Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Did The Egyptians Get Inspiration From The Tetons?

It was cold enough to freeze the nuts off a brass monkey when I left Yellowstone. I togged up in all the warm gear I have and looked like I was ready to rob a bank....


























Soon I crossed the Continental Divide, which for those like me that had never heard of this, it is a hydrological divide that separates the US and Canada into two halves. It essentially runs down the Rockies and rain that falls on the west side of the Continental Divide drains into the Pacific, while rain falling on the east side drains into the Atlantic / Gulf of Mexico. Anyway, it seemed like a good place to take a photo of the Leading Ladies....




















I stopped and took one last look at Yellowstone....




















Then rode a few miles and zap..... there were the Tetons. Right in front of me. These are a most impressive mountain range and this was almost my first view of them....




















The shape of some of the peaks immediately made me think of pyramids.

They are so big, I wanted to find something in the foreground to put the mountains in context. Happily, along came a marina....


















The Leading Ladies soon let me know (with the slightest of subtle hints of course) that they were a little put out that they hadn’t been chosen to be put in the foreground, so I had to put this right.... they were happy then....


















Usually something big and made of steel or concrete gets my attention, as did the Jackson Lake Dam, which I stopped and took some pictures of. Just like a waterfall, there is something mesmerising about water passing through a dam especially if it makes a big whoosh!....


















I arrived in Jackson and decided that I liked it enough to stay there. The motel was basic, but I had had the bedroom over the rather large hot tub and the plant and equipment for this was located right next to my room. I decided at 1130pm it was time they turned the blasted thing off, which to be fair, they did as soon as I asked. I wouldn’t have normally minded the noise so much, but I had decided to get up really early and go back to the Tetons to re-photograph them. The earlier pictures I had taken were a bit milky due to looking into the sun and I thought the early morning sun’s rays coming from the east would look good on the mountain.

So, the alarm went off at 5am. I had seen the weather forecast the evening before and 29F was expected. Jeepers it was cold riding the 26 miles needed to get to Jenny Lake, where I thought a good view could be found. It was dark as I started riding and I passed a few signs warning of the potential for animals in the road. Not this morning, please!

I set up next to the lake edge right next to a sign saying “Bears – special precautions needed”. As I blew into my hands to try to warm them, I wondered how far that blowing noise would travel in the perfect quiet of the landscape at this early hour. Hmmmn. What do they mean by special precautions? The only three I could think that I could do was to use the tripod to fend off a bear, climb a tree, or give it the candy bar I had in my pocket when I found I could no longer climb trees. Over the next 45 minutes or so, as I watched the sun rise and light up the mountains, I kept looking sideways for bears....

Yogi didn’t show up.

I consider myself to be a reasonably accomplished photographer, but that is all. When I looked back on the photos I took this morning I kept wondering what I had to do to become better. I want to be good enough that I am happy with my pictures, but today I wasn’t. Here are just two that I was pleased with out of the many I took....





































Personally I blame the cold. Plus I worried about any potential Yogi’s that might have showed up.

After taking the photos I headed back to the motel in the cold, except it was even colder. I was riding into the wind in this direction. Even with my winter gloves on, it hurt my hands. I was going to take a few more pictures of the mountains from different places, but I didn’t want to because it felt my thumbs were about to fall off. I have lost a few things, especially keys, on this trip and I didn’t want to go back home without my thumbs....

However, I did ride through a town called Moose and thought of my step-daughter, Mishy Moo, who adores anything to do with moose (mooses?). Today she will go by the amended nickname of Mishy Moose! I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that before. Anyway, for her benefit, I took this picture....




















Just outside Jackson is the National Museum of Wildlife Art. It was closed, so I couldn’t go in, but I love the building it is located in. This is a great example of how a building can fit into the environment. I read the design was inspired by a ruined castle in Scotland and I really like the building....




















Jackson is a fun town. It is full of shops that cater for the many visitors that come to the area, but it isn’t at all tacky. Even the t-shirt shops have a good feel to them. Here are a few views of around the town square area....

A stagecoach you can go for a ride in (I resisted)....




















An arch made from Elk antlers....







































The sign for the Million Dollar Cowboy bar. Don’t bother going in as the service is dreadful and the seats (which are saddles) are really uncomfortable....




















Main Street....




















I couldn’t work out what this sign in the back window of a car was trying to tell me. There is no ocean in Wyoming, so I am at a loss to understand how one would surf....




















