I've Been There And Back.
Well, my adventure of the Tetons began on the evening of the 19th of Sept. My truck was all
packed and I had a few minor things to do. I decided to leave Ely somewhere between 10:00 p.m.
and 12:00 a.m. and, barring any unforeseen circumstances, figured it would take somewhere
around ten hours to get there. However, even the best laid plans can go awry. I departed home
just before 11:00 p.m. and traversed most of northeastern Nevada, through just about all of
northern Utah via I-80 and I-15, a smidgen of Idaho and a little of Wyoming on US Hwy 89. I
took a wrong turn in Logan, UT but that turned out OK. It put me in Logan Canyon during
daylight and I got a peek at the scenery there. I made a note to make Logan Canyon a
destination sometime in the future rather than a waypoint like this time. There were a lot of
oak trees which were turning in all their fall glory. Later, I drove past Bear Lake and noted
that it, too, would make a great destination.
Click Here To View The Grand Teton National Park Map.
Somewhere around twenty miles south of Jackson, WY I ran into some heavy duty road construction
and, not that tear up one lane and make one-way traffic type construction either. They tore up
the entire roadway right down to the bedrock, both lanes too. I was actually
driving on rock! They had carved out the side of the mountain and ground it up to make new
road bed. Take note of this because if you plan to visit the Tetons in the future and use this
route, the construction is planned well into 2004. I lost an hour at the construction site and
another hour when I first entered Utah because I went from PST to MST.
Once out of the construction zone the sailing got smoother and I started to recognize names I
had familiarized myself with on the map before I left home. My heart began to beat faster and
faster as I got closer to my objective. I finally made Jackson, WY. Jackson is four to five
times bigger than Ely and is also four to five times more congested. The highway narrowed but
the lanes doubled to four... sometimes to five. Also, the pedestrian traffic went from nothing to
hoards because it was Saturday and there was some sort of festival going on. I concentrated on
staying on the correct route but still trying not to strike a perambulator and was successful
in both instances. That was my only experience with Jackson during my stay, except when I had
to pass back through. Once on the other side, the road widened and the traffic lessened. One
thing I noted though, the gas was 20 cents cheaper here than at home.
Just outside of town was the National Elk Refuge and I soon passed the National Museum of
Wildlife Art and Refuge Visitor Center. There was a sign at the visitor center announcing they
provided sleigh rides during the winter which would make for some great wildlife photo ops. I
saw no wildlife on the refuge however. At this point my heart was really pounding because I
knew I was close to the NP and soon passed through the "Gross Ventre" junction. The next sign
I should see would be the NP entrance sign. WHAT THE HECK! I just got buzzed by a jet
aircraft landing at the Jackson Hole Airport! It wasn't one of those twin jet 12 seater Lear
jets either. It was more like a four engined, 40 passenger, DC-8 or whatever. Just when I was
expecting the wilderness something like that happened. Needless to say, I was a little bit
disappointed but, it's the new millennium and I should've expected this.
Moose Junction was just ahead and I had to decide which route I was going to take. If I kept
straight, on US Hwy 89, that'd take me to Moran Junction and if I made a left onto the Teton
Park Road, that'd take me into the park proper. I decided to stay the course and proceed
directly to Moran Junction. It was a good decision because the highway speed was 55 mph while
the Teton Park Road was only 45 mph. As I got further north I passed familiar names... "Antelope
Flats Rd", "Blacktail Ponds", "Schwabacher Landing", Triangle X Ranch", etc. When I got to
Moran Jct., I turned into the NP. As I got nearer to the gate I noticed everybody was being
waved through by the park ranger and, when I got up to the gatehouse, the ranger waved me
through too. I stopped anyhow and explained I hadn't paid yet. She told me it was "National
Public Lands Day" and entrance to the park was free. I told her I was going to be there for
several days and didn't mind paying at this time but, she said I could pay the next day. She
then noticed Sam, my dog, in the back seat and produced a milk bone biscuit and gave it to her
and then waved me through. Sam gave her a quick thank you bark and I drove off. This event
occurred each time I came back into the park. What nice people.
