The air was clear on those previous visits, a fact not lost on us when compared to the smoky skies we experienced this time. It has been a summer of wildfires and no rain. There were times when you could look directly at the sun. We actually drove past one active fire, and it was choking. Don't understand how the fire crews survive the smoke.
This time, we found the geysers a little less impressive. The height of the eruption at Old Faithful was decidedly less than we recalled. Other repeat visitors noted the same reaction. But the big animals were the real prize. I'll make another post solely devoted to them.
I chose a wider view to bring in more of the foreground and show the river's course down from the falls. That is experience. More importantly, digital enabled me to fix the light to show the natural yellow in the rocks. After all, it is the yellow stone river, not the dull stone. Now, I can review in the camera to get the best exposure. Before, I waited 2 or 3 weeks to see the result. Faster learning now.
This is as clear an example of how digital has revolutionized photography as I can recall. Of course, the advent of smart phone cameras had been another aspect of how photo- graphy has changed.
Some of the change has been good and some ridiculous. How so? Well, while photographing an elk group some 300 yards away with a big lens, one regularly sees a car pull up, stick a smart phone out the window and presumably snap a photo of the elk. At that distance with the wide angle lens on the phone, the animals will be a small dot indistinguishable from a rock or downed tree. Even a simple point and shoot camera is a better choice at that time, but I understand the enthusiasm.
Now, I do carry a smart phone, and used it at Yellowstone. I previously posted images made at City of Rocks with a smart phone; it did the job nicely.
I have an app --Dermandar DMD-- that stitches together a panorama automatically as I move the phone across the scene. This it one of the thermal hot springs in Yellowstone.
Both of these were edited on my phone as we flew home. The smart phone is a lot of fun, even for an advanced photographer. It is always with you, and offers a nice challenge to one's skill.
Now, the real reason for this trip to Yellowstone NP was to photograph the large animals, and especially the elk in rut when the large bulls gather harems of cows and have to defend their prize against other bulls, sometimes including little "teen age" bulls. It is a wonderful time with the haunting sound of the bull elk's bugling declaration of his strength. I'll shortly post a third, and final compilation presenting the best images of elk, bison and one very big bull moose.
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