Sunday, August 6, 2017

Scene & Story - July 2017

One of the most unforgettable experiences in Yellowstone is seeing wolves. Most people don't even see them because you need to get up early to have a chance of a wolf encounter.

The Lamar Valley is home to one or two wolf packs, and so we headed out one morning before sunrise. We first saw a black bear right at the side of the road who didn't bother to pay any attention to these humans in their funny little boxes on wheels. After the bear had trundled away we continued our journey into the valley - and when we reached the top of a hill we had this stunning view over the valley.

I already knew when I took photos of this moment before the sun rose over the mountains that one of them would be a favorite of the month. This image reflects the atmosphere of that morning in Lamar Valley perfectly - the beginning of a new day, cool air before the heat, the meadows with the Lamar River meandering through them and those tall trees scattered all around. It holds the anticipation of seeing wildlife - at this moment I didn't know that only minutes later I would see five wolves feeding on a bison carcass and, after their meal, standing together and howling, an eerily spooky and beautiful sound at the same time. I would stand and stare through the scopes and listen to those "wolf watchers" talk to each other, deeply envying them for the time and leisure they had to follow these amazing animals day after day and get familiar with their behavior. My heart would beat for joy that I could see the wolves.

But all of this I didn't know when I took this photo, but when I look at it now it all comes back. I have always loved the gentle Lamar Valley with its abundance of wildlife and its tranquility. I know how quickly it can change from calmness to excitement, from peaceful enjoyment to breath taking joy.

I'm joining Sarah and León for Scene and Story.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Firework of Orange and Turquoise

Yellowstone is full of hot springs, bubbling mud pots and hissing geysers. One of the most famous thermal features that seems to be on every calendar, collage postcard and in every article about this beautiful national park is the Grand Prismatic Spring. Since we had never seen it before (I don't really know why) we visited it this time.

When you get there it doesn't really look like much, especially when the sun is hiding behind the clouds.

But then you get closer, and the sun leaves her hiding spot behind the clouds, and suddenly the entire scene changes!

The colors are just spectacular! You do need the sun out to see this place in all its glory. It's rather drab in overcast or even rainy weather.

I also loved the reflections of the clouds.

But it was the intense vivid color that completely fascinated me.

When you look toward the wooden hill in the picture above you can see people standing up on a small hill in the right half of the photo. Of course we had to find out how to get there.

It was only a 20 to 30 minutes walk up there and it was fully worth it, every single step. Just see for yourself.

Here you can also see the crowds - it was incredible. However, it didn't dampen our excitement about this amazing view.

If only I could bottle those colors and take them home!

It wasn't only the color, but the texture as well.

The Grand Prismatic Spring - located in the Midway Geyser Basin - is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world. Of course it got its name for its striking colors. Its colors match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. The water is mineral rich and the colors are a result of microbial mats around the edges of the water. The spring is about 370 feet in diameter (bigger than a football field) and 160 feet deep.