Reflecting onYellowstone

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, is not just about wildlife. It is a scenic wonder every bit as much as it is a wildlife utopia. Just the same, there is no doubt that most photographers who travel there, are all about one or the other, with wildlife being the most common subject sought after.

I garnered a lot of publishing credits in my day by making landscape images at national and state wildlife refuges, and wildlife pictures in locations of scenic wonder. National Geographic and others were often in search of the former.

On our first morning at Yellowstone, we headed out before sunrise as to be at a good a location for morning pictures of elk and other wild critters. Of course our sights were also set on the moments right after sunrise, to see if we could find some nice land (and water) to put into that mood evoking light. We did.

We spotted a pretty hillside with a mountain as a  part of the scene in the distance, and a nice pond in front of it. Reflections came to mind immediately. As we stopped and began to notice how pretty the light was becoming, we also noticed there were already several photographers set up and waiting for the light to ignite the hillside. I expected we would have company for all of our wildlife sessions, but not landscapes. Oh well, while I love the solitude of working alone on sunrise landscapes, or the camaraderie of working with one friend, it can be nice to share (quietly) war stories of previous experiences with other photographers from all over the world.

As the light began to become serious, we began to shoot. The downside of having a lot of company was that we were really stuck with only ten feet of real estate from which to make pictures from. I began with wide angle shots (I have shown them here before), and slowly whittled down the area on display to reflections only. I would either change lenses or zoom in and out, and pan ever so slowly to the right.

Only the first of the images you see below has never been shown before, but the memories that they all evoke for me are priceless. These particular shots were all created at a setting between 60mm and 70mm, although I used everything from 18mm to 300mm that morning. My exposure was taken from whatever slightly above mid-toned sections of the scene I chose, and I had minus 1.3 stops dialed into the camera meter. That kept the entire scene, deep and rich in tone, just like it appeared at the time of conception.

Some mornings just linger in my senses forever. This was one such morning. Of course, having some images to illustrate those memories helps.

Reflections of Yellowstone.DSC_0153




Go out tomorrow and make wildlife pictures in the scenic park you visit, or make some sunrise landscapes at the wildlife area. Shucks, kneel down and photograph close-ups of grasses or rocks wherever you are. Keep your eyes, your mind, and your heart open.

God Bless,                                                                                                                                                        Wayne

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