Yellowstone and Grand Teton Photo Advice

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
scottkinfw said:
ray5 said:
Hi
I am heading to these parks this summer. I have found many sites in Grand Teton that are consistently mentioned as good spots but not Yellowstone. Could you recommend some sites in both parks and any other pointers to be aware off? Thx
Ray
Hey Ray. I'm headed to Yellowstone in May and posted the same type of questions. Look at my thread. Also, Kelbyone has at least four videos on Yellowstone. Also, here is an interesting book on Amazon that was highly recommended.

The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite" by Michael Frye

Let's share our tips!

scott



Hi All

Just got back tonight from Yellowstone and 1 day at Grand Tetons.

After I settle in, I'll post some thoughts and tips.

It was great.

Scott
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
Hi All.

Here are some of my thoughts on Yellowstone.

I went for 6 days, 2 with a "safari" guide, and it wasn't really worth it. One day maybe.

I borrowed a 200-400 with 1.4X extender from Canon which I used a lot, and really enjoyed it. In some instances, a bit more reach would have been better, say a 600 mm. I was not used to this lens, and I do think there is a bit of a learning curve. I calibrated the lens with Focal before leaving and in general, excellent lens. I found the lens was not as sharp at 400, and took a hit with the extender. The lens is heavy and hard to hike with, but great lens.

Here is an example of a grizzly.
another post to follow.
 

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ray5

EOS 7D MK II
Jan 1, 2014
448
0
scottkinfw said:
Hi All.

Here are some of my thoughts on Yellowstone.

I went for 6 days, 2 with a "safari" guide, and it wasn't really worth it. One day maybe.

I borrowed a 200-400 with 1.4X extender from Canon which I used a lot, and really enjoyed it. In some instances, a bit more reach would have been better, say a 600 mm. I was not used to this lens, and I do think there is a bit of a learning curve. I calibrated the lens with Focal before leaving and in general, excellent lens. I found the lens was not as sharp at 400, and took a hit with the extender. The lens is heavy and hard to hike with, but great lens.

Here is an example of a grizzly.
another post to follow.
Wow! Where, what time of the day did you see these? Thx for sharing.
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
Some tips for the trip.

Yellowstone is like a "figure of 8" vertically oriented, more or less.

I stayed on the west side between Mammoth Springs and Old Faithful. I mad one trip to Tetons and almost saw grizzly bear 399 (I think his number was). Evidently, not too far in the bear sow and her two cubs cross the road every evening. I can't give you more details on this but it is infamous and you should be able to find out.

Now keep this in mind.

Just after Mammoth going down on the west side, there is a 5 mile stretch of construction that will be ongoing. You may get right through right away, or be subjected to a wait of up to about 45 min. Construction starts at 7AM.

I captured the grizzly pic just south of the construction on the first day, and didn't get any other good opportunities. Many say that Tetons are best for grizzlies. All animals may be hard to find, so if you see a group of photogs on the side of the road, ask or just pull over and see if you are interested. You may not get a second chance- I didn't.

More next post.

The West Entrance is the busiest of all the entrances, and we had about a 2 hr. jam due to Bison and rubberneckers.
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
Places and times.

My main landscape goal was to capture Grand Prismatic Spring (GPS).
There are really three vantage spots I found.

The best spot by far is NOT from the parking lot of GPS.

The BEST vantage point is from the fairy falls trailhead about a mile or so south of GPS parking.

So take the trail which is on the northwest corner of the parking lot, next to handicapped parking spots.
Walk maybe a mile or less and keep an eye open for a bifurcation of the path. When it forks, take the left fork. There will be a small sign saying that the trail up is 400 yards (but seems more if you are carrying weight, and it is several thousand feet up, and I'm getting a bit old and fat too).

About midway up, there is a break in the tree line so you can get some shots (to the right/north), but that is not the prize. Go all the way up the trail, and up a few steps at the top to the observation area.

Tips:
The color of the pools depends on sky color. So if you have beautiful blue sky with clouds, that will be best.
I have read that GPS can be photographed at any time of the day, but I went around noonish, full sun, nice puffy clouds- until it started to rain!. Golden hours with blue sky will be great too.

