Around the Bend
Oxbow Bend is right up there at the top of the list of Grand Teton National Park's iconic locations. Show up early in the morning during foliage season and you'll see just how popular it is with photographers.
Most people hang out at or near the parking area or along the road, but if you're willing to get away from your vehicle and venture further (do it!!), you'll be rewarded with a variety of interesting perspectives.
To the north of the bend is a steep hill. You've got to work a little bit to get up to the top but wonderful views await if you do. (Added bonus: you'll have the place mostly - if not completely - to yourself.) From here you can clearly see the crescent-shaped oxbow situated right next to the winding Snake River.
Above the BendAutumn color marches down the hillside to the Snake River shoreline below. Meanwhile, up above, clouds dance around Mount Moran's peak. (Oxbow Bend - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming) Down below, I rarely shoot at road-level: my preference is the water line. Sometimes I pull on the muck boots and get into the water. There are multiple spots along the shore from which to work, though the bank is steep and full of dense vegetation; it can be challenging to get to the river in the early morning darkness if you don't already know where you want to be. Shifting position up or down stream, so to speak, requires climbing back up the slope before descending again. Best to scout ahead of time and note some sort of landmark(s) so you can find your way with only a headlamp.
This isn't a huge area so you might be surprised how much of an impact the position you select will have on what you can see and what kind of photograph you can make.
From the far eastern edge of the bend you'll have Mount Moran on one side with smaller peaks to its right. For the pano below I got into the river in order to completely obscure the range to the left of Moran. Moving into the water also enabled me to include the little jut in the near shoreline to the right, echoing the larger one on the other side.
Peak PerfectionPeak foliage beneath the Teton peaks: perfection. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming) Further up the bend, the mountains on the other side of Moran are visible.
Diaphanous DreamLingering fog creates an ethereal scene around Mount Moran and the surrounding landscape. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming) For the mid-summer shot below I was at roughly the mid-way point of the bend. Using a wider lens and getting down low essentially eliminates from view all but the portion of the Teton range which is centered in the frame. Nearly symmetrical shapes are created by the vegetation on either side. The sky and lighting on the mountains become the focal point.
SunkissedMount Moran and the surrounding peaks glow with the first light of the day. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming) Positioned near the western side of the bend, Moran becomes even more dominant. A long lens enhances the effect.
Enveloped in WhiteEarly morning fog at the base of Mount Moran - newly snow-covered after an early season storm - adds a second soft, white blanket to the scene. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming) Bucolic Oxbow Bend is lovely from wherever you choose to view it.
There really isn't a bad seat in the house.
It's That Time of Year
Winter came knocking here a bit early; I had nearly a foot of snow at my house early last week. So much for the "dusting" which had been forecast. Surprise!
Yellowstone had multiple road closures during that storm, though they're fully open now (and my yard is back to being completely clear). If you want to visit Yellowstone before winter, though, the clock is ticking. With the exception of the north entrance, all roads will close to regular vehicle traffic on November 8th at 8am. Oversnow opening is December 15th.
The Inner Loop Road at Grand Teton National Park will close for the winter on November 1st. Antelope Flats Road usually closes in mid-December.
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