Greetings and Welcome!

I've been photographing Wyoming and all of its wild residents for my entire 38 year career, and it never gets old or tiring. If the good Lord gave me several lifetimes I could not accomplish all that I dream of or visit all of the places in this state I've called home for 57 years.

I have two websites currently that showcase my work at and There you will see galleries of landscape images, Wyoming's wildlife and wildflowers and special galleries of my favorite place, Yellowstone National Park and my favorite large mammal, Bison Bison or the buffalo as many call them. There is a special gallery dedicated to this fascinating creature and I've even made a special tribute print called 'Tatanka and the Iron Horse - the Decimations Haunting Specter' remembering the near extinction of this most significant symbol of the west. My intrigue for this wonderful animal will continue for as long as I can make trips to photograph them.

You can read all about my work, my career and individual pictures by visiting the website, but here I will share with you special places that have particular interest to me, see how I travel and shoot my images, read about some of my past and present experiences, meet friends that have shared special times with me, hear my ramblings about equipment, and hopefully respond to some of your comments.

Well, that is enough of an introduction. Welcome to my world - Images of Wyoming.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Traveling in Wyoming for Photographers - Part 4

It has been awhile since getting to this final installment of the travel options for photographers in Wyoming. It has been a very busy fall season and I've had opportunity to use the rig that I believe to be best suited for my particular type of shooting. So with that excuse for my delay in finishing this article, lets talk about my choice for an ideal rig.

In the last installment I told you that I thought the motorhome outfit was getting very close to what I considered ideal. It gives the traveler a self contained, driveable rig and the ability to tow a boat, a 4-wheeler, or second vehicle to accommodate whatever need you may have. Well, if that was nearly ideal, what was missing in my opinion that kept it from being 'the perfect rig'? Here it is - the lack of 4-wheel drive. Motorhomes are simply not offered with a 4WD option.

Since I like to do back country work and am not often close to a campground or RV facility, the conditions tend to be more primitive. Take for example going out the Red Desert in early Spring. The roads to the Killpecker Dunes are nearly impassable when they get wet. Or how about traveling the Bighorn Mountains in early spring or late fall when the roads are still snow packed and icy. These are both great times and locations to make exceptional pictures, but the weather and road conditions can make travel almost impossible unless you are properly equipped. That is why I have compromised a little for the comfort offered by the motorhome for a pickup camper on a 4WD truck. Here's my rig.

I can get most anyplace that I want with 4WD, still have the ability to tow my small 4WD photo vehicle or any other type vehicle that may be more appropriate for particular locations. If I wanted to do some winter pictures I could tow a snowmobile. If I were a boater, I would have another option. If I wanted to four wheel in the desert to get to wonderful places like the Oregon Buttes, then all I have to do is hook up the vehicle of choice and be off.

I have a couple of options for my tow vehicle and how I get it to where I want to go. Shown in the picture above is my truck with a popup camper towing a Suzuki Grand Vitara flat on the ground. It is a very easy hookup and tows like a dream. The disadvantage is that you cannot backup with the vehicle on the ground. I've gotten into trouble trying to go down a muddy road, reaching a place where I couldn't go on then having to unhook the Suzuki and get both vehicles turned around separately and going on my way. The simple solution would be to put the tow vehicle on a small trailer. It makes maneuvering much easier, but I've learned what my limitaions are and don't run into many situations I cannot get around. When I take a four wheeler, I tow an enclosed trailer for the vehicle and supplies. It is such a versatile rig.

When I get to a location where I want to spend some time, I just set up camp, unhook the Suzuki and can get busy all in the space of about 45 minutes or less. The popup camper is easy to set up and has most of the conveniences of a motorhome, including a toilet and shower. I have custom built boxes that house spare batteries, generator and additional propane for extended stays. In all but the most severe winter weather the camper is very comfortable.

If things turn nasty when I'm ready to leave a location, I have the added security of 4WD. I haven't been stranded yet though I've had to depend on the truck's capabilities quite often. The truck is equipped with a diesel engine to handle the heavy loads and towing a sometimes heavy trailer. That is a personal preference. Some may prefer gasoline. Even in the cold, I've not had any real problems with the diesel. If I need to preheat the engine, I have a generator to operate the block heaters. So far, so good.

Is there anything I'd like to change? Yes! My next and final incarnation 0f the perfect rig is to get a large truck and put a full-sized hard sided 4 season camper on it. That will give me more versatility when it comes to true 4 season camping. It would be much warmer and more luxurious by space standards at least. I would get a camper with some tipouts to make those long trips more comfortable. The camper I would put on a truck would require a much larger truck to handle all the loads, but that is not a big deal to me.

With fuel prices being what they are, this is a good time to consider purchasing a camper and truck. There are some great deals to be had, but probably not for the part-timer. It is still a sizeable investment. Until I find the perfect large truck, this will be my workhorse travel vehicle combination for photographing and traveling in Wyoming.

In a future installment of my postings on this blog, I may share with you the special ways I've equipped my vehicles for convenience, security and accessibility. I've got a truly functional setup that affords me easy access, economy and it is all custom tailored for photography. Well, until then keep on shooting and enjoying this fantastic state. It is Halloween evening as I write this and I must be going. Got some more things to do to get ready for winter preparations of vehicles, etc. while the weather is so incredibly nice. That is supposed to change next week, so must take advantage of opportunities as they become fewer and fewer. Also need to watch out for those ghosts and goblins that will be on the prowl tonight. Until later, Jerry.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Halloween

Though I don't normally do pictures other than wildlife or nature landscapes, this autumn yielded an opportunity for me to employ my panoramic skills to make a requested image for a company I deal with for my special mounting needs. I was called by my friend and told of a field of pumpkins that was overshadowed by the Colorado mountains of the front range.

