April 2013



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Lower Falls  1


























Yellowstone Lower Falls


 Additional images can be viewed here


Almost 3.5 million tourists visit Yellowstone every year.  I suspect, almost 3.5 million visitors take a photo of the Lower Falls from the same view shown above.  So why take the photo?  The view of the falls is so stunning, you're compelled to take the photo. " I want my own image." I actually compared my images to others on Google and I like mine better.  I'll bet that the other tourists that shot the falls like their own pictures better also.  That's the nature of tourism and that's why we take pictures and visit places where millions of tourists have already been. 


There are a few tricks in the above photo.  Most photographers will use a wide angle lens but the sun was blinding the right side of the falls so I shot the image at 100 mm (70-400) to compress and focus on the left side.  As a result, the image composition flows from the center right to the left side at the bottom.  Some viewers are intrigued by the river below the falls.  Others have asked why I didn't blur the water fall with a long exposure. I explained that I try to emulate what I actually saw with my eyes (and mind) and replicate that image on paper in an attempt to emulate the original emotion. 


Day 1 started in Mammoth Hot Springs with a decent hike up a hill from the hotel to the thermals.  Note the hotel in the bottom right of the image.  The purpose of the image is to illustrate the majesty and vastness of Yellowstone. 
Day 2 to the Lamar Valley by snow coach was rich in wildlife photo opportunities.  In 2010, we photographed Bobcats and Bald Eagles.  This year we photographed Big Horn sheep, Elk and Pronghorn Antelope. 
On day 3, we travelled from Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful.  We did detour to Lower Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone due to the great weather.  On the way back from the falls, we witnessed the breathtaking green while crossing the river. 
  On day 4, we travelled from Old Faithfull to West Yellowstone.  On the way we visited Norris Geyser Basin.  What an awesome location. You have to be patient for the billowing clouds of steam to dissipate in the wind. 
  On day 5, we travelled back into Yellowstone NP by snow coach where I shot a panorama of American Bison grazing in a field with mountains in the back ground. 
On day 6, we travelled west into Idaho by snow mobile and entered the Gallatin-Targhee National Forest. We travelled up to Tow Top which was cloaked in clouds.  Massive amounts of snow on the trees was stunning.   
No image. On day 7, we snow-mobiled back to Idaho in -10 F degree weather with 50 MPH winds.  These are not good conditions for photography especially since most of the locations were experiencing white-out conditions.  "Hey, it happens sometimes."


I try to be flexible in my photography and this could be interpreted as not having a photographic style. I have met persons at workshops who become seriously and emotionally upset when questioned about their style.  For this trip I decided I wanted capture the "largess" of Yellowstone and this dictated the kinds of images I have captured and presented on this web site. 


The image was captured with a 70-400 mm zoom lens at F8 on a cropped frame camera and carbon fiber tripod with ball head. 


The section below summarizes what turned out to be an ideal trip for photography in Yellowstone winter.  I hope the images provide a s "sense of place" .