I used my 16-35 III was perfect with a large enough field of view.
A 24-70 mm would be fine too.
Be sure that you have a polarizer filter on for best results.
If you have ND Grads, you may find this helpful.
A tripod will be very helpful. There is a handrail if you don't bring a tripod, but a tripod is a good thing.
I used a reverse ND filter with good results (3 stops).

Other notes:

Lots of bison on the trail, so watch out for them. They are ~2000 lbs and look docile and slow, but they can reach 35 miles/hr and sustain it. They have been reported to be able to jump 5' fences. Don't get close or turn your back on them. If one looks at you and bows his head down and up, even once, he is telling you that he is going to hook you and send you flying. I saw this behavior myself and the visitor was smart enough to get out of his way. The bison did not pursue him or otherwise get aggressive.

On the way up, a few hundred yards after crossing the footbridge, there is a beautiful pool on your right. If the skies are blue, the pool will be awesome. If the skies are overcast, it will be ugly. Grab a pic as can get within about 10 feet.

I found it very very helpful to use my 2X Hoodman Loup to focus in live view @ 10X since the far away structures are difficult to ensure best focus.

First pic at midway
Second pic at top
Shot with 1DXII and 24-70 2.8 II with only a polarier
 

Attachments

ray5

EOS 7D MK II
Jan 1, 2014
448
0
scottkinfw said:
Places and times.

My main landscape goal was to capture Grand Prismatic Spring (GPS).
There are really three vantage spots I found.

The best spot by far is NOT from the parking lot of GPS.

The BEST vantage point is from the fairy falls trailhead about a mile or so south of GPS parking.

So take the trail which is on the northwest corner of the parking lot, next to handicapped parking spots.
Walk maybe a mile or less and keep an eye open for a bifurcation of the path. When it forks, take the left fork. There will be a small sign saying that the trail up is 400 yards (but seems more if you are carrying weight, and it is several thousand feet up, and I'm getting a bit old and fat too).

About midway up, there is a break in the tree line so you can get some shots (to the right/north), but that is not the prize. Go all the way up the trail, and up a few steps at the top to the observation area.

Tips:
The color of the pools depends on sky color. So if you have beautiful blue sky with clouds, that will be best.
I have read that GPS can be photographed at any time of the day, but I went around noonish, full sun, nice puffy clouds- until it started to rain!. Golden hours with blue sky will be great too.

I used my 16-35 III was perfect with a large enough field of view.
A 24-70 mm would be fine too.
Be sure that you have a polarizer filter on for best results.
If you have ND Grads, you may find this helpful.
A tripod will be very helpful. There is a handrail if you don't bring a tripod, but a tripod is a good thing.
I used a reverse ND filter with good results (3 stops).

Other notes:

Lots of bison on the trail, so watch out for them. They are ~2000 lbs and look docile and slow, but they can reach 35 miles/hr and sustain it. They have been reported to be able to jump 5' fences. Don't get close or turn your back on them. If one looks at you and bows his head down and up, even once, he is telling you that he is going to hook you and send you flying. I saw this behavior myself and the visitor was smart enough to get out of his way. The bison did not pursue him or otherwise get aggressive.

On the way up, a few hundred yards after crossing the footbridge, there is a beautiful pool on your right. If the skies are blue, the pool will be awesome. If the skies are overcast, it will be ugly. Grab a pic as can get within about 10 feet.

I found it very very helpful to use my 2X Hoodman Loup to focus in live view @ 10X since the far away structures are difficult to ensure best focus.

First pic at midway
Second pic at top
Shot with 1DXII and 24-70 2.8 II with only a polarier
Very Helpful indeed! Thx for taking the time.
I di go up the Fairy Falls trail but think I stopped at the id point, will go all the way up this time. I was told there is an observation platform now somewhere there? I remember taking my 24-70 F2.8 and the 70-200 F2.8 II at that time. I now have the 16-35 as well. Polarizer, check.
Please keep these coming as you can. Really appreciate it!
Ray