The Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks compliment each other so very well. The rugged simplicity of the towering Teton mountain range versus bubbling, colorful, geothermal wonders of Yellowstone.
At any time of the year, these 2 parks are a photographers paradise. Beautiful steaming pools, geysers, mountains, lakes, water reflections and wildlife everywhere.
The unexpected late September snow storms in Yellowstone caught everyone by surprise. On every dark, freezing morning, the first tire tracks in the snow were made by my rental Subaru AWD. For many hours it truly felt like I had the entire park to myself, quite a surreal experience. Quite a fun one too; Subaru, traction control off, snow tires, and not a traffic cop or park ranger in sight. I was told later that overtaking a snow plow (while it was plowing!) was rather frowned upon!
It is difficult for me to chose a favorite image from the trip. If I had to choose, I mean really had to choose, I think the shots of the Grand Prismatic Spring would be my favorites. Why? For a start, it is jaw-droppingly beautiful! Despite it being one of the most famous and photographed places in the USA, it is just the snow-color-steam combination that I love. Also, not many people are lucky (or perhaps brave) enough to see the spring in those conditions. Searching Google Images for ‘Grand Prismatic Spring Snow’ yields only a few results. In my opinion, the snow just adds so much more depth to the pictures.
Someone recently asked the question of what gear did I take with me. Nikon D810 and D3x bodies. 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 zooms and a 300/2.8 prime. For the landscape shots, the 24-70mm was my most used lens. The wildlife was sometimes quite distant, so the 1.4x TC stayed pretty much glued to the 300. In retrospect, I should have brought my 500mm for that little bit of extra reach. The decision to pack heavy and take my big Gitzo 5560SGT tripod and Manfrotto 405 geared head was a good one. My preferred travel tripod is the lightweight Gitzo 1542T, but I just didn’t believe it would have cut it in those conditions. A circular polarizer is invaluable to getting the best out of reflections.
Now I just need to plan my next trip, this time in Spring!