An Incredible Sunrise at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – I started off my time in Yellowstone National Park in the area of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (Canyon Village), mainly because that was the only campground with availability to book in advance. (Being August, the chance of grabbing a walk-up site in late-afternoon was pretty much zero.) I was just stoked to have a great location for easy access to shoot both sunset and sunrise at what I think is one of the most beautiful places in the national parks system.
For landscape photography, you can’t go wrong with the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the lower falls. I could have spent days shooting around this area – The viewpoints along both the north and south rims are all spectacular and hiking down either Uncle Tom’s Trail (closed during this trip) or to the top of the Lower Falls is worth every step.
I spent sunset at Artists Point, one of the most popular and iconic locations in the park with tour buses of foreign tourists offloading every few minutes. I had shot sunset from the point in the past, but had yet to get lucky with a fiery sky that all landscape photographers hope for. Unfortunately, this night wasn’t any different, but kicking back with a beer and soaking in this classic view is always pretty awesome.
I awoke up to a balmy 25° the next morning and made my way down to the top of the Lower Yellowstone Falls at the west side of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the wind ripping off the cold water dropping the temperature even more.
Despite my completely numb fingers and the uncontrollable shivering that I was constantly fighting, the total solitude while standing next to the raging 308′ falls and witnessing some epic light made for one of my more memorable sunrise shoots I’ve ever had in recent memory.
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Just as I was nearing Biscuit Basin, everything just started to glow all around me as the sun was trying to break through. Instead of being socked in by gloomy for, the park begin to have an ethereal and mystical feel to it.
The storms were so nasty that I actually just debated about hanging out through sunset and getting to bed early, but I just really wanted a great shot of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring from the main overlook. Since it was my last night, I figured I had to try… It was one of just those nights that I knew I it was about to be a complete bust of a shoot. OR, maybe, just maybe the sky would go completely epic and surprise me.