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Schwabacher’s Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Schwabacher’s Landing is one of America’s most spectacular viewpoints, a location that truly showcases the immense beauty of Grand Teton National Park. Just south of Yellowstone National Park, the north-south Teton Range stretches about 40 miles across Wyoming. Bison and elk often are seen grazing in the sparse fields along the base of the mountain range. Toward the northeastern side of the mountains is Jackson Lake. With more than 10 miles of shoreline, the lake offers beautiful crystal-clear reflections in the early morning. The trip to Schwabacher’s Landing is simple. If you’re leaving from Jackson Hole, go north on I-89 for about 16 miles. There’s a small gravel road on your left, where you’ll see a wooden sign: “Schwabacher’s Landing Road.” This road dead-ends in a gravel parking lot, and the trek to the famous vantage point is a stone’s throw from your car.
The weather in the park varies dramatically from season to season. If you’re planning a trip for the winter months, expect temperatures ranging from 25 to 38 degrees F. Although these conditions seem uninviting, those who can tough out the cold will be rewarded with fantastic winter photographs. Most people visit the Tetons during the summer months. During summer, the temperature varies between 65 and 80 degrees F. With shorts and a T-shirt, the hiking is quite relaxing. However, the warmer temperatures coupled with the high altitude make it incredibly important to bring ample amounts of water to stay hydrated. In spring and fall, the temperature is generally between a cool 50 and 60 degrees F.
Given that the Tetons are a north-south mountain range, photographic options are usually limited to sunrise. The Teton peaks are relatively straight and uniform, so a graduated neutral-density filter lines up nicely with the mountains. Using a grad ND allows you to darken the colors in the sky while maintaining an adequate exposure in the foreground and midground. In addition to Schwabacher’s Landing, the most commonly photographed spots in the Tetons are Oxbow Bend, Mormon Row and the Snake River Overlook.
Fall is probably the best time of year to visit the Tetons. Grand vistas strewn with red and yellow aspen groves make for some beautiful images. The peak color for aspens depends on the weather—but the last week of September is generally a good time to catch fall colors. If you can withstand the harsh winter climate, you’ll be able to photograph the popular spots without the crowds. Even with heavy snowfall, the roads surrounding the Tetons are regularly plowed, allowing most of the famous views to be accessible by car. Wildflowers also can provide a great foreground to the dramatic Teton mountain backdrop. Depending on elevations, wildflowers can be enjoyed during every summer month. Early July is a great time to catch wildflowers located in the lower-elevation meadows and sage flats. Check local websites for weather and road closures to determine the best time to plan your trip.
Contact: Grand Teton National Park, (307) 739-3300, www.nps.gov/grte.
Using rechargeable batteries with your camera is cost-effective and better for the environment. The only problem, obviously, is that they need to be recharged, which isn’t convenient when you’re traveling off the beaten path. The Express Speed Charger from Ansmann is a fast solution. The system charges two or four AAA or AA NiMH or NiCd batteries within 21⁄2 hours, and it’s ideal for use on the road because it includes a 12v power adapter for use in your car, boat or portable power pack. Contact: Ansmann (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.