Photography articles are not the only things about which I write for the National Parks Traveler. I also pen quizzes, park checklists, and itineraries, to name a few other pieces I contribute. Last week, you might have read a piece I wrote synopsizing a technical article about how scientists are running simulation scenarios for lahars (volcanic mudflows) that might occur due to an avalanche on Mount Rainier.
Today, the National Parks Traveler has published another article I’ve written: a synopsis of the 2021 annual report produced by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) of scientific research conducted over 2021 in Yellowstone National Park and some conclusions reached. It was a cool annual report to read and fun to condense into an article for the Traveler.
If you are interested in finding out what went on in Yellowstone National Park in 2021, and want to download the full 2021 YVO annual report, click on the image above.
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There are signs all along the boardwalks at the geyser basins telling visitors to “stay on walk,” While I didn’t see anybody actually walking off the boardwalk (there was this one moron who walked off the boardwalk to get an up-close and personal look at Old Faithful, but he did it at night and suffered bad burns for it while I was there), I did see people do stupid stuff at Norris Basin.
The first photo you see is a morning shot at Upper Geyser Basin, and I was getting an overall shot of the beautiful scene in front of me, including a leading line of the boardwalk and a portion of the sign.
The other two photos I took with my iPhone of people doing stupid stuff at Norris Basin. That first shot is of a lady from a tour bus who sat on the edge of the boardwalk and put her feet on the thin crust so her honey could get a fashionable shot of her. The second shot is of an idiot who decided to risk screwing with the delicate ecosystem there and leaned over to touch the foliage along the boardwalk. I was almost hoping he’d fall in so I could get a shot of that, too. I’m not very nice when it comes to seeing people do stuff they shouldn’t.
Another story comes to mind of a couple of friends I made while at Upper Geyser Basin. I’d hiked with them to Fairy Falls because they didn’t want me hiking alone in an area frequented by a bear. The following day, they’d walked to Morning Glory Pool (I got there a little later than they did) and they told me the story of a couple there at the pool, and the woman climbed over the fence there to squat next to the hot spring to get a photo of herself. When someone said something to her, she looked up and said “You’re not rangers.” My friends were flabbergasted. I asked them if they’d gotten a photo of that stupid creature and they said the woman quickly got her selfie and climbed back over the fence before they could get their smartphones out. Another one of those days when I wished I would have been there to get a photo and send it to the National Parks Traveler for posting as well as posting it to my own page. People don’t really realize just how thin that crust is out in the geyser basins and how hot and acidic that water really is. I read that some of the hot springs at Norris are as acidic as battery acid.
Usually, I don’t travel to any national park with high expectations. I even wrote an article in the National Parks Traveler about the rewards of lowered expectations. I know it’s going to be rainy, overcast, snowing, probably the roads will be slick, and there might even be another f***ing government shutdown while I am there. Nonetheless, I am stoked to be returning to Yellowstone National Park in a few days for 8-1/2 days of fall photography. For a portion of that time, I’ll be staying at the historic Old Faithful Inn, and will definitely get some interior architecture images of that beautiful lodge. I so wanted to do this during my short summer stay (2-1/2 days) during my road trip move from Texas to central Washington, but the inn was full, the crowds were YUGE, and I ultimately needed to get back on the road again to my sister’s home.
I’ll be taking 3 cameras with me and an assortment of lenses: my Canon 5DSR, Canon 1DX Mk II, and Pentax 645z. I’ll take the Canon 16-35mm, 14mm, 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 100-400mm with a 1.4x extender, Pentax 28-45mm, and Pentax 55mm lenses. No need to tell me it’s going to be a heavy backpack I take onto the plane with me. I already know that. I had to pack one of my lenses into my laptop bag, which will also be carried onto the plane. Hey, I don’t know when I will be able to return to Yellowstone, so might as well bring as much as I can carry and that’s allowable on the plane, because I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Plus, I’ve broken lenses before while traveling (Hawaii comes to mind), so I’m being a little redundant with one of the lenses. I decided on this instead of trying to work around taking my Canon 500mm lens. As it is, I’ll probably forget something, even though I’ve written a list of things to pack.
Soon, soon, I will be back inside America’s first national park. Can’t wait!
My latest photo article has been published in the National Parks Traveler. This month’s article deals with negative space and color space, something photographers use each time they capture an image, but may not really think much about (and should).
Grand Geyser Eruption, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
It’s hard not to cheer whenever a geyser erupts. You sit or stand and wait, based upon when the schedule says the geyser *might* erupt. And then, when it does, there is this powerful gush of hot, steaming water reaching high up into the sky, or covering a large swath of area around the opening. It’s evidence reminding us of the geologic forces just beneath our feet. Geysers erupting are truly amazing sights and I felt lucky enough to have witnessed three different geysers erupt on the day I visited the Upper Geyser Basin.
And, here’s a little word of advice for you: if you are nuts enough to visit an extremely crowded place like Yellowstone National Park in the summer, then the best time for light and few crowds is the early morning, between 6am – 7:30am. I know, not much of a window there, right? And, you should only pick one spot at which you want to be that morning. Because if you have in mind to concentrate on more than one spot, then you are going to have problems trying to find parking, I kid you not.
Another word of advice: if you want to tour the visitor center in relative peace while you are at Upper Geyser Basin, then do it while the hordes are awaiting the eruption of Old Faithful. If you wait until after the eruption, you will be elbow-to-elbow with all the crowds merging into the visitor center.
I already knew I wanted to experience all that I could around Old Faithful, so I spent the entire day at Upper Geyser Basin (where Old Faithful is located), and had a wonderful day, despite the crowds (and there were thousands of people there).
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
A quiet, pre-sunrise morning overlooking Old Faithful
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