Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The variables of a photography trip

I have planned a trip up to Grand Teton National Park in two weeks to do some photography.  For this kind of trip, I should be able to get some decent shots no matter what, but there are a lot of things that can come together to make it spectacular.
  • First is the fall foliage.   When Julie and I visited the park five years ago, it was early-to-mid September and the leaves hadn't started changing.  The end of the month has a much better chance, but every year is different. There are lots of aspens and even the meadows dry out and turn pretty.
  • Will it have snowed?  Snow up on the 13,000 foot mountains can be great for pictures.  Snow down in the valley can be cold, wet and miserable.  
  • Will those damn fires get put out?  There are wildfires burning all over the US right now, but it is the ones in the Pacific Northwest that I care about.  They skank up the otherwise gorgeous scenery.  I actually found a very helpful web site that covers this from the University of Maryland.  They report on it, but of course, there's nothing you can do about it.
  • The size of the moon.  At least this one is completely predictable.  On September 27th, there is no moon, so even the days around it will be very dark.  This makes for some really interesting star pictures away from all the city lights.  I just have to drag my butt out at night in the cold, after long days of hiking around.  I still regret having not done this at Bryce Canyon two winters ago.

Here's a picture I got in 2006, and we had the same problem with fires in Montana.  

Should be fun and it's always a good learning experience.
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