|Lion Geyser, Yellowstone National Park|
Last January, our friend Owen Floody went on a photo tour of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Owen recently retired from a career of teaching and research at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. He has always been an avid photographer and in his retirement has taken several trips that allow him to pursue his passion. Here is a short reflection on his Yellowstone trip and some of his excellent photographs.
Once my photo tour at Canyon Village in Yellowstone National Park (see Part 1, May 12) was over, I spent most of another week exploring the two other areas in the park with winter accommodations, Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. I spent four nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge before traveling by snow coach to Mammoth, where I spent another two nights. Whereas travel by snow coach had been a focus in my time with Yellowstone Expeditions at Canyon Village, I traveled by foot at Old Faithful and Mammoth, supplemented by snowshoes on my one full day at Mammoth. (Snow coach tours were also available at Old Faithful and Mammoth.)
So the emphasis was on landscapes, and even these had to be caught early in the morning, before the icy crusts on the trees and shrubs melted away. I typically would get out into the thermal fields before sunrise, to capture the best light and crusts. A late breakfast might have been possible, but I usually made do until lunch with a candy bar or piece of fruit. Hunger was never an issue as I had lots to distract and occupy me.
Finally, one of the joys of Old Faithful and Mammoth was the fact that one is constantly in the midst of hot springs and geysers. Many are colorful themselves, but what I may have enjoyed even more was the frequent riot of color in the streams bearing the runoff from these features. Some of these also present very unexpected and appealing textures. In some cases, it's hard to believe that you're out in Yellowstone in the winter rather than floating underwater, alongside a brightly colored tropical reef. In this environment, I was amazed often, bored never.