I had decided earlier in the year that I needed to take the summer off from wedding pictures, as I'm not completely sure that they're something that I want to continue doing. I LOVE taking the pictures, and I absolutely love being there for a wedding day (I've teared up at every single one.) But, I really don't love the hours sitting at my computer going through and editing pictures. I don't love being stressed about photo deadlines, while I'm also stressed about school deadlines. I miss having free time. And I miss having ME time. So, I decided to give myself a summer off, and see if I'd miss it.
And then my brother Andy decided that he was going to spend the summer in Jackson, Wyoming with my mom's sister Connie and her family. I didn't have any weddings or other sessions booked, and I've been telling myself for years that I'm eventually going to step out of my comfort zone. It kind of seemed like the perfect time to do something different, and, after spending a week in Salt Lake on a ski trip during spring break, I decided that maybe the mountains of the west would be a good enough substitute to the lakes of the UP. So, here I am!
I've had quite a few people tell me that they want to see pictures from my adventures, but I feel bad posting them all to social media and overloading everyone's feeds. So, I'm going to try this instead. At the end of each month (or a week or so later,) I'll put together a post of the pictures/adventures. Some might be long, some might be short (I have no idea what June, July, and August are going to bring,) and I may just get this month posted and then not keep up on it. But, for now, if you don't mind listening to my rambles, or just want to see the pictures, feel free to keep on scrolling!
The first weekend we were out here, Connie took us for a drive through the park (Grand Teton National Park, which is just a few miles from town) to show us all of the good spots for hikes and viewing animals.
While we were in the park, we did a hike around Taggart Lake. This would be the ideal spot for hanging up a hammock and reading a book, if it weren't for the large number of tourists that supposedly hang out here in the summers.
The difference that shutter speed makes when photographing moving water. The left picture is at 1/15th of a second, and the right is at 1/500th.
I miss Lake Superior. But Jackson Lake might not be a bad substitute.
The following weekend there was an antler auction in the town square. There's an elk refuge right outside of town, where the elk spend the winter when they come down from the mountains. In the spring, the local boy scouts are allowed in to pick up the antler sheds, which they then auction off. This results in them being one of the richest boy scouts chapter in the country.
While they have the auction going on, people from all over the country gather to sell elk antlers, moose antlers, buffalo skulls, ram skulls, and so on. It made for an interesting morning.
This was cute. They had a station in the square where they were teaching kids how to use bear spray. The kids would listen to the instructions, do a test spray, and then they would send the bear through the branches. Most of the kids would panic a bit, and the bear would get to them before they sprayed it.
It still cracks me up when I'm at the grocery store and I see someone pull up in a rusty old pickup, and step out in dirty jeans, a cowboy hat, and some old cowboy boots. Because there's always someone a few cars over all dolled up and dressed to the nines.
After checking out the town square, we headed up the Gros Ventre river. We didn't plan on doing any hiking, but, well, there's hills, and rivers, and mountains, and pretty views...
The views of the Tetons from the top of the hill. So worth the climb.
As we came over the top, we came down on a herd of elk. I was really wishing I had a better zoom lens, or more camouflage clothes so that I could get closer. Oh well. Next time.
This one was really disappointing. As we were driving around a bend in the road, we saw this moose run across. I had about 15 seconds to pull over, put the car in park, hop out, grab my camera from the back seat, and snap a picture before it disappeared over the hill. Apparently, this wasn't enough time to get the focus right. But, this is what I love about taking pictures. I love that it's a mix of skill and luck, and that sometimes the subjects don't cooperate. I love that sometimes you miss perfect opportunities, because I love the challenge. I love that it isn't always easy, and I love that there's always a better picture waiting to be taken.
Buffalo are everywhere out here.
My dad had given me his hunting scope awhile back, so before I came out here, I ordered a converter that allowed it to be used as a camera lens. I was really hoping it would work, and it somewhat does, but not as well as I would have liked. The zoom works great, but the images that come out aren't anything close to crisp. Whether it's because it's an old scope, or the fact that it's a scope attached to a camera that's the issue, I don't know. But one of these weekends I'm going to have to rent a better zoom lens so that I can get some good close up shots.
Memorial day weekend brought us visitors. Second cousins from Arizona stayed for a few days, during which we made a day trip up to Yellowstone. There was quite a bit of snow in some areas, as well as a crazy amount of tourists. I had heard people say that they hadn't been very impressed with the park when they had gone, but I'm thinking that I'm going to have to make at least one more trip there before the summer ends. There are some really neat sights, a ton of wildlife, and supposedly, some pretty decent fishing spots.
Old Faithful was cool to see. And a fun place to people watch.
The hot springs were everywhere. They're so blue and pretty, but they can also be deadly.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is the biggest hot spring in the U.S., which means that it's too big to get a complete picture of when you're standing on the boardwalk looking at it. But Google it, it's pretty neat looking from above.
It's not uncommon for a traffic jam to be the result of a buffalo or a moose on the road, or off to the side with cars stopped along the road and people taking pictures.
They're all over the park.
So are the elk, which I had never before realized are so funny looking from the front.
We don't do much during the weeks, as Andy and I both work and don't have much ambition once we get home. But hopefully our weekends will continue to be adventurous, and I'll have more to share next month. In the meantime, I'll hopefully have a few more blog posts up, as I have a few weddings from last year that have yet to be posted.
Enjoy your summer, and be sure to check back!