Old School Film Hack

Land of the big belt buckles — Pt. 2


After leaving Idaho Falls, we headed out-of-town toward another old stomping ground — Palisades Reservoir, a place where I explored while my parents enjoyed fishing.  But I wasn’t ready for what I saw… the water level was over 30 feet down from normal, if not more.

Further up at the shallow end of the reservoir, the water had receded to the point where there were a couple of MILES of lake bottom exposed and it was filling in with plant life.  Very surprising to see that first hand.  We continued toward Wyoming and briefly stopped along the way:

That last photo is of a osprey nest!  I don’t remember seeing osprey here when I was a kid, so it was a surprise to see them wheeling around in the sky and taking a fresh catch of fish back to the nest.

We finally made it to Jackson Hole to see the Grand Tetons — our first trip back since our honeymoon in 1990! This is what we came out to see — the big peaks of the American West.

Schematic diagram of the Teton fault and the o...

Schematic diagram of the Teton fault and the orogenesis of the Teton Range, Wyoming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once the shadows began to lengthen, we turned back to find lodging for the night.  Back in 1990, we tent camped in the wilderness between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  But many years have gone by since then and my back can no longer tolerate the rigors of tent camping.  But what to do?  Jackson, Wyoming is notorious for being as pricy as Aspen, Colorado and we couldn’t possibly afford that… or could we?

The secret is to do as we’re doing on this trip.  This region has three seasons: the summer crush (when they get 3 million visitors streaming through in a just a few short months), the winter ski season, and about four to five weeks to recover their senses during the months of April and early May.  That’s the time to visit — when crowds are non-existent, the room rates are a 1/5th of their normal cost, and fancy restaurants are offering 2-for-1 deals.  Take the meal below; it’s grilled Idaho rainbow trout, grilled spring vegetable salad and a roasted tomato vinaigrette — and I must say the trout was simply the finest and most flavorful I’ve ever eaten.  Or how about the dessert of warm caramelized pear, almond brittle, puff pastry and the richest vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted? Truly a spectacular meal and one that we could afford due to the 2-for-1 special they were having due to the off-season.

After the meal, we decided to walk off some of the calories and take in the sights, like the famous elk antlers across the street.  In my earlier quiz I indicated that the white knobby stuff could be found on Assateague Island, which is true; they have some elk there, plus some  Sitka deer, which are natives of Japan that somehow found their way onto the island.

And when we saw that the sky was beginning to shape up for a nice sunset, we decided to hoof it back to the car so we could experience it with the Tetons. This was when we spotted the glacier rocks in the stream bed below.

7 thoughts on “Land of the big belt buckles — Pt. 2

  1. Dina

    Wow, I’d like to go there, so beautiful!
    I’m off to North Norfolk, UK in an couple of weeks. Vast empty beaches, gorgeous marshes. Can you give me a few hints to learn more about this kind of landscape settings, I’d be very grateful; you have so many gorgoeus post; I don’t know where to start and stop… 🙂 🙂


    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Idaho is indeed a beautiful place — at least it is to my eyes — as are the neighboring Yellowstone and Teton National Parks and the areas around them. However, there are a great many people that find Idaho a boring place and one that they can’t drive through fast enough, especially the high desert region of the southern portion of the state, which is filled with black basalt, arid scrub and sagebrush, and very little else.

      You should be able to take spectacular images in the UK, especially with what you’re describing!

      Please note that all six of the bottom images in this post were taken with an iPhone. All of the upper images were taken with a Sony NEX-5R and either a super wide-angle zoom or a telephoto zoom. The point being that one can take good quality images with just about any camera these days, just so long as one practices a great deal, culls relentlessly, and edits carefully in post-production.

      With wide-angle shots, it helps to get the camera away from eye-level; try getting it close to elements in the frame, or closer to the ground than usual, or higher in the air than usual. Also try tilting the lens up or down to emphasis the sky or the ground — by all means, play with it and explore. Many of my more successful wide-angle shots are because I took time to interact with the environment and recorded dozens of different angles and shots, before deciding on the one that I deemed to be a keeper. On a good day of shooting, I’ll come back with as many as 4,500 images to cull, edit, and cull again… until I get the figure down to just one percent or so of what I shot.

      When I share images online here at Exploratorius, you’ll note that — as a general rule — I’ve gone to posting five images or less since migrating over from Blogger back on April 20th of this year. This is a self-imposed rule to help me focus on just posting the very best images that I have to offer. If I have more than five photographs to share, I’ll break it into more than one post. Yes, it can really stretch out to a very long series of similar posts, but I’ve also taken to splitting that up with other posts as well, so as to keep the interest of people.

      Let me know if I can help you further!


    2. Dina

      Thank you so much for this answer, Mitch. I have played a litlle with wide angle and I’m in for lots of surprises. 🙂 It’s great! I have to get use to the FX and also the new lenses and it has been most helpful to read your posts.
      Idaho sounds lovely to me, and I’m sure Yellowstone is very beautiful.

      A maximum of 5 images to a post sounds very sensible. Many photographer today only post one single image, because the average reader only looks at 2 images…

      Thank you so much for your time, Mitch. It’s great to learn from you!


    3. Dina

      I have quite a few, but I’m very thankful for new ideas and this looks like a great tip! Thank you. I have put it on my list, I’ll see if I can find it.


Join the conversation!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: