Thursday, 28 January
After sleeping in and having a simple breakfast at the motel’s restaurant, I made my way to Blue Ribbon Flies to pick up some flies and fly tying material for Claron. After reconnecting with Bucky, one of our favorite guides at the shop, I started my trip to Gardiner.
It was a clear and cold overnight and the same weather continued during the morning drive to Bozeman. The sun was very bright and made taking any photographs in the Gallatin River valley pretty much pointless, so I pressed on to Bozeman.
After a few errands and lunch at the MacKenzie River Pizza Company, I continued my trip to the North Entrance of the park. I took the East River Road rather than staying on US 89 through the Paradise Valley of the Yellowstone River. Even though it was a bit longer, the rolling and curving road was much more pleasant than the hustle of 89. It ran very close to the river at several points and that’s always enjoyed.
I quickly checked into my room at the Absaroka Lodge and headed into the park. I ended up at the upper terrace of Mammoth Hot Springs just as the nearly full moon was rising and the sun was setting. The heat and acidic steam must be hard on the deadwood on the terrace. Several of the dead trees that I had photographed in 2006 were either gone or unrecognizably altered.
The moon held most of my attention and the sunset was lacking the spectacular colors of yesterday. I spent all my time trying to capture a memorable moonrise over the terrace.
When I returned to the motel, I found out that I couldn’t connect to the internet from my room. This is proving to be quite an inconvenience. It might be possible to connect in the office. They are blaming it on my Mac. I don’t think so.
Friday, 29 January
I arose very early. Too early to really head to the park, so I worked on some photographs for this blog. I packed up the car and started to the entrance just as the moon was setting behind the mountains.
I had no particular plans, but just headed toward the Northeast Entrance. It was quite peaceful at each pullout and my journey was only interrupted by a lone coyote on the Blacktail section of the road.
I stopped and took quite a few photos just east of the confluence of Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River. I tried a 360 degree panorama both in single exposure and HDR. I built the HDR images and stitched together 10 images to create this panorama:
I pulled over again along Soda Butte Creek, just a few hundred meters downstream of the spot I took several photographs back in 2006.
I didn’t even realize how close I was until I got back in the car and continued down the road to Pebble Creek.
I had lunch in the Pebble Creek parking area and the effects of the early rise and the work of hiking and climbing through the knee deep snow caught up with me. I dozed a little and then decided to head back to Gardiner while scouting out possible locations for shooting tomorrow.
Saturday, 30 January
Early to rise…
I headed into the park earlier than yesterday because the skies had cleared and the full moon was still above the elevated horizon. Photographing the moon is not one of my strong points, but with some trial and error, I’m beginning to…
slowly improve (maybe).
My morning drive to find a vantage point for the sunrise was rudely interrupted by an elk!!! I never found out what damage I did to the elk, but my car’s a mess.
After collecting pieces of my side view mirror and roof rack, I started looking for the presumed carcass. All I found was some hair stuck to my car. No blood. Nothing. There were several elk up on a ridge above the road, but none looked injured. I hope it’s not wolf bait.
After prying some sheet metal around, I was able to open the driver’s door and open the hood. I completed the amputation of the mirror. Other than multiple dents, I found no significant mechanical problems and I was able to drive to the Tower ranger station. I reported the accident and Ranger Nelson filed an accident report for me.
I reached the bridge over the Yellowstone River on the northeast entrance road and snowshoed down to the river. I found several nice locations to shoot and several thermal vents. Pew!!! Lots of sulfides floating around.
There were relatively recent wolf tracks in the mud by the river and in the snow. No live sightings, though.
The climb back to the car was a challenge, but definitely easier with the snowshoes. Back towards Gardiner…elk were gone from the ridge…lunch at the Wraith Falls pullout. I hiked up to the falls, but was a bit disappointed. The highest vantage point was quite a distance away from the falls and the low flow made for less than spectacular images.
Back at the motel…importing images off of memory cards…formatting for this blog.
My workshop starts at 7 tonight!!!