Mormon Row

Mormon Row is located in the Antelope Flats area of Grand Teton National Park. Mormon Row is a rural historic landscape including the construction of the Moulton Farmsteads. These farmsteads and may others were constructed by a settlement of Mormons from 1908 to 1950 henceforth the name Mormon Row. To get to this Moulton barn you will head north past the Jackson Hole Airport, then turn east onto Antelope Flats Rd. Then turn back to the south on Mormon Row. It's a dirt road with a turn around at the end by the barn.

This location in the park is one of the most scenic. The peaks of the barn roof match the peaks of the Tetons. In the fall the fog and low clouds tend to hide the Tetons, but in this case it worked out. The best time to photograph Mormon Row is at sunrise. The sun will rise striking the face of the barn and in turn the Grand Tetons Mountain Range. Be careful of your shadow. The best spot to stand will be on the south corner of the property at an angle from the barn, otherwise your shadow will be in the image and many other photographers will give you evil glares.

I was one getting glared at but quickly realized what I was doing and moved. So when you arrive and wonder why all the photographers are standing in one spot its worth investigating and may save yourself from one of those embarrassing oops, sorry, moments.

This weeks post picture was taken on a cloudy morning with a tripod mounted 16-35mm at 27mm @ f8. I used a ND grand filter handheld to balance out the sky and foreground while triggering the camera with a remote release.

Mormon row is worth the trip to the park alone. It's a must see right behind Schwabacher Landing.


Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls is located in... wait for it... Yellowstone National Park. I bet you knew that but I just wanted to make sure. The falls consist of the upper falls and the lower falls. The more popular is the lower falls and is this weeks post picture. The lower falls is approximately 308 feet high and is best viewed, in my opinion, from Lookout Point. Yellowstone Falls is twice the height of Niagara falls although Niagara falls does have a higher volume of water flowing over it.  According to the National Park Service,  "The volume of water flowing over the falls can vary from 63,500 gal/sec at peak runoff to 5,000 gal/sec in the fall."

I visited the falls in early October and it was pretty amazing. I am not sure the flow rate but nonetheless by my calculations it is was a lot. There is a lookout in the park off of the north rim trail that will take you down directly over the falls. The trail is a series of switchbacks leading down to the lookout so keep that in mind. It's a strenuous but short hike and well worth it. The view you get is staring directly down a 308 foot waterfall drop. It's pretty gnarly and Highly recommended!

This weeks post image was taken with a tripod mounted 70-200. I shot an 9 image panorama. It was an overcast day which helped but I also used an 8 stop ND filter to blur the water of the falls. I shot at f8 to get the sharpest shot I could and the ND filter gave me something like a 6 second exposure. I will cover how I shoot panoramas in a future post as it's too lengthy for this one.

Yellowstone Falls is one of the most popular sights in the park and is a must see. Now only if you can keep from saying Yellowstone when you mean Yosemite or vise versa, you're better than I.

Sleeping Bear Point

Sleeping Bear Point is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Recently Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted the most beautiful place in America, "hidden gems" by Good Morning America viewers. Sleeping Bear Point is part of this hidden gem beauty.

For information on Sleeping Bear Point, click on the link here.

Sleeping Bear Point is a wonderful place to catch a sunset or you can take the loop for a hike through the sand and dune grasses. I would recommended wearing sturdy footwear if you are to do the Sleeping Bear Point loop. There's a lot of sand and although you may be tempted to do the barefoot thing I would use caution, you may find yourself developing a few blisters after a while. I speak from experience.(that was not a fun hike back to the car)

Sleeping bear point is a quiet serene place and will be less crowded than the more popular dune climb or Pierce Stocking scenic drive.  Just as a waring to visitors, there are cougars in the area. Research is underway studying the cougar population in the Sleeping Bear Dunes , however I have never seen a cougar while at Sleeping Bear Point or Sleeping Bear Dunes for that matter.

This weeks post photograph, was taken on the short hike to the beach during a sunset. I used a 16-35mm tripod mounted at aprox 18mm F16. I used a polarizer, and due to the intensity of the sun, I used 2 ND graduated filters to get the exposure I was looking for.

Sleeping Bears Dunes is indeed beautiful and to see that beauty I highly recommend visiting Sleeping Bear Point.

5 Macro Photography Tips

Here are 5 macro photography tips that I use when I do my macro photography.

1) Use a tripod. This is not always required but it will allow for a better "shooting percentage". A tripod helps with sharpness, will allow you to get the depth of field you need for most macro photography, and makes it easier when you are low to the ground getting those hard to reach shots.

2) Use a flash. Using your pop up flash is often not a good idea, depending how close you are to your subject your pop up flash will cast a shadow on the subject. Instead try using an off camera speed light to light your subject or better yet a ring light.

3) Manual Focus. When working in close quarters your autofocus will have troubles focusing and you will have more success using manual focus. I use my live view zoom in on my LCD and manual focus on my subject to get the sharpness I am looking for.

4) When shooting outdoors you will most likely encounter some wind. When shooting flowers or insects on flowers, it will help to anchor the flower to a stick to help stabilize the subject.

5) F16 is the minimum aperture you want, in order to get your subject in focus and achieve depth. With that being said, experiment with different apertures to achieve different effects.

This weeks post picture was taken with a 100mm macro f8 @ 1/30 sec

Hope these tips help with your macro photography!

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is located about 30 miles from Moab Utah. I stayed in Moab to visit both Canyonlands and Arches National Park. This is the best place to stay when visiting these two parks. Many different accommodations and things to do. A quick google search of Moab is all you really need to find what, where, how, and when.

First off I must say it was HOT. It was near 100 f during the day in mid July. When it dropped down to 85 f at night it actually felt a bit chilly, that's how hot it was midday. If you plan on visiting these parks during the summer months, please take this into account.

Canyonlands have very unique geological features that are carved out by the Colorado river. My first impression of Canyonlands was that it looked a lot like The Grand Canyon. Canyonlands National Park also has many features that rise above the horizon which give it a unique feel.

The main reason I wanted to visit Canyonlands National Park was to get a shot of Mesa Arch at sunrise. The underside of Mesa Arch glows when the sun hits it and you can look through Mesa Arch and see the canyon below. It's a beautiful sight! Moab being 30 plus minutes away and it's July so the sun rises early, you have to get up well before the crack of dawn to see the sunrise. I made my way out to Mesa Arch and being that I was a little behind I may or may have not drove really fast to get there in time. Shh don't tell anyone.

When I arrived to the trail head parking lot, there were about 7 or 8 cars already there. The path to Mesa Arch is about 1/4 mile and being how light it was already, I  dang near ran to the arch. I got there and already a string of photographers were set up photographing. It was funny though because there was a spot open almost like they knew I was coming.  I wedged my way in with my tripod and started photographing. As the sun came up shortly after I got there, my fellow photogs and I just started saying ooo and ahhh. For a moment we all stopped taking pictures to enjoy what we were witnessing. The excitement and comradery is great in places like these. I have heard stories of photographers getting into fights over the "best" position but I have yet to witness this and actually my experiences have been exactly the opposite. Respect can go a long way, and I end up talking and making friends.

This weeks post picture was taken at f16 so I could get the "star burst" effect. I was using my 16-35mm lens at 16mm, tripod mounted with a cable release. This photograph was the best of my trip and I am glad I was able to witness a Mesa Arch sunrise.

As far as the rest of Canyonlands, it was ok. I defiantly enjoyed Arches more, and if I were to do a "canyon" trip I would go to the Grand Canyon instead.

I recommend visiting Canyonlands National Park just based on the fact that Mesa Arch is a must see!