Yellowstone/Grand Tetons Tour Report
As I look back and review the year that has just passed, I have to say that besides my Tanzania tour, the tour to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons was my most memorable! The group was fun, energetic, sometimes out of control, and just a blast to be around! The energy level just seemed to be very high even though I drove them mercilessly photographically. The major reason for such a big push was that we encountered some of the most volatile weather that I have ever experienced there and given all the times that I have been to the Tetons and Yellowstone, that says a lot! We started out in the Tetons in the upper 70’s and as the image above shows, Oxbow Bend was at its finest it has been in years. The storm clouds that passed through were constantly changing and giving the group and myself some very dramatic skies the entire trip as you can see in all of the images below.
Even though the crowds are constantly growing at the Mormon Row Barns, it still is a must visit on every tour because you never know what you will encounter weather wise! The image below is a good example of that as we ran across a buffalo herd near the barn as a storm was passing over head. We were also fortunate enough to have a clear night there so we had a few chances at the barns at night with the Milky Way rising overhead.
Because my group sizes are so small, only 4 on my US tours, I have the luxury to experiment and try creative things with the group. The in camera blurs below represent some examples of what I am willing to teach when we have a bit of down time or conditions are a bit slow. I know that they are not everyone’s cup of tea (Pura doesn’t like them often!) but it is just another tool for you to have in your bag and I am glad to share them with my clients, who are often excited to try new things as I am to show them.
As usual in Yellowstone and the Tetons, you are constantly changing gear as situations change from landscape to animal and back often within a matter of minutes. Needless to say we had a few gear “fire drills” when a bear crossed the road or one afternoon when we spent chasing rainbows and other animals. We were following a group of pronghorns on one such occasion when a calf began to nurse. While I don’t shoot in back lit conditions, the light was low enough to allow me to have enough detail in the shadow side and give the pronghorn nice rim lighting.
As we headed to Yellowstone, the stormy weather followed but the warm temperatures took a plunge. I am always excited for snow in Yellowstone as it provides some unique photo opportunities. The first afternoon I created the image below in the falling snow. I was hoping for a few more inches for the morning, but as luck would have it, we didn’t get much snow but instead we got an ice storm that closed the park! That doesn’t happen often, so we gathered our laptops and met in the pool room for an impromptu Photoshop session for processing night images. I don’t often do Photoshop lessons on my tours but as the park was closed, decided it was a good option for the morning hours. A few hours later they re-opened the park and we were allowed to roam the park once more.
The snow melted quickly but the dramatic clouds continued offering us windows of light for creating some dramatic images. The images of Mammoth Hot Springs and Yellowstone Falls are great examples of the storm clouds we encountered.
I am already looking forward to returning later this year to see what drama Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons have in store for me and my group. If you would like to join me this year, check out the dates on my schedule and make note that I only have 2 slots remaining. As usual, you can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for any more information or questions.