9224, Teton Barn and Mauve Dawn
Teton National Park, Wyoming
The Story Behind the Picture
This old barn is one of the most photographed spots in the Tetons. I've been here a million times at dawn trying to get a great shot, but have never had much success.
This time was different. As usual, Joan and I were camped in the Gros Ventre Campground in Jackson Hole. This is the southern-most of all of the campgrounds in Teton National Park, about ten miles north of the town of Jackson. It's our favorite in the Tetons. When the other campgrounds are full, there are always spaces here. And it is very quiet and not least, really beautiful in the fall when the leaves are turning.
I stuck my head out of the camper door at 4 AM and looked east to see if there were clouds. It looked good, the whole sky was partly cloudy, perfect for a good dawn shot. For great dawns or sunsets, there have to be clouds that light up. Completely clear or completly cloudy skies always yield nothing dramatic. On those days, you say "Oh well" and go back to bed and hope for some clouds to at least build up for sunset. After a quick cup of coffee we headed north for the Antelope Flats Road and Mormon Road, where this barn lives.
One reason this shot is such a hard one is that you are not looking east into the rising sun and its brilliantly lit skies. You have to shoot this barn and the Tetons behind it from the east. So, the sun and the dawn is behind you, and the dawn sunlight is shining on the barn and the mountains. This is both good and bad.
Its good because you want the barn and the moutains to light up. At sunset this shot is nothing: the barn has no light on it and is a flat dull grey. Ditto for the Tetons. You can sometimes get great sunset clouds in the evening sky as the sun goes down, but the mountains themselves will be mostly a black sillouette. If you try to lighten the barn and mountains, usually the whole picture is ruined.
However, having the dawn sun behind you is usually bad because there are usually no brilliant clouds in the Western Sky. Its usually blah white or grey clouds.
But this dawn was different. Not only did the Eastern clouds light up, but the Western clouds lit up also. This does happen once in awhile. The Western sky will refllect the brilliant eastern sky and so you have great color in both directions. With this great light in the West, it was very easy to get the best shot I've ever taken of the Mormon Barn. In an hour we had the shot captured and were back in the town of Jackson at our favorite breakfast restaurnt , The Bunnery. Great buns and everything else for breakfast can be found there.
Rocky Mountain Photography
Rocky Mountain Photography
Fine-art photography of wild and scenic America: mountains, autumn leaves, wildflowers, lakes and rivers.