North Country Trapper

Mountain Man

North Country Trapper: The Mountain Man era spanned from 1825 to 1839, centered mostly in the northern Rockies. Turn back the clock 180 years and you would likely find trappers working the side channels of the Snake River and its tributaries. The Jackson Hole region is rich in the history of the Mountain Man period. You can visit a contemporary Mountain Man Rendezvous: in our region if you would like to get a taste of this important period of our history.


This project consists of three major parts: The standing mountain man, the portrait, and the Grand. I mixed in a scan of an 1932 manuscript, some clouds, a texture layer, and the rings of a large tree trunk. I experimented with a few other additions, like a row of tents, but kept coming back to what you see here. I used Nik Silver Efex Pro to do the black and white conversions, adding in a lot of “structure” on this image. The sepia toning was applied in this project using Topaz BW Effects 2 via Sepia IV. There are several other programs I could have used for that effect, including just adding a curve layer and adjusting the channels.

Topaz Remask5I used Topaz ReMask 5 do make the extractions for several of the pieces in this project. It helps to watch a few tutorials to get a feel of how the commands work, but after doing a few extractions, everything makes a lot of sense. You can do basic extractions in Photoshop without a third party program, but ReMask 5 is better, faster, and will give better results on tough images. ReMask Tutorials on You Tube.

The person in the photo is named “Black Kettle”. BK lives a fairly primitive lifestyle near Shelly, ID and occasionally attends the rendezvous in the region.

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3 thoughts on “North Country Trapper

  1. As an intermediate photographer, these are the types of images that I hope to be able to create one day. Would be very interested in finding out more about the process and if you teach classes on this technique.

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