A Trip to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Brandon Alms—nature and wildlife photographer, and senior photographer and designer at 417 Magazine—spent five days photographing the enchanting landscapes and untamed inhabitants of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

by Brandon Alms

Feb 2024

Jenny Lake, Wyoming
Photo by Brandon AlmsWhat better way to kick off a 10-mile hike than at the picturesque Jenny Lake, where the Cascade Canyon Trail reveals its beauty right from the start. Purchase Photo

From the dramatic towering peaks above to the playful antics of chipmunks darting below, Grand Teton National Park is a photographer’s sandbox waiting to be explored. In mid-October 2023, my wife, Martha, and I set out to explore what the park had to offer.

We planned our trip to Wyoming with one main goal in mind; to see and photograph a moose. After only a few hours in the park, that goal quickly became a reality. About 100 yards away in a field of sagebrush stood a commanding yet gracefully elegant bull moose. Little did I know at the time, this would be the first of many encounters during the course of the trip. If you want to see a moose, the Tetons are the place to go. We saw moose every day! The proximity to the moose seemed to increase in our daily encounters, leading to progressively better photos. Capturing the heartwarming connection between a cow moose and calf, set against the Tetons as an awe-inspiring backdrop was a memorable experience.

Photos by Brandon Alms Left: Set up and ready to shoot pre-dawn enabled me to capture the first rays of sunlight highlighting the peaks of the Teton Mountains. Right: This bull moose marched through a field of sagebrush and right up onto the highway, causing a bit of a traffic jam. I quickly got into the habit of always having my telephoto lens equipment while on the road.

Each day I began photographing at dawn with hopes of capturing the first rays of sunlight painting the peaks in glowing tones of golds and pinks. After sunrise, our days were filled with scenic drives and breathtaking hikes. Among our cherished experiences, the Cascade Canyon trail stood out as a favorite. Although we unfortunately didn’t see any big game along the trail, its beauty unfolded in stunning panoramas of meandering streams, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, vibrant fall foliage and striking vistas of the Tetons.

Photo by Brandon Alms Left: By mid-October, most of the fall foliage had already fallen. This path of cottonwoods was a great find. Perfectly lit by the sun, the yellows really popped against the Teton backdrop. Right: The Taggart Lake Trail, a highly favored 3-mile roundtrip hike, leads to a remarkable payoff. Arrive early to seize the moment before the wind stirs, allowing you to capture pristine reflections of the rugged Teton Mountain Range

As the days turned to night, we shifted our focus to the shops, restaurants and breweries nestled in the charming town of Jackson Hole. Conveniently within walking distance from our cabin, these locales provided the perfect way to unwind and conclude an eventful long day of shooting.

Clockwise from top left

• One of our first stops inside the park was at the Craig Thomas Visitor’s Center asking for tips on places to see moose. To our surprise, Moose Wilson Road located just behind the visitor’s center turned out to be a key spot.
• With the wind blowing and the temperature outside around 30 degrees, the thought of being submerged in water sent chills down my spine. Not a problem for this moose who seemed to enjoy the conditions. I must have fired away 500 shots before she finally turned toward the camera after taking a big gulp.
• Despite a full day immersed in Yellowstone’s breathtaking scenes of bison, it wasn’t until my visit to Grand Teton National Park that I finally secured the intense, straight-on portrait shot I had been wanting to capture.
• I’ve seen and photographed a lot of doe over the years, but for whatever reason, bucks have always eluded me. Finally got my first buck photo as he turned his head toward the camera while eating a salad.

Panoramic photo of Teton Range in Wyoming.
Photo by Brandon Alms Purchase Photo

This massive 360 megapixel panoramic image of the Teton Range at sunrise consisted of eight images stitched together in Photoshop. While editing the image, I was surprised to discover a pair of moose walking through the sage. The landscape is so vast, the pair appear here smaller than a grain of salt.

From left to right:

• Those cheeks! With all the big game in Grand Teton National Park, it was fun to turn my attention to the ground and photograph this little guy.
• Known to be the most famous and photographed barn in the world, the T.A. Moulton Barn with the iconic Teton Range in the background has become a symbol of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. On my next visit to the park, I’ll be sure to hit this spot up again for some sunrise shots.
• To create depth with some additional pops of color, I crouched down and shot through the thistle flowers here at Oxbow Bend.

From left to right:

• The highlight of my trip was capturing this scene at sunrise, where a cow moose and calf stood side by side, creating a heartwarming photographic moment.
• The views along the Cascade Canyon Trail are simply amazing. To capture a long exposure with a silky, rushing water effect, I set up here with a wide angle lens, ND filter and tripod.

If I were to summarize our journey to Grand Teton National Park in a single image, this would undoubtedly be the one—a harmonious blend of nature and wildlife at their absolute finest.