Last Light

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
September 22, 2008 

I’m currently sifting through more than 1,500 images from my recent “fall colors” photo excursion in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. It’s a monumental task, as you might imagine. In fact, most of my time is now being spent simply weeding through all of the junk images that I managed to collect during a week of all-day shooting. This year, there is a lot of junk.

Sure, the “junk” of an anal retentive photographer is probably gold to most other people. I’m the first to admit that. But I’d rather have a few excellent photos in my collection, as opposed to numerous forgettable photos. So, I’m liberally using my delete key as I start to edit 1,500 photos and unclog my hard drive.

A lot of the junk has to do with getting to know a brand new location. (It was my first visit to the Tetons during the fall season.) In fact, I spent most of my week scouting places to shoot … and subsequently shooting mostly “reference” photos. The rest of the junk images can be attributed to the brutally boring weather conditions of the week. It was dry, warm, clear and generally as bland as it gets for weather in the Rockies. Oh sure, such weather is nothing to complain about … if you are the average tourist out to soak in the spectacular fall scenery. But for a photographer, it was fairly close to frustrating. So, I’m very appreciative of the relatively few dynamic moments I was able to enjoy – and photograph. The photo above is one such moment.

The image was captured during my first evening out in the field. It was a great way to start my trip. You really can’t ask for more in a photograph of fall in the mountains. Blazingly colorful aspen trees bathed in rich light, with the dramatic Teton Range and a wonderful sky providing the perfect backdrop.  I had “seen” this photo from a few hundreds yards away, while aimlessly wandering among a herd of photographers at an over-populated viewpoint along the park highway. Wanting to avoid making the same image as 100 other people, I literally ran up the side of a steep hill to reach this point before the evening light dropped behind the mountains. I plopped my tripod down, and snapped off a few exposures. Just in time. The light disappeared quickly. But I managed to get the image I had seen from the crowded parking lot below. I was in such a hurry that the photo has some technical problems. I could care less. It’s a keeper in a sea of junk … a great memory of one of the more spectacular moments of my fall season.

(Prints of this, and other recent photographs are available on my website.) 


3 Responses

  1. Awesome shot. I went through the Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons on my way back from southern Montana this summer. You will be able to spend a lifetime in Yellowstone shooting. It’s just a “little” bigger than Rocky Mountain National Park. Sorry to see you leave Colorado. I was looking forward to meeting you one day. I live in Greely, CO.

    Good luck shooting this winter. Can’t wait to see those shots.

  2. if you were a great photographer like myself, you would not have to delete on single image!!!

    however, from reading your post, i can tell you aren’t quite the photographer you aspire to be. that is cool. not everybody can shoot photos as good as me.


    great image man, can’t wait to see the rest!!!

  3. Thanks Kevin. You never fail to inspire. And thanks for the comment, Jeff. I’m slowly discovering the photographic virtues of Yellowstone. It’s always been such an unbelievably crowded place that I enjoy driving through en route to other places. But I’m learning to slow down and enjoy the place. It’s only an hour and half from home, so I expect to shoot there frequently. If I can get over my fear of grizzlies first. 🙂

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