Sunday, March 15, 2009

Teton Range at Sunrise

When I first started my own business, I was fortunate to be able to perform much of my work in the Jackson, Wyoming area. My customers included several in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton area. One night after working through the night at Flagg Ranch in between the two parks, I headed back towards home. Over the course of my time working in this area, I had seen some pretty amazing scenery. I had witnessed the sun coming out after an afternoon rain complete with rainbow and streaming rays of light against the backdrop of the Gros Ventre Range. I had watched magnificent eagles in their flight over the Snake River. I was able to see the sunlight glistening on freshly fallen snow with the temperature at -40' F at Half Moon Lake. But I didn't really own a very good camera then, and finances were such that even if I did, I couldn't afford the cost of developing the film. This night was different. I had bought my first 35mm camera about six months before and this time I had it with me. As the first rays of light began to lighten the sky, I noticed that the very tip of the Grand Teton was catching the light. I pulled my work van over to the side of the road and set up my camera, not on a tripod, but on a Park Service sign and set the camera for a long exposure. When I developed the film, I was surprised to find the whole range illuminated by the early morning light. The camera had captured the whole scene, not just the highlights I had seen with my eyes in the early dawn. I felt that I had somehow cheated in the taking of this picture. Now I realize that just as my grandmother had tinted my grandfather's early pictures, I was allowing the dawn light to fill in the palette of the view I knew was there from my experience.
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