Sunrise at Yellowstone Lake

A couple of my favorite images from the Saturday morning sunrise in Yellowstone National Park at Yellowstone Lake.  These images were taken with my 10-stop neutral density filter, with exposure times of more than one minute.  Going for an interesting and different look here….I like the softer and sunrise appropriate feel.

Lower Falls | Yellowstone National Park

Today’s shot features the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River (I’ll feature a wider-angle shot of the canyon sometime soon).  This spot was incredible – we were up at an overlook perched just over a corner of a bend in the river.  Standing there and taking in the view was like watching the earth develop over a few thousand years.

When we first arrived we actually saw a bear climbing down the right side of the valley – which was just insane.  I can’t believe there is a creature on the planet that just saunters around terrain like that….it made it about halfway down the canyon before climbing back up towards the top of the cliff wall.  The Lower Falls is the tallest (at 308 feet it’s almost twice as high as Niagara) with the largest volume waterfall in the Rocky Mountains.  It was quite peaceful and mindblowing standing and taking it all in (along with 20 other photographers armed with ridiculously nice equipment).  For a photographer, Yellowstone was really like being a kid in a candy store.

Sunrise at Yellowstone Lake

Another gorgeous morning, and another sunrise captured.  This was taken on the shore of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park.  It was a bit colder at elevation – a brisk 30 degrees or so, which can be a bit colder than you’d expect (especially without gloves!).  When we first got to the waterfront from our lodge just up the street, the sky was starting to brighten and the clouds were getting their first taste of pink sunrise color.  It was quite peaceful standing on the sandy shore despite the cold air, and waiting for the day to begin.

Tetons & Snake River | An Ode to Ansel Adams

On the first day of our trip through Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park – we had a few spots we wanted to be sure to check off of the list.  One of the spots happened to be the Snake River Overlook in Moose, Wyoming – where Ansel Adams took one of my favorite of his images.  Of course – the trees were much shorter 68 years ago back in 1942 when Adams took the original, but the stunning beauty of the place hasn’t diminished a bit.

It was pretty humbling taking this vista in, with its historic presence in Adams’ repertoire, and the fact that it is just one of those places that you have to see to believe.  It was awesome being there with my Dad and brothers to experience it on top of it all.  We got there late in the day, and it turned out to be our last stop in the Tetons…so we decided to wait out sunset.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much going on in the sky for clouds…but we were lucky to have the setting sun retreat just below the skyline this time of year, which made for some awesome light rays creeping over the ridge.  I hope you enjoy this shot as much as I enjoyed being able to take it.

Golden Gate Sunrise

Once again, I was fortunate to venture out in time to catch a beautiful sunrise.  As you saw earlier in the week – this time it was atop the Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  The shot above was snapped before the sun rose over the horizon line – and the street lights were still lit on the bridge.  It gives the rich red colors of the bridge an eerie and almost ominous glow.

Contrasting against the strong darker colors of the early dawn light, the shot below was snapped once the sun reached above the horizon to the left of the bridge.  The water vista is to the immediate right of the bridge shots…in an area known as the Marin Headlands.  The softer pastel colors and the rolling coastal hills are such a cool contrast against the massive man made accomplishment of the bridge.

Streets of San Francisco

San Francisco is the hilliest (funny title, right?) city in the United States.  Oddly enough, I grew up next to what is often referred to as the second hilliest place in the US  – Fitchburg, MA.  But nevermind that for now – the shot above captures a typical streetscape in San Fran – ridiculous slopes and cars parked at angles so steep that you can barely believe they don’t roll right over.  This isn’t really quite a case of that, but walking up the hills over and over again will definitely give you some sore legs, and make for fun driving.

Below is an architectural detail that typifies what you might see on any random street in the city.  Richly detailed masonry and fire escapes adorning the sides of a building.  The blue sky and the clouds caught my eye, and the symmetry and the patterns of the buildings made for a great detail shot.

Sunrise at the Golden Gate Bridge

On our last day in San Francisco, I was able to convince my brothers to venture up to the Marin Headlands for sunrise.  I had been hoping for some fog to add some character to the scene….but once we set up camp I was happy that we had clear skies.  The bridge is such an awesome sight, and someone was kind enough to allow some paved roads on the high grounds north of the city so that lazy folks like us can drive up first thing and walk out to see the sun’s first rays over this feat of architecture.

I was also determined to get some good shots with my neutral density (ND) filter….which lead to some serious headaches as I fumbled about and tried to move swiftly with the early morning light coming up over the horizon. The trouble with an ND filter is that the exposures become incredibly long.  The filter I was using is a “10-stop”, which basically lets a magnitude of 10x less light through the lens….so basically you need a much longer amount of time to create the image by letting light reach the camera’s sensor.  While I didn’t come away with any show stoppers from the morning, I was happy that I tried to learn while out on what might be my last Golden Gate sunrise shoot…at least for a long time.  I like this shot for the pastels, the incredible subject and the almost antique look.

More shots to follow, be sure to check back in on Sunday for a couple of my favorite shots from the morning’s bounty.