A bull moose casts a fine reflection in a sidechanel of the Snake River.
Grand Teton Wildlife and Photo Tour
The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most visited places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers and nature lovers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. The contrast of the sagebrush valley that morphs with altitude to the conifer forest then to the sub alpine terrain that accents the granite spires that tower over the Snake River’s Valley.
While traveling from place to place we will learn about the flora, fauna, history, ecology and geology of this amazing place. Our glacier carved valleys tell a story, our historic log relic ranches tell a story, our grizzlies and wolves tell another about “Keystone Species and Trophic Cascade”. You will learn why wildfire is an important element of nature and how rich philanthropists saved the landscape.
Grand Tetons’ embarrassment of riches of beautiful mountain peaks, surrounded by pristine lakes and wide-open spaces makes it an excellent choice to capture the perfect alpine images. The riches don’t stop there; Relic western architecture and picturesque working ranches often complement the natural landscape of Jackson Hole.
Grand Teton National Park is also considered the best national park to view wildlife. Critters of all sorts are abundant throughout the park. You will likely see American bison (buffalo), moose, and elk during all seasons. During the warmer months, swans, white pelicans are abundant. Osprey, owls, eagles, wolves, and pronghorn may also may be spotted. Grizzly Bears are a real treat when they show up and that has been happening more often in the last several years. The best chances for grizzlies are in April, May and June, but we do get lucky thoughout the summer and fall. Some operators will promise more than they can deliver, I like to keep expectations real.
Famous Grizzly 399 showing of one of her three sets of triplets. She is a very prolic grizzly bear
The most spectacular photographs in Grand Teton National Park are often taken from a half hour before sunrise to two hours after sunrise, “the magic hour”. In winter the sweet light lasts significantly longer because of the low angle of the sun. Afternoons can bring dramatic clouds, and some excellent backlit mountainscapes are possible in the evening as does the best wildlife viewing for the nature lover who can forego a good breakfast. That is why our half-day tour starts in the early AM, as we want to be set up and ready to shoot at a half hour before sunrise so we can capture both the pre-dawn light (alpenglow) as well the whole sunrise. We then proceed to capture as many of Grand Tetons iconic vistas as possible, all the while watching for wildlife opportunities. My extensive network of wildlife photographers and safari guides alert me of wildlife sightings.
Those opting for multiday photo tours, will have the tours tailored to their wants and needs. Each morning will start at a new vista for the morning light except for those who prioritize wildlife viewing over landscape. Yellowstone tours can be added on, an equally spectacular place.
The Hole Picture Safaris is a Commercial Use Authorization permit holder by Grand Teton National Park.
A pink sunrise over Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park
A frosty sublime; winter in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton Park is a special time. The snow covered valleys, and towering peaks create an ambiance much different from summer. Gone are the crowds of summer, buried are the remnants of wildflowers, gone are the leaves of the deciduous trees, replaces by a carpet of snow and an exponential essence of wilderness. Crisp delicious air fills your lungs as you fumble with gloved hands to adjust your equipment to capture a frozen moment of alpenglow of the mountains reflecting brightly against the snowy white canvas of the peaks.
I once marveled at the beauty of winter’s simple beauty, the color spectrum was greatly reduced to the green of the evergreens, the blue or grey of the sky and the white of the snow. I wondered why! The conclusion of my pondering resulted in the realization that the white blanket of snow covered all the sharp edges and created smooth lines everywhere you looked. Clumps of snow grace the branches of the evergreens and juxtaposed beautifully against both, a cobalt blue sky or a raging storm.
A bighorn ram in a heavy snowstorm is a trohy shot in my book, I love finding animals in a heavy snow.
What is a frosty sublime to us, but life and death to the animals of the mountains. Four hundred inches of snow covers the mountaintops, but a tolerable two-feet in the valley bottoms, so to the valley bottoms the animals go. Waiting for them at the valley bottoms are we want to capture the essence of our winter wonderland where the critters of the mountains congregate in hopes of surviving another winter. Our hope is to capture moments of the survival challenge as well as its moments of defeat.
Gone also are the bears, but in their place the grazing animals of the craggy peaks come to the valley bottom were winter forage can be bummed at the refuge or foraged on the buttes. This is when we get to photograph mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Six thousand elk are on the refuge after their migration from Yellowstone and other mountaintops. Bald eagles move from the rivers to the elk refuge to clean up the carcasses of elk who have reached their end, golden eagles join them. On lucky days, which are few, wolves come close enough to the roads to be immortalized by our camera sensors.
Yes winter sometimes hides our jagged peaks of the Grand Tetons for days at a time, but the soft light of a stormy day enhances saturation of the mid daylight and gives us more time to view our winter wildlife. Better days hopefully with big fat snowflakes to enhance the scene and mood.
Many don’t like to brave the rigors of winter’s icy challenges; they don’t know what they are missing.
