If you’re not a winter person, it’s probably been a few months since you’ve taken a single photo. But, you’re in luck. Spring is just around the corner, and it won’t be long before blooms of daffodils, tulips and cherry blossoms begin dotting the landscape. But, instead of settling for the same old photos this year, why not try something a little different?
I recently began experimenting with a program called Topaz Impression. I briefly touched on this program in my article, “The Final Frames,” in the last installment of eNEWS last year. Topaz (topazlabs.com) makes over a dozen programs that can really add a unique flair to your images, but when it comes to nature photography, Impression is probably the most useful. Taking its name from the impressionistic-style of painting that emerged in France in the mid-19th century, this program can transform an ordinary-looking photo into a stunning work of art.
To apply some advice that I received several years ago, one hard drive will annoy ya….two are a paranoia. The hard truth is that only three things in life are certain: death, taxes and hard drive failures. They all have finite life spans. No matter how sophisticated your drives may be, given enough use over enough time, they will fail. Not if, but when.
As you age, your ability to walk around is limited, so I have started using my vehicle as photography blind. Occasionally I get out of the car, use the tripod, and hike to a hot spot, but generally, I’m shooting photos from the car especially if I’m on a driving trail such as a loop road.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite of all the national parks to photograph is Grand Teton.
Perhaps it’s the starkness and beauty of the Grand Teton Range, but there is so much more to what makes this national park an endless source of fascination for photographers.
The main area of the park is accessible via what is called the inner and outer loop. The outer loop is Highway 191, which connects the town of Jackson with Yellowstone National Park to the north. The inner loop takes one closer to the base of the range.
As you enter the park from Jackson (located five miles south), you immediately encounter the view of the majestic Grand Teton Range.
One of the most iconic views is from a location known as Schwabacher Landing. The Snake River dissects the park. Some tributaries and beaver ponds have formed, creating the opportunity for beautiful reflections and foregrounds.
Continuing north along Highway 191, one will come across a parking lot area and overview of perhaps the most famous of all the park’s viewpoints, Snake River Overlook.
Ansel Adams’ iconic image from this location captured back in 1942 has been seared into the memories of many landscape photographers.
The scene today looks much different from Adams’ time as pines have grown and obscured much of the Snake River. Rumors have persisted over the years that the park may one day cut back these pines to once again reveal the scene as Adams captured it 76 years ago!
This past fall, I had my group on location at predawn. As you can see, the river was perfectly still and as the dawn hues arrived, the snow-covered peaks of the Teton Range reflected beautifully, allowing me and my group to create this image.
Oxbow is a location that one can photograph at both ends of the day. My favorite time is morning but I have made some nice images during and after sunset. Sunset works better if there are some clouds in the sky.
Other icons of Grand Teton National Park are the T.A. Moulten Barns, located on Mormon Row just off Antelope Flats Road.
This scene is generally photographed in the morning as first light hits the peaks. I decided a couple years ago to try photographing this scene at sunset and came away with this image.
At sunrise, this location can be overrun with photographers. When I captured this image, I had the location to myself.
This lone barn has been restored recently along with other barns and old homes in the Mormon Row Historic District.
Regardless of the time of year you chose to photograph Grand Teton National Park, one thing will remain constant – the beauty will overwhelm your senses!
Having begun his professional career over 40 years ago as a sports photographer, Don successfully transitioned into the world of fine art landscape photography in 2002. For seven years he was a contract photographer for Sports Illustrated and still keeps active in sports as original co-team photographer for the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The rest of his time is spent on his landscape photography work. Don is renowned for his work as stock photographer for Getty images and as a landscape workshop instructor, teaching 17 workshops per year. He has had cover images for over 30 books internationally. His work has been displayed in the Getty Museums around the world. Don teaches landscape workshops around the western United States from eastern Utah to Kauai. Don is affiliated with Topaz, Helicon Focus, SmugMug Pro, MindShift Gear, Think Tank, and B&H Photo. He is also part of the pro teams at both Singh-Ray and Lexar. In 2014, Don was named to the Sony Artisan of Imagery team of professional photographers. He has written three books: Refined Vision, The Photographer’s Guide to the Big Sur Coast, and On the Edge. He has also recently released a 22-chapter video series titled: A Simplified Method to Processing which followed his successful video series A Simplified Method to Workflow in which he teaches his innovative approach to post-processing. All can be ordered on his web site (www.donsmithphotography.com). Don and his family live in the Monterey Bay area of California.
Editor’s Note: NANPA is fortunate to have collected a library of excellent blog posts over the years. We add new members all the time, and our long-time members may not recall a specific post, which they may find more useful than when it was first published because their interests have changed. Regardless, we’re going to share posts “From the Archives” from time to time. The post below by Dana Warnquist was posted in June 2017. DL
Text and photography by Dana Warnquist
“Is that an Ansel Adams photograph,” she asked. “No,” the gallery owner replied with a chuckle. “It’s a local photographer.” Overhearing this exchange, I could feel my face warm as I flushed with both pride and embarrassment. True story.
While my art certainly cannot be compared to that of master photographer Ansel Adams, his photographs and philosophies about protecting our natural environment have inspired and motivated me to capture eye-catching black-and-white images. Not everyone can create iconic landscape images like Adams, but with a few basic steps, from capture to print; stunning black-and-white images can be produced by even the newest DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera owners. Continue reading →
The only place on earth you can observe Humpback whales working as a team bubble net feeding, is here in the pristine, nutrient rich waters of Southeast Alaska. This most impressive act of cooperative feeding was on display from early October to Mid-November in the Eastern Channel and up towards Silver Bay in front of the aptly named whale Park here in Sitka, Alaska.
It may be the shortest month of the year, but to some, it can feel like the longest. Many of its days are dull and dreary. The few sunny days there are don’t last that long because it will be at least a month before Daylight Savings Time begins. Even people who love winter may be feeling that it’s high time to pack up the parka. As nature photographers, we find ourselves stuck in a sort of limbo between the last snowstorms of winter and the first blooms of spring. February can be a bit challenging in many ways, but when it comes to photography, it doesn’t have to be a barren wasteland.