I have been playing a game with people who look at the pictures on my bike. I tell them that if they can name all 10 of the actresses, then they will win a prize. Normally people get 3 or 4. One guy got 9 and this couple, George and Jeanne from Carmel, came very close. They also got 9 but were stumped when it came to the last picture on the rear fender. They were having to look under my luggage to properly see the picture and they said they knew who the 10th actress was, but just couldn’t remember her name. They gave me their phone number and said to come and see them in Carmel, which I will do if I can. By then, they may remember who the 10th actress is.... they were very nice people....




















How about this for a piece of great work. This is a trailer being pulled by a Honda Gold Wing and the roof opens to allow storage of clothes etc... This is excellent!.....




















As I headed south today, I rode alongside the Snake River, I saw many people white water rafting and I became jealous – it looked like great fun.... click on the first photo and take a closer look....


























































You know the nets you see on steep slopes at the side of the road to try to prevent rocks from falling down. Have you ever wondered how they fix them? Well, here is the answer, by abseiling up and down the slopes....


























I have been in Wyoming for a long while now. Today as I got near to its southern border, the landscape changed to gentle rolling hills.... I have decided I like Wyoming....




















Soon I was to enter yet another state. This time Idaho, the 21st state I have ridden in....




















This is for my brother, Tim..... Geneva has gone a bit downhill since you left there!.....




















I have stopped for the night next to Bear Lake. I rode past this house just before I found a hotel and I will try to go back there tomorrow to just ask one question. Why did they do this?......

16 comments:

Eve said...

Wow, I like that house...but it looks like it's a miniture. Then you see the wires going to it and it looks big..then you see there are no tracks into the garage and it looks small....SO what is it??? Can't wait to find out Gary. Sorry you feel unaccomplished as a photographer this day. I was and am still going to say the new header is a work of art! Don't be so hard on yourself...it's not easy taking on a huge adventure like this on your own and coming back with the spectacular photos you are taking!
I think you'd better pick up a prize for George and Jeanne...I'm sure they will figure out the last Leading Lady before you get there!!
I think you should be prepared for some more cold days...it's getting late in the season.
Ride Safe and warm!!! We do not want your thumbs!!!

Charlie6 said...

Gary

I think you did an outstanding job on those dawn pics on Jenny Lake! Sure it was cold and bears were probably watching you from the nearby treeline but the pictures were very nice! Your picture of the mountains with the lake in the foreground (we apparently chose pretty much the same shot) was much better than mine! see below.

My oldest son Patrick also loves Mooses, you must come and stay a night with us and meet the collection!

My own trip to the Tetons is also one of my favorites though I hit Yellowstone on a peak day and just managed to escape without really any pictures....too crowded.

Grand Tetons, Day 2

you can reach me at domchangATyahoo.com to coordinate if you've not accomodations lined up while in the Denver area.

Redleg's Rides

cpa3485 said...

You look a little menacing in that first picture with your face all covered. LOL
Really like those pictures, but have become accustomed to seeing great pictures on your blog.
Keep up the good posts and ride safe!

Rickey said...

In your first Teton photo the horizon is too centered and a lower perspective may have helped. The ladies in the raft are Minnonites or Amish? The best photo of the Tetons is from Mormon row or Shwabachers landing

Rickey said...

The second Teton photo has no foreground elemant and it needed a graduated Neutral density for the sky

bobskoot said...

Gary:

as for your bear question, next time bring along another fellow rider whom runs slower than yourself. It would give you the 4th alternative. Glad you didn't get to meet Yogi on his own turf.

I look at those antlers and wonder how many bodies were required to come up with that arch.

one thing that will greatly enhance your odds of obtaining better photos is to stop using .jpeg on your D200 and switch over to RAW, which will give you uncompressed files. Then you have the option of adjusting exposure compensation and white balance later, and you could also saturate the colours/contrast more. Ever since I fouled up a group picture years ago I shoot RAW on important photos or ones that I would really like to choose for an enlargement. You can not bail out .jpeg photos where you have blown out highlights or not enough detail in the shadows. It is better to work with original pixels. I think your D200 has the option to shoot RAW/+ Large Jpeg. Same file number but different extensions

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Axel said...

Congratulations for the article about you in UK's HOG Autumn magazine.

mq01 said...

;) you really dont want to meet up with yogi anyways gary. coming out of piercy while bikes were leaving the redwood run, not many yrs ago, i was the 2-3 bike behind a 2-up rider that hit a bear just around the bend in front of me. devastating!!! not many things have made me instantly sick/nauseous on the bike, but that did.

motoroz said...

Great photos. I think you did a great job. The Tetons are so impressive. I love the "game" you play when people look at your bike and try to name all the leading ladies. Idaho is also a pretty state. You are going to love Colorado!

