The

Photo Experience

             

Locations

Yellowstone

1999

          

   

 

Location Intro

 

   

 

  

 

   

   YELLOWSTONE

FALL 1999

 

Truly a magnificent national park with unlimited photo

 opportunities of geysers, wildlife, and scenery.

 

      

 

          

Castle

Geyser

   

1.

 

  

Attended by photographic amateurs of varying skill levels, the forum

succeeded greatly at getting the participants to the right place at the right

time to maximize photo opportunities at the Park.  All lodging  accommodations at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and travel within the

Park were handled by the Forum operators, resulting in an excellent 3

day photo shoot.

  

   

Geyser

Basin

  

2.

 

  

 

Day 1 of the Forum began photographing images of Geysers at sunrise

with the sun in the background.  Staying awake after getting up before dawn

 is easy when the temperature is only 6 degrees F.  

 

First up on the walk was Castle Geyser due to its unique structure

billowing steam clouds.  The challenge is that you know that the experience from being there is going to be a lot better than the image you will be able

 to capture on film.  In fact, it took several rolls of film just to capture the

 image on this page and the preceding page.  At one point, it looked like

the whole world was erupting.

   

The first morning also included visits to Morning Glory Pool, Punch Bowl

Spring for close ups of algae, Black Sand Pool, and Emerald Pool.

     

   

Grand

Prismatic

   

3.

 

  

    

Grand Prismatic is a large geothermal area.  The mid day light made it

difficult to capture an image of the entire area that would make it appear as dramatic as it felt.  So, instead, I decided to focus on just a small area. 

    

Although difficult to see in the image at left, there is a thin layer of water

flowing down thousands of little step like structures.  A close up would be

nice but I really liked the idea of all the elevated pathways.  Because there

were much fewer visitors in late September, I was able to isolate and

capture a silhouette of just two persons on one of the walks.  Earlier in

the summer, this would have been impossible with all of the persons

visiting the park.

     

   

Osprey

 

4.

 

  

 

  Attended by photographic amateurs of varying skill levels, the forum succeeded greatly at getting the participants to the right place at the right

time to maximize photo opportunities at the Park.  All lodging  accommodations at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and travel within the

Park were handled by the Forum operators, resulting in an excellent

3 day photo shoot.

 

   

 

5.

 

  

 

You can't visit Yellowstone Park without taking a photograph of a buffalo. 

Yet their dark coat  makes them a very difficult subject.  Forget back lighting, you'll end up with a silhouette.  Front lighting is better but the light meter

on the camera will more than likely over-expose the buffalo's coat. 

Reducing the exposure 2 stops will produce a properly exposed buffalo

but will blow out the back ground.  

The best solution is to photograph the buffalo in early morning or late afternoon.  The frost on the back and the orange hue imparted by the sun are a dead giveaway that this photograph was taken in early morning.  

There are some outstanding photographs of buffalo with icicles hanging from their fur and every gorge mark from past fights in full detail.  After attempting

to photograph buffalo, you can really appreciate some of the other outstanding images.

 

   

 

6.

 

  

 

Driving towards Madison from Norris, a group of elk were causing a standard traffic jam on the highway.  At first, only a few females were spotted but

hiding in the Lodge Pole pine trees was the male.
  

It's kind of exciting scanning the forest with a 500 mm lens and discovering

a male spying back at you.  The image at left is the result of  exposing a full role of film.  Due to the lighting conditions and out-of- focus greenery, this is

 a situation in which you just keep shooting because you don't really know

what the final image will look like.

     

   

 

7.

 

  

 

Towards the evening, this big male elk was spotted protecting his harem of approximately 30 females and yearlings from another male across a river. 

The alpha male very discreetly blocked the other advancing male by slowly positioning himself and walking in a parallel line between the advancing

male and his harem.  

   

This is one situation where I simply could not capture the experience on film

     

   

Lower

Falls

  

8.

 

  

     

Yellowstone Park contains some very beautiful water falls.   However,

 unless you time your visit perfectly, you're probably going to have to deal

with bright sunlight and dark shade in the same scene.  Photographic

film simply can't handle the range from shade to bright sunlight.  

 

The image at right was enhanced in the field by a 3 stop soft graduated

neutral density filter.  I had never used one before but I am now convinced

 that this may be even more useful than a polarizing filter in some situations.

     

   

Hayden

Valley

   

9.

 

  

 

The absolutely breathtaking scenery at Yellowstone really moved me to take

a large number of photographs of everything in sight at all times of the day.  After a while, I was beginning to think I was on a tour.  Although most of

 the images taken will be a good remembrances of where I was, few of the

final images will impart the same excitement experienced during the visit. 

 This is why viewing a bunch of proofs after a photo shoot can often be a

slight let down.

   

To illustrate the point above, the valleys of Yellowstone are absolutely breathtaking but my images of the valleys simply don't impart the same excitement.  However, by including some grass covered with icicles, I was

able to enhance the photograph of Hayden Valley.

    

   

 

10.

 

  

 

Parked in a section of dense forest, the jays are very experienced at

stealing food off of the table in front of you.  It doesn't take long to figure

out that this is a photo opportunity.

  

While not in the same photographic league as Ospreys, these birds are

very beautiful in their own way.  Don't think that the birds friendliness

makes them an easy photographic target.  The dense forest cover creates

 a nice exposure challenge.  There often is insufficient foreground light and

 the background can be dark and uninspiring.  Using a 500 mm lens, getting

 the focus right, especially the eyes, in particularly difficult. 

    

The image at left had sufficient front light and background light to achieve

 what I had in mind.  There was also a little light reflected off of the eyes

which is almost mandatory for all types of bird photography.

     

   

West

Thumb

  

12.

 

  

 

When most people want visual impact, they think of Yosemite or the

Grand Tetons.  The visual impact of Yellowstone is much more discreet and,

 in fact, you sometimes have to look for it.

  

There are few other places where a photographer has so much opportunity

to play with landscape, steam , and the sun.  The colder it is, the greater

 the amount of steam.  In late September, morning is prime shooting time.

 The wind manipulates the steam very quickly so its kind of fun just to hang

 out in one location for awhile and shoot a couple rolls of film to see what

 turns out.  Beware, the end results on film may be considerable different

 than what you thought you visualized.

 

   

West

Thumb

  

13.

 

  

 

  The morning temperature was in the teens causing large vapor clouds to

 rise above the hot thermal water percolating up through the rock in

multiple locations at West Thumb Geyser Basin.  A slight wind off of

Lake Yellowstone created a constantly changing scenery effect. 

The trick was to just sit there and wait for the right amount of steam and

wind to display a scene that you really liked.

    

   

Lake

Lodge

  

14.

 

  

  

The absolutely breathtaking scenery at Yellowstone really moved me to

take a large number of photographs of everything in sight at all times of

the day.  After a while, I was beginning to think I was on a tour.  Although

most of the images taken will be a good remembrances of where I was,

few of the final images will impart the same excitement experienced

during the visit.   This is why viewing a bunch of proofs after a photo

shoot can often be a slight let down.

  

To illustrate the point above, the valleys of Yellowstone are absolutely breathtaking but my images of the valleys simply don't impart the same excitement.  However, by including some grass covered with icicles, I was

able to enhance the photograph of Hayden Valley.

   

   

 

15.

 

  

 

This little guy was resting during the middle of the day when a Magpie

jumped on his back and started feeding on insects in his fur.  The baby

didn't seem to care except when the Magpie dug a little too deep.  The

baby would raise his head and look directly into the eyes of the Magpie. 

The Magpie would look back, make a noise and continue to dine.

    

This incident occurred over a period of about 10 minutes.  Unfortunately,

the baby elk was resting against a wall of a building in Mammoth Hot

Springs which also made proper exposure more difficult.  There was a

faucet directly behind the baby elk but was blocked from view when the

baby raised his head.  Also, due to lack of contrast between the baby elk's

 fur and the color of the feathers on the Magpie's head, the Magpie's head

 had to photographed against the wall to achieve proper separation.

    

   

Mammoth

Terrace 

  

16.

 

  

 

It's a little intimidating to try to take an original photo of a location where millions of pictures are taken every year.   I'm sure there are also thousands

of images of the patterns of the water flowing across the rock and algae. 

Hey, so here's another one. 

   

The light was perfect, the polarizer very effective, and the flow pattern 

seemed to make this photograph easier to view than the several rolls of

other shots that I attempted.  I actually scanned the entire terrace and

took shots in a grid like pattern; this image just flowed more artistically.

    

   
   

 

Location Intro

 

   

 

  

 

  

 

There is no shortage of photographs of Old Faithful, and even though we

were staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, it wasn't till day 4 that I

motivated myself to get up at 5:00 AM to view a geyser of which only 3

million tourists per year take pictures.  Amazingly, there couldn't have

been more than a dozen persons at Old Faithful at that time of the morning.

 

The basic concept is to locate oneself directly behind the geyser and the

rising sun.  Other photographers also know this so you'll want to get to

 the geyser early to position yourself.  Once the sun breaks the horizon,

 you'll only have a couple of minutes at most to capture your images.  Due

 to the brightness of the  sun flashing through the steam, I tend to open up

the exposure by one stop since the scene's brightness will generally cause

the cameras exposure meter to make too quick of an exposure.

   

 

05/05/03