Photography

Jackson Hole Skiing Pictures

It looks like photographer Jack Brauer has left Jackson Hole until next winter season, but he’s compiled an amazing collection of shots and posted them on his website.

It’s worth taking a look, especially if you like skiing and snowboarding and are curious about coming to this area. See what you are missing!

P.S. Also take a look at his Wyoming gallery. Grand Teton National Park is south of Yellowstone and worth combining with your visit here.

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Yesterday’s Sun Setting Behind Two Top Mountain

Two Top Mountain in Sunset

Two Top Mountain in Sunset. Click for larger version.

Yesterday I was driving home from the grocery store and saw the sun setting behind Two Top Mountain and creating a halo around the peak.

I raced as fast as I could to the “old airport” on the west side of West Yellowstone, parked, and shot this through the car window. With sunsets, you have to act fast.

The above was taken with my Tamron 28-75 mm zoom lens [Amazon link]. It’s good quality, but I think people hyperventilate a bit too much about it. The below is the same mountain from the same location, using my Canon 300 mm lens [Amazon link].

Two Top Mountain - close-up

Two Top Mountain - close-up

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10th picture

Highway 191 between West Yellowstone and Bozeman

Highway 191 between West Yellowstone and Bozeman. Taken on November 13th, 2009. Click for larger version.

Judy over at Yellowstone Dreaming tagged me to post the tenth picture I’ve taken. To make digging through all my files easier, I’m using the 10th picture from my new camera.

Here it is, shot on November 13, 2009 on a snowy day while driving from West Yellowstone to Bozeman. I saw some great light shining through the snow clouds and pulled over to grab a shot. It looks almost like a black and white photo, but isn’t.

Speaking of Judy, also check out her post on how to have your own Yellowstone adventure, and for some courage read this one about quitting her jobs to come here.

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Photo: Profile of Flying Raven

Raven Flying Profile

Profile of flying Raven

I drove out yesterday to the south fork of the Madison River to attempt some “bird in flight” photos. I crept around the bend of the creek and saw a blue heron fishing, and he hadn’t seen me yet.

Someday I’ll learn, but I didn’t have my Canon 300 mm lens [Amazon link] on yet and while while changing lenses he flew away. But I know where he’s at now, and will be back.

While waiting to see if he would return, I did manage a shot of this raven flying by.

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Trout en Papillote recipe, plus Wild Bison at Hebgen Lake

Buffalo Herd At Hebgen Lake

Group of wild bison at Hebgen Lake.

It wasn’t just trout and whitefish that I saw yesterday at Hebgen Lake. Here’s a picture of a group of about 15 wild buffalo that we saw while walking back. (Hebgen Lake is behind the trees).

It’s an amazing thing to be walking along a trail and suddenly see a group of buffalo and is good reason to visit Yellowstone National Park since you won’t see this anyplace else in the world. You can’t get into the park until Friday, but if you know where to go around West Yellowstone you’ll have a good chance of seeing some.

As for the fishing, it was a bit slow, but I managed to come up with a Rainbow Trout, and shared a Whitefish that a friend caught. We were using earthworms and pieces of corn that we’d cast out and let sink to the bottom of the lake.

Much of Hebgen Lake is still frozen, but the area around Horse Butte has open water.

I’m experimenting with recipes right now and like how this one turned out. It’s a nice change from frying, which so far for me is always too oily. Here’s how I made the trout pictured below. The recipe is a general guideline – you can experiment with the spices and vegetable mix.

Yellowstone Traders Trout en Papillote Recipe
1. pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. lay the fish filets on the top half of piece of parchment paper
3. sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley flakes
4. slice the following and use them to cover the fish: a lemon, zucchini, carrots, celery, onion.
5. add a pat of butter and drizzle with olive oil
6. fold the parchement paper so it covers everything, then start at one edge and make many little folds until almost completely sealed and you just have one fold left.
7. pour some dry vermouth into the parchment packet through the hole
8. seal the parchment
9. put on a tray and cook for 15 minutes
Trout Paillote Recipe

Trout en Papillote

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Posted in Fishing, Photography, Recipes 4 Comments »

Camera Review: Canon G10/G11

Photographing the Madison River with the Canon G10

Photographing the Madison River with the Canon G10 (while wearing fingerless buffalo fiber gloves). This camera is excellent for taking to Yellowstone National Park.

