Pictured here is another “same place, different season” set of images captured at Porcelain Basin, a smaller area within the larger Norris Geyser Basin purview, showing some of those 1,100 thermal features.
There are times when I deliberately set out to photograph a spot I’ve already captured at some other time, but this was not one of those times. I just happened to be standing at the same view area slong the boardwalk – one time in early October (early autumn), then again in mid February (late winter) and discovered just this morning I’d taken photos of that same landscape.
The autumn image was captured with the Canon 5DS I used to own, and the winter image was photographed with my Sony a7riv. Both cameras used a 24-105mm lens (each their own brand). The 24-105mm lens is a great travel lens with a nice focal range that produces great landscape retults.
I was in the process of uploading the image above to my photo website when I noticed the image at the top already on my website. I’d unknowingly captured pretty much the exact same spot at Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park, only during different seasons of the year (and different years, too, actually). The top image was photographed in the summer (July) of 2018. The bottom photo was captured in the winter (February) of 2022. Note the difference in algae color in the stream leading away from the lovely blue hot spring in the background. These color changes indicate temperature changes and maybe even different algae accustomed to environments of different temps. The yellow means the water is much cooler in that leading line of a stream than the water in the hot spring. And the green means that the temperature is slightly warmer than the yellow, yet still cooler than the blue of the hot spring. Science is pretty neat! Yellowstone National Park is pretty neat!
These two images are fantastic examples of my constant advice telling you to go out and photograph the same favorite spot or view area during different seasons, times of day, and weather conditions. The landscape can change markedly, depending upon these factors.
Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park is indeed a glory to behold, no matter what the season. But, if you’ve seen (and photographed) this hot spring in different seasons, under different lighting conditions, you’ll notice that the colors don’t look quite the same – in the cooler months, they tend to be a little less bright and a little more murky.
When this pool was first discovered it was a brilliant blue, hence the name after a beautiful morning glory flower. People throwing trash, coins, rocks and logs into this pool over the years have caused a change in the water temperature (cooling it because all that trash has piled up around the vent and reduced hot water circulation) which in turn has caused the colors to change, allowing orange- and yellow-colored bacteria to thrive within the water. Add to that the subfreezing temps of the winter season (when this photo was captured), which in turn cool the surface water of the hot spring, and you get a murky look like you see here. It’s still a beautiful little spring, but the change in colors is mainly due to the extreme short-sightednes of humans. Sigh.
Each of the two times I’ve visited Yellowstone National Park, I stood on the boardwalks of Upper Geyser Basin, marveling that I was standing above turbulent geothermal activity right beneath my feet, covered by fragile ground. I think people forget that, sometimes, which is why they do stupid shit like go off the boardwalks and try to get closer to the geysers and hot springs.
Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has the latest Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles column about New Zealand’s White Island eruption and the lessons learned that might be applied to Yellowstone. It’s a pretty interesting read, written by a U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist.
To read the article, click on the image above
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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