Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Snow Day

We knew this was coming before we even came up here so I was prepared.  I had on three layers of serious thermal type underwear, over wear and outerwear and was about as agile as Ralphie's little brother in The Christmas Story.  Nevertheless, I was warm - all day.  And even though there is often a snow this time of year, it was fun for us.

However snow does present it's own problems in photography which we soon found out.

This looks like a fine photo in great color, but the truth is that the bison are out of focus because the camera wants to focus on the white snow.  And the white snow - some of it - is in focus.

We did better when we did manual focus, but this is setting up the camera and mounting it on a tripod, and it's real hard to catch those serendipitous moments this way.  Here the snow is blowing and the bison is in focus.

What we did discover is that video really gave the feeling of the snow here.  This was a wet snow, but a lot of it.  Since we're in the Northern Tier, it is lower here than in the southern part of the park, where roads are still not opened, and won't be till after the first of June because there is too much snow on these roads.  Considering the amount of snow that the area has had, and the amount of snow melt, the falls are gorgeously full.

  This is one of the minor falls which we will get later when the snow melts, but is a great display of the falls because there is so much water.  Yellowstone River is high, Gardiner River is high, Slough Creek is not a creek but a whole slough, and the Lamar Valley has a swamp where the Lamar River has gone over it's normal track.  Since there's no worries about flooding, the animals handle it really well, and the waterfalls are beautiful. 

Here's the video for the day which is a little montage from our travels to the NE Gate (about 7300 ft altitude), and actually we chickened out about 10 miles from the gate, because the roads were getting a little iffy and neither one of us wanted to spend the night in a ditch in a truck as that's pretty sparse territory.  From the NE part of the park to Norris (about 7500 ft altitude) to Madison (about 6800 ft altitude) and back to Mammoth which is a balmy 6200 ft and through the Northern Gate about 5314 ft, it's easy to see why the Northern Tier is so much warmer, temperate, the first to thaw out and where the wildlife abounds, which is one of the many reasons it's so rich in wildlife!

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