Soon I passed "Oxbow Bend" and came to the "Jackson Lake Junction". This junction is the
northern terminus of the Teton Park Road. I kept straight and saw a sign "Flagg Ranch – 21
Miles". The Flagg Ranch was one of the changes to my plans. I decided to stay there rather
than the original place because it was $10.00 per night cheaper. However, if I had to do it
all over again, I would stay at the other place. I'll get into why in a little bit.
"Pilgrim Creek", "Colter Bay Village", and "Lizard Creek" were the next familiar signs I saw
and then the ranch sign came into view. Whew! Twelve hours later... and that's deducting the one
hour loss of time zone change. I reported to the main Lodge immediately to check in. Nice
place! The people at the Flagg Ranch are fantastic. The manager gave me a tour of the
facility which included a restaurant, gift shop, and convenience store/gas station. The gas is
18 cents cheaper here than at home... and that's in a NP. However, the items in the convenience store
had pretty steep prices on them. The first morning at the campsite my propane stove broke and
I had noted they had one for sale in the convenience store so, later in the day I bought it.
Gadzooks... $83.00! I needed it nonetheless so I coughed up the money. Just before leaving for
the campsite I asked the clerk how much their cabins cost. $179.00 per night! The $22.00 I
was spending on the campsite looked good at that point.
They assigned me to a campsite away from everybody else because of Sam. I backed in and
inspected it for a good place to set up my tent. Hmmm... I wonder what that big metal box is over
by the picnic table? Must be for handiness to store food or something. Oh well. Sam was off
smelling the unfamiliar smells of the area and seemed content but I wouldn't let her stray too
far. I began the chore of setting up the tent and unpacking the necessities of living there
for a few days. After about an hour of this I noticed long stringy brown hair on my tent which
I must've picked up when the tent was being rolled out on the ground. Then I noticed the same
type of hair all over the place... on the picnic table, on the ground, even up the trees. Uh-oh!
When I got the map to the campground from the clerk she explained something to read which was
on the back of the map. I dug the map out of the truck and there, circled in red felt tipped
marker, were some dos and don'ts of the campground. Don't leave any food in the tent, don't
leave any utensils which have had food on them in the tent, no cooking equipment in the tent,
no bathroom items in the tent, no salves, creams, or other liquids in the tent, etc. etc.
etc... .you get the idea. This was because of the bears. Not just any bears either... GRIZZLIES!
Awww, what'd I get into now? I quickly figured out the purpose of the metal box, at the
campsite which, is called a "Bear Box". I packed, my cooler with the spoilable food items, in
the bear box and locked it. The rest of the "don't" items were packed back into the bed of my
truck. Whatever happened to the "dos" on the list? Come to think of it, there weren't any.
Each time I departed the campsite I made sure I didn't leave any "pick-a-nick" baskets out for
Yogi or Booboo.
When I finished setting up camp I figured I had about three hours of daylight left to explore
so, I decided to investigate some of the park. Most of the roadways in the park are built on
rock "ledge". During the winter the frost gets in-between the ledge and road "heaving" it
upward... ergo, frost heaves which, there were plenty of. Also, bits and pieces of roadway had
chipped off and been long discarded. The freezing water action of winter widened these chips
until they became pot holes. All this, coupled with the chance of hitting wildlife, caused the
powers to be to keep the speed limit down to 45 mph. You need to be aware of this when making
your daily itinerary while at the park. It seems to take forever to get from one place to
Eventually, I made it to the Jackson Lake Jct. and turned onto the Teton Park road. I passed
other familiar names again like "Signal Mountain", "North Jenny Lake Jct. and Scenic Drive",
"South Jenny Lake Jct.", "Windy Point Turnout", etc. I even stopped once to take a picture
which was near "Cottonwood Creek" where there's a little pasture with a small cabin and grove
of trees in the background... oh... the mountains too. This is one of the few places where I broke
out my D30 to take some pictures. That being done, I decided I better head back to camp and
start dinner because I had been on the road for well over fourteen hours and was getting a
When I got back to camp I figured I had about an hour to eat, wash dishes, walk Sam, and get to
bed. The stove worked as advertised that night so Sam and I had a meal of boiled rice with a
beef stew mixture poured on top. I washed it down with some off brand cola I cleverly bought
at home and then began the chore of washing dishes. Something you need to know about me... I'm a
bachelor and I DON'T DO dishes! I've got a dishwasher at home that does that kind of thing or,
I've got Sam to help. Ummm, want to come over for dinner sometime? It took me about 15
minutes to wash the four or five pots and pans I used for dinner and it was dark by the time I
got back to the tent. After I put everything away it was time to give Sam a short walk so she
could do her business. I put her in the truck before I went to do dishes so I had to get her
out when it was time. Something was up though... she didn't want to get out of the truck. I had
to reach in and pull her out. After she was unceremoniously pulled from the truck, she
wouldn't leave my side. We walked down the road a short distance and she "finally" got down to
work. When finished, she pert near ran back to the truck. I had to force her into the tent to
sleep which, she obviously didn't want to do. Something was amiss but I was never sure of what
it was until the last night there.
Anyhow, I fell asleep right away and woke up at 3:00 a.m. the next morning. Sheesh, I don't
remember bringing an air-conditioner along with me. It was freezing out! Actually, it was 24
degrees. I got down to the business of getting ready for that day's adventure and the moving
around would help warm me up. I got Sam back into the truck and started on the coffee. That's
when I discovered my stove broke. Drat, what a way to start the day. So, I took a shower and
packed all the little "pick-a-nick" baskets away. I hopped in the truck and headed out. It
was just about 4:30 a.m. and it was still dark. The sun wasn't even hinting at coming up.
I decided the first place to go would be the same place I stopped at the afternoon before, the
little pasture near Cottonwood Creek. I knew it would be a good shot but forgot about the time
of year. As it turns out, fall is a bad time of year for that shot. It's a good afternoon to
late afternoon shot but, not a sunrise shot. By the time I realized this, it was too late for
any sunrise shots anywhere else. I headed back north to get to Oxbow Bend for early morning
shots but on the way there, I stopped a park ranger to get some directions. I asked her how
familiar she was with the park and that I was going to test her knowledge. She replied she
knew it like the back of her hand. I asked her if she knew where "The Old Patriarch" tree was
and was expecting detailed directions but, she just gave me a dumb look. She was wearing
gloves so; I couldn't see the backs of her hands. After explaining to her the story behind the
tree she admitted she simply didn't know anything about it. Well, off to Oxbow Bend.
But... COFFEE FIRST!
It was late enough for the convenience type stores at the Lodges to be open so I decided to
stop by and get a cup. They certainly don't know how to make coffee at any of these stores... not
unless you like half the grounds being in included. And, at $1.69 per 20 oz. cup you'd figure
they'd do a better job! I wonder how they come up with those prices? So, with coffee in hand,
actually in the cup holder, Sam seemingly more content than at the camp site, I was off to the
races. I spent the rest of the day shooting at given locations and returning during the very
late afternoon hours for dinner and sleep time. That is a description of my typical daily
activities with the exception of the broken stove. That first full day I decided to part with
my hard earned $83.00 and buy the stove. I needed it anyhow. That night, and the rest of the
nights, I let Sam sleep in the truck and let her out first thing in the mornings so she could
do her thing which, she did immediately, and let her happily back in the truck.
On the first full day I decided to explore and find "The Old Patriarch" tree. I parked on a
dirt turnout a couple of hundred yards south of the "North Jenny Lake Jct." and headed directly
east. I had my compass with me to keep me on bearing. I didn't have my cameras with me
because it was the wrong time of day so the going was pretty easy. I hiked for approximately 1
to 1½ miles, passing through several groves of trees, and spotted the tree. I checked out
possible locations for potential compositions and decided on what I thought would work best.
Using a reverse azimuth, I headed back to the truck and came out exactly where I first entered.
From that day until the last I looked for the park ranger, who didn't know about tree, but
never spotted her.
The next morning I was up bright and early, well... not bright, and on my way to get some sunrise
shots of "The Old Patriarch". I had a thermos of coffee with me this time though. Best
tasting coffee I've ever had too! I got to the dirt turnout and started donning my S&F vest
and backpack. Something I didn't take into consideration though is that I dressed in layers.
Again, it was cold and I had on two shirts, a polartec type pullover, and a polartec type vest.
I had rigged the camera vest and backpack for when I wasn't wearing this much clothing so I had
to quickly readjust them to fit. It took ten minutes at most and I was soon off. I was
wearing a wide brimmed hat with a small "Petzel" LED type lamp attached. The brim of the hat
kept the light reflection out of my eyes but allowed the light to hit the ground about three
feet in front of me. Nice little combination. One of the tripods was slung under my backpack
and I carried the other one over my shoulder like you'd carry a rifle. I had my compass in my
other hand and made good time.
During the hike I could hear bull Elk bugling all around me. There must've been 15 to 20
bulls calling in their harems but it was too dark for me to see them. When I got to the tree I
set up my tripods and cameras and made several adjustments to their locations for that
"perfect" composition. When I was happy with their placement it was light enough out see
clearly. The Elk had disappeared by this time and were probably holed up in the woods for the
rest of the day. When the sun "kissed" the tops of the mountains I knew I had to act fast.
During that time of year the sun rises fast and I had maybe 15 minutes from the time it first
hit the mountains until I was enveloped in its light. My GND filters were useless for this
shot because of the composition but, I had my warming polarizers on the lenses and I looked
into the viewfinders several times to make sure they were rotated just right. I started
shooting just when the tree was starting to get bathed in light and ran through two rolls of
35mm and one 120mm roll. By then, the show was over and I packed up and headed back to the
truck. I was elated with that shoot. I was the only one there and I got in a shot that few
people care to try to get. If you visit the park and want a shot of the tree, just follow the
described directions and you'll get it.
I've modified my LowePro S&F vest with a couple of 1 inch quick release type buckles sewn to
the shoulder harness and put the mating buckles on the shortened camera straps so I could
quickly "clip" the cameras to the vest. It's a secure way of carrying the camera but still
keep my hands free. The straps are long enough to quickly lift the camera to my eye without
unhooking it from the harness too. Pretty neat little modification if I say so myself. I had
the 70-200mm lens on the 35mm camera for the chance I might come across an Elk. I was careful
not to hit the front of the lens on any limbs because I didn't have the lens cap on. However,
I didn't see any wildlife on the trek back to the truck and once back at the truck I quickly
packed and headed out to the next morning shots. So on and so forth.
The following morning I experienced my one and only problem with another photographer. I
decided I was going to shoot the "Mormon's Row" at sunrise. Grand Teton NP has a lot of
private property on it and you have to be careful of where you go and what you do at times.
The "Mormon's Row" area is very much like that but, the barn I wanted to shoot was on NP
property so, there shouldn't have been a problem. I scouted out the area the day before and
decided on how I was going to conduct the shoot. "Mormon's Row" is on the Antelope Flats road
which, is paved and I found a little dirt turnout, near where I wanted to shoot from, and
stopped. I got out my camera and composed for the next day. What I wanted to do is compress
the barn and the mountains in the background so they seemed much closer than what they actually
were. This would give the mountains a more grandeur appearance and the barn a more humbling
look. To do this you have to use a telephoto lens of 135mm or greater. I decided to use the
70-200mm on the 35mm camera and the 210mm lens on the MF camera. Yep... it looked good. I
snapped a few daylight handheld shots and headed out for the rest of the days shoot.
The next day I was up at 3:00 a.m., got the coffee started, and took a shower. I got the
campsite "Yogi & Booboo" proofed, let Sam out of the truck for her morning rituals, got her
packed back in and was gone by 4:45 a.m. I arrived on location again before the sun had a clue
on coming up and got set up. It was so dark I could see the stars. The Milky-Way was in full
view! Shortly after getting set up a couple of other photographers stopped by to see what I
was doing so far away from the barn. I explained to them what I was doing and how I was going
to accomplish it. They both agreed that it'd be a good shot and decided to set up there too.
We had several intelligent conversations about photography while we waited for the sun to come
up. We talked about f/stops, focal lengths, filters, cable/remote releases, tripods, and so on
and so on. It was great. We had another thing in common too... freezing! Again, it was 24
degrees and I worried a little about my batteries so, I kept checking them during the
conversations we had. So far so good.
After the sun lightened the sky but, before striking the mountains, several more photographers
had shown up. They parked in the parking area nearer to the barn though. But... one of the late
comers walked out in front of the barn and started setting up his equipment. He knew we were
there because he looked directly at us. Still, he kept to his shot. After a short discussion
with my fellow photographers, I approached the late comer and indicated to him where we were
set up and what we were doing. He said he could move a couple of feet but I explained to him
that he'd have to move 25 yds or more to get out of our shots. He turned away and ignored me
from that point. There really wasn't much I could do because we were both on public property
and I walked back to my fellows and gave the details of the conversation with this "other" guy.
One of the new colleagues I had would have nothing to do with this. He marched over, with
intent, to the late comer and politely explained to him to "Get *#%@ out of the way!" It
worked! We got our shots and soon departed. Who was right? My opinion, I was. I'm sure the
other guy would differ with me on this but, I believe in the unwritten rule of "First
come... first served" and not to interfere with the photographer who got there first... or at least
set up first.
The next morning I was going to get my sunrise shot at Oxbow Bend. Like the two days before, I
was up, showered, coffee'd, out and on location by 5 to 5:30 a.m. I parked in the parking area
at the east end of the Oxbow Bend area. Something to chew on while I'm at it. It seems that
when anyone sets up a tripod and camera other photographers appear out of thin air. You could
be on location all by yourself but... once you set up your camera the first person who drives by
with a camera will set up too. Then another, and another, and another. They all must think
"Wow, that must be a good shot; otherwise that guy wouldn't be over there!" I fell victim to
this thinking several times. Orrrr, maybe it's a good shot and somebody had to get there
I got to the parking lot, saw I was the only one there, and decided to thaw out for awhile. I
parked near the west end of the parking lot so I could work out the back of the truck. Shortly
thereafter another guy showed up who squeezed in-between me and the edge of the drop off to the
river. I couldn't even open up the back door of the truck and wondered how he was going to get
out of his van. I moved slightly to make things more convenient. Then another guy showed up
who got out of his truck immediately and got ready to move out. I noted he was wearing a
LowePro S&F vest/belt system just like me. Hmmm, smart fellow he is. He had three camera
pouches and four lens pouches attached to the vest and a camera with lens on the tripod. And
you thought I over killed! He headed out right away and walked down the path to the river and
downstream a little. It looked to me like somebody else did a little scouting the day before
Without over exaggerating I'll bet more than a hundred photographers showed up for that shoot.
Most were strung out along the roadway but somewhere around 25 or so were where I was shooting
from. Needless to say, it got a little crowded and I thought "So much for using my truck as a
work bench." It made for some good conversation though. Everybody knew about DOF, auto-focus,
GND filters, and the such. One guy, who set up next to me, asked me how I was going to meter
for the shoot and I told him I was spot metering and using my 18% "green" card. This caused
quite a stir because everybody within earshot had never heard about, much less seen, an 18%
green card so, I proudly produced the card and flashed it around like some sort of badge. The
same guy who asked about the metering asked if he could use it so I let him use my spare grey
card, instead. But, when he asked to use my GND filter... uh-uh. You're out of luck pal. I also
explained to everyone about the guy who set up earlier down by the rivers edge so they could
compose their shots without him being in them. At first there were a few cries but when I
related to the "First come, first served" rule, everyone quieted down. There were no other
incidents. When the sun started coming up everybody got down to business and started getting
their once in a lifetime shot in. After the shoot everybody was happy and we all slapped each
other on the back for a job well done! Come to think of it, I was the only one there who had
two tripods and cameras set up. I had my floppy hat on and was wearing my S&F vest/belt. At
least I was fashionable. Before we left, I let Sam out to take in some Oxbow Bend smells.
