Plans Of A Photographer For Grand Teton National Park
Photography and Text By Terry Long © All rights reserved.


Grand Teton National Park

Mid to late September I look to visit Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming. It's late enough in the season so most of the summer people will be gone but too early for the snow bunnies to be there. By all means...I don't expect to have the park all to myself though.
 
For those of you who don't know, Jackson (the closest larger town) is a "trendy" and expensive area. Hotel/Motel rooms cost $90.00 and up...per day! Lodges are even more expensive. That's too rich for me so, I'll be tent camping. I've surfed the net and have found Bobcat Photograph  Terry several places that fit my budget and needs. I'm looking at a place that charges somewhere around $32.00 a night and they offer a 20% discount on top of that because it's the "off-season". I don't want to rough it... so, it has to have showers which, it has. Also, I'll have my dog with me so the campground has to allow pets...again, it allows. The tent sites are right next to the Gros Ventre river. I guess I'll have to look into those "ready to eat" meals and/or stick to a lot of canned beans (and bean-o).
 
I'll be an early riser, getting up somewhere around 3:00 a.m. and getting ready for the day's adventure (taking a shower, preparing several gallons of coffee, etc.). Hopefully, I'll be on location prior to sunrise so I can get set up. During the middle of the day I'll be scouting out locations for the evening shots and, obviously, during the late afternoon to evening I'll be back on location. There'll be a couple of places during late morning early afternoon where I'll be set up and shooting though.
 
Here is a sampling of what I'll be taking and using: Two Canon EOS 1N's and a couple of film backup bodies which will remain in the truck unless I need them, a Canon D30 for digital, and Two Mamiya 645's. I'll have eight 35mm lenses (three with me at all times - probably a 28-70mm f/2.8 lens, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, and a 28-135mm IS lens) and three MF lenses which are 80mm, 135mm, and 210mm. Of course I'll have various filters and other accessories with me. Oh...and two tripod/head combos.
 
To carry all this equipment I'll be using the LowePro S&F vest/belt system which I recommend to anyone who likes outdoor scenic/landscape photography and a LowePro "Trekker Classic" backpack. The backpack will carry all of the MF equipment and a thermos of coffee. I think Zion Photograph  Terry I can "deal" with the weight (somewhere around 45-50 lbs) because most of the shooting locations will be 200 yds or less from the beaten path. One of tripods I can attach to the backpack and the other one I'll carry over my shoulder as if I'm carrying a rifle. One of the 35mm cameras will be attached to that tripod.
 
For digital I'll have six CF cards to use. I shoot in the RAW format which uses up more memory than JPEG ergo, the six cards. RAW is like having a digital negative and I use Adobe's RAW converter so, I can make adjustments to the image even before it's imported into Photoshop...without affecting the original image. I'll have my laptop with me (in the truck) so I can download the images as soon as possible and reuse the card(s). Once I get back home, I'll have to transfer the images back to the card(s) and place them in the card reader to view them. But, even before I open PS for viewing, I make a CD. Once the CD is made, I open PS and use the "Automate" feature and make a CD jacket with thumbnail images on the cover(s). Then I'm ready for viewing and/or editing.
 
For the film cameras I'll use slide film exclusively. I'm using Fuji Provia 100F and Kodak's E100GX. Both are ISO 100 and scan nicely to produce satisfactory results for printing up to 11x14...for me. The Provia produces natural colors and has a tight grain. It's great for wildlife/scenic shots. However, the E100GX produces a "warmer" tone but is suppose to have an "extremely fine" grain. I've Bear Photograph  Terry used it but haven't seen the results yet. For the early sunrise shots I'll use an 81A filter with the Provia but won't with the E100EX. I also plan on using both a polarizing and GND filters with both films. By the way...it's recommended to use a 2 stop GND filter when shooting those higher contrast early morning lighting situations. I'll be setting up three cameras (digital, 35mm film, and MF) so I'll be switching the GND filter between the three. In order to do this in a timely manner, I'll be using "Gaffer" tape to affix the filter to the lens. It won't leave a residue on either the filter or lens barrel. You just have to be careful not to scratch the filter on the lens barrel. I've done this many times and don't think I'll have any problems.
 
I've got 20 rolls of MF 120 film and somewhere around 30 rolls of 35mm film. I use A&I Pro labs in Hollywood, CA for all my slide processing so, I think I'll be sending them my film from the Jackson, WY post office before I leave. I use A&I because they do a fantastic job. Their turnaround time is very fast because they have a dedicated staff for their mail-ins. I recommend A&I to anyone out there looking for an inexpensive but good lab. You can get their mailers from B&H cheaper than at A&I. Their MF 120 film (15 shots) is just as expensive as 35mm film (36 shots) though. I guess that's the going rate nationally.
 
I use a Canon 4000US dedicated film/slide scanner for my 35mm slides. It's a superb scanner and cost me somewhere around $800.00. About a week ago I entered two 11x14 prints in a contest which were made from a 35mm scan and won Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion so, it's a scanner I can live with. I just bought the Epson 3200 flatbed scanner which has film attachments up to 4x5 film/transparencies. I've read reviews which state for a non-dedicated film scanner it does a good job. Several Pro photographers allegedly use it. It's suppose to be one of the best for reflective scanning though. I haven't got it yet but it's suppose to be here tomorrow according to the UPS website.
 
You know what!? I might even take along some Kodak 400UC and use it in one of my backup bodies. CCC Ranch Photograph  Terry I've shot with this too but haven't see the results yet either. At least I'll be able to have it processed at the local lab (here in Ely, NV). If not, I'll send it to Kodak's Ofoto lab. The way they work is, you send the film to them in their FREE mailers. When the film is ready, they send you an email saying so. You then get on the web, or call them, and pay for the processing. Once it's paid for you can view the images on their site. You can then pick out the images you like and have prints made of those images only. You can even have your images cropped and/or enhanced and they'll make prints for you. In the meantime, the negatives are mailed back to you. A nice set-up if you have a scanner. I've used them before and they do a great job.
 
My daily itinerary will consist of getting up around 3:00 a.m to take a shower and make several gallons of coffee. Then head out at 3:05 a.m. (just kidding)... soon after and get set up for the sunrise shots. There are several locations where the mid-morning shots will be great so I'll head there next. After that I'll be doing the scouting for the late afternoon to early evening shots. There'll probably be a few afternoon shots available too. Then, in the late afternoon early evening I'll get set up on location for those shots. Somewhere in there I'll eat and take care of other business. Also, the National Elk Refuge is right across from the National Park. There should be some wildlife opportunities available. There's probably more than just Elk too. Also, and hopefully, the fall colors will be ready while I'm visiting the area.
 
I plan on spending somewhere around $300.00 for everything outside of some of the film processing. That will include gas, food, camping fees, etc. September is a bad month for me. Of course the monthly mortgage is due but, so is my truck insurance and yearly registration. Who knows what other hidden expenses will occur.
 
Well...that about covers what I had to say. Wish me luck.
 
Later.... About to leave in a few hours.
 
Well ladies and gentlemen...I leave tonight for my little vacation/trip. It'll take somewhere around 10 hrs. to get there so I'm going to leave somewhere between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.
 
Here, in Ely, NV, the fall colors are going great so, I expect them to be just as good at the Tetons. I've checked and they've had quite a bit of snow...up in the mountains.
 
I'm still planning on taking just as much photo equipment but have made changes to my cuisine. I'm actually taking some real food (still have to prepare it though). If I can find some Velvia 100 up there at a reasonable price, I might pick up a roll or two to give it a try.
 
As soon as I return, I'll update my trip for anyone who might have questions about the Tetons.
 

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