Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
This opening image is far different from a photograph I made of the same arch on a previous visit to Yellowstone in the late fall of 2008. The image I made then ( http://www.pbase.com/image/104717209
) speaks of chilling cold, while this image, made from a far different perspective, speaks of the coming of spring. The snows of winter still linger on the mountains in the background, yet the giant swirl of cloud seems about to bring a nourishing shower to the fields of green below it. This historic northern gateway to Yellowstone, was built in the early 20th century, and dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt himself.
Crossing the Madison, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
This is the first in a sequence of four animal portraits that cumulatively speak of the coming of spring to Yellowstone. Here, an elk fords the Madison River. Snow still lines its banks, yet the melt off is in full swing, and the Madison is at full flow.
Bald Eagle, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
I photographed our national bird perched high on a dead tree on the banks of the Madison River. Being clear of spring foliage, the tree offers an undisturbed vantage point to the eagle, which waits patiently for signs of passing fish.
Marmot, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
We began photographing this marmot high on Sheepeater Cliff, but it was too far way and too small for us to make a worthy image. Suddenly it descended, and came towards us as far as it would dare. What made the image so special is that this marmot is in the process of foraging for food – a straw of grass even hangs between its lips. Patches of melting snow still remain on the ground around it -- a reminder that no so long ago, finding such straws of grass was not an easy task.
Bighorn Sheep, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
This was one of four female bighorns that we found foraging in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, which in the spring is known as “America’s Serengeti.” Within eyesight at the time were not only these bighorns, a rare sight at such close range, but also bison, pronghorn, and elk. Meanwhile, just down the road, two black bears grazed in a field. I made numerous images of these bighorn sheep as they worked their way down a slope towards us. This was the shot I was waiting for – it represents the instant one of them dared to cross the diagonal highway boundary separating the world of nature from the world of man.
Man and nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
Volcanic Yellowstone has the world’s largest concentration of geysers and hot springs. In this image, people traverse the edges of the natural world, a steaming terrace in the Norris Geyser Basin.
Closer still, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2010
Mammoth Hot Springs brings tourists within a few feet of springs of boiling water, warmed by the magmatic heat pouring from the earth’s interior. These people stand amidst the steam on the boardwalk at Canary Springs.
Excelsior Geyser Crater, Yellowstone National Park, 2010
Formerly a geyser, this crater is now a hot spring pouring boiling water into the Firehole River. This image puts the viewer virtually into the crater itself – it is so hot that a camera's lens will fog over in a matter of seconds.
Yellowstone’s namesake, Yellowstone National Park, 2010
Moving from the deep blues of Excelsior Geyser Crater, we found these rich yellows in Orange Spring Mound, near Mammoth Hot springs, a natural color which perhaps played a role in the naming of Yellowstone National Park. Made of travertine (calcium carbonate), such formations as these are often rich in primary colors.
Canary Springs, Yellowstone National Park, 2010
Using a 16mm wideangle lens, I was able to build my foreground out of the patterns left by calcium deposits, while at the same time lead the eye to the steaming terraces and the spectacular cloud formation at the top of the image. The dead trees are casualties of nature at work.
Bison on the Firehole, Yellowstone National Park, 2010
This image begins a sequence on the bison, also known as the American buffalo. I found this one fording the Firehole River, given its name by the hot springs that line its path. Yellowstone has the largest free roaming bison population in the world. The herd numbers 3,500.
Newborn bison calf, Yellowstone National Park, 2010
These bison are grazing the Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. The calf has been born very recently, a common sight in the early spring months.