August 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

August 1st, 2017:  Tuesday

Note: The first week or so of August should resemble the last two or three weeks of July. Check out: July 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP Sunrise Pano Sunrise Pano: It’s a tough call when you have a sunrise like this one developing on one side and three Bull Elk on the other side. I took this three shot pano, then concentrated on the Elk! (Click the image to see it much larger) Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens, Handheld, VR ON.
Continue reading "August 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP"

Teton County Fair 2017

Teton County Fair The Teton County Fair happens each year during the last week of July—smack dab in the middle of the busy Summer season. I’ll be running the snow blower and shoveling snow soon enough, but for now this colorful event offers a welcome break! Our kids are grown and “out of the nest” but that doesn’t mean I can’t return to the Fair for my own form of fun. Continue reading "Teton County Fair 2017"

Working in 16 Bit Mode

Memory is Cheap — Memories are Priceless!

I typically shoot in 14 bit and process in 16 bit in Photoshop as long as I can. Here’s why…

16 Bit Clobber and Recovery

The issue is not what you can see, or what your monitor can display, or what your printer can print—but what is under the hood of the file! I believe you will be amazed by the examples! (For this article, 8 bit vs 16 bit refers to Color Bit Depth while using Lightroom and Photoshop.) 14 Bit Capture 16 Bit Image 16 Bit Export The image above was captured with a Nikon D810 in 14 bit mode. I set that in the camera’s menus long ago and never looked back! The files are much larger, so they fill cards faster, fill the buffer quicker, and possibly slow down the frame rate on some cameras. You might consider these issues up front. You can always “downgrade” a capture during your workflow, but you can’t “upgrade” one. As seen in the screen grab, I export images from Lightroom to Photoshop by selecting the 16 bits/component option. Continue reading "Working in 16 Bit Mode"

Eight Seconds of Fury

Brahma Bull Riding: “The most dangerous 8 seconds in sports”

The American Flag If you have them, jump into your Wranglers, put on your Tony Lamas, snap up your long-sleeved shirt, lock in your silver belt buckle and top everything off with your best Stetson. Then head to the Fairgrounds for a night of fast and unpredictable action. The Jackson Hole Rodeo has been thrilling tourists each Wednesday and Saturday for decades. If you can can’t make to either of those nights, Friday night rodeos have been added to the lineup. Little Bull Rider Each week, little tikes are initiated to the cowboy tradition and develop the skills for a lifetime of rodeo action. Bear Emlyn isn’t in Kindergarten yet, but he’s already on a bull! The Rodeo way of life starts early for some! Sequence 1 Each cowboy that gets on the back of a one ton Brahma Bull knows they are taking an eight second ride that can possibly kill them—or cripple them or life. No two rides are the same, but they are all potentially dangerous. These athletes “cowboy up” and put it all on the line, while us spectators do just that from the safety of the bleachers. Continue reading "Eight Seconds of Fury"

Teton Valley Hot Air Balloon Rally

Mark your calendar, get up early, and head over Teton Pass for next year’s Teton Valley Balloon Rally. That’s my suggestion! I was there early for the 36th annual event, typically held around July 1st each year. It’s a heck of a deal! Pay $5 to park, then walk around almost unrestricted! I had visions of being roped off, away from the balloons, but those visions were wrong!. Onlookers are rewarded with an intimate experience. Spectators can walk among the balloon crews and watch the balloons being unfolded, filled with air, and then raised to the sky via hot air. Unrolling the Balloon I was at the fairgrounds site long before daylight…too early! I’ve seen photos from the Albuquerque event where balloons were being filled during the pre-dawn period—lit by the fire of the propane jets. For this event, most balloons are filled between 6:00 am and 6:45 am. The balloon above was being unpacked prior to the 6:00 am pilot’s meeting. Take a Ride! Entry to the parking area is $5, but if you want to take a Hot Air Balloon Ride, get there early and bring about $300 per person. Riders help ready the balloons, as seen above. Continue reading "Teton Valley Hot Air Balloon Rally"

Jackson Hole’s Great Solar Eclipse!

A Page of Resources and Links

August 21st will be the big day for this year’s Solar Eclipse—and Jackson Hole is directly in the totality path!  The Park Service is preparing for the event with extra staff, one way roads, camping and parking restrictions and so forth. Expect bumper to bumper traffic and all kinds of “issues”. Even with a few potential logistical hassles, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us. Luckily, I live in the path so I don’t have much invested in the eclipse. I don’t have to gamble at all! Others will have paid premium prices to be in Jackson Hole for the event—with no guarantee of clear skies. Heavy clouds, and even smoke from area fires, are always a possibility. Barring clouds or smoke, onlookers can expect some of the least polluted skies in the country. Plenty of areas of the country will be in the path of the Solar Eclipse but Jackson Hole will be a hot ticket! Remember—it will be August. Traditionally it is a very hot month in most parts of the US. Jackson Hole’s cool weather and clear skies make it a premier location. NOAA Map NOAA: Ready, Set, Eclipse: As the map indicates, JH is predicted to have a good chance of clear skies for the Eclipse in August (Historical Averages). Viewers originally planning on being in Oregon might rethink their choices. The “clear skies” gamble is much higher there. Continue reading "Jackson Hole’s Great Solar Eclipse!"

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"

Fort Henry Rendezvous 2017

Photos from the 28th Annual Rendezvous held near Rexburg, ID.

Mountain Man Rendezvous are held all over the country, but head to the Northern Rockies if you want to be where it actually happened! Rifle Range If you were attend a Mountain Man Rendezvous, you’d find an eclectic mix of individuals that share an interest in American History. The Mountain Man era spanned from roughly 1825 to 1840—a blink of the eye in US History. Hardy trappers roamed the Rocky Mountain West in search of beaver pelts—trapping them in late fall and early winter to be used for fashionable European top hats. Lack of demand and depleted supplies of beavers resulted in the demise of the Mountain Man period. Continue reading "Fort Henry Rendezvous 2017"

Another Day at the Office!

Cowboys and Wranglers in Grand Teton National Park.

Three Cowboys and Mt. Moran Each year, Pinto Ranch moves a herd of cattle to one of the leased pastures north of Elk Ranch Flats. In preparation of tomorrow’s cattle drive down the highway, three cowboys saddled up near the historic old cabins and dude ranch. Another Day at the Office 1 I managed to get to the cowboys at about the time they were ready to ride West. I asked if I could take some photos. “Yep, no problem. We are headed that direction”.  I did my best to line up either the Grand or Mt. Moran, moving to my right at a pretty quick pace. From what I understand, their job for the morning was to move bison out of their pasture and then patch up the fences. Jon Holland, broke away from the other two cowboys and then all hell broke loose! Continue reading "Another Day at the Office!"