Teton Sunrise
Teton Sunrise
Teton Sunrise

Christopher Burkett

Teton Sunrise

Wyoming, 1989

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $1,500.00
Teton Sunrise
Teton Sunrise
Teton Sunrise



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “Teton Sunrise, Wyoming.” Individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 8×10-format transparency film. Mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on mount verso.



“While traveling home to Oregon after a three month photo trip on the east coast, my wife Ruth and I spent the night in Ogden, Utah. It was a cold night on November 26, 1989 and we stopped at a motel for the night. As usual, I turned on my weather radio to see what the forecast was for the coming few days. As I listened to the crackly report I heard they were predicting a big snowstorm to hit the area north of us which would continue into Wyoming. The forecast of 24″ of fresh snow in the Teton mountains was impossible to resist.

We set our alarm clock to wake up at 2am. We loaded up the vehicle which had four wheel drive, but no snow tires, and headed off to Wyoming with the goal to beat the snowstorm. Halfway there we discovered that the storm had moved faster than expected so I had to drive several hours through the mountain pass at night in near blizzard conditions.

The trip was worth it as we arrived in Jackson Valley around daybreak with two feet of fresh snow on the ground. The storm had cleared and the temperature had dropped to minus 15 degrees. The sun was coming up and would soon be shining on the top of Grand Teton Mountain. Ruth helped me get the gear out of the car and I set up the camera.

Extra effort was required due to the extreme cold temperature. I had to use my bare hands to make the adjustments on my metal 8×10 camera, putting my hands back into my gloves whenever possible. When I composed and focused the image on the ground glass I had to be careful to not breathe on it even one time, as it would immediately frost up and be unusable. So I would hold my breath as long as I could in the thin air, then pop my head outside the focusing cloth, take two or three quick breaths and go back under for another try.

I was able to take this one exposure with my 600mm lens at f/32-2/3 for 1/4 second using Fujichrome 100 film. Because the cold air was so clear, it’s extremely sharp even for 8×10” film. You can even identify a herd of a dozen elk on the right side of the photograph. While this view of the mountain is one that is often photographed, I felt that the fresh snow, clearing clouds and bright sunrise light on the mountaintop made it a worthwhile image. That was the only photograph I made that day. Since the weather conditions were holding with full sun and no wind, I decided to photograph here for two more days.

For most of our three month trip we camped out on the ground in a small pup tent but as this day was ending I suggested to Ruth that we find a motel room for the night, which was a definite splurge for us. She was thinking what a romantic gesture it was until I finished my thoughts with “‚Ķso the film won’t freeze overnight.” Oh.

Nevertheless it ended well since we spent two nights at the motel which had an uncovered outdoor swimming pool heated to 104°(!). We were the only ones foolish enough to use it that night which was kind of romantic, floating for an hour in the steaming water with bright stars overhead. Ultimately we had to brace ourselves and run all the way around the building to our room in sub zero weather, unlock the door and get inside, jumping into a hot shower to warm up again.

Later I discovered that while setting up my camera for this photograph the entire tip of my right index finger got frost nipped and was completely numb for a month with a blackened fingernail. That’s not good, but aside from being more sensitive to the cold the next winter there weren’t any long term effects.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.



Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.