Stay Vigilant and Don’t Forget the Camera
Be flexible and maintain an opportunistic air because you never know when animals might appear from the wood line and many of the geysers randomly spurt. Steamboat, the largest geyser in the park, hasn’t had a major eruption since 2005, so you never know if it might go off when you’re there.
I’m not saying it’s advisable in every case, but sometimes venturing out alone can be immensely rewarding. An ex-girlfriend of mine belonged to a photography club that set out from the Mammoth Hot Springs to try and photo wildlife wintering in January. Since I wasn’t a member, I decided to snowshoe alone. I came to the crest of a ridge, and on the other side I saw a pack of wolves carefully culling out the weaker members of a herd of elk in the stunningly close valley below. A fox was down there pouncing on its own tiny prey too. The group didn’t see any animals that day. The only downside was that I, regretfully; forgot to pack my camera.
But obviously, you’re facing some of the most challenging and coldest weather conditions on earth in Yellowstone (even in summer), so be prepared for it. Always have the bear spray handy. If you’re going to be there in winter, make sure you have proper clothing - it is a must read for your own safety and comfort
Finally, don’t get so caught up in trying to take exceptional photographs that you forget where you are.
Yellowstone has been a glorious and sacred place that has inspired generations long before the new world was discovered and people started moving west; let alone the invention of the camera.
I just toured the park in astoundingly beautiful weather for fall with my parents and we had a truly splendid time (as you can see from the photo). Enjoy the scenery and embrace the fact that every picture you take is the opportunity to make art and capture the essence of something that is truly far greater than us.
All images courtesy of the author.