The origin of the name is disputed. The most common explanation is that “Grand Teton” means “large teat” in French, named by either French-Canadian or Iroquois members of an expedition led by Donald McKenzie of the North West Company. However, other historians disagree, and claim that the mountain was named after the Teton Sioux tribe of Native Americans. –Wikipedia
The following is the official field report and visual record from Expedition Tetons. The contents of the report were compiled by a team of explorers known as ‘NxNW’..
“Welcome to Wyoming. Do you know why I pulled you over?”” -Police Officer
The Grand Tetons sneak up on you. They come out of nowhere. After driving 6 hours across the vast emptiness that is Wyoming, you start to wonder if it’s worth it. Let me tell you, it is! Having lived in Colorado all these years we are kicking ourselves for not visiting the Tetons earlier. From now on it will be an annual event. If you are planning your own expedition to the Tetons, we hope this guide will help.
- Location:Grand Teton National Park
- Date: June 3-6 2016
- Expedition Gallery: Click To View
“So…did you all meet on the same tour bus or what?”” -Anonymous
“It could have been the presentation but the ladies didn’t buy that Tinder story.”” -Armando Martinez
- Justin Balog: www.justinbalog.com
- Armando Martinez: www.armandom.com
- Mark Garbowski: toomuchglass.net
- Scott Starks: Witness Protection Program
- Mike Criswell: www.criswellphotography.com
- Dave Wilson: www.davewilsonphotography.com
- Scott Wyden Kivowitz: www.scottwyden.com
- Jacob Lucas (not pictured due to an #EpicNap): www.jflphotography.com
- Michael Mclean: www.michaelmcleanphotography.com
- John Deas: www.johndeasphotography.com
- Chris Nitz: www.nitzstrap.com
- Bob Lussier: www.lussierphoto.com
- Rick Louie: www.ricklouiephotography.com
Strongest WiFi Signal: Ranch Inn – Jackson Hole, WY
Impromptu Horseback Portrait Sessions: 1
Expedition Vehicles: 2007 Toyota 4-Runner, Ford F250, Ford F150
Number of Bison Photographed: Like a million
Breakfasts Near A Tee Pee: 1
Official Expedition Beer: Pretty much any IPA
Untappd Check-ins: Quite A Few
Team Shutter Actuations: 16321
Team Camera Count: 38
Team Member Mark Garbowski’s Camera Count: 7
Avg Hours Of Sleep Per Night: 5.5
Typology of Expedition Gear
“This [mosquitos] is why I don’t leave the city.”” -Mark Garbowski
A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character (or number sign) # in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it.-Wikipedia
Portrait of an Explorer
My man bun is the source of all my power. -Jacob Lucas
I can’t see where I’m going, so I’ll lead -Michael McClean
He’s [Dave Wilson] a hero. An information hero! -Mark Garbowski
We could light paint a bison or two.. -Bob Lussier
It’s either Blue Steel, or I’m sleeping. -Armando Martinez
If you back up, I want to let you know that’s a camera. -Scotty Wyden
On every expedition Justin and Armando conduct personal creative research of their own. On this expedition Justin limited himself to working with 2 primes the Nikkor 24mm 1.4 G & Nikkor 85mm 1.8 G. Armando approached landscape photography within a square format. Here are their findings.
I would describe by natural aesthetic as journalistic. I prefer natural looks, highlighting moments, sharpened by tight shadows. That being the case I wanted to approach this expedition as I would an editorial assignment bringing only two primes, the Nikkor 24mm 1.4 G and the Nikkor 85mm 1.8 G. I mounted each lens on a separate body so there wasn’t a need to switch between them. I hate changing lenses, almost as much as I hate tripods. My data suggests that I used the 85mm about 25% more, which is no surprise as I naturally lean towards the telephoto side of composition. Below in an example of how I used the 2 lenses at the same location to create two distinct compositions. One creative tool that was common in both images was the use for blurred foreground elements framing the hero. Because both lenses were fast, I leveraged their shallow DOF to tell the story.
My creative research explored the square format within the realm of landscape photography. I didn’t use Instagram to achieve this but a 1956 Rolleiflex 2.8F film camera loaded with Velvia 100. Usually I find myself exploring the square format digitally after I have taken a photo. Using the Rolleiflex forced me to see compositions differently. It was definitely a challenge working with a fixed lens and this native format but I soon started to see it as a way to include objects or elements in the scene that I might normally try to exclude. Not every frame worked but I think its a fun way to challenge my photographic eye and flex those creative muscles.
Nikon vs Nikon?
