It Got Personal

How cool would it be to have your own wildlife tour guide with thirteen hours of private, one-on-one camera technique instruction? That is exactly what I was fortunate to have one day during a recent trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

When Jayne and I arrived in Jackson Hole, we discovered, much to our dismay, that most of the park roads leading into Grand Teton National Park, as well as Yellowstone, were closed. I expected Yellowstone and the main Grand Teton access to be closed, but so were the minor access points as well. We had planned on doing some hiking in an attempt to get off the beaten path and explore some wildlife on our own. Once we found that this was not to be the case, we had some time to fill up. During my research prior to our trip, I found several wildlife tours available.

I had the pleasure of contracting the services of professional photographer Scott McKinley for a private day of wildlife shooting. Scott took Jayne and I around the entire Jackson Hole valley. This was my first experience shooting extensive wildlife, which is completely different from the type of pictures I normally shoot. I had no idea what to expect from this day.

Here are a few examples. In these first two, Scott taught me composition by using the ridge with the mountain backdrop for more drama.

jackson hole wildlife 5

jackson hole wildlife 1

With infectious passion, Scott told us that Jackson Hole is one of the few remaining, truly wild places left on earth with such a variety of native animals. Jayne and I felt privileged and blessed to witness and experience the majesty of nature. These next three are examples of some of the wildlife we saw.

jackson hole wildlife 2

jackson hole wildlife 3

jackson hole wildlife 4

In addition to experiencing upclose wildlife, Scott also gave me personal instruction as to how to setup my camera to maximize my photos. We explored the basics of wildlife composition and positioning and how to anticipate what the animal was likely to do next so as to maximize picture quality. We discussed everything from cameras to tripods and movie making as well.

It was a long day with a lot of information to process, but the rewards were priceless for me. If you get the chance to visit Jackson Hole and you are a photographer, I strongly recommend you contact Scott for your own private tour. Please visit his site here. Thanks, Scott!

You can view the remaining picture of our trip here.