I am calling it a Romantic Adventure for the adventurous, remote, mysterious, and probably mostly idealized imagining of the trip. I've never been to Yellowstone or Jackson Hole, or Wyoming for that matter. I've avoided bracing myself for disappointment of a touristy trap and hold out hope the area is large enough we haven't quite ruined it just yet, even with all the help of conservationists. I want to believe it will be an adventure, so much so I have taken a horse riding lesson in preparation for the trip, bought waterproof matches AND got fresh batteries for my GPS unit.
In honesty, I've been preparing for the trip for a few months - the perfect equation for a letdown I know, but as I've said, I'm avoiding those possibilities - positive thinking or positive mental attitude. (I really did take riding lessons, get matches and put in fresh batteries).
As some of you may know, I have lived my entire life in West Virginia. WV has some of the most remote and peacefully beautiful landscapes, especially on the east coast of the US. My camp in the mountains of Randolph County affords me almost immediate access to two State Parks and thousands of acres of unpopulated forests (funny, spell check doesn't think unpopulated is a word). I still go for day-long 4-wheeler rides and see territory I've never covered. Many of my web site photos are from these mountains, and that's also why I have a GPS unit (not the kind you have in your car, but the topographical map, Hansel and Gretel kind).
I'm looking forward to different terrain that doesn't require cutting out telephone lines and crowds with Photoshop, although I know some of the park sites we will visit will be full of people this time of year. I've been to Nevada and was recently in New Mexico, but that's as close as it gets to this type trip. Those visits were in cities and I didn't have much chance to photograph the natural beauty of the geographic region, another reason I am so looking forward to this trip.
My trip begins in two days, on Thursday. I plan to pack most of my clothes and gear this evening (done), allowing an extra day to get whatever I discover last minute I've forgotten. I make it sound like I'm going on a backpack trip for 10-days when we are actually staying in downtown Jackson, Wyoming at Cowboy Village Resort. I will have to do laundry, so I guess that will be "roughing" it for me~ of course, they probably have a dry cleaners, too!
Part of my preparations involved figuring out how I am going to store all the pictures I take. On an average day when I am shooting 6-8 hours, I will take 400-800 pictures, each at roughly 22 megabytes each. Some of these photo days will be longer and I planned for 1000 shots a day, or roughly 22 gigs a day. I gave up on the guess math and got a terabyte drive, just to be safe. I may be spending the next year cleaning up and going through photos from this trip.
One of the hardest parts of the trip will be the final presentation for class. First of all, I will likely be working on a Mac, and I'm a PC guy (made that decision in 1985.11.04:). I'm not taking a PC, so I will be limited to time I have in the photo lab selecting and processing photos for my final presentation. My presentation is limited to as many as twenty pictures, presented in digital format. I will be looking for my best 2 daily pictures out of the 1000 I will take each day. If the 0.2% factor isn't enough, I also have to think about my story, theme and culminating presentation as I go. It would be easiest had I chosen a topic for presentation in advance, then planned shots to fit my effort. Fortunately (or not), I am not under contract to National Geographic, so the romantic part of the trip will be shooting what I see and deciding how presentation will unfold as it does (called, "freelance" or "broke photographer"). I have a couple general themes in mind, but we'll see how it goes...
So, this is the setup for my trip. I originally intended to wait for this diatribe until the night before I left, but I decided to give myself a little extra time for the Blog as well. Also, I'm really just too excited for this thing to get underway! I know I should know better than to build this much anticipation, especially at my age, but hey it is what it is~ its my Romantic Cowboy Adventure and now I can even saddle and ride a horse if I have to! Hope you enjoy the photos to come.