Yellowstone Tree, Wyoming, USA by Nick Elliott

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This was taken in the Hayden Valley, in Yellowstone National Park in February. I was fortunate that there had been some recent snowfall the night before, leaving the snow in pristine condition save for a few animal tracks. The snow clouds had cleared and the air was crisp and full of ice particles glistening in the morning sunshine, and the temperature was several degrees below freezing.

I like the shadows that the glancing sunlight has cast on the hills behind the tree, the glistening ice crystals on the surface of the snow and also in the air, and also the long shadow that the tree is casting. I always try to use a tripod with my shots but this wasn’t quite as easy as usual due the varying depths of the snow which ranged from a few inches on hard ground but up to waist deep where it had been drifting in the wind. Luckily the snow was of the dry powder variety as I fell a couple of times whilst looking for this viewpoint.

Yellowstone in Winter is a magical place for photography, there are none of the crowds of summer meaning that you get to have some of the best views all to yourself. Also, the steam from the geysers creates very atmospheric conditions. It does also create some problems, access is not easy, I went on an organised small group tour where all of the accommodation & specialist transport was arranged, you also need to take plenty of spare batteries and memory cards, the cold will eat the batteries and the scenery will fill up your memory. You will obviously also need some very good warm clothing; despite all of this I would highly recommend it.

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