There are few places in North American that can even rival the diversity of wildlife and photographic opportunities that Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons offer the photographer in the Spring. Come June, the valley is a riotous explosion of life as one of the most epic displays of wildflowers joins the overwhelming numbers of baby animals that are practically overrunning the place. Some have called this place both the Serengeti and the Alps of North America. In the Spring, I could not agree more.
This workshop is timed to connect you with the peak of wildlife activity and wildflowers. The resident grizzlies have all filtered into the valley in preparation for the elk calving, mother bears with cubs can be found this time of year teaching their young the fine art of hunting elk. Moose and elk calves, are just starting to get the hang of using their long legs. Bison are also at their peak of calving season this week as well. And let’s not even get started on the owls, as this place has one of the densest nesting populations of owls in the country.
June 17 – 23, 2018
Lodging: Lodging is provided with the price of the trip. Workshop price is based upon double occupancy. A limited number of single supplements are available upon request for an additional price.
Skill Level: Beginner to advanced
Physical Level: moderate (elevation)
Number of Participants: Limited to 5
Location: Jackson, Wyoming
Airport: Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)
What to Expect
This workshop is all about adventure, the big mammals of the West, and landscape photography with a capital P. Moose, elk, pronghorn, bison, bears, owls, nesting songbirds, and woodpeckers are just a few of the photographic subjects that we will pursue on this expedition.
- Photographing in Jackson Hole this time of year is all abundance. Whether it is bison calves in a field of wildflowers, or bear cubs suckling from mom,. you will have the opportunity to photograph a variety of springtime classics.
- Big mammals are not the only wildlife we will see. Jackson Hole is the Serengeti of North America and countless other opportunities could arise from grey wolves to great grey owls
- This workshop will take place during the peak of the wildflower season, calving season, and nesting season.
- Personalized 1 on 1 in the field instruction
- Daily opportunities for personal Lightroom and Photoshop instruction
- Periodic image reviews through the duration of the workshop in order to assess your progress and specific needs
- Post Trip Notes. These are detailed PDF files that are an in depth compilation of skill sets discussed each day. 2 – 4 pages of information will typically be provided for each day of the workshop. Many photographers have commented that they learned just as much from the post trip notes as they do from the actual in the field workshop itself. Feel free to ask questions about this.
- A head first dive into hardcore wildlife photography and what it takes to get the job done
- The opportunity to work in a small ratio of instructor to participants. Most other workshops offer a far larger ratio
- And let’s not forget, one heck of a great time!
Day 1: Fly into Jackson Hole Airport. Jared will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your lodging. Once all participants have arrived, we will go over the logistics of the coming week, and have go to dinner where we will have our official meet and greet.
Day 2 – 5: We will spend the rest of the week photographing various wildlife opportunities across Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons National Park, and the surrounding area. Given that this workshop is primarily geared toward wildlife, we cannot create a set itinerary as we will be working with the opportunities that are unpredictable this far out.
Day 6: This will be our last day of shooting in the field. We will spend the morning photographing in the valley. Instead of an evening shoot however, I will have a blind critique of everyone’s images. This session has proven to be a favorite part of the trip for many participants and will be extremely educational. You will definitely want to bring a notebook and pen for this as we discuss everything from Lightroom to creative composition.
Day 7: This day is reserved for travel. Jared will provide shuttle for everyone back to the airport.
The workshops that we offer are kept small so as to make the experience completely personalized. As many realize, workshops with 10-20 people are very common. By limiting the size of the trips to 5 people (8 with a second instructor) we are able to offer opportunities that simply cannot be found in larger groups.
In the Field Instruction
While we are in the field, each day brings something new. Every time we set down our tripods, conditions, lighting, backgrounds, action, etc. . . will offer us new and unique challenges. From the right brain creative aspects of learning to see the possibilities of composition and light, to the left brain analysis of exposure, there is a lot to keep up with out there. But don’t worry, that’s what we are here for.
Small group sizes allow us to devote significant amounts of time working individually with participants while in the field. As conditions are ever changing, the realm of topics to be discussed while on location is endless.
Technical aspects of photography such as exposure modes, metering patterns, histograms, auto-focus modes, ISO, f/stop, and shutter speeds will all be discussed with nearly every shoot. Why we recommend the settings that we do, how it applies to this situation, and what are the pros and cons of these different technical decisions that we are forced to make in the field.
Moving well beyond to technical parts of photography, while we are in the field together we will spend much of our time also discussing the creative aspects of photography as well. Understanding light and how to exploit it creatively sits at the heart of photography and this will be a key undercurrent throughout the workshop. You will learn the different types of light and how to properly handle them. You will learn how to control perspective and the relationship that this has with your viewers psychology. You will learn how to start seeing like a professional in terms of quality or opportunities as well as compositions.
