Posted by: merlyn9 | 6 March, 2009

Winter Wonderland in Yellowstone – Part II

The Photo Adventure Continues!


About this Adventure


Part II


Day Three

Time to Pack the `children`...

Time to Pack the `children`...

[03 Feb. 2009]

We had pack 97.3% of our non-camera gear up last night and loaded it into the truck.
Up again before dawn with a much better looking Sky!!!
A quickie breakfast, plenty of water and other liquids… and we’re almost out the lot… Wait, Diane Brown asked if I had room for a bag in the Truck… No Problems.  Loaded up again, we are all off and leaving Jackson Hole for a week…  Tonight we rest our Head in Yellowstone!!!

Out we head from town, heading North along US 191/89 – ’til we got to the Glacier View Pull-out.  We pulled in just in time to get tripod’s set up and catch the Sun breaking across the top peak, and then spreading.  5-vehicles, 18 photographers mass exodus and spread out with gear quickly.  These peaks do look so different in the middle of Winter than in the Fall when we have always been past here in the past.  What a Beautiful Sunrise we had on this cold morning.  Fresh frost hanging on everything.  


Sunrise Breaking Across The Grand Teton's

This panoramic has been stitched together from  4-5 images shot with the 5D MKII.  The original PSD file is 1.4GB in size… and 12,399 x 5,555  might just make a sweet wall print!   Here’s a shot from last year in the fall: Teton’s Fall Panoramic  as a seasonal comparison.


Fog across the Frozen Hidden River

So after shooting here for a bit longer, we all loaded up and headed down the road to our next stop… Ox Bow Bend!  Until George told me, I could not have guessed that that was the pull-out we stopped at.   Again what a difference this place looks like with a fresh blanket of Snow, Frost, and Fog covering it all.  Plenty of that fog still low in the valley and wisps across the front of Mount Moran off in the distance.

Mount Moran and Morning Frost

Mount Moran and Morning Frost










We shot around here a bit more before loading back up and heading off for Flagg Ranch located about 2-miles outside the Yellowstone Southern gates.  We really were blessed with clear Blue sky’s today!   


Our Surprise rides for 45-miles to Old Faithful Snow Lodge

So we arrive at the Flagg Ranch site and pull around into the parking lot where we will be leaving our vehicles for the rest of this adventure.  We’re all thinking we are hear early as we don’t see the `really big snow coaches – ten passenger vans – not the little Bombardiers` to quote George back in mid January.  So folks wandered inside to use the facilities, grab a drink or other nourishment.  We get back outside and find out Tom and George are a little upset we are NOT getting the vans, but they have actually sent 2 of the Bombardier for 18 peoples.  So these smaller yellow snow transports which fit 6 -7 peoples comfortably are suppose to be our rides for the next 45-miles into the park to our lodging at Old Faithful  …at 25-35MPH!

Let’s review, this is a group of 18 Photographers…  we packed:  

a)  clothing to allow us to be outdoors all day – for a week;
b)  camera gear… lots of camera gear, including 18 tripods (or more);
c)  electronics like laptops and hard drives for storing all those pictures.


Moose Falls from the bottom of the `Slide`

All our regular luggage could be packed up onto the racks on top of these Bombardiers, and that was going to be pretty tight for 18 folks.  Laptops went on a shelf behind the heads of those in the back seat of the vehicle.  That space was tight as it was, and there were at least 1/2 dozen if not more laptops!  Tripods were forced in that space too.   Now all we had to do was cram 9 persons into each Bombardier AND all their camera gear.  We sure got to know each other quite well during this first ride out to Moose Falls, our next shooting stop.  And this was just a quick short ride since this falls is less than 1.5 miles into the park from the South Gate.  Xanterra, the operators of these vehicles was going to send down a third Bombardier to try and ease the load.  We might see this 3rd ride by the time we reached Lewis Falls, our destination after Moose Falls. 

Moose Falls turned out to be a good stop for us all to release some of the stress of the tight ride.  One of the best spots to shoot the falls was reached from sliding on ones butt down to a lower level shooting platform.  We needed to take turns as this spot was tight, and with the snow cover you could not be exactly sure where the real edge was… and landing in the water below with $5,000 worth of camera gear in your hands was not the way to find out.  I took this shot with a slower shutter speed to smooth out the water some.


Morning Light Breaking Through over Moose Falls

I did take some close-ups and more detailed shots here as well.  After some brief discussions with Tom, I also ended up shooting some higher ISO shots here including ISO 1600 and 3200 just to see how that would look, since we were still in some shade from the rising sun.  I’ll post those later in another blog entry I was working on about additional 5D MKII Observations.

By the time we were All done shooting around this falls, the light was getting brighter with little area still hidden in shadows.  The weather was getting nicer and warmer now, were were at least in double digits somewhere.  Warmer from the single digits we had before the sun rose over at the Tetons.   Back into our tiny cans and off to our next shooting spot…


Lewis Falls shot from the River under the Bridge

Lewis Falls, one of the spots Diane and I have shot several times before, just during the fall season.  Just about everyone else set up along the bridge someplace.  I took a look and made up my mind that I was going to try and get to the spot I love to shoot this falls from… Under the bridge!  I took a look over both sides of the road, and took the less dangerous looking side.  The Snow was deep, and getting deeper as I went down closer to the shore.  At it’s deepest, it was waist deep.  Now that may not sound too bad for untroddened Snow… but trying to light your leg/foot to make that next step can become pretty difficult.  You really get a good workout, and I was going down.  Once under the bridge though I was able to get right to the water and shoot directly over the water towards the falls.  Sun was getting higher now… close to noon while we were here, but some nice shadows and details were still visible making for interesting scenes.  

