Winter in Yellowstone: Dayscapes

Snow is hard. Depending on the day and the cloud cover, and even though my camera was white balanced according to the conditions, a lot of my landscape shots were yellow or blue. It’s *entirely* possible that the white balance adjustment in my LCD menu wasn’t accounting for the complex light. Or I’m blind, which is possible. I’ve always had problems with snow, though, as it’s not something I’m used to shooting in.

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DSC_813220166Yellowstone, like Yosemite, is such an incredible landscape to begin with it’s hard not to point your camera in any direction and not capture something stunning. The challenge for me was to point my camera in any direction and capture something exactly the way my eyes were seeing it.

Between the steam, the intricate rolling snow pillows and the way the light danced off of the snow, nothing I got was really how my eyes saw it. In retrospect, especially when I had a local photographer with me all day, I should have asked more questions. Not to say I’m disappointed in the least – I’m not.

I didn’t shoot a lot of HDR in Yellowstone, the nature of our long trips in and out of Old Faithful on the snow coaches didn’t allow for much time to set up the tripod and take my time DSC_813020165

with each shot. Off the coach for a quick breather or quick round of photos, then quickly back on. I’ve been on tours before, and I know sometimes for whatever circumstance you’ll only get a few seconds to get the shot – so be prepared.

The one place that absolutely blew me away was Biscuit Basin – there’s dozens of vents/geysers in that area and the steam made for totally alien landscapes. I think I could have spent all day out there just sitting and watching all of the movement and how the light changed throughout the day. If only it weren’t -9 outside.

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Another mesmerizing area we went to was Yellowstone Lake, which is probably amazing in
July/August if it weren’t for the probable 10,000 people who would also be there. The tour
stayed in the warming tent for about a half an hour, but I ventured out on my own while I had the place to myself. The lake was frozen over and it was a mostly clear day; we spotted a fox or coyote way out on the lake hunting. What it was hunting on a lake I have no idea, but in other snowy prairies I was lucky enough to see a coyote through a scope gobble down a mole in about two bites.

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The full gallery is below. I’ll be updating again soon with my nightscapes.

 

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