By GORDON KILGORE, Special to the NTH
No doubt many of you have visited Yellowstone National Park, which is mostly in Wyoming.
I would venture to guess that most of those visits were made in the spring, summer, or fall. However, in the middle of the winter the park becomes a special and very different place with only a few of the main roads remaining open.
I joined a dozen other photographers on a Joseph van Os Photo Safaris tour that shared two chartered track-converted snow coaches to get us around the frozen snow-covered park. Once we departed West Yellowstone, we stayed at both Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
The temperature remained below freezing with the low temperature dipping to about -18 degrees Fahrenheit. During our week in the park we saw very few people other than a few snowmobile tours that came into the park for day trips.
It was a delight to observe the geysers erupting in the freezing temperatures and feel their warmth against the ever-present cold wind. Our winter days there were short. Animals were easy to spot, walking required extra effort and care and the lack of visitors created a peaceful feeling seldom experienced during the high tourist season.
All pictures taken with a Nikon D3S camera body.
A – American bison at Old Faithful Geyser Basin at 8:27 a.m. Jan. 19, 2011. Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens plus 1.4X teleconverter for a focal length of 240mm. ISO 800, 1/180 sec., f/8.
B – Trees with frost and snow in Old Faithful Geyser Basin at 9:43 a.m. Jan. 19, 2011. Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens using a focal length of 40mm. ISO 200, 1/180 sec., f/11.
C – Coyote travelling along a snow-covered road in the Lamar Valley at 9:51 a.m. Jan. 21, 2011 using a Nikon 200-400mm f/4 lens plus 1/4X teleconverter for a focal length of 560mm. ISO 560, 1/350 sec., f/8.
D – Castle Geyser at Old Faithful Geyser Basin at 8:05 a.m. Jan. 20, 2011 using a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens with a focal length of 24mm. ISO 400, 1/350 sec., f/8.
E – American Bison in a snowstorm at Emerald Geyser, Black Sands Basin at 1:16 p.m. Jan. 16, 2011 using a Nikon 200-400 mm f/4 lens with a focal length of 310 mm. ISO 560, 1/500 sec., f/8.
Gordon Kilgore is a self-taught photographer who has spent decades perfecting his craft on photo safaris to 169 countries … so far. Kilgore continues to travel extensively, capturing unique images along the way. “There & back again” highlights Kilgore’s art, as well as the stories and technical information behind his photographs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions and requests for photography advice.