The Canon G10, and now the G11 [Amazon link], is an ideal camera for taking to Yellowstone National Park. It can (just barely) fit into your pants pocket, and easily fit into your jacket or purse, so you’ll always have it within reach.

And you always want a camera within reach at the park.

I’ve been driving through on dreary, grey days and it moments the clouds change and there is a stunning landscape. You need to pull out a camera, fast, because those conditions don’t last long. Carrying 35 mm equipment all the time can be a hassle, but with the G10 or G11 you’ll be able to take a quality photo.

Here are the features of this camera that I find especially well-suited for Yellowstone:

Fast start time. A buffalo, a moose in the road, and eagle flying: they are everywhere, but you just can’t predict when. I’ve never missed a shot waiting for the camera to turn on. What this also means is that you let the camera shut down to save battery life and not worry about it causing you to miss shots.

Long battery life. Will it last an entire week? Probably not, I’ve never been out during the day and had the battery go dead, and have gone two days. For 35mm cameras I always get a second battery, but I don’t feel the need for the G10/G11. Just remember to recharge at night.

Mountain range in Yellowstone National Park taken using the G10's stitch assist. It's actually two pictures merged together so I could get more of the mountains in the picture.

Mountain range in Yellowstone National Park taken using the G10's stitch assist. It's actually two pictures merged together so I could get more of the mountains in the picture.

Stitch assist. You’ll be photographing the grand mountain vistas in Yellowstone and to get even more coverage, the G10/G11 offers “stitch assist”. This is when you take two, three or more photos side-by-side and in your computer attach them to together for a very wide shot. The camera will show your previous shot and let you line up the new one against it. This is very handy so that you don’t miss a section.

Mount Haynes picture taken with the Canon G10 in macro mode.

Macro Mode. Why list macro mode? When I’m in a place like Yellowstone I don’t feel like taking pictures of tiny things like mushrooms, which could be found anywhere. I want to capture the essence of the location. Take a look at this photo with Mount Haynes in the background.

I used macro mode to focus up close on the flower, while positioning the mountain in the background. The macro setting throws the background slightly out of focus, creating a feeling of depth. If I didn’t have macro mode, I couldn’t have gotten this shot.

Rapid shooting. For the Yellowstone mud bubbles, the best thing to do is hold down the shutter button and takes lots of shots. One of them is bound to turn out. The G10/G11 has a burst mode so that you can get your Yellowstone mud bubble shot.

This camera is great for beginners who are interested in becoming more creative with their photography, and good for advanced photographers who want an easy-to-carry back-up camera to their big and heavy camera bags.

The handling and feel of this camera is a joy and you won’t be disappointed.

Note: All of the pictures here were taken with the Canon G10. The latest model is called the G11 which is better in every respect, so you definitely want to buy that one, though there’s nothing wrong with the G10 if you can get a good price on one.

Need more information? Canadian photographer Darwin Wiggett gives his G11 review here. (We all wish he would photograph Yellowstone with his distinctive style in capturing mountain light. Encourage him!)

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Buffalo in the snow – photo and video

Last night at one of my favorite photo spots where Highway 191 crosses the Madison River there was a traffic jam with about 15 wild bison standing in the road. Notice that despite the icicles along the bottom of this guy, the buffalo hide is keeping him warm.

Buffalo in the snow

Buffalo in the snow, just outside of West Yellowstone. (Click for larger image).

We’re having a big snowfall right now in West Yellowstone and I’m hoping this Tweet from the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce is correct.

The picture is actually two shots taken with my Canon 300 mm lens [Amazon link] and merged together in Photoshop. I pulled over and rolled down my window to take the picture from my car which is the best approach when shooting the larger animals around Yellowstone. They are surprising fast, and wild, and people get gored when they step out for a closeup.

