Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sometimes the prey is tough...

May is the time for newborn bison calves in Yellowstone.

Female bison group together to protect and raise their young and grizzly bears are out looking for almost anything to eat.
On this day in the Lamar Valley a large grizzly was eating grass while a group of bison cows and calves moved past. The grizzly made sure to look like salad was all that was on it's mind as the bison calves went by.
Though the bear hadn't made a move towards them, the bison cows hurried their calves past the big bruin.
Running at least two hundred yards. Once the cows and calves were out of the picture...
some cows without calves went to take care of the potential problem.
At first the bear acted nonchalant as the cows approached.
Until it finally turned and ran towards the Lamar River. 
When the bear was out of sight the cows stopped their pursuit and returned to the herd.
Later in the afternoon the grizzly bear was back in the area eating grass and keeping an eye on some other bison calves.

Friday, May 23, 2014

It has to be cold........

to get a column of steam like this from Excelsior Geyser

at the Midway Geyser Basin. It was 17 degrees on a beautiful May morning in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
The Firehole River leads to the geyser basin. I prefer photographing geysers and thermal features when it's colder so the steam can really show.
Then it's just a matter of choosing different compositions and enjoying the moment.
It had been a few years since I last shot Midway with decent morning steam, so I was thrilled with the opportunity.
After working this angle I parked at the actual geyser basin and walked to the river.
A bus load of tourists arrived and some were crossing the bridge as I photographed it and a runoff channel from Excelsior Geyser.
Here's another view of the runoff channel.
After crossing the bridge I found small groups of lodgepole pines that had been frosted by the geysers steam during the night. The ice was quickly melting in the morning sun.
I shot the sun through Excelsior's steam.
And visitors on the boardwalk near Grand Prismatic Spring.
What a super morning in Yellowstone.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yellowstone sunset......

Here's a tip for photographing interesting sunsets when you're on the west side of Yellowstone Park.

Say you've been photographing elk along the Madison River and the sun has just dipped behind the mountains leaving both you and the elk in the shade.
If you head to the car and drive towards Old Faithful you will find there is still plenty of light at the Lower Geyser Basin.
At the far point of the Fountain Paint Pots trail is Clepsydra Geyser, which erupts almost constantly.
At sunset Clepsydra Geyser offers you the opportunity to make some cool images right from the boardwalk.
The amount of clouds in the sky will make a big difference in the amount of color in your photos.
By adjusting the aperture you can paint with the steam from Clepsydra Geyser. Freezing it with a fast shutter speed or allowing it to flow with a slower speed such as the 1/20 of a second I used here.
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and the time you have before the sun goes down.

Just keep composing the shots you like and enjoy your surroundings.
The sound of the geyser erupting.
The smell of the nearby lodgepole pines.
And the feel of a cool breeze on your face as the sun sets. By continuing to follow the light and knowing that the Lower Geyser Basin has lots to offer at sunset you won't miss a thing.
Including these dead lodgepole pine trees silhouetted on the way back to the your car. If and when you photograph the Lower Geyser Basin at sunset I hope you have a night as good as mine.