Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wintery Yellowstone

What was supposed to be an autumn colors scenic trip quickly turned into a winter expedition instead last weekend in Yellowstone National Park.

Again venturing outside the borders of South Dakota, Scott Howard and I slipped and slid our way across Wyoming and then back through Montana in what turned out to be more of an adventure than either of us expected.

Luckily, we didn't have hard and fast plans for where to be at any specific time, so our photography flowed with the snowfall and the open/closed roads in the park. Up to 12 inches of snow fell in some areas, and none in others. So choosing whether to shoot winter or fall conditions became a guessing game as to where to be.

The Lamar Valley in the northeast corner of the park had little snow and sunshine.

The thermal pools in the Grand Prismatic Spring area of Midway Geyser Basin were extra steamy in the cold temperatures.

And the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, with it's spectacular Lower Falls, had just the right amount of snow to make things beautiful.

Although we saw no bears, moose or wolves, the weather didn't seem to be really bothering the wildlife. Many elk, coyotes, deer, and even some otters showed off for our cameras.

Our last morning was the first time we saw a sunrise in four days, and it turned the snow blowing off a nearby peak into a fiery flurry.

With the cloudy skies and snowfall, some landscape photography turned into more abstract nature closeups. I'll post some of them next.

In the meantime, check out Scott's photos at, including the road conditions and accidents we saw.


Rob said...

Hey Chad, thanks for stopping by. As it turns out, I was in Yellowstone just a few days after you (at the risk of giving away the plot, my van mysteriously started right up the following morning). I saw much of the same wildlife as you, no bears, moose of wolves.

I've been perusing your photos and I think many of them are pretty incredible. How did you get the wind to blow in the other direction and Prismatic Springs? It was going right in my face the whole time, fogging my lens.

Chad Coppess said...

Good to hear you got back on the road!

That steam from the hot springs was swirling over us at times and away from us at times. Fogged lenses was a constant problem.

Good luck with the rest of the trip.

Chad Coppess said...

By the way, readers can follow Rob's journey at