It’s never easy to narrow down a season’s worth of images to just five, but here are the five that either I liked the best, or that you liked the best, taking Google Analytics stats into account. Most of them came from Grand Teton National Park, with the exception being the grizzly bear with four cubs up in Yellowstone National Park. Now that the crowds are dying down as well, I’m thinking about heading back up there and seeing if I can find them one more time before they head in for the winter. All of these shots were the ones that had both sentimental value for me, as well as creating a striking image that created a great response. Some were simply being in the right place at the right time, others took a bit of extra work to be able to capture properly. I was at more of a disadvantage than normal throughout the course of the season, leaving me struggling to capture all the shots I actually wanted to get.
While I was up for plenty of great sunrises, I had also moved at the beginning of summer to Wilson, Wyoming, a small town just to the west of Jackson. Many people love it, particularly in the winter, for its easy access to both Teton Village and the Teton Pass. I however, still found myself driving up into Grand Teton National Park to the same spots I always loved driving up to while living in northern Jackson. The difference was that now, instead of a five-to-ten minute drive, it was now a 45 minute drive. This made catching sunrises especially difficult and made heading up their for sunsets just as inconvenient. Given the trials though, I still found myself able to come away with some really nice images throughout the three months I lived down there. Living an extra 45 minutes from the spots I love so much left me a little frustrated, and so I moved back up to the same neighborhood I moved away from just a week ago. Thus I am now ready, and especially excited for, the upcoming fall and winter seasons!
One thing I was able to take away from the whole experience is that you just have to force yourself to get out there and keep taking photos. Sometimes it’s inconvenient, sometimes you’ll lose sleep over it. Whatever the excuse, if you’re not willing to push yourself a little bit, you’re going to miss the shot. It can even feel more gratifying to capture an exquisite image that you worked a little harder for. There were a couple of occasions where I was short on sleep and once sunrise was over, I went home and straight to bed. Upon waking up and looking back at the images, it was almost like seeing something I had dreamed manifested right there on my computer, which goes without saying, is a pretty exciting feeling!
Granted it’s always easier when the scene is set up for you and you just happen to be in the right place at the right time, but it doesn’t always work out that easily. There will be times when you just have to bite the bullet and wake up early, skip a meal, drive an extra hour, etc. Whatever the case, if you feel that there’s an amazing shot to be had, do whatever it takes to get it and in the end, you’ll be much happier you did than if you didn’t. There were a few sunrises this summer I had intended to get up for, but fell back asleep only to briefly wake up moments later and see a beautifully illuminated pink and purple sky. Those are hard lessons to learn. The good news is there’s always more. The bad news is it could be a long time before you get the opportunity again, and even then, it will never look exactly the same.
In the end, if you want the shot, do whatever it takes and don’t let the excuses overpower your motivation. Stick with it and get the shot.