Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park

Oxbow Bend is considered to be one of the prime photographic destinations within Grand Teton National Park. Located just 3 miles inside the entrance, it's still waters can offer a beautiful reflection of Mount Moran and surrounding peaks, and can be the scene of dramatic sunsets should clouds be present in the evening.

This body of water was formerly a portion of the Snake River that has been bypassed and has formed a lake. The results are very pleasing to the eye and attract photographers and tourists alike!

Photographers would do well to arrive early for sunrise. After my experience at Schwabacher Landing the day prior, I made certain to arrive at Oxbow Bend 1-1/2 hours before sunrise. I was alone much of this time! I would still recommend an hour early (as I would with any sunrise). The great thing about Oxbow Bend is that it offers a very large area for photography, unlike Schwabacker Landing. Photographers can set up in the parking lot or along the 1/4 mile of road to the west. Personally, I recommend staying close to the parking lot. I also found my best shots to be from mid to late morning. Early morning light in autumn is very flat here.

Plan on spending much of the morning here as there is a lot to do! After first light on Mount Moran, you'll have some dead time until the foreground begins to light up. As the morning moves on, I recommend moving further up the road.

There are many other posibilities as well. Above the road to the north is a trail that is frequented by horseback riders. Wandering along and near this trail offers all kinds of compositions not available from the road.

If your lucky, you might even come across a guided horse tour as I did. I created several compositions of the group of riders, but really like the isolation of this lone rider.

There are many other wanderings available in the area as well. Don't be in a rush to get back to camp!

When you are done, don't miss driving 1 mile further up the road to Jackson Lake Junction and visiting the viewpoint. While it doesn't offer much for photography, it's a pretty incredible panorama.

Next up: Mormon Row!

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