Crepuscular Rays shoot down from the heavens over the
The last week in September, at dark-thirty shortly before the first hint of dawn, with a crisp nip of fall in the air, I usually find myself at one of several bodies of water reflecting the Grand Tetons accented with the golden leaves of autumn with my guest of the day. At this early hour, we are hoping for the first hint of light to reveal an expanse of cirrus clouds above the mountains to stop the warm rays of morning light from spilling over the edge of the world to an un-captureable point beyond the Grand Tetons.
Oh, the Grand Tetons are still a stunning, even devoid of clouds, as the first rays of dawn sneak over the eastern horizon, a rose colored blanket of light hovers over the mountains as it shares its wealth of alpenglow with the peaks below, but none the less, we are all hoping for natures reflector and diffuser to magnify the magnificence.
Thunderstorms are a welcome partner to any photo tour
Any windless morning the calm waters of Grand Teton Park double the viewers pleasure because of the mirror image of granite monoliths reflected on the calm waters of the Snake River or a number of other lakes and ponds. To the exponential delight of informed nature lovers, during a few days in autumn, leaves of gold, amber, and an isolated red precariously hang from the limbs of the white trunked aspens threatening to be blown away by the first big wind, but stoically they hang on so the click of a shutter can save them for posterity.
The peak of fall colors in the Grand Tetons usually starts getting good during the last week ten days of September.
Jenny Lake during autumn below the Grand Tetons
The western heritage of Jackson Hole is fun photo fodder in this beautiful valley. There are miles of buck rail fences for foreground elements and picturesque barns and deserted log cabins to complement the abundant groves of cottonwood and aspen.
The park has many places of lesser renown that are of equal beauty for those seeking something new. All eight-glacier lakes at the foot of the mountains have vistas to explore. From the Gros Ventre Mountains I like to shoot telephoto landscapes I photo-merge in Photoshop for panoramas.
Fall colors aren’t the only gift from nature in this valley resplendent with its embarrassment of riches. At dawn and dusk of every day, parts of the valley fill with the sound of bugling elk as this is breeding season for the majestic animals. For those, that search out these places will be rewarded with what I think is one of the coolest shows nature provides that can be easily viewed –the rutting of the elk.
The end of september is also an awesome time to view the elk rut in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone
The elk aren’t the only wildlife show in the park though; both the mule deer and the moose are sporting their freshly shined and sharpened antlers and doing their part to impress the girls. Grand Tetons’ubiquitous bison always seem eager to spice up a Grand Teton Landscape. It is a wonderful thing when you can line up one our regal antlered animals with our fall colors with the Grand Tetons for a backdrop!
When lucky we may come across a grizzly bear family who has called Jackson Hole home for several generations and has become quite famous. Grizzly bear sow 610 is regularly seen with her cubs (2012) traipsing across the landscape foraging for food.
Grand Teton Park during the last week of September is awash in photo opportunities, the alpenglow, the autumn color, the Grand Tetons, the hopped for clouds all team of for a festival of color at one of the worlds most compositionally perfect places. It has been my privilege to have been photographing this amazing landscape as a resident here since 1987. There may be other places to shoot during this window of time, but there is nowhere that I’d rather be.
This last week of September is busy so I only lead sunrise half day tours so I can work every day. For those who desire longer days or days when I'm not available I have supurb photographers who will be happy to lead you.
Half day private tour 4 to 5 hours = $595.00
Full day private tour 8 to 9 hours = $1,095
Marathon private day tour (sunrise to sunset) = $1,295
Grand Teton sunrise half day + Yellowstone full day the following day = $1,595.00
Full Day Grand Teton + full day Yellowstone = $2,095.00
Sunrise private tours include breakfast snacks as we start too early for a real breakfast.
Full day private tours also include lunch.
Other destinations around the region available by arrangement.
Group half day tour limited to 5 participants $250.00 per person. Hotel pickup not included in group tour.
Fees based on up to four people
Cancellation policy - full deposit refund if at least 30 days advance notice is given.
What type of camera equipment do I need?
Is this a photo tour or safari?
Are there any baggage limitations during the trip?
Pronghorn can be seen in many of our meadows
What will the weather be like?
I plan on traveling alone. Do I need to bring someone?
Most Hole Picture Photo Safari activities are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking over uneven trails, stepping from boats to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations, all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment with a tripod slung over your shoulser. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform us in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.
Does weather ever alter or cancel events?
Do you recommend trip insurance?
Do I need a passport ?
Have more questions?
Winter at the Shane Cabin
Three half days $1,595.00
Although I can show people a lot of stuff in my normal half day sunrise tour, multiple half days are much more comprehensive. Besides seeing much more at peak hours, Grand Teton Park is a big place with much to see.
Black Bear Cub
Group Tours $250.00 per person
Group half day Grand Teton tours will meet in town at a "too be designated" place. Groups will be limited to 3 participants. It is important for "all" participants to be on time because of tight scheduling, we can't risk sunrise color for stragglers. Stragglers can however catch up to the group when possible because of the magic of cell phones.Tours start before resuranunts are open, you can grab a breakfast sandwich and coffee at Loaf and Jug on Broadway, they are open all night.
Not a group tour person, check out the private tours.
The Indians liked the view also
half day = $250.00pp
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