After a childhood spent exploring the neighborhood woods and along the creek that meandered throughout, I gradually lost interest in outdoor adventure (although I never lost my appreciation for nature in general). As an adult, I didn't undertake my first significant hike until the age of 38. The next year, I camped in a tent for the first time in my life.
Just shy of my 40th birthday, I found myself camping in various sites in and around Grand Teton National Park as I attended my first landscape photography workshop. It was a tremendous, albeit exhausting, experience, and one that I have reflected on to some degree nearly every day since (as I write this, five years later and counting).
Given where I was in my photography journey, I was just starting to come into my own but also still made plenty of mistakes, often due to the typical "I know best" phase many photographers go through after a few years of shooting. I was still shooting handheld with little deliberate intent for compositions: if something caught my eye, I photographed it. While not necessarily a bad way to learn, that approach certainly meant my ratio of duds to winners was quite skewed towards the duds side. For the workshop, I was admittedly less interested in learning than in just having someone guide to me spectacular locations to photograph with little instruction.
Since I spent almost all my time shooting handheld when there was even a hint of light in the sky, I also have a large collection of files from this trip shot at higher ISOs. As a result, they are quite noisy and, until the more recent advent of AI-assisted noise reduction technology, were unusable for anything beyond sharing for consumption on small phone screens.
Recently, as I wrote about in my Hidden Gold blog post, I went through the exercise of reviewing many of my older archives of photos, looking for anything I had either overlooked or dismissed as too noisy, or that could be revisited with a more refined processing approach. I came out of that process with roughly 40 new photos to share by the time I published the post.
In this gallery, all but three of the images you'll find - Grand Opportunity, The Far Shore, and Awaken - are new releases. Several more have been added beyond the initial group I included in Hidden Gold. I have shared a handful of these in years past, but subsequently removed them from my site and social media feeds as my personal approach to post-processing became more refined over time (in 2018 I was, at times, extremely heavy handed with my editing... to put it kindly). Where I still saw potential, I completely scrapped those older edits and started over from scratch. I'm glad to say that some of the newly edited photos - having made me cringe upon pulling them from my archives - are now among my favorites. Not just for this gallery, but within my broader portfolio of work, as well.
I hope you enjoy this collection. You can read a bit more about the making of each photo by clicking on the thumbnails. If interested, most images are also available as fine art prints in my store.