Salvatore Vasapolli is a nationally renowned award winning photographic artist. His images have appeared in national and international publications.
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Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine Workshops
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Yellowstone Winter Photo Workshop
After waiting desperately for several months for deep snows of winter to finally arrive and cover Yellowstone and its roads, the heavy snows began to fall about three weeks prior to the start of our workshop. Up until that time, a few other workshops were canceled due to dry snowless roads and student cancellations. Our workshop in West Yellowstone was greeted a day before its start with a good old Rocky Mountain four day 30+ inch snowstorm! This is why, we hold our workshop in February which is later then most other workshops and almost guaranteed deep snow. On arrival day, we grouped together after everyone checked into their rooms for a great Montana country dinner before we returned to hold our first digital class on introductory image processing workflows.
Early the next morning, Sagebrush, tall herbs and plants rising above the snowpack were excellent subjects to work on our Macro subjects and Depth of Field compositions. Afterwards, the Gallatin River with its ice formations presented interesting compositions as they curved back and forth pushed by the river’s flow. On our last photographic stop of the day a herd of Big Horn Sheep foraging right along the roadside fitted perfectly with our tired bodies.
On day two, I awoke to find my car buried in a spindrift of several feet of snow as we scrambled into our snowcoach headed to the Madison River Canyon. Our first animal subject of the day turned out to be a rare Trumpeter Swan accompanied by an assortment of waterfowl. A short distance further we encountered a few solitary Bison Bulls which quickly increased to a few more before they exploded into herds. Elk too made their first appearance along the Madison River Canyon with it Yosemite Valley-like cliffs. We traveled to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone via the Gibbon River Gorge and it namesake falls in the heated comfort of our snowcoach. Once we made it to Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone River both the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls were enveloped in ice. The Lower Yellowstone had one of the most impressive ice mounds formed from the fall’s spray that it looked several hundred feet high. So large was it that it almost completely blocked the falls from our view at Artist’s Point! We ended the day with a short hike into the mists of Porcelain Basin in Norris Geyser Basin to capture geysers, fumaroles and their colorful algae formations!
Fountain Paint Pot with its colorful pastels of pink, red, grey and white clays mixed with splashes of yellows, greens and purples burst with bubbles of mud and water on day three. Noisy fumaroles hiss and spit while angry-like aptly named Red Spouter entertains us all.
The geysers of Fountain Flats never seem to fail us with the perpetual eruption of Clepsydra and it colorful algae coated pool. The class was shocked-and-awed by Fountain Geyser surprised eruption- Fountain is one of Yellowstone’s largest geysers.
Later that day, after we checked into our rooms at the Snow Lodge in Upper Geyser Basin’s Old Faithful area, the group enjoyed exploring the boardwalks and trails to discover the almost unlimited geothermal subjects surrounding Old Faithful Geyser. As the light began to fade, we headed back to the Snow Lodge for libations and their wonderful cuisines to retire early for the next day’s early rise to capture hopefully an Old Faithful Geyser classic image!
Day four we rose well before the sun to a picture perfect morning! Yellow-red clouds contrasted to soft-white snow and ice covered trees.
Old Faithful erupted, no, it burst violently into steam as its superheated water made contact with the -10°F air! So spectacular, we shot two eruptions! Our snowcoach ride back to West Yellowstone was no less then shooting a diving Eagle hunting ducks while driving through Bison herds! On arrival into West Yellowstone, we packed up our vehicles and headed to Gardiner, Montana, for our night’s lodging before heading into the parks northwest entrance.
As we walk up the boardwalk at Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces on day five, a hungry fox explored under and over the boardwalk for a meal piece. He was coming right to us with morning sun in his eyes while we quickly mounted our telephoto lens. The top of Mammoth Terraces complement the roundness of the Absaroka Mountains that surround them provided photo fodder for use. We found impressively large wolf tracks along the side of elk tracks they presumably hunted- see image above next to the X-Ski track as a comparison to the enormous size of the wolf track!
As we drove to the bottom of the terraces a short time later, we find the snow covered faces of bison as they grazing below its steaming impressive travertine heights. Lamar Valley if famous for it wildlife so we head there to find Bighorn Sheep on a snow free slope as worthy subjects and the Lamar River next to us Mergansers and River Otters fed. We broke for lunch in Cooke City Montana to rustic burgers before we headed back into the park for Barronette Peak, Soda Butte and two lone coyotes before ending our day shooting Prong Horn Antelope in last light concluding our Yellowstone Winter Photography Workshop for 2012!
Join me on my 2013 Yellowstone Winter Workshop this coming February 18th-22th 2013 Read More About Yellowstone Winter Photography Workshop Here!