The Back Story

The details behind an image are known in photography circles as the “back story”.
This is the back story for “Lone Pine” an image from Yellowstone National Park
The summer of 2000, with my wife’s encouragement, I decided to get really serious about my photography.  I enrolled for a workshop scheduled for December of that year at Yellowstone National Park.  Looking back, it was a milestone in my photographic career.  It would be the first time I devoted 5 days to nothing but photography.  The trip was everything I had hoped for and more.
I flew into Bozeman, Montana and took a 4×4 coach shuttle to West Yellowstone.  I had never been to Yellowstone so I wanted to arrive a day early so I could do some scouting on my own.  That first day, I rented snowshoes and headed into Yellowstone on foot.  I quickly realized that trying to learn snowshoeing with 55lbs on your back is not a good idea.  I fell numerous times but still had a magical day.
That night, I met up with my fellow workshop participants and we talked late into the night about our experiences and expectations.  For the next 3 days we would gather about 90 minutes before sunrise to head into the park on our snowmobiles.  We photographed a wide variety of subjects ranging from Bison to thermal springs.
“Lone Pine” was made late the last day as we explored the Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone.  The canon walls are very steep and the rock is a beautiful yellow gold color, thus the name Yellowstone.  I loved how the 300mm lens brought the detail in so close that I felt I could touch the tender trails left behind as small bits of snow broke loose and rolled down the slope.  I bracketed my exposure to be sure to capture the intricate details of both the trees and the snow.
I returned to Yellowstone in June of 2008 with my family.  It was very different to see it without the snow.  I don’t know which season I prefer; I guess I‘ll have to keep going back until I can decide.

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