Nestled just 4.5 miles north of Jackson Wyoming and roughly 60 miles south of Yellowstone National Park is a 310,000 acre geological wonder known as Grand Teton National Park. As you drive into the park, your eyes quickly fixate on the jagged mountain peaks elevated 13,000 feet above sea level. These rocky mountain gems are set as a backdrop to an immense valley with sprawling sagebrush flats, wildflower meadows, jewel like lakes, and a winding snake river.
Wildlife is abundant throughout the park; bears, moose, elk, bison, deer, and many more mammals can be found if you know when and where to look. If you are not careful and don't plan your photography vacation with purpose, you may wander through the park bypassing the many opportunities to photograph nature at her finest.
If you are looking to capture broad landscape foregrounds against spectacular mountain backgrounds, look no further than the Tetons. Regardless of season, you will
not be disappointed with what this park has to offer. Oxbow Bend, Snake River Overlook, Mormons Row or Schwabacher Rd, to name a few popular sites give aspiring photographers many places to capture the tremendous gifts this park can deliver. Many of the incredible landscape opportunities are readily available both inside and outside the park. Photographers can do very well photographing at sunrise, sunset and night by
staying on the loop of Hwy 191 and Teton Park Road. My experience of photographing around this park has taught me one important lesson. If you are planning to shoot at sunrise or sunset, get there early to claim your spot and take some time to compose your shot. Some locations have limited space and photographers will not give them up until the quality lighting has passed (me included).
The endurance one needs to spot, track, and photograph wildlife in the Grand Tetons can be dramatically reduced if you know when and where to look. With over 500 species of
animals across the greater Yellowstone Region one would think finding them in the broad valley of Jackson Hole would be simple. It's not. After spending many years tracking wildlife in National Parks and Refuges, one thing always comes to mind; nature is unpredictable. But, you can dramatically increase your chances with a little patience and preparation. Elk, for example, can easily be photographed in winter months around the National Refuge. During spring and summer they may only show at dusk and dawn before heading back into the cover of the woods. We have
found Grizzly throughout the park in Spring, Summer, and Fall, some by chance others by sitting in open areas early in the morning waiting for them to feed on tubers. Moose, one of our favorite animals to photograph, are probably more available in the Tetons than any other park we visit. You can find them feeding in the mornings and early evenings on aquatic vegetation throughout the snake river, especially around Moose Road and Schwabacher Road. If the water levels are favorable, hiking a little further into to both of these areas can be extremely rewarding. Deer, Bison, Fox, Pronghorn, Coyotes,
and on rare occasions, Wolves can also be found darting through the sage brush on the east side of the Tetons. When photographing in this park, stick to the golden rules of tracking wildlife at dawn and before dusk to increase the likelihood of success. As always, when hiking or photographing wildlife maintain a safe distance and carry bear spray as a precaution. Think of bear spray like seat belts, you hope you never use them. However, when an accident occurs, you are sure glad you put them on.
My love of the Grand Tetons is immeasurable, mainly due to the amazing photography experiences this park has gifted me over the years. It is one of the reasons we schedule six Photography Workshop Vacations a year across Spring, Summer, and Fall. Teaching
photography and seeing the expression on ones face the moment they enter this park validates we are doing the right thing. If you are interested in joining us on one of our all inclusive Photography and Workshop Vacations, check out our homepage and learn more of what we can offer you.