After all... this was her vacation too. Sam and I were the first to get there and the last to
leave. Soon after, the place was deserted.
My last sunrise shot was at the "Windy Point" turn out. When I scouted out the shot I decided
there wasn't much there unless you zoomed in on the mountains... catching the earliest of the suns
rays. Clouds encompassing the mountain tops would be good. Again, I was on location about
5:30 a.m. and stayed in the truck to thaw out. I kept the heater running to aid in the
defrosting and... yep, you guessed it... I fell asleep! I woke up early enough though and had about
15 minutes to spare. I quickly got out of the truck and set up both the 35mm and MF cameras
and put the 70-200mm on the Canon and the 210mm on the Mamiya. I metered but knew that would
change once the sun crested the horizon and started to light the mountains. I had time to kill
so I looked around and saw two other people and one car parked there. Two ladies were trying
to watch Elk but they were too far away. They had a small P&S digital camera but didn't know
too much about it. I thought, "How the heck can they get through life without knowing anything
about photography?" I left them to themselves and went back to my set-up. The sun came up and
I fired through 1½ rolls of both 35mm and 120mm film. I used my GND filter for both cameras
and also had warming polarizers on each lens. This slowed the shutter speed down quite a bit.
Because the sun rises fast at this time of day and year, I handheld the GND. It has a "soft"
transition area and hand holding would blur the transition even more. I just had to be careful
not to bang the filter against the end of the lens barrel which could possibly scratch the
filter or cause camera shake... especially with the long glass attached and slow shutter speeds.
All worked out well.
The "Windy Point" shoot was my last sunrise shot but I'll mention a few of the other shots just
to prove I had other locations on my events list. Oxbow Bend really isn't much for shooting
other than sunrise or evening shoots. Course; if it's cloudy you could get in some close-up
vegetation shots. Other than that the lighting just isn't right. Oh... if it were winter it'd be
a good place all day. I got set up there one evening and noted clouds to the west of the
mountains. This would make for some good color shots. I met another photographer who had the
same thinking. We had an hour or so to kill and we got into some heavy duty conversation. He
was using the Canon EOS 1V which is a step up from my 1N. He was also using Canon "L" glass.
Pretty expensive stuff! I asked if he were a pro but he said no but said he'd been published
several times. As it turned out, he was from the Boston, MA area. I had been stationed west
of Boston and recognized several of the places he talked about. I guess we had something else
in common. His wife came over and we were quickly introduced and soon the three of us seemed
like long lost friends. She told me of a funny story her husband experienced earlier in the
I'll call the guy Bud... I don't want to embarrass him anymore than what he already did. Anyhow,
Bud was driving their van along one of the roadways. His wife was in the passenger seat.
About a quarter of a mile in front of them Bud saw a guy pull over and get out of the car. The
guy had his equipment in hand and quickly sprinted across a small clearing and into a thicket.
Bud thought, "Wow, this must be a good shoot because that guy got out!" Bud pulled over and
grabbed his camera and a couple of lenses. About half way across the clearing he noticed the
guy crouched down and peering through the underbrush. Bud put the viewfinder to his eye and
pointed the lens in the direction the guy was looking but couldn't see anything of importance
though. He yelled out "What?" The guy looked at Bud and waved a roll of toilet paper at him
and went back his duties. So, even the guy with the most expensive equipment and experience
can get caught up in the frenzy of getting in the shot everybody else is.