The technical parts of photography are the easy stuff to learn. Though it may seem daunting if you are still learning, this side of photography is made simple when taught how each of these components functions in relation to real world situations and repetition. On the flipside of this coin however is the creative part of photography. This is the subjective, the art, the intangible stuff that takes cliché and uninspired technical perfection that is a dime a dozen and catapults it to a true work of art with the ability to make a lasting impression on your viewer.
This is our lofty objective while we are in the field.
Review and Critique
There will be two scheduled reviews of your work while on this workshop. On the evening of Feb 1st, Doug and I will provide participants with a midweek review. This in turn will give participants the opportunity to know what they need to be working on, as well as let us know what we need to be working on with that individual.
On the last day of the workshop, we will spend the evening in an extensive blind critique of everyone’s best images. Blind critique means that there will be no names attached to the images and everyone will have an opportunity to weigh in on strengths and weaknesses as well as suggestions for improvement. From composition to lighting, post processing to exposure, this critique will run the gamut of all aspects of nature photography and becomes one of the most important parts of the workshop for the participant. We will provide both pizza and alcohol for this review.
Prior to this workshop, we will set up a private Facebook group for which participants will receive and invitation to join. From this platform, we can begin discussions relevant to upcoming workshops starting several months out.
Throughout the duration of the workshop, we are compiling notes based upon the days activities, concepts discussed in the field, obstacles, challenges, and successes. After the workshop, these notes are then compiled into a series of documents. The idea behind this is to take real world situations that you yourself were apart of to use as an instructional resource for you to refer back to after the workshop. Photographic concepts are outlined in detail, and specific examples are used with in depth descriptions of how exactly the photograph was made including the reasoning and artistic aspects that went into the composition as well as the technical side and how the two are used in conjunction with each other to express your creative vision.
What will the temperatures be like this time of year?
Though the rest of the country may be in the grips of more summer like weather, high up in the northern Rockies, June is still early to mid spring. For the last 6 workshops we have offered in June, it has snowed on us at least one day. This means that you need to be prepared for just about everything mother nature can throw at you. A typical day might start out in the mid 20s and then climb into the low 70s by 3pm.
What is the longest lens that I will need?
I recommend that you bring a lens that will at least reach out to 400mm. This does not mean you need a 400, 500, or 600mm prime lens. There are many options available that will allow you to achieve these focal lengths through the use of smaller, lighter, zoom lenses. If you do not have a lens that will reach this length, fear not. I can help you with a 10% discount on rental equipment through both www.lensrentals.com and www.borrowlenses.com
What about bears?
Jackson Hole and Grand Tetons National Park are situated smack dab in the middle of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – one of the largest intact ecosystems in the northern hemisphere. And this place is very well known for it’s bears – both black and grizzly.
Bears will factor into this workshop as we pursue photographs of them. More than likely we will photograph grizzlies, but black bears are a possibility as well. Over the last several years, we have averaged at least two days a week that we photographed grizzlies. This is an average of course and there have been workshops where we photographed bears almost every day.
Remember, there will also be: moose, elk, bison, pronghorn, coyotes, mule deer, owls, nesting songbirds, and a grocery list of other potential subjects on this workshop.
Will we photograph landscapes?
Absolutely. Spring is by far the best time of the year to photograph every one of the classic landscape locations in the valley. As long as the light and weather cooperate, you will have the opportunity to shoot some absolutely breathtaking landscapes of the Tetons.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this or any other workshop that we offer. To the left, you will find a simple contact form in place to make this process as simple as possible for you. We realize however that sometimes these sorts of onsite forms are difficult to work with when more lengthy questions and comments are necessary. Therefore, below you will also find the appropriate email, phone number, and even facebook account that you can contact us with if you would prefer.
Fact: flights get canceled, airlines overbook, snow storms shut down airports, family members get sick, doctors occasionally deliver unexpected news. Life is what happens as we are busy making plans. John Lennon said that, and it’s about as true of a statement that can be made when it comes to travel.
The recent loss of power to Delta’s systems that led to the grounding and cancellation of thousands of flights drives home this point. With so many variables and possibilities out there that cannot be foreseen or planned for, we highly recommend purchasing trip insurance for this workshop. The costs are surprisingly low and well worth the small expense. Trip insurance gives you peace of mind and allows you to know that if one of those little inevitabilities in life happens to pop up, you will not lose your money spent on your workshop and flights.
CSA and Travel Guard are the two big ones out there. But you can get instant comparative quotes through www.insuremytrip.com