Here’s a video of the buffalo also.

If the buffalo hide can keep this animal warm during these crazy elements, go to my online store and imagine what one can do for you on a cold winter night! EKYZVN5V9TGR


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Interactive Panorama: Madison River Sunset

Here’s a shot of last night’s sunset over the Madison River. I was driving home from shooting pictures around the Big Sky area when I noticed it was going to be a wonderful sunset. The problem? I was at least 10 minutes away from a spot to stop. That was an agonizing 10 minutes!

Hit the “full screen” button on the bottom right for an big view, or just drag your mouse around the picture, and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

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Madison River Sunset – Timelapse Video

Timelapse video of this evening’s sunset over the Madison River, just north of West Yellowstone, Montana. Taken with my Canon T1i Rebel using the Canon’s wide angle 10-22 lens.

The video is a collection of 200 still images taken five seconds apart. I was standing on the south shore of the Madison River at the Highway 191 bridge (see map below).

This is actually fairly easy to do. You also need a tripod or something stable to place the camera on, and the Rebel comes with a cord that you have to attach to a laptop. Then just find a sunset and a nice foreground and you are ready to shoot. One thing about sunsets is that they are hard to predict – if it’s looking a little bland, stick with it. Notice the gorgeous orange colors that start coming out at about 13 seconds in the video.



View Madison River Photo Location in a larger map

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Camera Review: Canon T1i Rebel

I’ve had the Canon T1i Rebel almost six months now and I am very surprised by how much I like it. I know that many of you are thinking about getting a new camera for your trip to Yellowstone National Park and this is a great option if you want something other than a point-and-shoot. My previous digital camera was the original Digital Rebel (the 300d) and this was a huge improvement.

Live View, in which I can see a video preview of the picture on the back of the camera, is something I’m using now about 50% of the time. It doesn’t work well in a lot of sunlight, but otherwise I find it makes it easier for me to visualize the final shot. I also seem to be better able to notice clutter or other distracting elements.

The viewfinder is easily adequate and I don’t find myself wishing for a larger one, though of course that would be nice.

Start-up time is fast and has never caused me to miss a picture. Battery life is fine, though I always recommend getting a second battery, especially if you are visiting a location like Yellowstone National Park where you will be in a constant state of seeing photo opportunities. Note: using Live View will quickly drain your battery.

The camera includes video which is something I didn’t think I would use, but I’m becoming very interested in it (here’s my YouTube Channel). I’ve made some nice videos, and a lot of bad ones. Here are some tips (remember that any negative finding in this video section could be due to my newness at this):

  • scenes with a lot of contrast, such as bright blue skies and white snow, don’t turn out very well. I’ve been disappointed that I can’t capture some of the beauty of Yellowstone in winter.
  • I never realized how many cars are around. The audio picks up every vehicle that drives by, so if you need clean sound you have to buy a separate audio system. Canon doesn’t let you hook up an external microphone like they do on their more expensive cameras, so it means having a laptop or recorder around to save the sound.
  • using a tripod makes a huge difference in the quality and professionalism of the final product. I usually don’t use a tripod for still shots, but I can’t get away with that using video.

It’s a great camera for a hobbyist or advanced amateur, and you can use the money you save by avoiding the Canon 50d and invest it in good lenses or a tripod.

Here are the drawbacks, or areas of improvements I’d like to see:

  • I’d love to be able to tap the camera view screen to set my auto-focus point
  • internet forums say that Canon’s marketing department forces engineers to have huge megapixel counts because people associate this with quality. The reality, forums say, is that this reduces image quality, especially under low light or when using a lot of depth of field. If this is true, then Canon should change direction. Each Raw file averages 20 meg in size, and it really slows down my laptop when trying to process it in Adobe Lightroom.
  • I like small and light cameras, so the smaller and lighter the better. But this one isn’t bad.

The updated T2i is available now, and that is the one to buy if you can, but you won’t be disappointed in the T1i.

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