images on a cold, clear night. I’d like to go back another night and shoot similar images during a snow storm. There might be less people out, but the shots could be very interesting.


Note: These are candid images taken from the streets of Jackson Hole. If anyone sees a photo of themselves or family members that you would prefer not to be displayed, please let me know and I will remove it immediately.


Here are a few earlier Feature Posts from Downtown Jackson:



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Comment (1)

  1. Lowell Schechter

    Hi Mike
    very nice images of the night life in Jackson Hole. Got a taste of it when we were there but not during the winter

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