Saturday, September 17, 2011

Come on Sun, You Can Do It

I spent a considerable amount of time in the Upper Geyser Basin on this trip. I saw Old Faithful erupt more than twenty times(even at night), but this was my favorite eruption.

Everything came together and made for outstanding images. 

Remnants of storm clouds from the night before moved across the sky.

Just a minute earlier with the sun hidden behind the clouds the scene looked like this. To the east I saw a gap in the clouds and rooted for the sun to come out before the geyser erupted. "Come on sun, you can do it."  

I visited with a guy from Ohio, one of only a few dozen people waiting for the eruption at 7:30 in the morning. We both continued to wait and hoped for the sun. 

The conditions were perfect for great images, the golden grass, the beautiful clouds, the blue sky. All I needed was the sun.

Old Faithful coughed a little and burped a little water and steam, indicating an impending eruption. I held my breath, waiting on the sun.

Just as a column of super heated water and steam shot out of the geyser and over 100 feet into the air everything came together. The clouds parted and the sun shone through.

It was even better than I had hoped. There was more steam, the colors were more vivid, and the eruption lasted longer than most. Old Faithful had shown its best.

The colors and light were unbelievable. I was smiling and laughing as I photographed the scene.

The eruption lasted only a few minutes, five at most. Lucky for me, the sun made it through the clouds just in time and stayed out for at least six minutes. Perfect.

After the eruption a column of steam rose from the cone of Old Faithful Geyser and steam from Castle Geyser mirrored it.

What an excellent morning in an outstanding place. Only Yellowstone.

No One Was There To See It

I love this image of empty benches and red steam rising from Old Faithful on a stormy night.

The park was still crowded at the end of August just before Labor Day weekend. During the day hundreds of people filled the benches around Old Faithful to watch the world's most famous geyser erupt.

Yet, at 4am the benches were empty and no one else was there to see this unlikely sight.

I'm glad I was.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What a Night

I finally made it back to Yellowstone and didn't want to waste a minute or any opportunities while I was there, so I kept my camera working through the nights.

I would have preferred to be in Yellowstone the second week of September. By then the elk are rutting and the nights are cold enough to allow for huge amounts of steam over geysers and thermal features.  

Life, and my schedule dictated that the end of August would be my only chance to go west. So I found myself living my Yellowstone dream during the last week of August.

I sure am glad that I went. As I can still say there is never a bad day to be in Yellowstone.

I made this photo of red steam rising from the cone of Old Faithful Geyser and lightning in the distance at around 3am.

The photo hasn't been manipulated with photoshop or any other software. The colors are as they appeared to me and the camera at the time.

You may wonder why the steam is red. This is the short story. 

The night started out starry and clear.

I used long exposures to paint star trails above Old Faithful Geyser. 

And then.... huge thunderstorms rolled through the area bringing rain, wind, and lightning. The storms were fast moving and were gone in just an hour or so, leaving clear skies behind.

Just after I made this image of stars and lodgepole pine trees, the thunder rolled and rain began to fall. I moved to a sheltered location and kept on shooting, hoping to catch lightning over Old Faithful.

Lightning struck fairly close by while I was standing there photographing the night sky and fire alarms went off at the Old Faithful Inn.

The alarms were loud and unyielding. After about twenty minutes firemen parked their truck outside the Inn and left the lights on as they went inside. The red from the fire truck's lights made the steam rising from Old Faithful red in the image.

Once the alarms were quieted and the fire truck left it was almost sunrise and I continued to shoot as big clouds rolled across the sky and lightning occasionally lit the insides.

What a beautiful night in the world's first national park.