“Tetons & Jenny Lake”

Tetons & Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (c) Mike Utley

In this August 1996 image from my trip up north, I spent a couple of days in Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming. This is a faerie-tale land of serrated peaks, forests, rivers, lakes and majestic wildlife. On this morning, after a rainy night, clouds obscured the peaks and hung low over the lakes and forest; a brooding presence. It was windy as I scaled the bank of Jenny Lake in order to set up my tripod in the water. I wanted a low angle for my 24mm lens to include the foreground rocks to contrast their smooth textures with the jagged Tetons in the distance. Small whitecaps adorned wavelets as the breeze came in off the lake and blew the clouds from the mountaintops. This is one of my favorite images. I like the raw power of the scene: the basic elements of earth, water and sky, as well as the turbulent motion of the water and clouds. The foreground rocks anchor the image and serve as a tranquil focal point / counterpoint to the chaos in the lake and clouds beyond. I also like the limited color palette here—it almost lends the scene the feeling of a black & white image and allows the viewer to focus more on the shapes and movement of the scene. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)

“Grand Tetons & Snake River at Sunrise”

Grand Tetons & Snake River at Sunrise, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (c) Mike Utley

In August 1996, I took a trip up north to see my buddy Jeff in Montana. During that trip, I visited several national parks and monuments in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, including Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Devils Tower National Monument. On my way home, I spent two nights at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park sleeping upright behind the steering wheel of my little truck in bear country (no tents allowed) and woke up both mornings to this very sight. Shortly after making this image, a bald eagle flew lazily across the sky, then three moose decided to stand right smack in the middle of the river for about an hour, watching me. Later that day at another Grand Teton location I saw a black bear. It was incredible. Sometimes nature can be wonderfully generous. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)