Tim France said...

Thanks for the GVA photo Gary - hey, someone stole the lake!

bluekat said...

The two images of the Tetons are stunning. Well worth the near loss of thumbs. Kudos for getting up early to get the shot. I'm not a morning person, but the light is so nice then.

The family in the first raft,are Mennonite I believe. My husband was raised Mennonite. Not all of them are as conservative as these, but he(we) have family members who wear head coverings and similar styled dresses. The little girl in the back looks like she's got some attitude. :)

Lady Ridesalot said...

I guess I'll quit lurking now and finally leave you a comment. I've been keeping up with your travels and have enjoyed reading your impressions of the places your seeing and experiencing. But now, your making me homesick!!

Even though I grew up in Iowa and now live in Alabama, I spent two weeks every summer in the Cody, WY area. I love it out there! My mother's family is from Wyoming and Montana and we've taken our family vacations there my entire growing up life. I've camped and hiked in the Big Horns, the Tetons, and have played in the Snake River Canyon.

I'm loving these last few posts you put up.

I was sorry to learn you weren't coming this far south, but I'll keep posting pics and places that grace my beautiful state and maybe we'll get you down south on a return visit.

Keep posting your pics... they're beautiful!!

SonjaM said...

Speaking of Egypt... you certainly look like a mummy, all bundled up. Or like the invisible man gone biker. Gorgeous vistas, as usually. I have had many bear encounters up in Alberta. Usually they were too occupied to be bothered by me. Frankly I find moose and deer much more dangerous when riding.

Gary France said...

Eve – It was a full sized house with people living in it. Generally I am happy with my pictures but sometimes they just don’t come out the way I expected and that can be very frustrating. I need to learn more. I suspect you are right about the prize!

Charlie / Dom / Redlegs – Thanks. I am sure that Yogi was there somewhere. I didn’t find Yellowstone too busy with traffic. And I was there on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sure there was a lot of people and at times they went slower than I would have gone, but overall it wasn’t too bad. I will write about meeting up / staying.

Jim – You know I am a hardcore bad ass biker underneath that soft exterior – it only comes out occasionally though! Thanks for your kind words about my pictures.

Rickey – Thanks for your tips. I know what you are saying about the first picture, and I tried to get lower, but I could get any lower due to the rocks- I was about as low as I could go. In the second photo, from the area where I was, there wasn’t anything to put in the foreground, except a scruffy building. You are right though.

Bob – Would that other person be you by any chance? LOL. I thought the same thing about the arch and in fact, there are four of those arches, one in each corner of the town square. That is a lot of Elk burgers! Thanks for your suggestions about file types. I read about RAW before I left and I considered that option. If I can work out how to change the file type on my camera I will give it a try. I am not sure however if I would have the patience to change the images in the way you suggest.

Axel – Thanks and I am grateful that you scanned it and sent it to me.

mq01 – Oh, that sounds terrible. I am happy to have not seen yogi close up, especially in those circumstances, but I was hoping to catch a glimpse of one somewhere. A Moose also. I would liked to have got a picture of each for my blog.

Oz – Thank you. I met a couple yesterday that I thought were going to get all 10, but they got just 9 – so close! I crossed the border into Colorado yesterday and am looking forward to it immensely.

Tim – Clearly, someone pulled the plug!

bluekat – Thank you. I liked the results and my thumbs are now just back to a normal temperature! I have to say I don’t know much about Mennonite. I imagine the girls / women get used to wearing those dresses and head coverings. The difference between their clothes and the people wearing shorts and tee shirts was quite striking. To be fair to the little girl, I think the picture just makes her look that way, as she was happy and smiling really.

Lady Ridesalot – Thank you for lurking! I was really taken with Montana and Wyoming and each state has a lot going for it. I could easily spend two weeks being based in Cody as there is so much to do around there. I wished I had rafted done the Snake River Canyon as it looked like a lot of fun. You might tempt me to do a future visit to the southern states, but not this year. It was hard to decide where to go on my tour and even hard to decide where to leave out.

Sonja – LOL. I like the invisible man gone biker comment. I have seen quite a few elk, deer and many foxes. I have it in the back of my mind what the consequences could be if something big comes running out onto the road into my path....

Anonymous said...

Great blog, here's how you surf Wyoming, http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/08/09/wyoming.river.surfing/index.html?hpt=C2

Gary France said...

Anonymous - Who ever you are, thanks for clearing up the mystery about surfing in Wyoming. I love the video!