The Oxbow Bend evening shot turned out pretty good. I was using a 28-70mm lens to get in those
wide angle shots. Just before the sun went down a Bull Moose ventured out to the shoreline and
started to graze along the shore for a few minutes. He then plunged into the water and swam to
the other side of the river. Those who had telephotos on got in some good shots. I snapped
off a few shots but they didn't turn out very good. Who wants to see a black dot in the water?
After the sun went down everybody left the area. I turned to the east and noted the pink to
purplish colored sky and it's reflection in the water so I mounted the 70-200mm on the camera
and took some shots of the far shoreline. The shutter speed was around two seconds. Those
shots turned out pretty good too.
Another good location was the "Blacktail Ponds" where I got wet. The parking area is on a
bluff overlooking the Snake river and just to the north at the foot of the bluff are some ponds
with a small inlet from the river. I gingerly walked down a gully to the foot of the bluff and
headed out to the ponds... about a quarter of mile away. This is a nice mid-morning shot and
anything earlier wouldn't be productive because the sun would be too low and the bluffs shadow
would obscure the ponds. Anything later and the reflection of the mountains wouldn't appear.
So, mid-morning it is. As I was hiking I started to sink in the muck and soon got ankle deep
before I decided to turn back. Whew, what a smell! I'll bet some of that stuff I churned up
hadn't seen the light of day or been exposed to the air in centuries. I backtracked to where I
thought it'd be safe to get closer to the foot of the bluff. Once on dry land, I had to be
careful of the loose gravelly soil but soon made it to my destination. I set up and fired off
seven or eight shots per camera. While I was packing to leave I noticed a pathway over by
another gully not too far from where I was set up. I took this path which guided me back to
the parking lot. Sheesh! If you decide you want a "Blacktail Ponds" shot follow these
directions: Just to the north of the parking lot is a gully and just across the gully is a
small fisherman's path. Take that path to the next gully, about ¼ of a mile. Traverse slowly
down the gully and go to the river's edge. There you have it. When I got back to the truck
my shoes had dried out and the smell had dissipated to the point where Sam didn't even notice
An additional mid-morning shot is at the Snake River overlook. If you get there too early, the
shadow of the bluff will impose itself on the river and the immediate surrounding of trees.
Spring would provide better shadows of the bluffs across the river but Fall has the colors. A
partly cloudy day would've been nice. The parking lot is at the top of more bluffs and
overlooking the Snake river which has gouged its way deep into the terrain. About five miles
across the flats of the opposing bluffs are the mountains. There is a rock and mortar wall
between you and the very steep bank. I'll bet the viewing area is about 500 to 700 feet higher
than the river. I set up towards the northern end of the viewing area... right up against the
wall. There were several other photographers set up too. One guy had a 4x5 large format set
up and took two shots during the 45 minute stay I was there. The other guy had a "Super 8"
camera on a tripod that was set for time lapse with one shot every five seconds. He started at
sunrise and was still shooting when I got there. Pretty neat! When they left, another
photographer showed up with an 8x10 large format. Every now and then I fire off a couple of
shots. He remarked he couldn't do that with his behemoth, with the cost of film and all. So,
there are pluses and minuses to each format then. I hadn't thought about this before.
Well, that pretty well much covers the shooting I did while at the Tetons. One other place
worth mentioning is near "Spread Creek" which is located just to the south of Moran Jct. There
was road construction going on and I was trapped for about 15 minutes. I looked to my left and
saw what I thought was a nice view and quickly grabbed my digital camera and hopped out to snap
off a few shots. I noticed a couple of other photographers had gotten out of their cars too.
"It must be a good shot because that guy is shooting too." Heh heh.
I made two forays to the Moose Post Office to mail off some film. For the entire trip I shot
16 rolls of Kodak E100GX, seven rolls of Fuji Provia 100F, one roll of Kodak E100SW, and one
roll of Fuji Velvia ISO 50. If my abacus is correct, that's a total of 25 rolls of film. All
but six were mailed from the Moose Post Office and I mailed the other six the following day I
got home. I only broke out my digital three times for a total of 56 shots. Those were
immediately copied to a CD when I got home.