I made a trip down to see the location and spent a morning scouting the farm that raises hundreds of thousands of pumpkins. Unfortunately, when I got there the weather was at its very worst and though I could see the pumpkins, I could not see the mountains that he spoke of. Well in spite of that I talked to the owners of the farm and told them of my desire to try and make an image on their farm. They were delighted and I agreed to give them a print if I got something nice.

I had to do all the preparation blind, so to speak. While I was on the farm, I took some GPS readings and a couple of compass settings. When I got home I checked my Naval sky charts to find that the full moon would be setting at sunrise on Wednesday, October 15th. I knew from past experience just how to time the event to get the moon in the scene I was envisioning.

I got out of bed at 3 am, left for my destination 120 miles away to arrive with about 45 minutes to scout a location for the picture before the sun started rising. I was driving through hundreds of acres of pumpkins in the dark and on muddy roads to try and find a place where I could get my image. I picked a spot, then with a small flashlight in my mouth started trying to make some compass readings, and ultimately start setting up the camera and equipment for a panorama. It was very difficult to get ready. In the daylight it is complicated enough, but in the dark it was a real chore.

I got everything on the tripod and started moving out into the field to pick my spot. I was going to use a tilt-shift lens for maximum depth-of-field and knew I'd have to do multiple exposures on each section of the panorama to cover the extreme contrast range. Logistically, this was going to be one of the most difficult panoramas I would ever make, but I thought I was ready. The camera was set to make threee bracketed exposures of each section. I'd have to work very fast to cover each section as quickly as possible because when the sun started lighting the peaks and with the moon setting, fast work was essential.

It all started happening, but there were clouds in the east where the sun would rise. It would complicate things. I started shooting panoramas right on schedule. I made several different shots, some with no direct light, some extremely wide, and some with the light on the pumpkins when the sun peeked through a break in the clouds. After I shot what I wanted with the TS lens, I switched to a 300mm to isolate and enlarge part of the mountains still with the moon above the horizon. It was with this lens that I made the image you see here. The panorama was made from nine images about 15 minutes after the beginning of sunrise. There was still frost on the pumpkins as it was a very cold morning. This is the image I settled on.

I am very happy with the results. The final print will measure 40" high by 104" wide, almost 4X9 feet. Though not an image I would normally shoot, it has a lot of impact and an almost otherworldly quality. The brilliance of the lit up pumpkins is almost overwhelming. Want color in a wonderful setting with everything that spells out Halloween? Well, here you have it. I'm interested to see what the company thinks of the image and what kind of comments it gets. Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Well, now I can get back to what really interests me for my fall pictures. I've already made some great moose images and will try to concentrate on some new Pronghorn and Bison pictures for the rest of the fall season. That's where my heart really lies, but sometimes a break from the normal is good for making you appreciate, even more, what you really love. This large bull was photographed in the Snowy Range. Aren't those fall colored willows the perfect setting for a portrait of this fine looking fella'? He was in his prime and looking for love. Any lovely lady moose would find him to be a real catch. I was privileged to make his portrait.

Happy Halloween everyone. Jerry

Monday, October 6, 2008

Autumn Travels

Well, the season I love the most has finally arrived and in fine fashion. All summer long I've waited for autumn, but getting out in the field hasn't been without its trials and tribulations. I had picture installations to do (that wasn't a bad thing, having sold some large panoramas, but it took a lot of time), getting the camper ready after a summer of inactivity, vehicle problems, and list went on.

After finally determining that everything and everyone else had to be relegated to a lesser priority, I finally got out of town with my wife for a couple of days to spend in the Snowy Range. It was a trial trip to make sure everything was in order for the longer fall excursions. Boy was I glad we made that trip. I had forgotten some key things, had some generator issues, and lost a key part to my photographic gear for shooting panoramas. I had gotten rusty over the summer and needed this time to clear my head and rethink my needs, equipment and do some field trials. It was frustrating but necessary.

Well, we got back home and I spent three more days 'fixing' all the things that needed attention. I got off again in four more days and arrived in the Sierra Madres at the peak of the colors. It was spectacular. I shot over 300 images in the first two hours after my arrival and setting up camp. The next two days were spent in my photographic mode I call 'controlled frenzy'. I made over 20 new panoramas and dozens of wonderful images. In the accompanying image, you can see my rig and the place that I camped. The colors over the entire region were more beautiful than at any time I had photographed them in the past.

Unfortuantely, I had a major generator failure and had to return home one more time after all the batteries in cameras, laptops and the camper ran out of power. That generator was crucial to any type of primitive camping environment. I'm taking these few moments to write this blog entry, getting ready to replace the generator and taking off again in a few days for the next phase of my fall trips. Just wanted to keep you posted on what to expect in the next few months. The fall pictures will be my very best and the panoramas mind boggling. I can't wait to share them with you, but I'm even more excited to get back in the field. Have a great autumn season wherever you are. I certainly intend to have more exciting adventures. Jerry