Snake River's Oxbow Bend

July 04, 2014

Tetons190_6june14 (1)

Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

July 2014 Viewer's Choice Oxbow Bend delivers one of the most delightfully pastoral views in Wyoming’s awe-inspiring Jackson Hole valley and Grand Teton National Park. An oxbow is a river’s cut-off, curving meander, or a pool or lake often shaped, as the name suggests, as the wooden yoke on an old-style pioneer wagon, used to harness an ox. The Snake River’s Oxbow Bend, just west of the park entrance at Moran Junction, and a mile east of Jackson Lake Junction, is a fine and particularly scenic example. The Snake’s main current has shifted to the south, creating a reflective backwater, popular with birds such as swans, pelicans, geese and ducks, as well as mammals like otters, moose, elk and other creatures -- including roadside clusters of gawking and often camera-toting humans.

While Oxbow Bend is breathtaking in every season, this view photographed on June 6, 2014, reflects the early-summer snow-striped and glacier-carved eastern face of the Teton Range’s Moran Peak. The mountain is named for Thomas Moran, an influential 19th-century landscape artist best known for paintings of the Yellowstone country and of the Grand Canyon. As a young man, he began visiting much of the then-unexplored and unmapped American West on expeditions led by government surveyors and topographers, including Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden and John Wesley Powell. Moran is credited, via his vibrant, large-scale works (two of them purchased by Congress), and along with the black-and-white photography of his friend William Henry Jackson, with helping visually to inspire the creation of early national parks, including Yellowstone.

Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D3200; Lens: AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G; Focal Length: 24mm (35mm equivalent: 36mm); Aperture: f/11.0; Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500); ISO equiv: 320; Software: iPhoto 9.5.1.