Famous and Iconic Locations to Photograph in Jackson Hole
Jackson vs. Jackson Hole
The first question that comes to mind about this area is: “what is the difference between Jackson and Jackson Hole?” Jackson Hole refers to the valley formed by the Teton Mountains in the West and the Gros Ventre Mountains in the east.
The valley is 50 miles wide and is home to other towns such as Kelly, Moose, Moran, and Teton Village which hosts a world-class high-end ski-in/ski-out resort. Running through the valley is the often-photographed Snake River. The photograph below is of Mount Moran reflecting in the Snake River at Oxbow Bend…. possibly one of the prettiest scenes in the park.
Jackson, Wyoming is the main town located at the southern end of the Jackson Hole Valley and is the county seat of Teton County. For the tourist, there are two well-known photo opportunities in the town of Jackson—one being to have your photograph taken while standing on the Jackson Town Square with the elk antler arch behind you.
There is an elk antler arch on each corner of the square and the arches have over 2,000 antlers in them. The other photo op is to have your picture taken in front of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar located on the town square. It was established in 1937 and is no ordinary bar. It is known for its Western dancing, live entertainment, and a brightly lit neon sign outside the entrance to the bar.
Photography Art Galleries in the Jackson Hole/Grand Teton Area
Regardless of whether you are visiting Jackson or Jackson Hole or the Grand Teton National Park, you will find yourself in the midst of some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the United States – including nearby Yellowstone and Old Faithful. These iconic landscapes are truly a landscape photographer’s dream—whether you are an amateur photographer or a professional hoping to create your own Grand Teton Landscape Gallery.
The spectacular landscape of the Jackson Hole/Grand Teton area is also captured in the paintings and photography of some of the local art galleries. Perhaps one of the most well-known galleries is “Mangelsen: Images of Nature Gallery”. Thomas D. Mangelsen has spent several decades photographing wildlife and natural landscapes. He opened his Jackson gallery in 1978 and it is one block north of the historic Jackson Town Square. As you wander through his softly lit gallery, you will be awed by the variety of artwork represented – from wild horses to magnificent landscapes.
There are many questions for the landscape art collector to ask such as “How do I buy a work of art” or “Where do I begin?” or “What should I look at?” Walking into a gallery can be intimidating yet it is always a wonderful place to start as you can see a variety of art and styles up close. You need to first figure out your taste and what you like.
The same process applies to the landscape photographer. Over the years, my style has changed and I have learned to be open to hidden possibilities. I started my photography journey with wildlife photography and was drawn to the challenges of photographing bison in the winter at Yellowstone National Park as well as capturing the strength of the elk in the summer.
But the wildlife at Yellowstone National Park can also have a softer side such as these photographs of elk and bison calves and I found myself enjoying these gentler photography opportunities. As you view the photographs below with the ones above, what are you drawn to? What would you want hanging on a wall in your home or office entrance area?
Another gallery that you should visit in Jackson is The Brookover Gallery which opened in 2001. This 3,000 square foot gallery showcases the work of David Brookover and you will find his devotion to creating outstanding images on full display. His portfolio includes wildlife, abstract, landscape, and western photographs.
If lucky enough to stand in his gallery with its wooden floors and relaxed atmosphere you will surely feel a sense of respect and wonder while viewing his fine art photography. It is that sense of wonder that attracts me to build and create my online wildlife and landscape photography gallery that includes photographs from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Seeing the beauty around me only inspires me to create photographs that could be enjoyed by others.
Photographing the Iconic Moulton Barns
The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, sent settlers to the area from Idaho in the 1890s to establish a community known today as Mormon Row (originally called Gros Ventre). The homesteaders established 27 homesteads in the area and, in spite of the harsh conditions of the Jackson Hole Valley, the soil was fertile. When the Grand Teton National Park was expanded in the 1950s, most of the homesteaders living on Mormon Row sold their land to the National Park Service. The Mormon Row Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 as a Historic District.
Today there are two picturesque barns that are now considered to be iconic historic structures—the T.A. Moulton barn and a barn built by his brother, the John Moulton barn. T.A. Moulton began construction on his barn in 1913 and over the next 25 years, he added more sections to the barn with it being completed in 1938. John Moulton’s barn was built within a similar timeframe.
