Yellowstone West Thumb & Canyon Revisited

With warm temps and sunshine I wondered what would await us at West Thumb. Most cold winter mornings the steam is thick and if you are lucky, the sun begins to burn through while the steam swirls around the thermals revealing the trees and pools one moment and hiding them the next. The key is to fire the shutter at just the right moment to capture the mood of the moment. Not so this morning as we rounded the bend and saw clear skies and very little steam near West Thumb. This actually worked in our favor as a couple of the guys were hoping to have the opportunity to photograph the colorful pools and conditions were just right for that…blue skies to bring out the color of the pools and very little wind to blow the steam into our lenses. Seismograph Pool was spectacular surrounded by snow covered trees and a veiw deep into the depths…

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Continuing around the boardwalk we came to Yellowstone Lake and with clear skies we could see all the way across to the Absarokas in the distance. I chose to put Fishing Cone in the foreground to break up the vast expanse of snow covered ice emphasizing the visual depth that I wanted to show…

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Not wanting to hurry to fast and miss any great shots, I was also anxious to get to Black Pool and see if I could find a different composition than that of the previous visit. I used a polarizer to reduce the reflection on the water enhancing the view into the depths of the pool including some of the crusty edge to anchor the foreground. A simple color cast removal in Capture NX2 and a little tonal contrast from NIK and the image is as shot…

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After a picnic lunch on the road towards Cody, we headed back to Hayden Valley to see what animals might be stirring. We found wolf & coyote tracks but, they did not look real fresh and bison were off in the distance. It was pretty quiet in the valley so we headed to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. With the warm temps of the last week alot of the ice surrounding the falls had broken off but the ice that remained had a really cool texture and greenish cast to it…

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Tired and content with another successful day of exploring the wonders of Yellowstone we, headed back to Old Faithful. Somewhere south of Norris, Arden pulled over and had me drive the snowcoach the rest of the way in (I am an official winter guide for Yellowstone Expeditions so, it was all legal). The guys decided that the adventure in “Excell”ent Adventures came when we encountered a snowcoach coming from the other direction down the middle of the road at high speed in a narrow canyon. Quick reflexes kept us out of his path…and out of the river!

Images captured with Nikon D3X, AF 16mm Fisheye, AF-S 24-70mm, AF-S 70-200mm with TC-17E II on Lexar Digital Mdia