The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

The last in a series of photo essays on Grand Teton National Park. Coming up: The narrative. 

I was driving back to Jackson having just have photographed the Moulton barn and environs when I noticed a little side road that exited the main highway. Why not; nothing ventured, nothing gained. I arrived at a parking area and as I usually do I got out to scout the area for possible photo opportunities.

It turned out that I’d stumbled on to a boat landing on the Snake River called Schwabacher’s Landing. A short walk from the car revealed a photographer’s paradise; an Eden of trees, and mountains and Autumn foliage reflected in a string of beaver ponds.  My walk from the car turned into a run back to the car to collect my gear.

I don’t know a thing about this person named Schwabacher but for the fact that he or she found an absolutely gorgeous location for a boat landing; or a picnic, or a hike.  Or a place to just pause and reflect on the breathtaking reflections.

Reflect is just the perfect word to describe Schwabacher’s Landing because when you look in the waters you see flawless reflections of the peaks and surrounding area. That morning there was me and only two or three other photographers. As we went about our hobby we observed each other’s views and vantage points, sharing ideas and locations that we’d been along the slightly less than two mile trail.


Schwabacher Landing BEST 1

Schwabacher landing Best 4Schwabacher landing Best 7

Schwabacher landing Best 8


Schwabacher landing Best 6


Cora was quite the trooper to get up before sunrise and wait in a cold car while I took pictures at Oxbow Bend.  The next morning she turned in her trooper’s badge and opted to stay in our nice warm cottage and spend a comfy leisurely morning sipping freshly brewed coffee.

While I love my wife’s company there are times when I feel more comfortable when she decides to send me off on my own. One of those times is a photo shoot on a cold morning. The previous morning at Oxbow Bend had me concentrating on both photography and Cora’s comfort (or discomfort). So on this particular morning I felt the liberty of concentrating on photography only. That’s not to say that there isn’t a downside. I often end up disappointed for Cora missing a spectacular site.

On this particular morning the destination would be Mormon Row and again it would be during the cold predawn. Built in the 1890’s Mormon Row is described in The National Park Service Guide, Homesteaders established 27 homesteads in the Grovont area because of relatively fertile soil, shelter from winds by Blacktail Butte and access to the Gros Ventre River. Despite the harsh conditions of Jackson Hole, Mormon settlers grew crops by using irrigation. These hardy settlers dug ditches by hand and with teams of horses, building an intricate network of levees and dikes to funnel water from central ditches to their fields between 1896 and 1937. Water still flows in some of these ditches.

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Dogs have been a big part of my life. This is what will likely be the first of many posts on dogs from time to time.
My fashion philosophy is, if you’re not covered in dog hair, your life is empty.” ~ Elayne Boosler.

It was a few months after our Gordon Setter, Rainey was put to sleep that my former co-worker, Craig called me from Chicago. We talked business for a while and then the conversation turned to dogs. “Are you going to get another dog?
“I don’t know Craig. Part of me doesn’t want to go through the pain again in 10 years. Part of me says maybe, just maybe, I have one more dog left in me.”
“You should. Dogs add so much to our lives.”
Rainey was gone and the house often seemed as hollow as a rotted out log, particularly in winter when she would curl up on her dog bed in front of a fire. There were no fires that winter after Rainey left us. I just couldn’t. Why build a fire when most of its warmth is no longer there?


Rainey in her youth

Still, Craig’s words kept coming back to me, “Dogs add so much to our lives.”

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The second in a series of photo essays of Grand Teton National Park. 

I have to admit Cora was quite the trooper that first morning in Jackson, Wyoming. The predawn temperature was in the brisk mid-twenties when we left our snug bed to drive 32 miles so that I could photograph the panorama of Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park. That was my own mission. Cora’s was to simply try and retain body heat. There’s really nothing that compels Cora to go on these sometimes crazy little sorties of mine other than to keep me company. 

“Do you want me to go with you?”

“If you want. I always like your company but if you want to sleep in that’s no problem.” Continue reading

This is the very first post of my new blog. While I think an intro is always helpful and interesting it occurred to me that maybe a little sampler might be a different way to start. If you want to know what this blog is about, you can visit my about section – or you can wait for my introductory post. 

This post is the first in a series. A photographic tour of one of my favorite places, Grand Teton National Park. 

Whether you’re someone who uses a point and shoot or an amateur with a backpack full of gear or a professional who makes a living through photography or someone who randomly snaps photos on a phone Grand Teton National Park is a photographer’s wonderland. Where do I fit? I guess I’m a hobbyist/amateur with a wife who patiently indulges my photographic whims and junkets. 

Before Cora and I took our trip to the northwestern corner of Wyoming where Grand Teton and Yellowstone are located I figured that being in my 60s I might not find another opportunity to visit these jewels so I wanted to do it right. I invested in a 600mm zoom lens and a wide angle lens and books on landscape and wildlife photography.  Weeks before the trip I reviewed my camera’s owners manual and practiced using some of the functions that I would need so that I wouldn’t fumble around on a cold morning or miss a shot of a bison for having a mental hiccup. 

This post is a collection of some of the photos that I took while in Grand Teton National Park. These are only a fraction of the hundreds of shots that I took. I often took multiple exposures of the same scene with different settings. Some photos were winners and many, many more; well, not so much. .

Our national parks are treasures that can never be replaced if we allow them to be desecrated, developed or over commercialized.  I hope you enjoy the photos and that you can one day visit this magnificent park.

Autumn gold

Dressed in Autumn Yellow

View from Signal Mtn better

A View From the Summit of Signal Mountain

Bull elk

Bull Elk scratching

Antlers Can Be Handy When You Need a Back Scratcher



Sunset panorama cropped copy

Autumn colors

Teton Panorama

Moran and trees 10.21

Below: Me at Jenny Lake. My friend Scott would be on me about the backwards cap. According to Scott only two people wear their caps backwards; baseball catchers and submarine commanders. I’ll add a third. Photographers; the bill gets in the way of what you’re doing. Note that thing hanging from my belt on my right hip. That’s bear spray. In Grand Teton when you go for even the shortest hike, don’t leave home without it.

Paul at Jenny Lake

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