What brought us to this special part of the world was Dana’s participation in the Photography at the Summit Nature Workshop. Held each year in Jackson, this was its 30th Anniversary. This was not our first time in Jackson, however, and surely won’t be our last.
We arrived a couple of days early so we could enjoy the beauty of the American West, and the big sky and landscapes of Jackson Hole. Mark is an avid fly-fisherman so he had his sights on some of the best trout fishing in the West.
Our home for the week was the Alpine House B&B. Located in town and a short walk to restaurants and more, the inn is a little rustic, as you might expect, but clean and comfortable. The B&B also offers a nice, full breakfast. For the price, we highly recommend it.
On Saturday we started out after breakfast to hike the Jenny Lake trail and up through Cascade Canyon. A brief boat ride to the trailhead offers great views from the lake. The boat operates during the Summer months only so be sure to check the schedule in advance. Alternatively, you can hike around the lake to get to the trailhead. After a short hike uphill to Inspiration Point you’ll happen upon a truly inspiring view. If your are up for it, we recommend hiking the 11-mile, well-maintained trail through Cascade Canyon, a beautiful canyon complete with waterfalls.
From Mark –
Sunday was a gorgeous Autumn day for a fly fishing experience. I decided to venture out on my own, and reserve the following day for my guided experience. I headed out to Flat Creek which runs through the National Elk Refuge and is but a walk from the museum where Dana was starting her workshop. The views are tremendous and I had a close encounter with a bald eagle, but the fishing — as always — is difficult and I only landed one cutthroat trout. After lunch, it was time to give the Gros Ventre River a try further up the valley. The aspens were as breathtaking as the beautiful river running its course through steep valleys. I found one terrific public access downstream of the the lake (caused by a massive landslide) where the river turns 90 degrees after slamming into a cliff face. There I caught a half-dozen fish, but the prize was a 21” cutthroat that leaped onto to my dry fly and made my day.
Monday found me driving south along the Snake River to meet my guide for a dry fly fishing float trip on nine miles of the Snake. It really does not get a lot better than this: a cloudless, blue sky day with warm temperatures, aspens in full color and the mighty Snake. While many anglers prefer to nymph this stretch of the river, I selected my guide (and he selected me) because we both wanted to stay on dry flies the entire day. It’s a more difficult assignment for the guide and he has to row up many back eddies to put me in position, but it was sure worth it. No less than 40 caught that day, and quite a few more lost due to my inadequacies in setting the hook. I left with a big smile and a vow to return.
From Dana –
On Sunday I joined my fellow photogs at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Tucked into the side of a hill a short drive from the downtown area, be sure to visit the museum when in Jackson to experience a lovely collection of wildlife art in an architecturally appealing building, inside and out. The museum overlooks the National Elk Refuge and on a sunny day you can also enjoy a nice lunch from the cafe on the outside patio.
If you are a photographer, I highly recommend the Summit Photography workshops (see the website for detailed information, http://www.photographyatthesummit.com). Each year founder and host, legendary Rich Clarkson, brings together a collection of instructors who are some of the best in the photography industry. This year’s instructors included: William Allard, David Black, Michael Forseberg, MaryAnne Golon, Tom Mangelsen, Allen Murabayashi, Bill Pekula, Jim Richardson, Bob Smith, Ron Taniwaki, and Don Winslow.
The weeklong workshop is intense – early morning shoots that start before sunrise (with instructors for on location mentoring or on your own), informative classroom sessions, evening lectures by the instructors which reveal their true passion for photography, and, of course, the daily image review sessions. At first daunting, the review sessions were a significant part of the week, wherein the instructors provide candid reviews of the participants images shot earlier that day. The pressure of producing images on demand to be reviewed a few hours later by industry leaders is significant. But honestly there is no better way to learn and improve based on their comments and suggestions.
In this casual, yet professional environment, the instructors are readily available to discuss like minded issues, offer a one-on-one portfolio review or simply a word of encouragement. Forgot your equipment or want to try out a new lens or tripod? The on site services of Nikon, Manfrotto, and Roberts Camera have you covered.
It was truly a great week of growth for me, and I am thankful for the new friendships that developed during the week. Like many of the participants in this year’s nature workshop, I can’t wait to return for another week of expert tutelage, camaraderie, networking and, last but not least, friendship.
Here’s three of my photos that received the highest praise during the week from the instructors.
Our restaurant recommendations –
Try Trio for excellent food and service in a small, modest setting with local art. Located in town, a short walk from the Alpine. Be sure to try the BLT soup. Strange name, but not to be missed. 4*
Local neighbors the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (another must see for first timers to the area). A casual and comfortable restaurant with a very nice wine list and very good lasagne. (Dana came back a second time for the lasagne.) 4*
Bin 22 – a wine and tapas restaurant and wine store. We sat in the courtyard which offers family style seating. We were fortunate to sit with a nice couple from the area. Bin 22 offers good fare and a nice wine list. Our fav was the arugula and pear salad. 3 1/2*
We do not recommend the Blue Lion restaurant. While the restaurant was recommended and reasonably rated, we were very disappointed with the quality of the food.
… Mark & Dana …