This week I received a copy of my new photo book. This one is on Sharron’s and my trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks from back in the summer of 2010. After being on my to-do list far too long, I finally got motivated enough to complete the layout, which had been in production for well over a year. That is not typical for me. Generally, I like to put these books together soon after returning from a vacation or business trip, and well before the memories begin to fade, dates forgotten and locations confused. I always try to keep good notes along the way to help refresh my memory once I get back home. Unfortunately, those notes became a casualty of the tornado that came through North Alabama in April and destroyed our house. The meticulous notes I kept for the course of our two-week trip to Wyoming and Montana vanished along with countless other important documents that were picked up by the 200 mph winds and deposited, who knows where. We lost our vital information, and I lost my interest in doing another book as we tackled a host of other priorities like rebuilding a house. Before we could do that however, we had to deal with the insurance company. The eight months spent fighting the insurance company, though very stressful, did at least give me time to reconstruct the lost notes while selecting and editing the images. Once I did that, my interest in this latest project was reignited. The book turned out to be one of the larger ones I have done. Sharron and I both took the photographs. In it, there are even a few of the two of us together, which takes it out of the category of pure photography book and puts it more into the realm of a family album, which is fine with us.
We went with Blurb company again, as they continued to be most cost-effective in the self-publishing book world, offering what I feel is still the best bang for the buck. If you are interesting at looking at the finished product, you can see it at this link and view all 120 pages.
One mention about this cover photo – it is of one of the most photographed barns in the Jackson Hole Valley. Know at the Moulton Barn, it is located in the southeast corner of Grand Teton National Park and is one of a few still-functioning barns built by the original Mormon settlers back in the early 1900′s. The barn was high on my must-photograph list (along with the Cunningham Cabin – see my previous post), so I planned for an early start, as I knew it was a sunrise shot. By the time I finally found the place, the sun was already above the horizon, but fortunately, I was the only one there. Within thirty minutes, however, about three more photographers arrived on the scene with another half-dozen or so arriving within the first hour. I shot fairly unrestricted for the first half hour or so, but soon had the feeling that I was always in someone else’s shot as all these other shooters began jockeying for their own vantage point. I kept asking if I was in someone’s way since I tend to shoot with wide-angle lenses and would be closer in on the barn. After a little while, I could sense that everyone was getting a bit antsy because the best light was being lost. I decided to drop back and give someone else a shot at the closer position. I wanted to stay longer, but I felt I had at least one good image, so why press the point and piss off a bunch of fellow shooters. As it turned out, the Moulton Barn shot was the one I chose for the cover of the book, not because it was the best photograph I took on the trip, but because I think it best captured the feel of those magnificent parks.
If you are interested in putting together your own photo book, let me know. I’ll try to give you some helpful hints to get you stared, and guide you with respect to choosing the best publishing company and software for your particular project. I’ve made all the mistakes and have learned from them, so maybe I can help you avoid making the same ones.