I stopped in the main Visitor Center, located in Moose, just one time which, is a typical NP
visitor center geared to its park. I overheard a lady explain to one of the rangers that she'd
been camping about 30 miles south of where I was camping and that the evening before a Black
Bear ventured into the campsite and chased everybody out. She reported the bear had an ear tag
and the ranger replied that they were familiar with the bear. He also said they'd have to trap
the bear again and put him further out in the "back country". I asked him about the bear
population up where I was camping. He said he hoped I wasn't "tent" camping because that was
heavy duty grizzly bear country. Oh great... that's all I needed to hear! I had one more night
While visiting with, talking to, and observing other photographers, I noticed a lot had one of
those spirit levels attached to their camera hot shoes. The purpose of the level is to keep
the camera level... no matter if you're shooting horizontal or vertical. I have this problem of
getting the camera perfectly level so I asked about them. Everybody agreed the price was
somewhere around $25.00 and I could pick one up at my local camera store. Yeah, right!
Evidentially they didn't live in the middle of nowhere like I did. I'd have to check the B&H
web site when I got home and see if they have this.
When I got back to the campsite my final night I noticed several people had moved into the site
next to mine. I went to bed they were still setting up and making a lot of noise. This didn't
bother me because the day's activities wore me out. I fell asleep while they were still busy
getting their tents set up. Maybe they put food in their tent and if a grizzly showed up he'd
go for them instead of me. The next morning I got up at the same time and went through the
typical morning rituals of getting ready for that days shoot. When I closed the roll-top cover
of my truck bed I accidentally got the little remote control for the locks caught in-between
the roll-top cover and tailgate. The panic alarm went off! Uh-oh. I shut it off and in a
normal voice apologized. I know it woke them up but they didn't say anything. Heh
heh... payback, accidentally.
My last day there I didn't get packed until early afternoon. I departed the campsite somewhere
around 3:00 p.m. and decided to drive the Teton Park Road through the park. It sure seemed
faster going through the park this time around. I made it to the southern end of the park and
was on my way. Again I passed through Jackson without incident. It sure looked like they were
having another festival because the streets were packed with people. I found a good radio
station and wanted to get caught up on the news. Thirty minutes later I found the road
construction which had gotten worse because they had more of the road tore up. Hours later I
was back in Logan Canyon but this time it was night and I almost hit a couple of cows in the
open range portion of the canyon. I stopped in Logan at a Wendy's because I hadn't eaten since
the day before. I got Sam something too. I hate feeding her that kind of food but I had no
choice. A couple of more hours later I was back on I-80 headed west onto the "salt flats". I
had to stop at a rest area because I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Boy... was I tired
and I caught four hours of sleep! Two hours later I was pushing the remote for my garage door
I've since gotten all of my film back from A&I labs in Hollywood, CA. They do a great job.
They combined all of my film into one box and FedEx'd it back to me. I've replenished my film
supply and mailers by going on the web to B&H. I even ordered and received one of those spirit
levels I mentioned but only paid $24.95... not the $25.00 like everybody else did. I've
cataloged, labeled, and stored all of the 35mm slides in their protective sleeves but I'm going
to have to order sleeves for my MF shots. I got them back uncut and will have to figure out
how to label them. Also, I've posted a few of the shots on Outdoor Eyes and have received
favorable comments and critiques on them. Thank you everybody who made comments and/or
The visit to Grand Teton National Park was a fantastic adventure. I couldn't have asked for a better
companion than Sam. She was so good while there. I met quite a few fellow photographers and
learned from some of their experiences. I hope I was able to share a little of my knowledge with
them, too. I had been looking to visit the Tetons for quite some time and can now say I've been
there and back.
Click the author's gallery image on the top of the page to view the author's photographs.