Photography Expedition into the Winter Wild

 "By wresting a precious particle of the world from time and space and holding it absolutely still, a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again." -Robert Draper, National Geographic, 150th anniversary photography issue.

It was with this quote in mind that we set off into Yellowstone. Our goal was to enter into these parks with the attitude of the famous expeditions before us. To witness this place for the first time. To feel alone on the planet amid the gurgling and thumping geysers that exhale steam like sleeping dragons. To hold our breaths as coyotes slink by with noses to an invisible trail. To share in the rigors of life in the cold alongside frosty bison and ravenous elk. And to capture this experience in photographs that would transcend their two dimensional borders. Photographs that capture the sound of bighorn sheep clambering on the cliffs, the sulfury smell of a hot spring, and the feeling of the air freezing in your lungs with every breath.

Entering the park with photography in mind allows us to seek out the subtleties in this environment. We search for wolves and moose, but we also sit still, and take in the experience. A great photograph is taken deliberately. Many of the most powerful photographs are taken after days, weeks, or years of soaking in an experience before the lens cap is ever taken off. A wise fortune cookie once said "A problem clearly stated is a problem half-solved." This is true of photography. What, precisely, draws me to this scene? Once the answer crystalizes, turn the camera on.

Elk along the Gros Ventre River

Pines drowned and petrified by geothermal outwash

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Frosty morning in the Lamar Valley
Ice crystals

Mammoth hot springs at night
Ravens together on an extinct thermal cone

Coyote on the trail

Bison digging for grass

Bald eagle landing

We were also lucky enough to witness some amazing wolf/elk interactions. A female black wolf has an elk pinned against a cliff in the below video clip. 

Lamar Canyon black female 926F pulling on a carcass