Winter in Yellowstone National Park transforms its landscape into a snowy wonderland full of active wildlife, contrast, extra steamy geothermal features, and…no cars. On my week-long park tour last January, I was treated to a landscape enveloped under heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.
The tour emphasized wildlife, but heavier-than-normal snowfall caused elk and other animals to leave the park's elevations for food lower down. So, we shifted our attention to the landscapes that make Yellowstone so unique. The location for this image was among them.
It turned out to be especially cold on our first morning of the tour. We stopped at Tangle Creek to see the first light on the icy landscape. The ground, trees, and bushes were all decorated in a fine dust of ice crystals from the falling mist. Into the sun, the setting was rendered monochrome from the thick mist over the scene. The sun angle was such that an ice bow was visible over the creek bed. With the moving mist, the bow was coming and going as the wind shifted.
I chose a relatively fast shutter speed to catch the moving mist in the distance. It was very bright with the sun behind me, so a mid-aperture and ISO 200 worked well. The hardest part was keeping the ice from forming on my lens face from the mist whipping around. The snow was solid enough to anchor my tripod.
Yellowstone is a treasure, and visiting it in the winter has been inspirational.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor