Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sunset Supreme!

Last night was nothing short of epic in terms of lighting and nature.

Not only was the alpenglow incredibly vibrant, but bold, dark storm clouds (eventually with huge strikes of lightning) came with it!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to capture this scene as much as it deserved, but here's a quick panorama I took with my Canon 40D, handheld:

Alpenglow streaking across the dark cloudy sky, right above the Teton range.

God's creation is awesome! It just makes me want to praise Him all the more!

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O Lord, are on high forever. For behold, your enemies, O Lord, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered."

– Psalm 92:1-9

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snake River Overlook Sunrise

Scott and I went on another sunrise shoot this morning - hoping to catch a last bit of the fall season before winter hits. We were a bit late. It's unbelievable how quickly the leaves fall here in Jackson! It's been not quite 2 weeks since we were out shooting last time, and it right around peak for colors. Today they were all gone!

We were still blessed with some gorgeous sunrise light on the Tetons though! Cloud cover was high, so it didn't last long but we caught it well. Here's a time-lapse taken with my iPhone:

Snake River Overlook Sunrise from Derrick Zuk on Vimeo.

And here are my favorite shots from my Canon 40D, using the Tokina 11-16mm:

Full blast alpenglow on the Tetons!

Beautiful strip of light across the Tetons in this wide shot of Snake River.

What a wonderful morning! Praise the Lord for how He continues to bless me with the opportunities to capture His beautiful creation!

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities––all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."

-- Colossians 1:15-23

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hedrick Point Sunrise

Yes, it's been a while. I still have many photos to go through from some spectacular hikes this summer, but I'll start with my most recent photo shoot: Hedrick Point.

I learned of this spot from my dad ( When he visited me here in Jackson Hole to drop my brother off at Jackson Hole Bible College (, we scouted it out midday and decided it'd be a superb sunrise location. Unfortunately we weren't able to get there for sunrise together while he was here.

Scott (Dean of Students at JHBC) and I have been wanting to do a sunrise shoot for some time now, and the fall colors here in Jackson are about at their peak. You must understand, fall doesn't last very long here. It's a hit-or-miss situation. So we decided to try Hedrick Point on Friday morning.

I also tried setting up meeting Matt Kloskowski ( to join us since I found out he was in the area this weekend doing some photo shoots. Unfortunately he wasn't able to join us for the shoot since he was with a photo-workshop group that was doing sunrise at another location in the park. But we were able to meet him later that morning to chat a bit and share some of our photos (to give him a taste of what he missed! :)

Here's a time-lapse video I took with my iPhone:

9-28-12 Hedrick Point Sunrise from Derrick Zuk on Vimeo.

And here are some of my favorite shots from my Canon 40D:

Fog beneath Mount Moran shot with 70-200mm lens. -HDR

Panorama taken with 70-200mm lens - 13 shots stitched

Alpenglow on the Tetons, fog rolling in towards Hedrick Pond. Tokina 11-16mm. -HDR

Using purple gradient filter over Tokina 11-16mm.

Fog hovering over Hedrick Pond, Tokina 11-16mm. -HDR

Weather and lighting conditions were perfect! The fog really added a nice touch, fall colors were as brilliant as Jackson gets, and the lighting on the mountains was brilliant! Great morning of shooting. I had a great time with Scott and it was really fun meeting Matt Kloskowski! I look forward to shooting with him in the future sometime, Lord willing! Thanks for your time, Matt!

Praise the Lord for His many blessings!

"From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the LORD is to be praised!"
(Psalm 113:3 ESV)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Aurora Borealis Timelapse

I don't know if you all have heard, but a solar flare increased the power of the northern lights to show up farther south than usual on Saturday and Sunday this week. I was excited at the possibility of seeing them here in Wyoming, but alas: complete cloud cover on Saturday night! Sunday night wasn't looking much more promising.

But I decided to go with Josh and Leah to try and see them from atop a nearby butte. We didn't see anything. I decided to let my camera go with long exposures (30 seconds) at high sensitivity (ISO 3200) anyway, in a time-lapse fashion. When I looked at my camera's review screen I was amazed. I was actually capturing the purple and green glows from the northern lights!!! Even though our eyes couldn't see it, my camera at high sensitivity was pulling it in! I was excited. We were up there maybe 40 minutes or so, and decided to head back. I thought I had enough photos. Well... turns out I only got 64, which turned into a 2 second time-lapse video.

I'm really kicking myself now for two reasons:
1. I could have gone to a much better viewpoint with the Tetons.
2. I should have stayed out pretty much all night. :)

Oh well! Lessons learned!! Here is my short bitter-sweet video:

You can see a bit of the typical light "dancing" in a couple spots if you look hard. The video should be converted to HD soon so you can see it better.

God's creation is awesome isn't it!? I'll definitely be on the watch for more light shows! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Hike to Lake of the Crags

Josh, Steven and I had another hiking adventure last Friday. We decided to take on Lake of the Crags. It's an off-the-official-trail hike that branches off of the North Jenny Lake trail. We decided to head out a bit late, which almost caused Josh's downfall for getting to work on time that night.

We got to the trailhead at around 12:15pm, and started hiking the all-too-familiar trail from String Lake Trailhead. We got to the branch in the trail and started heading up the rugged and steep trail to the lake. The sun was at full blast beating down on us. Not the time of day we prefer hiking in, but we were just getting a warmup hike in before our coming adventure of hiking Middle Teton and South Teton peaks tomorrow.

It was a pretty difficult hike for just 3-3.5 miles. The trail goes straight up 2500 feet in about 2.5-3 miles. We were struggling a bit to keep up our pace. We finally got to the lake at about 2:15pm.

Josh and Steven filling up our waters with the filter.

Lake of the Crags

Pretty nice colors!
Looking up the cliffs beside the lake.

Snow-fed Lake of the Crags

Looking up at the surrounding peaks.

Here's a video I took at the top:

Notice I said in the video that we started at 12:15 and ended at 12:15... it was a mistake, we really didn't do the hike instantaneously. We're not quite that good yet. :)

We spent a bit too much time up there before heading down, and had to make up for it with a speedy pace. I wouldn't recommend doing it unless you have to. That steep of downhill at that pace = hurting legs. :) We were all sore for a few days (including a bit today).

Here are a few photos I took on the way down:

Closeup of fleabane daisy wildflower

There were lots of these fleabane daisies along the last part of the trail.

Looking down at the String Lake Trailhead (starts at that bridge).

We got to the car right before the rain started hitting at around 4:15. After a quick drive home we got Josh to work on time and just relaxed. :)

Definitely a cool hike!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rodeo Time! For me!!

Yep that's right... I was a contestant in the Jackson Hole Rodeo this Wednesday. Josh, Steven, and I joined forces to take on the "Grab the Bull by the Horns" event. Let me explain how it works.

There's a rope tied to a steer's (small bull) horns and a ribbon tied to its tail. The steers start in the respective team's gate, with the team members outside in their places.

There are 3 people to a team.
1. Anchor. This was me. The anchor has hold of the other end of the rope that's tied to the steer's horns.  He's supposed to pull the steer across the cones and then help the Mugger get the rope off its horns.
2. Mugger. This was Steven. He opens the gate then gets the rope off the horns, typically by doing a little wrestling work.
3. Runner. This was Josh. He starts at the opposite end of the arena and runs to take the ribbon off its tail.

We then all run with the rope and ribbon to our gate and close it. First to do so wins.

So without further explanation, here's the video of us doing it:

We made a couple mistakes... which we plan on fixing next time. :)

1. I didn't pull as hard as I could for getting it to the cones. For some reason I expected it to run that way automatically. Bad assumption. :)

2. We didn't direct it very well, and therefore it was a mad scramble which made it hard to get the rope off.

Oh well, lessons learned! We had a blast though!

By the way, here's the sunset that night:

Hike to Owl Canyon Mine


I've been keeping pretty busy around camp here, so I haven't been able to get to updating the blog. Sorry for the delay. I have gone on a couple hikes within the last week, and did something else exciting... so this is the first of a few blog posts today!

Sunday afternoon I decided to take up a hiking opportunity with an infamous guide who has requested to remain anonymous. :) So I've decided to not say his (clue! :)) name, but I wouldn't mind having people guess who it is! Leave a comment with your guess!

