lower Yellowstone Falls and canyon

Yellowstone River lower falls canyon

After shooting the Mammoth Hot Springs series the previous afternoon and evening, I awoke and left scenic Gardiner, Montana, about 4 am and headed for the lower Yellowstone Falls to catch the sunrise. The road in the park was ridiculously icy as the storm overnight had dumped sleet and snow. So getting to the Falls was longer than expected, but thankfully without incident.

I found a pull-off and walked to the edge of the overlook, where I recognized the familiar and oft-shot image of the lower falls. However this morning there was no one to be seen or heard. The roar of the falls was the only soft constant in my ears. I shot as the sun began to very slowly lighten the eastern sky in utter and complete solitude. The disbursing clouds from the storm made for a very slow sunrise and light that seemed to have no clear source. I shot the first series of images from one of the western overlooks and then headed to the eastern overlook to see what that would bring.

I drove to the east side overlook again without a soul in sight. I gathered my gear and headed to the overlook. About halfway there I was greeted with these frozen footprints. They certainly made me perk my ears up and listen rather intensely! Thankfully their creator was not to be seen nor heard.

Looking down into the canyon offers one a glimpse into many layers of colored pigments, dripping down the canyon walls. Some images turned out to be semi-abstract and quasi-pointillist. Still the complexity of the landscape and the opportunity to experience it in solitude (except for the bears trying to decide if I was to be breakfast) was a rare and memorable experience.

lower Yellowstone Falls canyon

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