Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's okay to get in a rut!

Hmmm. Seems like an odd title doesn't it? I've always thought that it was bad to get in a rut. This week, however, it really paid off.

I'm in the middle of my fifth week in Idaho and I've posted about 250 photos to my website so far. (Click on the link on my main page at to check out the fun.) If you were to look through my newest gallery and the other galleries that I've posted in the past from my visits to Idaho and Wyoming, you would notice a lot of the same locations - over and over, again. Some people might think that would get boring. I'm learning to LOVE IT! Every time I visit Grand Teton National Park to shoot the barns on Mormon Row or the reflection at Schwabacher's Landing, I get something different.

The Tetons are an incredible mountain range. Take a shot before 9am and you're almost certain to get something good. The difference between "good" and "spectacular," however, usually depends on the weather. And since the weather changes all the time, it becomes an adventure every time you go back to that same old place.

We have lots of "bluebird" days up here. Some folks even call it "severe clear." Here's Schwabacher's on a day like that:

Then sometimes you get some clouds in the morning:

Mormon row is the same way. Bluebird morning:

Overcast morning:

I shot that last one above in 2005 and I haven't managed to catch a sunrise like that since. However, now that I've failed a few times, I know a little more about what it takes. It takes weather! Nowadays, I check the sky the evening before to see what might be happening the next morning. I even check early in the afternoon to try to anticipate what the sunset will look like. That brings me back to this week.....

This week I decided to mix things up and try some sunset photography in GTNP, expecting the mountains to silhouette against the evening sky. What I got was a great surprise. I watched the afternoon weather in Teton Valley, Idaho, just west of the Tetons and noticed some really interesting clouds headed toward the peaks. I raced across Teton Pass and found myself sitting at Schwabacher's Landing an hour later. Schwabacher's is the perfect "poster shot" with the reflection in the beaver pond and the beautiful trees along the shoreline. I've shot it so many times you might say I've gotten in a rut! But this time the weather cooperated and gave me a gorgeous sky.

I hope you like it. It's one of my new favorites.... all because I went back to the same old place.

Keep shooting the same things over and over and you will begin to discover that it can be different every time. Look up! Check the sky. Let the weather help your landscape photographs.

Happy shooting!