Yellowstone Below Zero West Thumb & Hayden Valley

Our days have been so fun filled and photography packed that I am running behind on blogging. On Thursday we did the lower loop with stops at one of my favorite thermal areas in the park…West Thumb. The photo gods smiled upon us just the right weather conditions for the landscape. Blue skies are great when photographing the thermals as the colors really pop…

As we headed along the Yellowstone River Arden, the best snow coach guide in the park, spotted river otters. We stopped and I had to slog through thigh deep snow to get the shot. The otters were taking a break, resting on the snow bank…

and the ice…

After a bit they went into a “hole” in the snow and disappeared so we continued on. As we reached Hayden Valley, the afternoon light was playing across the hills and the distant mountains providing us with a lbeautiful landscape opportunity. I shot the scene, with panorama in mind…

When we arrived in Hayden Valley we were fortunate enough to get a quick opportunity to photograph a red fox as it was trotting across the snow. It stopped and looked as us for a minute before moving on…

When we approached the location of the swan kill from a few days earlier we spotted a coyote sniffing around looking for any last morsel to eat. When he couldn’t find anything he moved off along the river…

Tired and very happy with the days results we made our way back to Old Faithful.

Images created with Nikon D3X, AF 16mm 2.8 Fisheye, AF-S 14-24mm 2.8, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR, D3S, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, TC-14E II, TC-20E II on Lexar digital media

Yellowstone Below Zero Geysers, Rainbows & Louis

Our day spent wandering the geyser basin at Old Faithful was a productive one. We walked over 4 miles, saw 9 geysers erupt (Old Faithful 3X, Lion 2X, Cub, Plume, Castle & Riverside) two rainbows (Castle & Riverside Geysers), shot 4800 photographs and met Louis, a precocious little English boy who entertained us while we waited for an eruption in 8 hours all the while I was carrying my 600mm along (in hopes of photographing critters) and my backpack filled with equipment. It totally wiped me out but, it was a very satisfied tired as I edited my images. The morning began with thick overcast that looked like it might last all day but, by the time we had worked our way along the trail to Castle Geyser, it began to break up and produce a beautiful, sunny day. Just the kind we needed to make the most of our day at Old Faithful.

Here are a few of my favorites from the day…


Sculpted snow and ice buildup along the boardwalk near Castle Geyser.


Doublet Pool with frost covered trees in the background


Doublet Pool Detail


Heart Spring with the Lion Group in the background


Castle Geyser with rainbow


Riverside Geyser with rainbow


Closeup looking into Morning Glory Pool


Late afternoon eruption of Old Faithful


And Louis (pronounced Louie) who was the cutest, most outgoing little guy you could meet

Images created with Nikon D3X, AF-S 24-70mm 2.8, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II, TC-14E II on Lexar digital media

Yellowstone Below Zero The Struggle To Survive

Every year I visit Yellowstone in the quest images that speak of the landscape and wildlife that make up this amazing ecosystem and each year I am rewarded with new experiences, new images and new knowledge of this giant caldera. I love this place, it gets in my blood and I can’t imagine not coming each year. The photo opportunities are abundant, the weather can range from 35 below zero (yes, below zero!) to the balmy 35 above zero. The snowfall can be light to down right bury you until spring deep. I get just as excited at a great wildlife spotting today as I did the first visit because no two days are ever the same and I never know what I’ll see each day. That’s part of what makes this place so special. I bring groups here to share the experience that is Yellowstone so that they too, may create some memorable experiences and photos to take home and share with friends and family. Yesterday was another day in the park and we were having a great time, as usual, when we came upon a pair of Trumpeter Swans floating along in the Yellowstone River. As we prepared to disembark from the snow coach, Arden (our guide) caught some movement out the corner of his eye and said “There are two coyotes fighting over there.” When we looked closer it turned out to be two coyotes eating a Signet (young swan) just off the road. Without any more encouragement than that we piled out of the coach, set up our cameras and the shutters began clicking…

After a short time, what appeared to be a female had her fill and wandered off a short distance to lie down…

…while her companion continued to devour the young swan…

All the while I was shooting, I kept thinking of how Yellowstone in winter is such a harsh environment for the wildlife. While we toodle around in our snow coaches or on snowmobiles, the wildlife struggles to survive each day. It’s an eat or be eaten environment and the one eating today may just as easily be the one eaten tomorrow. The wildlife struggles through each day trudging through the deep snow, weathering the sub-zero temps and are constantly in search of their next meal to survive. I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to experience this truly wild place, our first National Park and all the wonders of nature up close and personal…

With several more days left, I look forward to each moment spent in Yellowstone witnessing nature firsthand. Stay tuned.

Images created with Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm f4 VR II, TC-20E II on Lexar digital media

Yellowstone Below Zero Fresh Snow

A fresh snow blanketed the landscape and clearing skies made for some awesome landscapes. We worked the snowy scenes in Lamar Valley throughout the day…

Baronet Peak looked even more rugged with a fresh coating of ice and snow…

And, the snow pillows along the creeks made for great photo opportunities…

Images created with Nikon D3X, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II on Lexar digital media