Best Sides

February 11, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Which is your best side?

Most people photograph "better" from one side versus the other. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that faces aren't completely symmetrical. Portrait photographers - whose job it is to make their subjects look their best - know which factors affect what the camera sees, and how to pose the person accordingly.

Are there best sides in nature, too? 

Sure! And like portrait artists, nature photographers employ some of the same methods to portray their subjects in the most pleasing way possible (like lighting and camera angles). There are limits, though. Good luck getting that bison to pose for you.

That said, I can think of a subject right here in my own "backyard" that's equally attractive from either side: the Teton Range. While the beautiful gneiss faces also lack symmetry (just like human models), it doesn't matter. They photograph equally well from the east and west.

Most visitors to Jackson Hole view the mountains from within the national park. A spectacular site, to be sure. Yet the many who never see the Tetons from the other side are missing something special.

Whether from Alta (WY), Tetonia, Ashton - or so many other spots in between - there are some amazing views of the Teton Range (especially the central peaks of Mount Owen, Grand Teton, Middle Teton, and South Teton) waiting for those who venture over to the "quiet side." 

  • Ride the Dreamcatcher up to the top of Fred's Mountain at Grand Targhee for outstanding high-elevation vantage points.
  • Hike Table Mountain for a spectacular face-to-face view of Grand Teton.  
  • Head up into the Big Holes; look back across the sprawling Teton Valley at an expansive panorama of the opposing range.
  • Drive the Teton Scenic Byway between Ashton and Tetonia for sweeping vistas of rolling farmland beneath the towering peaks (if the potato or canola crops are in bloom it's an added bonus). 
  • Stand on the banks of the Teton River - or float it - and admire the western slope beyond. 

Gaze at the mountains from Jackson Hole. Then head over the pass to enjoy an alternate view. 

Do the Tetons have a best side? 

I don't think so. Both are remarkable.

Summer Snow Teton Peaks from Alta WyomingWest Side StoryFollowing a chilly spring, early summer kicks off with substantial snowpack remaining. (Western Slope from Alta, Wyoming)


Leading EdgeLeading EdgeA monsoonal storm advances into Jackson Hole (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming)


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