The view at West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, with a frozen Yellowstone Lake in the distance beyond the trees, is hauntingly beautiful.
Slowing the water that cascades over a fall using a slow shutter speed gives the water fluidity and grace that isn’t apparent to the naked eye. This technique reveals the varying patterns of the water as it swirls and flows over rocks giving it a graceful look. The water appears as streaks and curves and ribbons, not bubbling, churning froth and there is no sign of the thundering roar most large waterfalls have. This is a detail shot of Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park taken with my Nikon D850 and Nikkor 500mm PF lens.
Spasm Geyser in Yellowstone National Park is described as a small geyser and according to the National Park Service, whether Spasm is or is not erupting is related to nearby and larger Fountain Geyser. This small geyser is quiet after Fountain Geyser erupts, then resumes splashing to 3 feet. It was putting on quite a spectacular show while we were there because Fountain Geyser was not erupting. The splashes looked much higher than the advertised 3 feet and of course the plumes of steam create a sense of drama and billow far up into the sky.
Yellowstone National Park returned to full staffing again on Sunday, our last day there, after a five week government shutdown. Although the park itself remained open during the shutdown, there was a dearth of wildlife anywhere in the accessible areas of the park. We joked that the critters were furloughed along with the government employees. There were theories about why the critters were absent. One of the most plausible explanations was that despite what we felt were bone-chilling temperatures (highs in the teens and lows of -1° with windchill of -15°), the temperatures just weren’t cold enough to drive the animals into the valley to forage. During our five days in the park, we saw a few Coyotes, three or four small herds of Bison, and a lone female Elk but most of the critters we saw were not close enough for us to photograph them. We were on the lookout for a reported lone Bull Moose but never found him. We had only a few opportunities to photograph Bison that were in range of our cameras, and Sunday turned out to be our best day. It was almost as if some of the critters returned to the park, too. This Bison bull’s face is covered with ice crystals from his search for grasses under the snow while the mists from the nearby thermal vents melt the snow behind him.
Taken with Nikon D5; 500mm PF lens; 1.4X Teleconverter.
This is a small detail of Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park using the Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF lens and Nikon D850 camera.
A telephoto lens can create interesting abstract images. This is a detail of Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park that is more of an abstract image than a photograph of the falls. I used my 500mm lens using a small f/stop and a slow shutter speed to blur the water.
The United States Congress was inspired to establish Yellowstone as the first National Park because of a painting of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with Lower Yellowstone Falls painted in 1872 by Thomas Moran. It is a spectacular view, although I have seen it only in winter when the yellow stone is covered in white snow. This is a black and white photograph of a tree near the overlook called Artist Point, which refers to Thomas Moran. The tree was not there in 1872 when Moran painted his work of art. But its snow covered branches create a lovely focal point with the Yellowstone River beneath it, obscured by mist.
Yellowstone National Park in winter is spectacular. Never mind that the US Govenment shutdown has furloughed thousands of park employees and essential park employees are working without pay. I’m here in Yellowstone for a trip planned a year ago. It is heartening to see that the park, blanketed in snow, is still as gorgeous as ever, thanks to the concessionaires in the park and the guide services who have volunteered time and money to keep the park open, clean, and beautiful, without the expectation that any reimbursement will come. Many restrooms are clean and open and the roads are groomed daily so that the snowcoaches and snow mobiles, the only vehicles allowed in the park in winter, can bring people like me to see the glory of Yellowstone. Wednesday was our first day in the park and we weren’t sure what to expect. We were happy to find most of the gorgeous sites we expected to see here open. And, of course, Old Faithful still faithfully pumps out its geyser but not quite as predictably as it has done in the past. And, no, its change in schedule has nothing to do with the government shutdown. According to the National Park Service website, Old Faithful Geyser currently erupts around 17 times a day. Its eruptions are of long and short duration and these event durations are used to help the park predict subsequent eruptions with a fair degree of accuracy. Geothermal and seismic activities in the area during the past 70 years have affected the duration and frequency of the eruptions. Most eruptions last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes and average 130 feet high. On Wednesday, we were in place for the expected 11:30AM eruption which actually came at about 12:15PM. It was a long duration eruption, lasting about 5 minutes. On this very cold and snowy day, what we could see and photograph was mostly steam against a gray sky. I converted this image to black and white because there was essentially no color in the original image.
This is a focus-stacked image of a trio of green mini mums. Every petal is visible in sharp detail. I used about 40 images to create this single image. The chartreuse color of the blossoms contrasts beautifully with the black background creating a striking portrait of the mums.
Alstroemeria is a lovely flower. I’ve never known it by any other name and it occured to me that such a lovely flower must have a common name. So, I googled it and yes, indeed, Alstroemeria is commonly called Peruvian Lily. I don’t know why I didn’t know that. I”ve even once tried growing Alstroemeria without much success…mostly the result of my neglect, not the shortcomings of the Alstroemeria. Peruvian Lily is a much more enticing name for this gorgeous blossom.
The Peruvian Lily was one of the flowers I photographed using my 105mm macro lens and my Nikon D850 and its Stack Focus feature. The files produced by a D850 are quite large and that is one thing that slowed the process down for me. Another feature of the D850 allows for the selection of three different RAW file sizes so I thought maybe a smaller file size would work betterorac. I experimented with the medium file size when I photographed the Peruvian Lily to see if the computer processing of the smaller images into a single image would be faster. It was … a little. And, when I finished, I realized that one of the petal is badly bruised. I didn’t select a perfect blossom for my test. And, I didn’t have a chance to retake the photographs with another blossom because I had to catch an airplane. So, here is the Peruvian Lily, warts and all, after combining 50 images into one.