Grand Teton: Photography & Field Guide
I love technology and the national parks, so it's always interesting to see how traditional books transfer into the electronic medium.
Daryl Hunter's new eBook – Grand Teton: Photography & Field Guide is a good first addition by a very knowledgable writer and skilled photographer who is making the challenging move to the electronic world of publishing. The book provides a very comprehensive overview of the Grand Teton National Park region, and I particularly like the fact that it's simply not just a just a photography guide but a very good field reference guide as well.
The eBook costs $9.99 and is available on Apple iTunes bookstore, as well as on Amazon's AppStore for the Kindle. It is also available as a direct-download from Daryl's website – daryl-hunter.net.
The transition to the eBook format is not without challenges. First off, Daryl links to an external PDF map that he created to help orient readers to the different locations he took the photographs. I found this map very challenging to read, at best. Although I have long been a fan of annotating my personal maps with all sorts of additional details encountered during trips, the notes seemed to only make sense of to myself – and even that decreases over time.
I would have liked to see a better annotated map – less handwritten notes and more printed annotations, graphical shading, etc. I suspect Apple would have preferred this as well since Daryl alludes to them rejecting the addition of of this map because of the quality. However, I do appreciate the fact that Daryl encourages the reader to download the map beforehand because there are very little, if any, cell/data connections within the park.
A nice addition to the eBook is the use of geographic position system (GPS) coordinates for various photographs within the book. For several of the photographs, Daryl has included the GPS coordinates at the bottom of the photo. If you click on the latitude and longitude numbers (i.e. 43.700929, -110.7519), it will open up your web browser and take you to Google Maps and provide a satellite image of the location. This is a nice addition, however I did find myself trying to figure out which direction the photos were taken once I got to the Google Maps page.
For example, the incredible photo of the two wolves traversing the ridge east of Death Canyon - when you click on the GPS coordinates listed under the photo (i.e. 43.608302,-110.685872), it takes you to the Gros Venture Road. I wasn't sure if this was an error in the coordinates or the fact that he used a high-powered telescope camera lenses from this location. I found myself wanting to get more details on the angle and positioning of each of these photographs, not just the general location. I also was wanting to see GPS coordinates for each of the photographs within the book - it appears only about half of them include these details.
In summary, this is a great first addition to an eBook format. I am excited to see future versions and hope that Daryl improves it based on reader feedback. This is of course one of the beauties of electronic products – publishers are able to rapidly change the content far quicker than the traditional paper publishing process.
However don't let my focus on the functionality of Daryl's eBook implementation distract from the depth and quality of the content. I've never met Daryl, however he is clearly a skilled photographer and knows the Grand Teton region very well. I'm sure his photography tours are great, too.
Is this eBook worth $9.99? If you're a photographer and want to orient yourself to the Grand Teton region, it is absolutely worth it. If you're a more of a casual traveler to Grand Teton, I'm not sure it will be the best option available to familiarize yourself with the park. However, if you're like me, I pretty much purchase anything to related to Grand Teton National Park.
Kerry Gallivan is the CEO & Co-Founder of Chimani. Chimani is a mobile app company that provides a suite of free outdoor destination guides. Chimani publishes guides for 14 of the most-visited U.S. National Parks, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. To learn more, go to: www.chimani.com
The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This is an overview, not an encyclopedia. It is a guide and not a novel, so skip over what doesn’t interest you and find what tickles your curiosity. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.
In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.
As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. Provided is a map of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. Also covered are common trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations. Also included are explanations of the Greater Yellowstone ecology and wildlife safety tips.
The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Explained in detail are Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. In this chapter are explanations of how the author sees, what he look for, where he goes and reasons why he shoot the way he does. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision. The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.
In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.
If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five-hour blitz. But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park.