This week I'd like to go back nearly thirty years ago to my second and last trip to Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is truly like no place else on Earth, and is so weird and beautiful that it is very hard to capture in photographs. As usual in my forays in my archives I have concluded that while I'm in no danger of appearing in National Geographic, I was a lot better than I thought I was way back then. A little post-processing goes a long way.
POOLS, GEYSERS, AND FUMES, OH MY!
IT'S NOT REALLY CLEAR WHY THE POOL IS OVER THERE INSTEAD OF RIGHT UNDER YOUR FEET
These images concentrate on the unique thermal pools in the park that are as compelling as they are dangerous. Crystal clear and wildly colored, they tempt closer inspection than is really safe. The real dangerous clues are the steam coming out of them, which does appear in images that cannot convey the awful smell that is present in this environment. It's like the commercial for the gas company that warns of the smell of rotten eggs, but one hundred times worse.
A POOL IN THE FOREST ENVIRONMENT
These pools highlight my images since I felt that no matter how the park was clearly beautiful, they were the clue that something terribly wrong was going on just below the surface. They seemed to intrude on most areas of the park, even right next to Yellowstone Lake, and dominated other areas which were clearly not meant for extended hikes. I myself found the pools much more compelling than the geysers, which just seemed like intermittent fountains in comparison. To each his own.
A SMALL POOL RIGHT NEXT TO A LARGE LAKE OF MANY COLORS, 7300 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL
The most important feature of Yellowstone in my opinion is its immense size and wildly varied environments. As opposed to many natural wonders that contain one or even several "money" shots, Yellowstone rewards continuous investigation. Forest fires larger than several States seemed to not really mar the park when we visited, and I'm sure that their effects are now just distant memories.
LAVA POOLS BORDERING YELLOWSTONE LAKE
I would of course encourage you to visit or revisit Yellowstone, but more importantly I once again encourage you to visit your photo archives in order to discover how your long-ago efforts actually captured your experience. Post-processing cannot rescue "bad" photos, but in my experience it can clearly reveal the gems that were obscured by the indifferent industrial photo processing of the past. Your images deserve better, and short of returning to wonderful places like Yellowstone, it's the best way to recapture the wonder of traveling.