Here’s a short video of some scenes of yesterday in Yellowstone. The wind started around noon and didn’t let up, as you can see in many of the scenes.
For most of these shots I used the Tamron 28-75 lens, which is now my most common lens when doing video. It seems to be a very convenient focal length video (more so than when with still shots). The lens can be a bit heavy if walking around with it around your neck, but with video I’ve found that you absolutely have to use a tripod, so at that point a little extra weight doesn’t matter.
I was using my Canon T1i, but I recommend getting the newer T2i.
One of my favorite spots in Yellowstone is the Mt. Haynes Overlook about six miles in from the west gate.
It’s great to photograph it after a fresh snow because of the contrast that gets added. Most of the snow was gone last week when I visited there, but the skies were blue and the clouds were quickly moving by – a great opportunity for a timelapse video.
Doing this shot was fairly easy. I pulled over in the parking lot, put the tripod just outside the window, and attached the camera to a laptop. Canon has software in which you can enter how frequently to take a picture, plus how many you want. For this one, I had the camera take 400 pictures, each five seconds apart.
When driving by Orange Spring Mound a couple of days ago I noticed what looks like a face peering out of it. Do you see it in the video?
It was a little bit spooky to drive by this unexpected feature in a surreal setting at dusk, with the wolves howling in the distance. Orange Spring Mound [link to Park Service description] is located in the northwest part of the park and, now with road open near Gibbon Falls, is easy to get to from West Yellowstone compared to last summer when there were construction detours.
Some quick video taken yesterday of various scenes during opening weekend at Yellowstone National Park.
Spring is here and while there is still some snow in the mountains, the area is turning green, the rivers are full and flowing, and the animals are active. I saw two bears yesterday, and of course bison and elk.
I finished the evening by pulling over in the delicious darkness near Mount Haynes, under the stars and listening to an owl hooting in the night. Here’s a short audio file of how it sounded: Owl and Goose
I was home Monday afternoon with my 2009 receipts on one side, TurboTax and Quickbooks on my laptop screen, and crumpled papers all over the floor of stuff I no longer needed. And my stress level was way, way up as I tried to finish taxes.
The cell phone rang and it was my friend.
“I was coming out of the bar and you won’t believe what I saw,” he said. “There was a black and white raven. You need to come and take a picture. I’ll show you where he is.”
Hmmmm. Maybe it’s true, I thought. Maybe West Yellowstone does have a black and white raven, and going out in 32 degree temperatures and 8 inches of fresh snow would easily be worth it for a shot like that.
It was either that or go back into Quickbooks and recategorize all of the expenses I had entered wrong. Still had 10 days to get that done.
“OK,” I said. “Meet me there.”
Well, I couldn’t find any black and white ravens, but while looking I saw a normal-colored raven entertaining himself by sliding down the roof of the West Yellowstone Public Library.
Afterwards I went into the bar to report my findings. Another patron said she’s seen the albino raven in town, down by one of the grocery stores.
I’ll keep looking for the albino raven. It sure beats doing taxes.
The video is a collection of 200 still images taken five seconds apart. I was standing on the south shore of the Madison River at the Highway 191 bridge (see map below).
This is actually fairly easy to do. You also need a tripod or something stable to place the camera on, and the Rebel comes with a cord that you have to attach to a laptop. Then just find a sunset and a nice foreground and you are ready to shoot. One thing about sunsets is that they are hard to predict – if it’s looking a little bland, stick with it. Notice the gorgeous orange colors that start coming out at about 13 seconds in the video.
The route from West Yellowstone almost all the way up to Bozeman is one of my favorite drives in the United States. It takes you through the western part of Yellowstone National Park and you pass numerous mountains and rivers.
Yesterday, as part of my futile quest for Big Horn Sheep to photograph, I drove as far as Big Sky when I could no longer see the mountains. A big snow storm was on the way, and the cars coming from the north were covered with snow.
The video has shots of the falling snow that I took on the way back. I was hoping for one big snowfall in West Yellowstone, but it fizzled out as I got close to home. But still, some very nice driving.
If you do this drive while visiting the area, obey the speed limits, especially the one for 55 mph while in the park. There are many curves on the road, and places to pull over, and I regularly see park rangers set up there with radar units. But more importantly, there are a lot of sheep and elk on this road and you need to give yourself time to slow down, especially at night.
This spot around the Quake Lake area is becoming one of my favorite non-park locations.
Beaver Creek road is just beyond the Hebgen Lake dam and, when the road opens, there is a place to park and hike.
The road is closed now because of the snow, so I parked just off the highway yesterday and walked into it. A couple of guys from West Yellowstone were leaving on skis and had just spent a couple of nights tent camping there: “Was it cold?”, “Pretty cold.”
There were moose tracks going up to the creek, but the only wildlife I saw was a bird. The campers had seen nothing all weekend.
If you are looking for a pleasant walk near Yellowstone, this is a nice option, especially if you are going out to Quake Lake anyway.
It’s still March, but there’s been enough melt that those of you who want to fish, but don’t like hovering over an ice hole, can find some good spots around West Yellowstone.
Hebgen Lake, around the Horse Butte area, has open water and last week I caught a very nice brown trout casting with an earth worm while standing on the shore.
And, of course, the Madison River downstream of the Hebgen Lake Dam is open and I’ve been seeing many more fishermen there in the last week as the weather has improved.
Above is a video from yesterday in which I walked up the mountain across the highway from the Madison River at the bend just downstream of the dam. I noticed a couple of people fishing way down below and focused in on them, taking new shots as I made my way back to the highway.