A Tribute to Ansel Adams Photographing The Tetons and Snake River

During our brief stopover at Grand Teton National Park, Jen and I were in awe of the immaculate visitors center and how much it paid homage to the likes of Franklin Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, and prolific outdoor photographer Ansel Adams. Conservation efforts are documented and there is an extensive history that you can read about that pertains to how the park area came to be preserved. I'm not even that much into history, but I'd highly recommend stopping there if you're ever in the Yellowstone/Teton area of Wyoming.

In any case, I was dazzled by the spectacular images on display, and just had to figure out what a good one might be to take on my own.

Jen and I spent an entire day driving around the park, exploring areas and looking for unique points of view that offered something majestic and interesting for capturing as a photograph. After scouting all day and looking at the map, we decided on a location that we had stopped at around midday. We didn't realize it at the time, but upon closer inspection of our map it became obvious that it was an Ansel Adams historical site, because he had taken one of his iconic photographs in that very same spot. This is the image he took, in 1942:

“The Tetons and the Snake River” by Ansel Adams via Wikipedia

“The Tetons and the Snake River” by Ansel Adams via Wikipedia

So, in August of 2015, over fifty years later, I found myself in a very similar spot, looking to craft an image. There's no comparison here, but I consider it to be a tribute to a great visual artist and an interesting example of change in terrain over time. Here is my shot:

No epic clouds for me, but what really stood out in my eyes was how hidden the Snake River was. The trees have had over fifty years to grow, but it also appears that the water level is quite a bit lower. With much less snow to be found on the Teton Range (I shot this in the summer) it's possible that Ansel's image was shot in the spring, where more snow would be expected to be seen, but also melt water could have made the river look more full.