Encore - Snake River's Oxbow Bend

April 30, 2020

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Today Earth Science Picture of the Day invites you to rediscover favorites from the past. Saturday posts feature an EPOD that was chosen by viewers like you in our monthly Viewers' Choice polls. Join us as we look back at these intriguing and captivating images.

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: 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.