Lamar Valley, Yellowstone NP, USA by Bruce Costa

Picture Story

Yellowstone National Park, only a four and a half-hour drive from our home in western Montana, is one of our favorite places to photograph, and winter is our preferred season to visit. The crowds have dwindled, the landscape is covered in snow, and the animals are typically down from the park's higher elevations. Entering through the north gate via Gardiner, Montana, Lamar Valley is one of the few places in the park you can access with a private vehicle; the rest of the park is only accessible via snow coach. Before Christmas last year, we decided to visit the park and enjoy this wonderful place during a less crowded time of year. Even with COVID restrictions in place, the park was still seeing a fair number of visitors.

I was trying out the Phase One XT camera for the first time. I was interested in using this camera's horizontal shift capabilities to get a perfectly registered panoramic photograph. I figured the Lamar Valley and the Lamar River, in particular, would be a perfect place to test out this unique feature of this field camera. The Lamar River flows east to west in the valley and typically is snow-covered in the winter. However, the snowpack was a little light this time, and the river could still be seen through the blue ice that had formed over it. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to get this unique photograph, we set off with our cameras through the knee-deep snow for the quarter-mile walk up to the riverbank. We set up on the north bank of the river, and we were not disappointed with the photos we got that afternoon.

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