Schwabacher’s Landing in Grand Teton National Park
Our second morning at Grand Teton was going to be spent taking shots at Oxbow Bend near Jackson Lake. Oxbow Bend is a beautiful spot where the Snake River takes a meandering bend with Mount Moran in the distance. We scouted out some spots, marked them on the GPS, calculated where sunrise would be, etc. – all the typical prep for a landscape shot – and happily went on our way to scout additional locations. We stopped by Schwabacher’s Landing and found that, for our final morning, its potential trumped Oxbow Bend.
Schwabacher’s Landing is a spot in the Snake River, almost exactly east of Grand Teton, where the terrain flattens out and allows easy access to the river. There is a dirt road coming off the main highway and down to various trailheads. As we hiked around we found several beaver ponds that, combined with Schwabacher’s lower elevation (thus blocking the wind), would very likely provide some spectacular reflections of the mountains. Well, we got up at about 5:00 AM and headed out to the spot, though we were bummed by the lack of clouds in the sky. There were several other photographers down there (none of whom were using polarizers – tsk, tsk) but there was plenty of room to find shots.
This shot of Grand Teton reflected in the pond ended up being my favorite shot from the location and was from a spot that I only reluctantly visited. I was skeptical of the spot’s potential but decided to shoot a couple shots from it anyway. I sure am glad I did. On the regularly sized shot you can easily see rocks under the water near the tuft of grass in the foreground.
I really like this shot of Mount Moran at dawn and it was the reason I decided upon this specific location for first light. It had a great reflection, mist rising off the water, a soft light, and Mount Moran lit up by the rising sun. I also think Mount Moran is framed a bit nicely by the pine trees on the right side of the frame. The only thing that would make this a bit more interesting would be some clouds in the shot but, alas, you work with what Mother Nature gives you.