I took shots in both directions from under the bridge.  Standing in the water towards the falls, and down river in the other direction.  I was glad I brought the two cameras  down here with me.  I could have used the tripod, but that would have been even harder to carry given the climb down.  Even though I had two different lenses on these cameras, it was giving me good reference shots to compare and understand the 5D MKII even more.  With the sensor differences of a 1.6 crop factor on the 40D and the full frame of the 5D MKII.  I have clearly noticed the difference when using the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM, mostly in the reach range.  But I can also use this more in close range situations as well.  70mm isn’t too far from 50mm with a full frame sensor, and our eye sees at roughly 50mm… forgetting the peripheral vision factors though.  Even my 1D MKIIn has a 1.3 crop factor  by comparison.  It will be interesting to see how well this new camera performs on the 500mm lens later this week.


Steamy and colorful pool

By the time we all gathered to move onto our next destination, we had a 3rd Bombardier to utilize, so now we could put 6 peoples per vehicle, a lot easier to deal with for comfort and moving gear in and out at each shooting stop. 

West Thumb  Geyser Basin would be our next stop and shoot before we make that last leg trek to the lodge at Old Faithful.   Took the short route around this basin area, I think others went around  other paths to see even more or different stuff.  There were some really beautiful pools at this Geyser Basin, but with the colder weather, all that steam can play havoc on trying to get those nice colorful shots like this one where you can make out some good details, textures, depth, and color of the features.  Just have to pray for a quick breeze and be ready to rapidly adjust focus and fire off that shot!   This was a quiet and serene place during this visit too.  Diane and I both sat on one of the benches and just soaked in the beauty, and the silence of Mother Nature in this spot.  I had finally made it to Yellowstone during Winter, and we had made it back to one of our favorite places to photograph.  Enough of that… time to return to the Bombardier & head into the lodge at Old Faithful.  Passing a boat load of snowmobilers on the path, a ritual we would repeat all week long…

Heading out from West Thumb, we did spot a lone Eagle with his back to us off to the right.  I did manage to grab a few shots before he took off away from all the peering lenses.

We pulled up in front of the Old Faithful Snow Lodge where pretty quickly folks unpealed themselves from the interiors of the Bombardiers, and the Xanterra folks jumped all over unloading the tons of gear from the top of the vehicles.  George, Tom, and Marilu took care of all the paperwork, etc. at the front desk, which they quickly turned around and passed out the previously set up packets to us all.  We were all located up on the third floor.  Oddly enough, Diane and I had a room overlooking the front of the hotel, with an easy view of our daily rides, etc.  The room was Warm… we quickly opened up the window (after we figured out how to unlatch it!) to cool things down… a Window which was opened nearly the whole stay there. 


Diane Enjoying the Sunrise over the Grand Teton's

Nice rooms though.  No TV… but we have grown used to that when we come up here.  You are busy enough during the day, that by the time you are done with dinner and all anyhow… you are pretty much ready to crash.  We did have cell phone service here (as expected, and experienced in the past), but I Swore we were suppose to have Internet access…  How was I going to blog daily about our trip adventures without internet access?  So without TV, Radio, or internet… we were pretty much not exposed to events in the world outside of Yellowstone.  Unless someone said something to us during any brief calls back home we may have had.  Which really was OK, since we were here to have fun, photograph wonderful things, and share these experiences with other folks in this workshop with us.

Showers… change, and then dinner.  Wait!  Set up and plug in all those batteries so we are ready for tomorrow!  I brought my octopus extension just for this so we would have enough plugs for everything that needed charging.


Moose Tracks in the Snow at Ox Bow Bend

I don’t know if we took a photo of this or not, but I think it must have drove the maid nuts daily as we had the camera battery chargers plug in, the phone chargers plugs in and all laid out across the bed. OK… Now we can go to Dinner.  I guess we were late as somehow we missed understanding that we were all meeting together for dinner down in the restaurant. This became the nightly ritual.  Good selection of items for dinner on the menu, and this was included in our packages, we just paid for any alcohol we might consume with the meal.  We even got desert!   Shortly after dinner we would meet up on the second floor and have a quick discussion about some topics or events of the day, critique some of our photos, and review any pertinent information about the next days events, And have the daily prize drawing.

Back in the room, layout  cloths for tomorrow… charge all batteries that are still left, and complete downloading images to both the Mac, my external drive, and Diane’s external drive.  Three copies should ensure these images make it back home safely!  

Off to bed… tomorrow is another leg of this adventure… and another part of this story.  This is enough for now as we did quite a bit today just getting from Jackson into Yellowstone.  See You in Part III.








All Images Copyrighted © 2009 michael T. sedwick



  1. Great reading. That’s an awesome picture of Diane!

  2. Wow! What an adventure! I’m so jealous of your Grand Tetons, Mount Moran photos. When I was there for a day in September, both were shrouded in a haze, so all I captured were “purple mountains majesties.” Did you run into that haze, or is it just a summer/autumn phenomenon? Mitch

    • Thanks for the comments and the Read/View!

      The 1st day out to the Teton’s on this trip we had more low-lying clouds than haze. When we have been there in September/October over the past few years though we have had some bad haze that forced us to come another day. We did take some shots with that mess… but nothing worth saving or posting. I think this shot and the referenced Fall shot were some of the best days we ever had for the Teton’s over the past 4-5 years.

      We are going back in May/June this year for our First ever Spring visit. Should be interesting to see how things look then. Much Greener if nothing else, over what we have seen before. Watch for those blog entries in June! In the meantime, I still have 4-5 days left from This Winter adventure to complete blogging about!


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