We visited the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone National Park with the intent of photographing a famous spring, a famous pool, and a famous geyser. The Grand Prismatic, Morning Glory, and Old Faithful were in our sights. Oh well, one out of three ain’t bad.

The best time to photograph these geothermic phenomena is in sunlight during the heart of the day. Normally this time is death for photographers with the sun’s light ruining our subject with harsh shadows. But springs, pools, and thermophiles show off their beauty in the sun. Because we are dealing with amazing colors and rippling water, a polarizer filter on my lens is critical. Armed with our cameras, filters, and great desire, we set out to photograph the big three.

Morning Glory

Our first stop is Morning Glory, perhaps, the most beautiful and colorful pool in the world. A pool is defined as: “pool definition”. Luckily, we are able to get very close as the railings are just a couple of feet from the pool. Now, if we could dodge all the people, we could get our shots. In a New York minute I can see why this pool is the envy of all the other pools in the park.

As it turns out, shooting this in the morning would have been a huge mistake. The shadows from the wooden railing would protrude onto Morning Glory herself.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Our next stop is the Grand Prismatic Spring, known throughout the photographic community as the plum of all the springs. To get the prime viewing location we have to hike a mile up to a viewing spot. At 7,000 feet of elevation this is no easy feat. We trudge up and up, ignoring the searing pain in our lungs, knowing we are getting close to a great photographic opportunity. Finally, at the top we look out onto the Grand Prismatic Spring (encompassing a couple of acres – so it is pretty big), only to see mist. There is so much mist that it nearly obscures the entire spring (very sad face emoji). It was a mist opportunity (sorry).

It turns out the best time to shoot this spring is in the late afternoon on a very warm day when the sun has burnt off the mist and the air temperature approaches the water temperature. We are here early morning and it is a very cool day. Great planning on our part, eh? Undaunted, Kathryn photographs the area around the spring, coming up with this beauty:

Shapes and patterns are fun to shoot and can make for interesting abstract photos.

A pro photographer we met once rented a helicopter and flew it (with NP permission) over the spring and got the ultimate photo. I saw it and it is much better than mine.

After our failure at the Grand Prismatic Spring, we decide to walk among a myriad of geysers, pools, springs, and thermophiles in the Old Faithful area. We have a fantastic time shooting and naming our photos. Here are a few of our favorites.

“Cracked Egg”

“Sunny Side Up” If Pacasso were to paint fried eggs, the painting could look just like this.

There are so many colors present. I found the yellows and oranges were most striking.

“Blue Lagoon” – Even when the sun was not shining, some fo the pools were a deep blue.

“Lava Gold” – this “stream” looks like molten lava stream of gold, flowing into the creek.

Old Faithful

Completely satisfied, we left the Old Faithful area and headed up to the Mammoth Springs area (a blog coming soon to you). You may have noticed there are no photos of Old Faithful, the world’s grandest geyser. The reason I didn’t include one is simple. Neither of us took a photo of it. It’s not like it is hard to shoot, the time of each eruption is scheduled to the minute. We just weren’t at that location at one of the prescribed times. We saw plenty of other geysers in our travels, all of them are very similar, a hot stream of water shooting into the air. I may sound a bit blasé but I didn’t find it all that photo-worthy. Maybe next visit.

Thanks for reading and remember, it’s all about the light, this time in the middle of the day.