Ok, so I'll describe the hike in the format of phases.

#1. Canoeing across the north side of Jackson Lake. This was pretty fun... great views, calm waters, enjoyable time.

#2. Landing and leaving our canoe in the wrong spot causing us to "hike" (if you can call it that... it was more like weed whacking) through willows taller than us through an extremely wet marshy area trying to find the trail. I didn't know what I was in for on the hike, so unfortunately I was wearing shorts which caused many scratches. We were also munched on by mosquitos and always ready to run right into a moose. Definitely not my idea of a fun hike, but it was a unique experience for sure and we had a good time.

#3. Finding the trail. We finally got out of the willows and marched our way through the woods looking for the trail. We found it, and headed down it with great joy. Only to stop and turn around because we weren't on the right trail! :) At least my guide knows when to admit he was wrong and goes about fixing it as soon as possible. He did quite well at correcting our mistake, we cut across a couple hills and found the trail we wanted.

#4. Eaten alive by mosquitos. We decided that we'd had enough of the mosquitos, and put our rain jackets on for protection. I also put on my hat. It was much warmer, but at least we weren't bothered by the bugs.

#5. My guide almost getting a heart attack by running into other people on the trail. Haha. It was pretty funny to see his face. We had been on guard for running into bear or moose when he finally hiked around a corner, looked up, and saw hikers right in front of him. I had seen them a bit earlier and wondered if he hadn't. I was right. :) Wish I had it on video.

Stream running down the canyon into Jackson Lake.

Same as above - also the mine is right below us on the side of the cliff.

#6. Exploring the mine. We finally reached the mine after about 2.5 miles of hiking. It was of course pitch black through the whole thing so we both had our headlamps and started exploring to the back of the mine. See video at the end, but not before guessing who my guide was! It gives it away. :)

#7. Returning to the canoe. On the way back it started to rain on us. Lightning was also striking nearby, so we ran a bit over some of the more open sections of trail. We went by a ranger cabin and chatted a bit, and finally came to the lake where we saw a gorgeous double rainbow.

Rainbow over Jackson Lake.

I was wading in the water to get protection from mosquitos biting my legs, so I decided I might as well make the best of it.  :)

#8. Canoeing the fierce waters of Jackson Lake. Ok, it wasn't necessarily fierce. But we were in a canoe, had precious gear on board, and are not professionals at canoeing. :) The waves were getting a bit too large for our small craft, so we had to wait a while for them to die down. But we finally made it to the other shore in about an hour and a half.

#9. The end.

Here's the video! I give away who my guide is! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

6/27 Hike to Delta, Amphitheater, Bradley Lakes and Rodeo

The Trekking-Trio was at it again on Friday. God blessed us with another opportunity to do some hiking in some favorite, and even new territories all in the same day. We started off the day at Lupine Meadows trailhead, hiking almost nonstop to Delta Lake (I think we did it faster than ever before). Once we got there we ate and rested for about an hour, enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Steven with Delta Lake and the Tetons in the background. Pretty sweet profile pic if you ask me.

Delta Lake from the rock we were resting on.

A little hiking character thrown in. :)

Closeup of Mount Owen.

Closeup of the slot between the Grand and Owen.

Closeup of the little peak next to the Grand.

And an entertaining-as-always video:

So our next destination on the hike was Amphitheater Lake. None of us had ever been up there, so we decided it was about time. It was a bit hard going up the rest of those switchbacks after our trek to Delta Lake, but as Stafford says "Hiking is 90% mental and 10% physical." With the "just-keep-going" mentality, we made it up there just fine and honestly we weren't as impressed with Amphitheater - when compared to Delta. But don't take my written words for it - here's a video and more photos!

Amphitheater Lake, with some ice left! The Grand is "peaking" (pun intended) above the ridge there.

Stafford and Steven filling up our waters with the filter.

A marmot just chilling.

View of the lake from another angle. Mount Owen is on the right.

