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String Lake Milky Way at Grand Teton National Park

Of all the times I have photographed the night sky, shooting the Milky Way at String Lake in Grand Teton National Park has to be one of my top highlights.

Words alone can’t describe the peacefulness encountered that evening as I was sitting on a rock at the edge of the lake in complete darkness, watching the stars and Milky Way reflected in the still water at 2am.

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I had photographed in this location a number of times in the daytime and as such I had a pretty good feeling this spot would pay off in the nighttime as well. Getting there at night sure is a little harrowing driving along roads in complete darkness looking out for any elk, deer, foxes, or any other animals that might want to dart out in front of you. I kept my speed at 35-40mph, even though the limit was 45mph, just to be safe (as I usually do while driving through the Tetons and Yellowstone at night).

One other safety tip if you decide to go photograph there especially at night – don’t forget to bring your bear spray!

How I Photographed This

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An Hour at Night at the John Moulton Barn in the Tetons

I just returned from 2 nights of Milky Way photography in Grand Teton National Park and 1 night in Yellowstone during a new moon.

Weather conditions were perfect for me with little clouds which provided a fantastic view of the night sky.

On my second evening out, I spent almost 5 hours at the famous Moulton barns in the Tetons. One shot I wanted to get was a very long exposure of the stars above the Tetons with one of the barns in the foreground.

This photo is the result of my efforts. It shows an elapsed time of one hour, and it is a combination of 15 photos each 4-minutes in duration from approx. 12:44am to 1:44am.

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Here is how I photographed it

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White Pelican in Fog on the Snake River at the Tetons

“White Pelican in Fog on the Snake River at the Tetons”
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

 

Earlier this month I spent 4 days in Jackson, Wyoming exhibiting at the Jackson Hole Art Festival. On my way back to Bozeman, MT I headed out early that day so I could photograph the sunrise at the Oxbow Bend Turnout.

 

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While photographing the sunrise, I noticed this white pelican slowly cruising the Snake River coming towards me. I took the wide angle lens off my camera and put my 150-600mm lens on my camera and tripod and photographed the pelican as it was floating past me.

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Elk Cows with Calf at Grand Teton National Park

I came across a herd of elk shortly after sunrise at Grand Teton National Park last month as they were on the move. I quickly parked the car in a pull-off and started taking photos from just outside the car.

They came out of the woods and into a clearing and this group of cows, with a calf, paused for just a moment to get a look around to see if there was any danger in the area.

 

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Streaking Clouds at Sunset at the Tetons

“Streaking Clouds at Sunset at the Tetons”
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

This was photographed at Schwabachers Landing – a popular place to photograph sunsets and sunrises at Grand Teton National Park. Beavers have dammed the Snake River here providing photographers with a mirror-like surface when there is no wind.

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I photographed this scene just as the sun was setting behind the Tetons while out scouting for an upcoming photo workshop I was teaching there. I was experimenting with a new filter I purchased from Singh-Ray (use coupon code Matt10 to save 10% on their filters).

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Shiras Bull Moose at rest

A Shiras bull moose with summer velvet antlers rests in a field of grass in the late evening at Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, in early summer.

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Moose are the largest extant species in the deer family. The Shiras Moose is the smallest subspecies in North America, weighing from 507 to 785 lb at maturity and can be found in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Montana.

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