Hidden Landscapes in the Tetons


The weather has been an absolute horror these last few days in Jackson Hole. Rain, rain, and then more rain. This morning we had a little change with a touch of snow, but not enough to do anything for us in terms of our photography. With all of this crazy weather, the wildlife photography has been somewhat hit and miss. Sure we have photographed massive bull moose and black bears, but over all things have been a lot slower this year.

Luckily though, this is Jackson Hole we are talking about. Wildlife, though it may be my particular cup of tea, is not the only game in town when it comes to photography. Let’s not forget that this place also happens to be one of the top landscape photography locations in North America as well. So when nature tosses you lemons, you put a shorter lens on and make lemonade.

This photograph is from Lupine Meadows at the base of the Tetons – a particularly favorite location of mine for capturing some of the more subtle details of the Tetons range. With gold and reds mixed in with the dark green of the spruce and fir trees on these lower ridge lines, the pulsating clouds that crept up and down the mountain all morning made for some really cool scenics.

The fun part about photographing situations like this is that these moments are evanescent. The scene is constantly changing as the fog rolls down and lifts up, breaks apart in one place, and thickens in another. From one minute to the next, completely new compositions reveal themselves and then disappear forever. It can be trying at first to wrap your mind around compositions when they are so fleeting. However, given a touch of patience you begin to see the different possibilities before they actually occur and with time begin to create order out of chaos.

The two ridge lines cutting across the photograph offer strong compositional elements thanks to the repetition and diagonal lines they create. Once visually found, this became my base from which I knew I wanted to create a photograph of. When the fog comes rolling through like this in the Rocky Mountains, the scene can quickly become very monochromatic in nature. With the splash of color thanks to the hues of Autumn, I was able to do so much more. After I developed a general idea of what my composition was going to be, it was then a matter of waiting out the fog. As it rolled up and down, new scenes and even elements revealed themselves until finally, the one that I had pre-visualized in my head began to develop.

ISO 250 | f/11 | 1/15th | 200mm | D4

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