The Photo of a Lifetime

“You can’t sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live.”

– Ray Bradbury

Researching and Planning:

The best way to approach any shoot is to research the location well before. I’ve always wanted to see Mormons Row in Grand Teton and prayed to the gods that I’d pull through. I continuously see the same exact frames there and I wanted to fire off more unique ones. I sat at my desk in my room and began researching and picking through every part of a photo. With a notebook from Staples, I wrote down a multitude of ideas as they flowed onto the paper. Landscapes are an absolute classic at this location but I was looking for something I’ve never seen before. I didn’t care at all whether it did well or not on social media as most photos I take have a deep meaning or story behind them. Here’s what I found within this particular frame.

The Dream Landscape

After our departure from Colorado, we decided to settle down in Pinedale, Wyoming. My brother decided we’d hit Mormons Row for sunset which I was ecstatic to hear. Making our way into the Tetons, my brother watched me in the rear view as the mountains broke the horizon. I’m certain that my jaw hit the floor which he knew would happen. Many people recommend shooting the Tetons during sunrise as the Wyoming side will be glowing from the sun. Although, there was an extreme amount of beauty that night as the shadows of the Tetons were given a golden hue in the valley. I looked for the frame that I brainstormed and hitting that shutter open is something I’ll never forget. I spoke with Luke Kelly on social media about recommendations for the Tetons and he spoke about venturing away from the T.A. Moulton Barn to search for more ideas. I figure it’d be best to thank him for that. If you need any ideas for shooting in a National Park, I suggest reaching out to him @lukekellytravels on Instagram. I’ve wanted to go the Tetons for awhile now and I was extremely happy to devote a lot of time into photography already. With this, I was able to put abandoned Western life with wilderness to create one of my favorite images.

Inspiration:

I made note earlier that I saw this frame well in advance before leaving. The inspiration for this particular photo grew stronger as we traveled through the western frontier. Going past the Oregon Trail and crumbling barns, there was so much history in Wyoming. Not every abandoned place is a historic landmark, but each of them have a story to tell.

Post Processing:

When it came to the post processing of this image, I saw the sun creeping in from the left corner of the frame. To enhance the glow, I increased the exposure to make a more dramatic appearance to the scene. For the fencing in the foreground, I brought down the shadows in order to give it a darker look. I went for a more nostalgic perspective as usual which was challenging due to the colors I was presented with. Otherwise, this is one of the most meaningful photos I’ve produced so far. I really hope any of my readers appreciate it as much as I do.

Before/After

To My Adventurers

To those who took the time to delve into this writing, I’m extremely grateful. There’s almost always a story behind a frame or some sort of inspiration to get there. Following the metrics online to what you do will completely undermine your passion project. The last thing I want to leave you with is this. If you climb anything for social media, you’re disturbing the beauty of solitude that people find. There’s a difference between trying to remember how beautiful it seemed in your mind with a camera compared to posting something for an egotistical need. Until next time, go get those few hours of sleep and venture out to see the world.

-Alex

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