When It Rains, It Pours…Except When It Snows!

Today’s Post by Ken MacAdams, Photography by Ken

Such can be summer weather in the Rockies and my visit to the Tetons in Wyoming was just a combination of both! As one of the oldest, and most visited parks in the Nations park system, a visit or revisit to Yellowstone should be on your bucket list! Likely, you’ll find moderate, sunny days…but beware, Mother Nature has quite a sense of humor!

I bunked down in Jackson Hole, a charming, touristy, western town on the outskirts of Grand Teton National Park. With the morning forecast predicting two more days of rain and snow, I packed up and headed for Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone happened to be enjoying the same storm system when I arrived. Old Faithful, bathed in a mixture of rain and snow, wasn’t very spectacular, either! Lacking a brilliant blue sky to separate the steaming, spewing water, my images of the eruptions lacked any photographic punch. In between eruptions, I reacquainted myself with the historic Old Faithful Inn. The warmth and charm of that great wooden structure was a welcome respite from the outside elements.

The following day was more rewarding. As I arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs, I was welcomed with some great splashes of brilliant sunlight. Hiking up the gravel and boardwalk trail as it winds between the Lower and Upper terrace areas, steam clouds arose from the boiling cauldrons, often surrounding me. When the clouds parted, I was standing amid mineral pools ranging from rich deep rust colors, azure blues, to brilliant whites. It’s wise to keep your camera and lens protected from the elements in an environment such as this. Hydrothermal spray and steam can leave silica deposits on glass that are impossible to remove once dry! The direction and intensity of the sunlight will play a critical role in the color saturation you experience. I spent the balance of the day exploring geyser fields, mud pots, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone isn’t only about geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and raging waterfalls. A big part of the experience is in the diversity of wildlife ranging through the park. As you drive between the parks attractions, keep looking for wildlife. Alert visitors will likely spot Bison, Elk, Bear (both Grizzly and Black bear), Big Horn Sheep, Wolves, Coyotes, Pronghorns, and a wide variety of foul. Be aware, these are wild animals in their natural habitat, give them space, and treat them with respect!

As you prepare to visit the park, you’ll need lenses ranging from wide angle to telephoto. All images were taken with a Panasonic Lumix G85. On the Hot Springs image I uses the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS lens at 1/250 sec at f/11 and ISO 200. On the Bison image I used the Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II Power OIS lens at 1/125 sec. and f2/8 and ISO 400.

Ken MacAdams, Photography by Ken, a travel and wedding photographer based out of Farmington NM.