What an honor it is to receive the “Best of the Bunch” award. There are always such amazing photos at AMS and it is quite humbling to be recognized among such talent.
Although it is hard to visualize from the blue sky and white clouds in the photo, dark storm clouds were building all around the park this particular morning. A long thick set of clouds blocked the direct sunrise light for about 20 minutes. I was with a small group of fellow photographers and we kept hoping (yet doubting) we would have the direct light needed to really warm up the scene. The sun eventually rose just over the clouds to light the barn as you see it, although it was about 15 minutes after I would have preferred it.
It is difficult to plan around the weather for ideal landscape photography, especially when traveling, so I try to be flexible in what I can do with the scene as I’m taking the photo and options for post processing. This photo is straight out of the camera with no enhancements, but as we were standing there, waiting for the clouds to clear behind us, I thought of how I could add warmth if we didn’t get sunlight or convert the image to black and white and really play with the moodiness of it.
I happen to love barns and would have willingly photographed this one on a day with no clouds and likely would have been pleased with the result. But I was with a small group and they wanted to wait one more day and hope for just the right amount of clouds. The two mornings prior had clear blue skies and the two mornings after, fog, mist and clouds blocked the view of the Tetons behind. So the risk paid off!
I try to do a photo workshop every year because it challenges me to try something different and allows the time to focus and learn from exceptional photographers. This group was more of a tour and did not offer any classroom instruction or post processing assistance. However, I was still able to share ideas and learn new techniques from others.
Interesting notes about the T.A. Moulton barn and the nearby John Moulton barn:
- They are not marked on the National Park Service map of Grand Teton National Park (but they were on the map from the renal car company!). The NPS map only shows the road they are on: “Mormon Row,” which is easy to find.
- The barns are a major attraction for groups, so if you’d like to photograph them without tourists, get there early. On the days I was there, buses started arriving soon after 8am.
- In peak season expect to stand among several photographers. If you want the view with the cottonwood tree in the foreground plan to arrive well before sunrise to claim your space.
For those interested in the technical details, here you go:
Camera body: Canon 5d Mark III, mounted on a tripod
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM
Settings: 28mm, 1/200 sec at f/6.3, ISO 100
In the words of Ansel Adams, “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” So apply what you know, learn something new and share the amazing story of agriculture through photos every chance you get.