These two barns are among the most photographed barns in America and these photographs can be found in many Jackson Hole art galleries. I understand the attraction of these barns to a photographer as I have made more than one trip to the Jackson Hole Valley and no matter the season, these barns are always on my to-do photo list. To capture the picture of the John Moulton barn below, I had to strap on snowshoes and hike one mile carrying my gear. But it was worth it to capture this shot with the Teton Mountains behind the barn.
The challenge with trying to photograph the barns in Mormon Row is often the Teton Mountain Range, which serves as the backdrop to the barns, is covered with clouds. Thus, I was thrilled when the clouds parted and the sun’s rays began to shine on the mountain range during sunrise. This photograph was taken in mid-June and the colors are very different from the previous photograph taken in winter.
Art Galleries, Museums, and Wildlife Photography
There are two other stops you might want to make when visiting Jackson Hole Art Galleries—the first is the Wilcox Gallery established in 1969. The gallery displays paintings by Jim Wilcox who began painting in 1969. This gallery also hosts many other award-winning artists, sculptors, and painters.
The second is the National Museum of Wildlife Art which was founded in 1987 and has more than 5,000 wildlife and animal artworks. Each year the museum holds its Western Visions fundraiser which is one of the signature events of the Jackson Hole Fall Art Festival held each September. This event draws an international crowd and cements the museum’s reputation as a hub for the art world.
Speaking of wildlife art, I will have to say wildlife photography requires a different mindset and you are dealing with different variables as a photographer. When shooting a landscape, you are dealing with weather-related challenges – no clouds; too many clouds; sunlight that washes out a scene; too much brown in the leaves; not enough fall color; and so forth. With wildlife, you first actually need the wildlife to appear, and once present, you have to hope it looks towards you.
My goal has always been to capture photographs of wildlife in a way that will allow you to have as close as possible the experience of being there with them. For some, it is the opportunity to relive an experience and bring it home in the form of a fine art print…. The magic of seeing an eagle in flight; whales rising out of the sea; deer or moose standing in a clearing… or horses running across a field. For others, it is simply seeing the beauty and majesty of the wildlife in the image for the first time ….. whether it is in action or, during a still, intimate moment with the surrounding nature and other wildlife.
Enjoying the Photography of Jackson Hole and the Grand Teton National Park
As you can tell by my comments, the Jackson Hole area is truly a tourist’s and photographer’s dream destination—whether you are there in the winter or summer—it is one of the best places to experience nature. There is fabulous snow skiing; hiking; breath-taking landscapes; a variety of wildlife; and memorable scenery including Yellowstone, the Snake River, Jenny Lake; the National Elk Reserve, and the towering Teton Mountain Range. If you are lucky enough to visit the area, you can also take advantage of the local art galleries and museums.
You will also find beautiful scenery at the nearby Yellowstone National Park. How far is Yellowstone from Jackson Hole Valley? Depending on your exact beginning and ending point, it is a 57 to 100 mile journey. Yellowstone is known for its geothermal natural wonders and wildlife whereas the Jackson Hole area seems a little more peaceful and has a low-key feel to it. The two photographs below are from my Yellowstone National Park collection.
If you cannot be at either of these national parks in person, then I hope viewing my photographs in my Jackson Hole – Grand Teton Photography Landscape Gallery will inspire you to consider adding the Jackson Hole area to your Travel Bucket list….. and perhaps to consider starting your own western art photography collection with one of my fine art photographs so you can “Bring Home the Experience”.
Before You Leave…..
I truly enjoy being outside, stomping around, looking for the best location to position my tripod to capture what I am seeing and experiencing. My tagline…. “Bring Home the Experience” … stems from my desire to share with you the beauty I am feeling as I stand there with my hand on the camera….. ready to click the shutter. While looking at my photos, it is my hope that you will find yourself thinking how awesome the scene is … and wish that you were standing there also.
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments or would like to have one of these “magic moments” hanging on a wall in your office or home.