Wind or fire? Which do you prefer? The fires blanketed Jackson Hole / Grand Teton with smoke. On Sunday a southern wind started up. It cleared out the smoke, but made photographing the fall color a challenge. Waiting for lulls in the wind. Hoping the 3 shots would be have minimal movement. And that Photomatix would be able to blend the 3 images together into an HDR. I still haven’t decided if I’ll need to work on one image of if the HDR’s worked. Here’s a sample.
When we got to the Church of the Transfiguration (major site here in Grand Teton) there was almost no one there. We went into the church and took a few shots. But when we came out a gaggle of photographers with their “big guns” were all pointed at the church. It was hard to figure out where to go to keep out of their shots. And since I wanted to take photos of the outside of the church as well, I had to join the queue….
Driving south on 89, one of the fires inside Grand Teton was acting up. We heard later they’ve brought in fire fighters from Salt Lake City to help knock it down. The funny thing is that the sight of the intense Smoke cloud covering the sun, and framing the Tetons was beautiful. Makes me a little uncomfortable taking pictures – but I got over it quick.
Tomorrow we head off for Grand Teton. We’re in Old Faithful Lodge for our last day. (Man, they just need to add a Walgreens and this massive complex would be a great shopping mall, lol)
Highlights so far: Grand Prismatic, South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Pronghorns in Lamar Valley, Elk along the Firehole River, Buffalo everywhere, Norris Geyser Basin, viewpoint at the beginning of Beartooth Scenic Highway, and the 2 ghost towns of Virginia and Nevada Cities.
Wanted to visit the ghost towns of Virginia City and Navada City Montana. Didn’t study the map well enough. Because the western route from Mammoth to Old Faithful is closed, I decided to go north. Turned out you have to go all the way to Bozman Montana and then south to get to Virginia City. This is definitely a round about way to go.
The 2 ghost towns were very appealing. I’ve always had an affinity for chaos. I love old falling down buildings, especially if they are located in beautiful surroundings. These 2 cities fit the bill. I was especially impressed with Nevada City. There is a compound of buildings that I found quite impressive. You’re supposed to pay $8 to go in but no one was around to take my money. I would have gladly paid this amount. Tons of old buildings some in good shape, others almost falling down. What was really impressive was the lack of tacky tourism. No one dressed up in cowboy outfits, no shops selling junk.
Woke up early, turns out a little too early. I’m realizing that the official Sunrise & Sunset times are based on the flat lands. Up in the mountains the sun sets behind a mountain a little earlier than expected, and it takes a little extra time to rise in the morning also. I was up at 5:30AM and the sun didn’t rise above the “horizon” until 7:30AM. The wait was worth it. I was up in the Terraces here in Mammoth.
Later we headed south towards Norris Basin. Our first stop was Sheepeater’s Cliff. The Cliff itself is only so so, but if you continue along the river you come to a nice gorge. I was lucky because it had a lot of Autumn color.
Norris Basin is amazing. I can’t wait to develop the pictures from there.
All in all a good first day. Hope to have some photos to share soon.
We didn’t pick up our car in Jackson Hole until 5PM. It’s a good 150 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs in the Far northern part of Yellowstone. Obviously it was going to be a long drive. But what a beautiful drive it was. Driving through Grand Teton and Yellowstone there is no way you can hurry. We called ahead and told the hotel that we were going to arrive late, and tried to make up some time. Since we’re going back this way on the return, I didn’t feel the need to stop that often. But I did want to take advantage on the best light of the day.
Found a little stream just as we came into Yellowstone that was throwing off some good reflections from the sunset. We stopped and I fired off several sets of 3 (to do the HDR thing.) Here is one I liked: