Coming Soon to Stanley


One of the most popular photo vantage points in Idaho. Sawtooth Mountains from Stanley, Idaho.

Stanley, Idaho is one of my favorite places on earth. If there were a college there that my wife could teach at, I’d live there. Course, it’d ruin the whole point of Stanley. It’s a little town in the middle of no where, close to a few major tourist destinations. It does get it’s fair share of tourist but the town winters about 50 people along with one hotel, a few cabins, one pizzeria, one restaurant, one gas station, one stop sign. I much prefer Stanley during the winter because you don’t have to put up with tourists and I love cold weather. We spend several days there every November for our anniversary we see maybe ten or twenty people a day that don’t live there. Last year we didn’t see any on two of the days. I spend a lot of time in the mountains surrounding Stanley, not as much as I wish I did, but quite a bit.

Luckily, Stanley is half way between where I live and my favorite place on earth. Which also happens to be half way between here and where my parents live. For the last several years we’ve spent a week camping together in the summer. We did Glacier a couple summers, last year we did Bear Valley (no, not the bear valley everyone in Boise knows about). This year, we will each drive two hours, meeting half way and spend the week camped near Stanley.  This is supposed to be a vacation and I guess it will be more of a vacation than the week in June I spent on the edge of the wilderness at bear camp with my Dad, Grandpa and a few other guys. But this will be a vacation but with quite a photo checklist. Much of the checklist depends on the weather. Last year my wife and I were there for Labor day and it snowed on us in the valley. There aren’t any fires, so visibility should be good so long as it doesn’t rain all week. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but this summer has been very, very wet in central Idaho.

This photo is one of the two most popular photo spots in central Idaho. Normally, I hate taking pictures from popular spots or angles. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been headed up to my parents hours drove right by this and thought. Wow, if so many people didn’t take photos from right there, that would be a cool shot. That’s part of the reason I hate photography in National Parks. You get more than one photographer shooting a subject and I’ll keep walking. It could be a bald eagle standing on a moose’s antler while it was swimming in an alpine lake with northern lights in the sky. Three photogs have lenses on it, I’ll keep walking. Well, coming back from bear camp it was such a pretty day and I happened to still have my wide angle on my camera with a CP and a ND Grad filter on it. So I stopped. I hated every second of standing on the side of the road taking the picture. But I stopped. Some pictures I post have stories of cold, hot, rain, dust, snow, miles of hiking, hurricane force winds, hours of boredom waiting, blood, sweat, broken stuff… This one, involves just as much pain. Standing on the side of the road.

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