Red Sunset, Yellowstone National Park

One of the challenges of photographing Yellowstone National Park in winter is the weather. For some reason, cloudy skies seem to always prevail when I am there. I suspect it has something to do with the moisture coming off of Yellowstone’s abundant geothermal features, but I can’t really say for sure. I only know that it can get really frustrating when every sunrise and sunset is cloudy for two weeks in a row!

"Red Sunset" - Yellowstone National Park

"Red Sunset" - Yellowstone National Park

During this year’s winter trip to Yellowstone, I actually got a bit luckier with the light than with previous years. This image was made during one of the more spectacular sunsets I witnessed while in the park. Unfortunately, the geothermal feature that I wanted to photograph was inaccessible, as the park service has closed a portion of the trail. So I had to make due with what was available to me. As the sky lit up with intense red, I remembered a stream of geothermal runoff below Grand Geyser. I jogged to the stream as quickly as possible, setting up my camera in time for peak light. I choose a wide-angle perspective to include as much of the stream as possible to act as a leading line, pulling the eye into the geyser steam and sunset in the background. The stream was filled with bright orange bacteria mats, which proved to be the perfect complement to the glowing sky above.

Technical details: Canon 5D Mark II camera, 14-24mm lens (@16mm), ISO 100, f/8, 1 second.

Ian Plant

Author: Ian Plant

World-renowned professional photographer, writer, and adventurer Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to and blogger for Outdoor Photographer Magazine, a Contributing Editor to Popular Photography Magazine, a monthly columnist for Landscape Photography Magazine, and a Tamron Image Master. Ian is also the author of numerous books and instructional videos. Ian leads photography workshops and tours around the world to help beginner and advanced photographers explore and expand their personal vision.

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