• Matt Dirksen

The Tetons in Monochrome

Ansel Adams was pretty well known for his dramatic black and white landscape images. Those images have gone on to stand the test of time and continue to inspire generations decades later. One of Ansel’s biggest ah-ha moments was when he chose to use a red filter as part of his black and white photographs of Yosemite. At that moment in 1927, he created one of his best known works, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome”. By using the red filter, he was able to darken the blue sky to a deep black while still maintaining his elements of the “Zone System”.

In 1941, Ansel was contracted by the US Department of the Interior to produce works of art to adorn the walls of offices in Washington, D.C.. Ansel would go on to capture his iconic “The Tetons and the Snake River” in the Summer of 1942.

During my annual trip to Grand Teton in 2018, I set out to capture the iconic range using this same style of B&W photography, except using digital instead of large format film. I spent four days exploring and enjoying the down time. Once the fall colors leave the area, the heavy traffic of tourism has disappears, making the park much more enjoyable.

I had set out to capture a number of different angles of both the Grand and Mount Moran. I wanted to capture them in the best light of the morning, but also in any dramatic fashion as midday or afternoon clouds moved into the area. The Tetons never disappoint at producing drama and can differ in their views for many stretches of miles. Needless to say, I put in some miles and used lenses varying from 24mm to 400mm. The red filter sure makes for some fun on bluebird landscape days.

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