With all the cloudy weather during the time in the Tetons and Yellowstone, it afforded the opportunity to try some things I would usually not take the time to try. Normally, every second of every day is spent either taking photographs or scouting for shots for either that day or later in the trip, but always thinking about photography. More often than not, nothing came from my “experiments” or my “just passing the time” shots. But it is probably a good idea to continue to shoot even when there doesn’t seem to be anything that inspires you, just to keep you in that photographic mindset. In order to do so, I took a chance to see the Chapel of the Transformation which was built in the early 1920’s completely from local timbers and found that some HDR software was desperately needed to make the image work. The view outside the alter in the center of the photo was of the Tetons, very inspirational for the worshipers.
The barns of Grand Teton, which provide so many iconic images when conditions are right, can also be pretty dull when conditions are not. That’s when your mind wanders toward close-ups, details or postcard shots that would have been great if the lighting were better. Even though I used a split ND filter to get some detail below the clouds, it was Lightroom that coaxed every bit of detail from the RAW file and made the image of the barn shot through the trees presentable. Since the ND also darkened the tops of the trunks in the foreground as well as the clouds, that was easily corrected later by brushing them lighter in Lightroom.
Often, it was details of the larger scene or structure that seemed to find their way in front of my lens when I seemed to be just passing the time waiting for the sun to shine through or if nothing else seemed to inspire me. The one on the left below was a closeup of a building’s raw wood exterior, while the one on the right is a closeup of the bark from one of the few aspen trees near the barns.
Doors always seemed to be interesting things to photograph and I did that a few times as well.
But while I was in Arco, just outside Craters of the Moon, to have a breakfast of more than my usual single power bar, I found an abandoned gas station with a peeling white garage door. I was arranging my camera to eliminate my and the camera’s reflection from the windows, when I noticed a couple slowly walking down the street toward me. I was hoping they would not turn into a side street, but continue on their path to make their way into the reflection of the window, and was lucky enough to remember to turn off the “mirror up” function that would have otherwise required a second trip of the shutter release to record the image, and captured them at just the right moment. That was a highlight for me, since I rarely even try to take anything that.
And while having breakfast that morning, I spoke at length to Wendy, the “chief cook and bottle-washer” and every other job there was in that local restaurant, and felt comfortable enough to ask permission to take her photograph among her kitchen kingdom. She was so lively and energetic, she just couldn’t seem to stay still long enough to get a crisp image in the dimly lit place, and it took several attempts just to get something close. But, of all the people I met during the trip, she is the one I will always remember.