God Beams & Coyotes

No trip to Yellowstone is complete without a visit to West Thumb. It was so cold this morning that the steam could be cut with a knife. The sun tried to burn through and we had a moment when it suceeded and gave us spectacular god beams.

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Image captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 14-24mm on Lexar Digital Media

Wildlife has been pretty scarce over the last few days. but, we broke the spell today with coyotes everywhere we turned. This handsome guy paused a moment to check us out before moving on.

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Image captured with Nikon D300, AF-S 200-400mm on Lexar Digital Media

Thar She Blows

Today day dawned crystal clear. We had a hearty breakfast and then headed out to see what sites we could find. We no sooner arrived at Old Faithful when she erupted! It was a sight to behold with a sky as blue as blue and the light hitting the steam.

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Image captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 14-24mm on Lexar Digital Media

We wandered on down the trail and as we got farther from Old Faithful and looked back, the steam plume was rising straight into the air with nice side lighting.

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Image captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 14-24mm on Lexar Digital Media

As we rounded the bend on the back side of Old Faithful we were treated to another show from the Grand Dame with a backlit eruption. It was fun to see so many faces of Old Faithful from different perspectives and in a variety of light all in one day.

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Image captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70mm on Lexar Digital Media

If You Don’t Like The Weather…

…just wait around for awhile. Our day began with -31 degree temperatures and steam, lot’s of steam from all the geysers and hot pools in the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. At times we could not see more than 30 feet ahead of us. It was mysterious, exciting, what would appear out of the steam in front of our lenses?

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Image captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70mm on Lexar Digital Media

As the morning progressed and the temperatures slowly creeped up, the sun began to burn through the steam and we were rewarded with beautiful light dancing across the Basin, with the steam as a backdrop, isolating our subjects.

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Image captured with Nikon D300, AF-S 200-400mm on Lexar Digital Media

Don’t forget to look over your shoulder now and then. While the light was playing nicely on hoarfrost covered trees, I glanced over behind me and there was the sunrise back lighting the steam that was pouring forth from Old Faithful. I spun around, dialed in some minus compensation to add drama and was able to fire off a few shots before it got too bright to capture.

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Image captured with Nikon D300, AF-S 200-400mm on Lexar Digital Media

Once the temperatures were high enough to dissipate the heavy fog, the light got hard fast.  As we made our way back to the lodge, we had to stop and photograph the graphic details of snow pillows.

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Image captured with Nikon D300, AF-S 200-400mm on Lexar Digital Media.

The Winter Storm Has Passed

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The winter storm has passed, the sky is clear and with it comes the cold. Today was not so bad with temps hovering in the -10 to -15 degrees and no wind. The calm and clear weather emphasizes the steam. The trees near pools are all covered with ice as the hot steam swirls around them giving an otherworldly effect.

Image captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 70-200mm on Lexar Digital Media

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There has to be at least a foot of new snow piled up on the rocks creating beautiful shapes and textures.

Image captured with Nikon D70 converted to infrared, AF-S 70-200mm on Lexar Digital Media