Last spring, Beth Holmes was up near Jackson Lake Dam when she spotted something she thought no one else had seen: a large male bear walking along the levee.

“I had binoculars, and I watched him come up onto the levee and walk toward the dam on the levee, and there was nobody else around,” she said. “It was pretty incredible.”

But binoculars weren’t the only piece of equipment Holmes had. She was also carrying her camera and a 150- to 600-millimeter zoom lens.

Holmes took it out and started snapping, following the bear as it made its way along the dam intake and across the lake to an embankment near the Chapel of the Sacred Heart before disappearing into the Signal Mountain area.

All told, Holmes thinks she may have shot over 150 photos of the bruin. One, “Old Bear,” made its way into the Teton Photography Club’s 40 or so image show at Teton County Library. The second half of the show, which features the second set of about 20 jury-selected images, will kick off Monday with a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the library.

This year, Holmes was a contestant in the photography club’s 2019 image contest, which was open to all members, whether amateur or professional. This year, over 100 images were submitted across five categories: landscape, wildlife, Jackson Hole life, black-and-white and abstract.

Teton Photography Club President David Navratil said the photos submitted had a “pretty wide variety of subject matters.”

“It was a very high quality contest this year,” he said. “The judges had a tough time picking.”

Navratil wasn’t a judge this year, but Holmes was. (She said the contest is blind, and she judged her work honestly, along with the rest of the judges who had also entered photos of their own). She agreed with Navratil.

“There was a lot of great quality, lots of variety,” Holmes said.

The club received a number of black-and-white submissions, “which was great to see,” she said, some wildlife and landscapes, as usual, and a lot of Jackson Hole-area photography mixed in with shots from Africa and Alaska.

With all those photos in hand, jurors filled out rubrics for each, scoring the images on technicality, composition, emotional response and potential for sale, among other things. Each category received a score of 1 to 5, which was then plugged into software that churned out the 40 highest-scoring photos.

Those ended up on the wall at the library in two batches.

Ben Nardi, a member of the club, had two photos selected for the show: a black-and-white of Cascade Canyon in a storm and a color shot of a reflection in String Lake. The first, “Cascade Canyon Storm,” hung in the first batch. The second, “String Lake Reflection,” is hanging now.

Nardi, who uses a Nikon D750, said he was a professional photographer 30-plus years ago and recently got back into it when his son started shooting. Nardi has been with the photo club for about three years, had four pieces in last year’s show and described himself as an “advanced amateur.” He said he likes how the show brings together club members and gives everyone a shot at hanging work.

“I think it’s great. It gives a lot of our up-and-coming amateur photographers a venue,” Nardi said.

He noted that it does the same for professionals.

“I think that’s the beauty of it,” he said. “Amateurs and professionals alike, working together, helping each other and — not to be funny — getting exposure for their work.” 

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7062 or

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