Snake River Sunset in Autumn

Technical Info:

Camera:  Canon 1Ds MkII

Lens:  17-40 F/4 L @ 28mm

Aperture:  f/8

ISO:  100

Filter(s):  B+W #502 graduated ND filter

Processing:  Blend of 3 exposures, each bracketed 2 stops apart.

About the Photo:

This was from my very first visit to Grand Teton National Park.  If it’s your first time photographing here, I suppose an iconic shot like this is somewhat obligatory.  I found myself here due to it’s accessibility.

That evening, there were dozens of photographers at Oxbow Bend, and if you know me,  I am always opting for an area with as few people as possible.  So I decided to stay at this spot for my first attempt at photographing the Tetons at sunset.

There were 5 or 6 other photographers at this location and they were all complaining about the trees that were “in the way” of the river, which I don’t quite understand… Seems as though alot of people just want to re-create the same exact Ansel Adams shot for some reason, and their idea of how the shot “should look” is based upon Adams’ work.  One lady repeatedly complained and even suggested that the park service should cut down the trees, thus rendering the scene more similar to the famous shot from decades ago…   (This one of the many reasons I usually stay away from “touristy” locations, but Grand Teton is such a beautiful place, I’m willing to compromise.)

I really like all the trees, I just wish I could have avoided the sun-spots/ lens flare, but with the angle of the sun, and the fact that I was using a grad ND filter in front of my lens, they were probably unavoidable…  Even with the grad ND filter, I doubt I could have achieved this look without bracketing exposures.  The sun was far too bright.

Autumn is a great time to visit the Tetons and Wyoming in general because of the foliage. alone.

Thanks for looking




4 Responses to “Snake River Sunset in Autumn”

  1. Embrace the flair – a subtle reference back to the tool that made it. I have seen the sun rise from the green spot where the flare starts (Upper Saddle) before heading up The Exum Route. Great fire of 88 and smoke looked like a thick blanket on the ground from above. Nice job making this shot your own.

  2. This is a beautiful image! I really like the flare — I think it adds to the magic of the scene, and compliments the pattern of bright trees by the river bend.

  3. Cool story, beautiful image. I could see this blown up on my wall.. so beautiful.. Tourists.. I think it’s cool that most of Ansel’s classics cannot be reproduced..

  4. Mac heres a little trick to avoid lens flares you might find useful in some circuminstances: Really nice colours in the sky and trees! Also the fog in mountains adds so much interest to the scene.

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