The Tetons by Film
The expedition team showed up with no lack of film cameras. Well, Mando and Garbowski did. They had the rest of the team covered. Garbowski had 7 bodies and Mando brought his now legendary Rolleiflex 2.8 F along with an #RAD old Japanese camera pictured below.
Field Reports & GPS Data
In the event you plan your own expedition to the Grand Tetons, we’ve compiled the following field reports. We don’t believe there is a bad time to visit the Tetons. However, we feel that the shoulder seasons of spring and fall might be the most dramatic. Because of the geologic nature of the area, which happens to be 6000ft variance between peak and valley floor, spring and fall provide the unique opportunity for a dramatic contrast between snow covered peaks and lush vegetation. On another note, because of the Tetons easterly facing orientation, they generally favor sunrise. If your creative muse doesn’t get going until the evening, don’t worry. You can always plan your trip around astral events and fire up some light painting along Mormon Row. Below is a map indicating the general location of each of the field reports.
Schwabacher Landing is a location handcrafted by a very skilled community of beavers. The quiet still waters created by several beaver ponds makes it a popular location for photographers. The access is easy and incredible photographs can be made only feet from the parking lot. If you do visit Schwabacher Landing, get there early and stay after sunrise. The beavers are eager and start work early. Once the stillness of the morning passes, swap our your wide angle lens for a telephoto form some very candid wildlife photography.
Taggart Lake is close to Schwabacher Landing and can be accessed from the same parking lot. However, it is a short 1.5 mile hike to its banks. Although not formed by beavers, the early morning hours provide a very still reflection of the Tetons in its waters. If you are hip to getting things ‘right in camera’ make sure to bring a 1 stop GND filter for the sky. Lake reflections are usually about a stop darker than the natural sky. If you forget yours, don’t worry just balance it out in Lightroom (click for our free course). Also, if you can’t make it during the morning hours, and the wind is picking up, bring along a 10 Stop ND filter to smooth out the waters.
Oxbow Bend, or as the expedition team calls is “that one place will all those friggin’ mosquitos…I hate mosquitos….what are mosquitos good for anyway…I guess to feed bats…or to naturally cull the population through the spread of disease…those are shitty things to be good for……..I kind of feel bad for mosquitos”, is a again a very famous location. So famous, much of the area is currently unaccessible because of restoration projects…PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL AND DO NOT CROSS INTO THESE AREAS.. Two things to note about Oxbow Bend, 1) Bring a long lens. Because of the nature of the location, you’ll want to some telephoto compression for the river and Teton. 2) Look behind your down river. The location is fantastic at sunrise, but if for some reason you can’t make it, the sunset looking east is incredible so make sure you don’t miss it! Below is such an image.
Snake River Overlook
You might have heard about this one guy, Ansel Adams, who made this cool image from here. It’s all moody, black and white, with areas of emotion shaped by shadows and light using a ground breaking approach to exposure he pioneered called ‘The Zone System’. If not, no biggie, just hit the back button on your browser and go back to reading about the Kardashians. Although the vegetation has changed since Ansel visited, it’s always fun to try your hand and such and iconic location. This is one of those few places in the Tetons that works well at sunrise and sunset. Oh yeah, if you don’t feel like working in black & white, the sunsets here lend themselves to color as demonstrated in this image.
In an unofficial survey conducted by The Photo Frontier, we concluded that 80% of all doctor’s offices and 50% of dentist’s offices have a photograph of T.A. Moulton’s barn hanging in them. If you visit the Teton’s, you have to visit Mormon Row. Not only is this area the home of T.A.’s barn, it’s the home of all his brother’s barns. When you visit, make sure to plan some extra time for a photo walk. There is a lot to see and creative opportunities abound. As mentioned earlier in this report, if you’re not a morning person, this is a pretty #RAD place to hang out at night and fire up some light painting.
Note: This location has also been designated by Jacob Lucas as an official site for an #EpicNap. Other sites include Palouse Falls, Mosquito Pass and Yellowstone Falls to name a few.
“Shane! Come back Shane…..”
In addition, Shane was one of the first films in which actors were attached to hidden wires that yanked them backwards when they were shot from the front. Stevens also used a small cannon and fired it into a garbage can to create the loud report of the pistol for maximum effect. Stevens had been in World War II and had seen what a single bullet can do to a man. –Wikipedia
The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
Whether it’s for a photograph, or simply to saddle up at the bar, make sure to visit Art & Carol Andersen’s Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. No expedition to the Tetons is complete without it. Also, make sure to pick up one of their signature badges to slap on your camera bag!
Here are a few additional images to get your fired up for your own expedition. Also, feel free to visit the official expedition gallery to view larger versions of these images and purchase prints.