Light Painting Without Lights

Lightroom and Photoshop to the Rescue!

Recently, the Park Service announced slight changes in the enforcement of a few rules already on the books. The change involved a restriction on the use of artificial lights to illuminate a subject for the purpose of photography. Flashlights are still allowed for safety and wayfinding. I posted a new page on the subject a week or so ago. Check out this page: Artificial Light for Photography in Grand Teton National Park. Night Barn Original Capture I thought it might an interesting challenge to attempt to imitate a light painted shot. This is a screen grab of an image as it was captured on a Nikon D5 body and a Nikon 14-24mm lens. You can see the shooting data near the top corner: 20 seconds at F/2.8, with ISO 2500 at 18mm. The photo was taken during the “blue light” period, which can often appear too blue. I set the White Balance to a Custom setting of 6800k. (This is just a starting point for LR and not set in stone).  Of course, I was using a tripod. This page will show a lot of steps and tools that might spark some ideas of your own. I am using Lightroom CC 2015 (the current version) which contains a nice set of features that are not included in the boxed LR6 version. One of the recent additions is the Guided Transform tools, which work similarly to the Perspective Crop tool. It has been in Photoshop for quite a few revisions. Lightroom can do a lot of the heavy lifting on most images—and can even do all of the work on many images—but a project like this one still needs Photoshop. Continue reading "Light Painting Without Lights"

Artificial Light for Photography in Grand Teton National Park

The Times They Are a Changin’!

How about borrowing a line from Bob Dylan’s 1964 title song?  The days of adding artificial light in Grand Teton National Park (and all National Parks for that matter) are coming to an end. As it turns out, the regulation has always been in GTNP’s rules—they just weren’t being enforced. In essence, it states that no artificial light can be used for night time photography. You can use a flashlight for navigation and safety, but not to light a subject. Photographers have been shining flashlights and popping strobes on trees, barns, footbridges, wagons and so forth for as long as I have been doing digital photography. I heard about “light painting” for a few years before I ever tried it. The concept is simple: during a long exposure, the photographer shines a light on a subject, usually slightly from the side. After that, it’s simply a matter of practice and finesse. March Snowman Over the years, I’ve asked if it was okay to use a flashlight in the Park, and have always been told it’s fine as long as I don’t shine the light on wildlife. I’ve had rangers come up while I was light painting, and each time said I was fine. One time, the Ranger chatted with me while I was light painting a snowman at one of the turnouts. He chuckled at the setup and drove off. As it turns out, I was probably breaking two regulations that night…more on that later. Continue reading "Artificial Light for Photography in Grand Teton National Park"

Beating the Summer Crowds in Grand Teton National Park:

Tips and Strategies to Help Make Your GTNP Visit More Enjoyable!

GTNPVisitation at Grand Teton National Park has been on the incline for several years—each one breaking the previous year’s totals. We are likely on a similar pace this year, and that’s not taking into consideration the extra visitors in August for the Solar Eclipse! Air travel is getting more and more difficult—and less fun. It is probably going to get worse with new restrictions on computers and eventually photo gear. Gasoline prices have remained relatively low and there is a renewed interest in the Parks in general. That’s great for our regional market. It’s great for the tour operators, merchants, galleries, restaurants, dude ranches, and activities! If you are stuck behind a bear jam or waiting to get through the entrance station, it’s not so great! Continue reading "Beating the Summer Crowds in Grand Teton National Park:"

Flat Creek Wetlands: My St. Vrain

Jackson’s Year Round, But Often Overlooked Asset!

Flat Creek Wetlands sits on the north edge of the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Area Visitor’s Center. It couldn’t be more convenient for any Jackson Hole visitor or resident, yet most people drive right by it! Yep, I get it! People are lured to Grand Teton National Park with hopes of seeing a Grizzly, Moose, bugling Elk, Wolf or Bison (short list). Flat Creek Wetlands is my “St. Vrain”. I’ll explain that near the end of the page! Flat Creek Westlands Spring is usually a very active time at Flat Creek Wetlands, but actually it seems that something is going on there all year. While I take photos at Flat Creek Wetlands year round, photos on this page were all taken on May 2nd, 2017. To be more specific, I spent roughly an hour in the morning and another hour in the mid-afternoon. I came home with a couple thousand photos! You might call it a “target rich” environment, yet I was the only person there taking photos! In the photo above, I captured several Canada Geese, a pair of Trumpeter Swans and a group of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Continue reading "Flat Creek Wetlands: My St. Vrain"

Telephoto Lenses For Landscapes

More than likely, most photographers purchase a telephoto lens for wildlife photography. It’s totally logical, and I use my telephoto lenses for wildlife, too. A telephoto lens gets the photographer “close”, even when it is either impossible or illegal to do so otherwise. Moulton Barn
Shooting Data: NIKON D5, Tamron 150-600 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 340 mm, 1/800 Second at f/8, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 180
Continue reading "Telephoto Lenses For Landscapes"

Red Foxes of Jackson Hole

Red Foxes, with their distinctive white pointed tails, roam most areas of the Jackson Hole valley. Red Fox in Winter The bulk of the visitors to Grand Teton National Park come here in the late Spring, Summer, and Fall, seasons. Foxes are around, of course, but aren’t seen that often by the average tourist. I believe there are several factors. Foxes are usually hunting very early and very late—and that’s not the same time of day the average tourist is roaming the valley. Much of the year, single Foxes only need to catch enough food for their own needs that day, then can rest and sleep the day away until they are hungry again. Continue reading "Red Foxes of Jackson Hole"

Harbingers of Spring

Warmer and longer days are obvious indicators that Spring might be around the corner, but Spring in the Tetons is a rather slow and unpredictable process. Snow melts in the southern end of the valley long before it disappears in the northern section—and it melts even later in the high country. Around town you might see high snow banks dissolvling and roads seeming to get wider. You tell yourself, hopefully, you won’t need that heavy Winter coat again until late November! Spring is coming! American Robin Besides the changes to the landscape, we start hearing familiar chirps, screeches, and calls. Robins are some of the first of the returning birds that signal the promise of Spring. Continue reading "Harbingers of Spring"

Snowfall and Wildlife

“Bad weather” photography can be challenging—yet can be very rewarding. I’m usually okay with winter bad weather photography as long as I can still feel my fingers and toes! Other photographer’s definition of bad weather may vary. Shooting Data: NIKON D5, TAMRON 150-600mm at 600 mm, 1/640 Second at f/7.1, Manual Mode, 1/3 EV,  Auto ISO 4500 I’m guessing if you asked 30 photographers how to take successful photos in heavy snow, you would get roughly 30 different answers—and each one would be certain their way is the best. This page as a series of “starting points” I can offer if you venture out during a winter storm. Continue reading "Snowfall and Wildlife"