Another shot, just for photography's sake. :)

The hike down was a refreshing change from the constant uphill we'd been doing. We booked it down to the first fork in the trail, and decided to head down the trail to Bradley Lake instead of going back to the parking lot. I thought Lupine Meadows was actually on the trail somewhere, so I thought we should try down that way to look for them. I was wrong, but again - let the video do the talking. :)

Bradley Lake, looking up at the Tetons (Grand, Owen, Teewinot left to right).

Pretty nice view of the lake with I believe Avalanche Canyon in the background.

So finally we had to head back up the trail we came down and then head down to the Lupine Meadows parking lot. We were glad to be finished. We were originally planning on going through Lupine Meadows for a couple specific fans of mine who have requested photos from there, but alas not that day! Sometime soon I promise! :)

Then to top off the day, we went to the Rodeo for a specific fun event called "grab the bull by the horns." Sounds awesome, eh? Don't worry, we didn't do it. But we had fun watching the Campus Crusade group (who had been staying at camp here for a month) try it out! There were 5 guys from the group that decided to do it. 3 on a team, 2 on another team with one of our Rocky Mountain Lodge staff members. It was quite the show, and I got it on video for ya'll! (here you go Cole! :)

And here's the group of them that did it! They did pretty well for first time!

And that's all for the day! Thanks for stopping by!

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."
-Psalm 73:26-28

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunrise shoot at Classic Jackson Hole Barns

Leah Klase and I have been thinking about going for a sunrise photography shoot sometime, and that day has finally come. We chose the location of Mormon Row's famous barns with the Tetons in the background. Sunrise here has been right around 5:45am, and the barns are about 45 minutes away from where we are at Jackson Hole Bible College.

So it was an early start this morning for sure, waking up around 4:30 to leave the parking lot at about 4:50 or so. It was Leah, Josh Stafford, and I who were eager enough to wake up that early for sunrise. We drove out to the location just before sunrise light started getting really good, with enough time to look around and get set up in the spots we wanted. I chose to move down to the less-photographed barns where I deemed there was better light. I'm glad I did, and I actually think I prefer the barns I chose.

I set up my Canon 40D to do a time-lapse of the whole sunrise while I kept my Canon G12 point-and-shoot to just take photos here and there. So the time-lapse actually shows me moving around taking photos a bit. Here it is:

Once again using music from Cort Tangeman! This time-lapse was set up to take one photo every 3 seconds, and I ended up with something like 735 photos in the sequence.

I actually really liked how the photos turned out from my trusty little Canon point-and-shoot camera. Goes to show that any camera can take great photos, so get out with yours and fear no DSLRs! :) Except in a few situations, but that's not my point here! Here are my photos from the Canon G12:

Early moments of sunrise light! Taken with the G12's built-in HDR mode.

Gorgeous views of the Tetons with nice warm light starting to hit the peaks.

My personal favorite from the day, taken once again in HDR mode.

Loved so many angles for these photos.

Possibly my second favorite shot from the day.

Some pronghorn/antelope running around nearby.

Getting some open field shots with the road and bits of fence.

Cool bit of fence near the barns.

Fence with stream running across the frame.

Closeup of the barbed wire fence, trying to frame the Tetons here.

Another closeup shot of the barn.

Gotta love sunrise! :)

I was quite happy with the results I was getting from the Canon G12. Was using a tripod for most of these shots, which helps get every bit of sharpness I can! If you get the composition and lighting right, this is what even your camera can do! :)

Here are some final shots I took with my Canon 40D, catching a bit more detail and then shooting some barn swallows:

Tight shot of the small barn and a bit of mountain behind.

Little shed.

Closeup of the wood on the big barn. Might use this for some web design projects. :)

Same as above, just with a bit of the roof.

Closeup of the small barn again, from an angle.

Barn swallow peeking out at me.

Flying up with some nest material.

Close to collision? No not really.  :)

There were tons of these birds with nests here!!

Cool shot with full wing extension.

Some of the swarm. :)

So we finally started heading home, and were quickly stopped on the small road with a herd of bison moving through. I had Leah take some pictures with my camera:

Bison with a scruffy coat.

Herd moving through in front of Tetons.

Another scruffy guy. :)

All in all, I'd say it was a good success! Especially since we had tons of fun in the process! Praise the Lord! We are thinking of doing this more often, possibly every week, so stay tuned! :)

Thanks for stopping by!