My first ever real post (and one that the stats of this page tell me people still come to through search engines) was on Grand Teton National Park, so now, a little over four years later I make another about Grand Teton. And, it will even include another picture of Andy Chambers’ Ranch (though not the Moulton Barn which I called the most photographed barn in America back then). However, even more so than Yellowstone, Grand Teton is a much, much less crowded place in the winter; for most of the photos I was on my own, which is what wildlife photography is supposedly all about, but which in the more popular parks, especially close to the roads, is not the case rather often or at least not for long.
In summer Grand Teton is a “sunrise place,” the Teton Range runs almost entirely from North to South, so the morning light creates rather intense alpenglow on the mountains, which makes it almost impossible to take a bad photo if one is up at the right time. The only trick is finding a suitable foreground. It also means, however, that it is almost entirely impossible to get a good picture of the mountains in the evening, unless really crazy cloud formations happen. In the winter, however, the sun sets so early, and thus so far to the south, rather than the west that you can get some decent light on the mountains till rather late. No comparison to sunrise, but still worth taking pictures of. Since I had fog or snow or clouds 7 out of 8 mornings while I was in the park I am very glad about this (I had at least two good evenings). The rest of the days I was faced with throwing my plans over board and dealing with the kind of light mother nature dished out to me, which is one of the challenges, occasional frustrations, but also rewards of nature photography. To say the least my images are very different ones than the ones I had expected, but some of them are pleasant surprises that, I hope, go beyong the clichés I described in my original post.
So without further ado, a my mix of my images from one morning, two evenings and several attempts to deal with less obviously mountain-centered light in Grand Teton and the National Elk Refuge right next to Jackson.
PS: There is one more post coming up with more photos from Yellowstone after my return from Grand Teton. At this point, however, I have 4253 images which I haven’t really looked through yet so it may take a couple of days.
While I am currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, looking at a moose chewing its cud in the driveway (cf. my previous post), I spent the last days of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 in Yellowstone National Park, and will be going back up on Friday. I’ve been to Yellowstone and Grand Teton three times before for extended periods, but never in the winter, something I have been wanting to do for years, and it is indeed special. It is quite cold, one day it was -33° C (-27 Fahrenheit), which makes photography both less pleasant, particularly when your fingers feel like they are getting frostbitten, and more so, since it is beautiful, pristine, and much less crowded than in the summer so that there is a chance for one on one or almost one on one wildlife encounters, something which in summer is almost impossible if one is anywhere near the main roads. I only spent four and a half days in the park so far, but it has been a fantastic four and a half days with bison (who always look somewhat boring in my summer photos, but gorgeous in the snow), deer, elk, moose, wolves (very far away), pronghorn, big horn sheep, and otters. I have only seen coyotes at a distance and surprisingly no foxes or squirrels, also very few birds.
Below are a few shots from near the Northern road which leads through Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley and ends at Cooke City. It is also the only road in the park open to private vehicles during the winter, everything else is open only to snowmobile or snowcoach tours, in case you were planning to come to Yellowstone in the winter as well.
As always, feedback both positive and constructive, and image orders (!) are welcome. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will open an image gallery that you can click through.
Please pardon the number of images, after going through nearly 4000 images I couldn’t decide to cull any more.