24 Feb
Ian Plant By
Posted in: Yellowstone    2 Comments

Sawmill Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

There are many geysers and geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park, but my favorite is probably Sawmill Geyser, located in the Upper Geyser Basin. Sawmill is relatively small, reaching heights of thirty-five feet at the most, but I enjoy its frenetic energy. It is also one of Yellowstone’s most active geysers, erupting every one to three hours, with eruptions lasting anywhere from nine minutes to four hours.

"Sawmill Geyser" - Yellowstone National Park

"Sawmill Geyser" - Yellowstone National Park

I made this image of Sawmill one evening when the clouds broke (rather uncharacteristically for Yellowstone in winter), letting in some colorful sunset light. The moment was subtle, and I processed the image to keep it that way. Too often, photographers these days try to pump up the volume of “weak” sunrises and sunsets, using Photoshop to make them look more intense than they really where. I think this devalues the moments that are truly magical, and what’s worse, it devalues the moments that aren’t. Nature expresses herself in a myriad of ways—some stunning, others more demure—and we should enjoy and respect each moment for what it is.  

Well, anyway, that’s just my two cents worth. 

Technical details: Canon 5D Mark II camera, 14-24mm lens (@14mm), ISO 100, f/11, 0.3 seconds.

Ian PlantAbout Ian Plant (401 Posts)

Ian Plant's photographs and instructional articles have appeared in a number of books, calendars, and magazines, including Outdoor Photographer and Popular Photography. Ian writes a regular blog column for Outdoor Photographer online, and he is the author of numerous instructional eBooks and videos. Ian leads several photo tours each year.


  • Great shot Ian, I love the limited lighting, it reminds me of a Rembrandt painting. Very nice atmosphere.

    • Ian

      Thanks Boyd! High praise indeed. I think that all us photographers could learn a thing or two (actually, much more than two) from painters. Let’s face it, they’re the true masters!