After attending the Natural Exposures Yellowstone in Winter Photo Tour described in Part 1, I picked up a rental car in Bozeman and continued my winter adventure based in Gardiner, MT. Gardiner is only a few miles from the north entrance to the park and Mammoth Hot Springs. Highway 212 passes through the northern section of the park to Cooke City just outside the northeast park boundary. This road is maintained year round and is the only means to reach Cooke City during the winter.
Yellowstone National Park in Winter — Part 1
I’ve always wanted to visit Yellowstone in winter to photograph the scenery and wildlife. After considerable internet searching, this year I signed on for a February trip with National Geographic contributing photographer Daniel J. Cox (Natural Exposures). The trip schedule included four day-long excursions by snow coach into the park from West Yellowstone and a day on either end to travel from/to Bozeman. Since I was going to travel to Montana, I added on three days of photographing the park from north entrance at Mammoth Hot Springs, the only area of the park that clears the roads for automobile travel during the winter. More about my independent travels in Part 2.
Part 1 is long and includes both my trip report and a review of the Natural Exposures Yellowstone in Winter Photo Tour for those considering this trip or this tour company. [Read more…]
This week the weather forcaseters imagined a big storm hiting the Northeast; however, it only brought a few inches of snow. The windblown snow that did arrive stuck to everything. The first image is from the side yard, before the turkeys got to tranpling through the snow. I also drove to some locations in town where streams pass under the road to see if I could find any good scenes to photograph. Then I went into the back yard to photograph the birds coming to our feeding stations. The scenic images were taken with my new Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-105mm IS lens. The the birds were photographed with my Canon 7D, and the 500mm f4 with a 1.4X converter on it. I cropped the images after that. It’s amazing how small a crop can be made and retain the details of the feathers.
One thing I didn’t plan when going to Homer to photograph bald eagles was the prospet of capturing the eagles as they swooped in to catch a fish near the surface of rthe water. I always thought that must be one lucky photographer to be in the right spot, with the right equipment, at the right time. It didn’t occur to me that as with birds in the back yard, if you put out food, they will come.
A local water taxi operator brought us, and a couple of cases of frozen fish, to a quiet bay across from Homer. Since the ordinance on feeding eagles only applies to the city limits of Homer, the captain is able to toss fish into the water. While there were only three or four eagles in the tree tops when we arrived, there were more than 20 eventually.
For many years, Jean Keane fed fish to eagles in Homer, Alaska during the winter months. The town established an ordinance prohibiting the feeding under the belief that doing so was detrimental to the well being of the eagles. While there is much controversy over this decision, 2009 is to be the last year that the Bald Eagles will be fed during the winter months in Homer Alaska. I decided to make the trip and try my luck at photographing eagles in flight.
The road from Anchorage to Homer passes along Turnagain Arm, a large expanse of water which is very shallow due to the silt build up from glacial waters. The huge tidal difference is evident in the chunks of ice that form when high tide brings in a lot of water, and then flows out at low tide leaving the ice sitting on the bottom.
Further along the road to Homer are several rivers. The rivers keep flowing, with the amount of ice on the surface varying with the flow of water.
This winter has been colder than most, and one side effect is frost growing on the windows. The crustal structures grow on very cold glass where moist air leaks in between the two panes of glass. The rounded ice structures are made from thawing and freezing cycles. These are water drops frozen in place. These were taken with a Canon 100mm macro lens, handheld.