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Yellowstone in Winter...Mike Broderick

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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Phoenix "Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:48 am    Post subject: Yellowstone in Winter...Mike Broderick Reply with quote

Submitted by Mike Broderick

I've only been there once, for about a week last January, but it was a very special experience. You need honest-to-goodness cold weather gear for the trip, because it is BRUTAL. The temperature was in the teens for most of our trip, and it got up to the twenties at one point. Lowest temperature was our first morning on snowmobiles, when it got down to minus nine degrees (all temperatures here are Fareneheit!). The frightening part is that this is a WARM SPELL for Yellowstone in January! The minus nine degree day was the morning I took this shot. These bison are surrounded by a Winter wonderland of frost on trees, but just munching in calories takes priority.

Yellowstone has plenty of water. Water combined with elevation change means waterfalls and rapids. These can look pretty special in Winter.

I loved the landscape and animal-in-landscape shots, but the Yellowstone specialty of closeup shots of big mammals is still very much a possibility. This elk bull was using the warm water of a geothermal-fed stream to survive. He and a couple of cows waded along the stream, feeding on water vegetation and what plants they could browse from the bank. They stayed warm in the hot stream water, despite temperatures of around zero.


Old Faithful is a Yellowstone icon. On our one clear day, we just HAD to visit and photograph an eruption.

There is one road along the north edge of Yellowstone park that is kept plowed and open all winter. It is very possible to have a productive photo trip shooting from the road (and very difficult to get any distance from the road on foot!). But for the really cool stuff, you need to go into the park on snowmobiles. This had become a major problem several years ago, and there was a move to ban snowmobiles from the park. This was later reversed, and a requirement for low-noise, low-polluting snowmobiles was issued, plus a requirement for all snowmobilers to be accompanied by an experienced guide. I supported the total ban at the time, and had mixed feelings when a photographer friend urged me to join a group trip that would include several days on cars and three days on snowmobiles. I'm glad I decided to go. The animals went about their business ignoring us, and I'm convinced the revised decision on snowmobiles was a good one. While our group was in the park, we encountered actor Brad Pitt on a snowmobile outing, as you can see here....Whoops, no that is me! Understandable mistake on my part to get us confused! Laughing Laughing Laughing And I may have been confused because it appears I was channeling the spirit of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the time.

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