Snake River Overlook

During our visit to The Grand Tetons last week, we were hoping for some great sunrise and sunset opportunities, however, mother nature doesn't always work on your travel schedule.  We did get a at least one decent sunset and sunrise, but there were several days it was all clouds.

This is an image I made at The Snake River Overlook.  The scene from the overlook is one of my favorite scenes in the entire park.  It really doesn't have anything to do with it being famous, either...I just love that scene.

This image was taken about 30 minutes before sunrise and as the moon was setting.  There were clouds that had a lot of promise of lighting up for a gorgeous sunrise, but there were also clouds to the east that did a good job of hiding the sun.  All was not lost, though.  I really like this image with the moon.  The exposure on this was 8 seconds.  Just enough to show a little cloud movement, which is another aspect of this image I like.

Aperture-priority, 8 sec, f/8, ISO 100, 24 mm

This image was made using my Canon 5D IV, Tamron 24-70 G2 Lens and Sirui 2 Stop GND Filter.  I also used my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and G-20X Ballhead for support.

Majestic Moose

These moose shots were taken a few months back during my trip to Grand Teton National Park.  

According to park rules, you are allowed to be within 25 yards of any animal that isn't a bear or wolf.  These moose are gigantic animals.  They look really docile, but I'm guessing if they get pissed, I don't want to be 25 yards away.  Their legs are as long as my body, so I'm guessing I can't outrun them...plus, I'm fat..so there is that.

I would guess we were about 30-40 yards from this guy.  He was in a river valley and we were standing above him looking down.  Using a lens like the Tamron 150-600mm Lens and getting as low of a perspective as I could enabled me to get a shot that looks like I was looking directly in his eyes.  One of the best things you can do to improve your wildlife photography is to get eye level with your subject.  It connects the viewer to the critter in the image and is simply more dramatic.

ISO 1250, 280mm, F/5.6 @ 1/400th second

This guy was getting his antlers and they are in velvet.  He had a few battle scars on his face, too.  You can see those in this profile shot below.

ISO 1250, 180mm, F/5.6 @ 1/640th second

If you hover your mouse over the images, it will show you my camera settings for these shots.  You'll notice I was at ISO 1250.  Anytime I am shooting wildlife, I usually start at ISO 800 and go up if I need to increase my shutter speed.  Since these critters move, I like to keep a fairly "quick" shutter speed.

This is in stark contrast to the landscape & scenic images I post, where I want the ISO as low as I can get it.  Doing this type of wildlife photography the shutter speed is more important than the ISO, and even digital cameras a few years old have no problems shooting ISOs up to 1600.

These images were made with my Sony A77ii and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Dramatic Weather, Dramatic Photograph

One of the days we were in the Tetons, it came a pretty good storm on us.  I had even heard reports of significant hail in the area.  Luckily, while it was storming we were resting at the hotel, however afterwards we went right out to shoot in hopes of getting images of some awesome clouds or dramatic light.

The old saying "Dramatic weather makes dramatic photos" was true here indeed.  I immediately could see some amazing black and white images being produced just from seeing the clouds the storm left us with.  While we were shooting different scenes, I told my group to keep black and white in mind for sure, because that would even be more dramatic!

One scene we photographed under these clouds was the famous barn on Mormon Row.  This is usually a great sunrise spot, but once I saw the clouds, I knew that's where we should check first for some dramatic shots.

ISO 100, 45mm, F/11 @ 1/200th second

This image was made using my Sony A7R, Sony LA-EA4 Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.  Of course I used my Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Tripod and BBH-200 Ballhead as a solid foundation, too.  I then processed the image in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Software.

Woodpecker

This is one of the woodpeckers I got the chance to photograph out in Grand Teton National Park this past spring.  Although there were several woodpeckers to be photographed in this area, this was the best looking one, in my opinion, and the hardest to photograph.  He was pretty camera shy and stayed hid out most of the time in one of the nesting holes.

He was only out here for just a few minutes, but I got several shots of him.  This image was taken with the new SP Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD.  I had it mounted to my Canon 7D and they were locked down to my Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Tripod.  I'm glad I had the tripod, too.  Not only for image stability reasons, but there was a lot of time spent waiting.  I got to spend that time not holding my camera ;)