Jim Kuchler  

Death in the Tetons by Jim Kuchler

October 2019 - Death in the Tetons

About the Image(s)

I spotted this elk carcass while floating down the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. We stopped the boat and walked over to the site. The bones and hide were scattered about on the rock bar. This bull elk must of died within the last 30 days and the various scavengers had already picked the carcass clean. I was armed only with a DSLR and 70-200mm lens. I wanted to capture the scene in a dramatic way that conveyed both the immediate setting and the expanse of the surrounding environment. I took a low perspective about 6-8 feet from the primary subject and shot the scene at 70mm, f18, ISO 400, 1/160sec, hand held continuous high shutter.

I processed the image in Lightroom by reducing shadows, increasing contrast, increase clarity and sharpening. I used the adjustment brush to reduce shadow and blacks even more on the river bank in the background. I used a cloning tool to remove a section of the spine and sinuous hide that was attached to the base of the skull. I then used OnOne Photo Suite to increase sharpness, added a touch of HDR and a slight bit of glow. The back to Lightroom for a bit of clarity and slight adjustment of luminance. I then cropped it to 8x10.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Randolph Shine   Randolph Shine
The color contrast is beautiful. The gray of the mountains, brown of the river bank with the tan of the shore rocks and the the elk made me look more closely at all the different details. All of it is natural.
The sunlight on the brown valley between tied it together.
Question: on the other side of the river it looks like a man made barrier of packed and graded rock. Interesting.
What did you mean "hand held continuous high shutter." You shot at 1/160.   Posted: 10/10/2019 12:24:25

Kieu-Hanh Vu   Kieu-Hanh Vu
This image has a great impact! Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, usually increases our pleasant feelings. The elk carcass in this scene shows the other side of a nature: the danger, the sadness.
The sharpness, and the different layers and colors of roads and mountains made the image beautiful!
  Posted: 10/19/2019 07:46:47

A very powerful image! You are close enough to the subject to bring out the detail, but have left a large natural expanse to give a great sense of place. The natural quiet tones work well together. Technically it is well exposed and sharp from the rocks in the foreground to the mountains in the background.   Posted: 10/22/2019 19:06:47

Lisa Cirincione   Lisa Cirincione
Great shot, I love the compact feel of the mountains and the water and the foreground. Poor Elk! He must have been around a long time to have those large antlers.   Posted: 10/29/2019 11:16:34

Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
The placement of the elk skull changes the mood of the Teton view for me. My focus becomes nature's balance of life and death. Nice balance of color to keep the antlers clear against tan and brown shore. The inclusion of the mountains gives me knowledge of the environment.   Posted: 10/31/2019 10:36:02

Mary Sue Rosenthal   Mary Sue Rosenthal
I really like the impact of this image. You did a great job with all the layers. The sharpness, details, and colors are perfect. Awesome image!   Posted: 10/31/2019 17:47:03