Landscape Hotspot: Grand Teton’s Colter Bay
Once a month, we’ll feature a landscape photography hotspot. We want to aid you with getting ‘the shot’ in order to help rekindle your love for nature, to enable you to become inspired by nature and to equip you to become an advocate for a wilder world at home.
This month’s focus:
Grand Teton National Park’s Colter Bay
To me, one of the great challenges of landscape photography is finding a location that hasn’t been captured from every possible angle. That challenge is especially acute in Grand Teton Nation Park.
With iconic places like Schwabacher’s and the Oxbow having been photographed by everyone from Ansel Adams to Joe Smith and his iPad, it’s hard to find a unique spot to make your own.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
One area that is easily accessible and often over looked is Colter Bay.
Located near the park’s north end, between Leek’s Marina and the Jackson Park Lodge, Colter Bay is a small village with a campground, restaurant, laundromat and store. But if you drive past the village and go to your right, you’ll discover a picnic area with stunning views of the Tetons.
Does it rival the Oxbow or Schwabacher’s? No. But from this location, you can see the majority of the range, with a foreground of the man-made Jackson Lake.
Shooting from the rocky beach, full of multi-coloured pebbles, creates a wonderful foreground for landscapes.
And when facing the mountains, you have Hermitage Point stretching into the lake from your left. These trees often provide a compelling contrast to the Tetons in the late day light.
Indeed, sunsets should be your focus at Colter Bay. Other locations offer better sunrise options (Schwabacher’s, no matter how many images have been taken, still reigns supreme), but few offer better vistas for sunset.
If it is a night punctuated by storms and unique light (which isn’t a rare occurrence)…
…Colter Bay is ideal for taking cloudscapes, using the Tetons to ground the setting.
The lake doesn’t always offer a reflection, but its colours more than make up for this.
And if you tire of the Tetons? Turn your camera north and look up lake.
The mountains might not be as jaw-dropping, but they have a subtle beauty that can be combined with the rugged shoreline for stunning images.
Colter Bay, for us, is a Teton Landscape Hotspot.
Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Accessibility: Colter Bay Picnic Area, just right of Colter Bay Village off of Hwy 89
Best Time: Sunset
Tags: colter bay, ghost bear photography, grand teton national park, landscape hotspots, landscape photography, national parks, nature, simon jackson, wyoming