After three days of heavy snow, I woke up Christmas morning to a pale blue sky. I had been hoping to get some photographs of the Tetons while we were skiing in Jackson Hole, but the weather had not been cooperating. So when I saw that tantalizing suggestion of blue, I jumped out of bed, pulled on my long underwear and three layers of shirts, including a heavy wool sweater and grabbed my ski parka and my Nikon.
The kids were already plugged into the iPad watching Frosty the Snowman, and Quimby was propped up in bed with the remote watching HGTV. "I'll be back in a couple hours," I said as I closed the door. They know the drill, so there was barely a nod. The car was parked out in front of the hotel and when I started it up, the dash read five degrees. The snow creaked in hollow protest under the wheels as I got underway and headed north out of Jackson toward the mountains, ice smoke billowing behind the car as I picked up speed.
Two miles out of town, the Tetons were in full view for the first time, the craggy peaks jutting out of the tundra like broken bones wrapped in gauze. It's no secret that the best photographs come with a price. They tend not to happen in perfect weather and they almost never happen after you've had breakfast. It takes patience, practice and a not insignificant amount of disappointment but the reward, when it finally comes, is more than worth it. On this particular Christmas morning, I nearly froze my fingers solid and only came away with a few shots, but the ones I got were epic. And what could be better than spending Christmas morning in front of a silent altar of ice and stone, admiring creation. Merry Christmas!