Near and Far: Wyoming, August 2008


Good Afternoon:

One more post and I promise I’m done with this week’s Photo Challenge. Western Wyoming, like much of America’s High Desert areas, will pose surprising challenges to photographers who are not prepared for the intense subalpine light that can transform a vividly colorful landscape into a somewhat washed-out, faded picture. The simplest solution consists of affixing a polarizing filter to the lens, which worked superbly during my 2011 visit, but in 2008 I didn’t have one for my Nikon D40 and it led to a few complications. Consider this photo:

Bison & Grand Tetons, 11 August 2008

Near the Grand Tetons you will find a growing herd of bison that have taken up a permanent residence on a vast tract of land that offers them a great view of potential predators such as wolves, plus lots of food. The only disadvantage is that each year, increasing numbers of humans discover the herd and stop for close examination. I haven’t seen any trouble so far; the humans either stay in their cars or keep their cars between them and the herd. A very good idea, as the American Bison’s seemingly placid temperament conceals a maximum weight over one ton, speeds up to 40 mph, a streak of unpredictability and an explosively violent temper. I’ve seen a lone bison suddenly snap and attack a string of automobiles.

As for the picture, frankly it is not a great effort; the colors washed out a little. I made a copy of the picture and then opened the editing tools in iPhoto with the intention of creating a vintage-looking B&W:

Bison Near the Grand Tetons, 11 August 2008

Looks vintage 1940-1950. I used the following settings in iPhoto: Exposure = -0.22; Saturation = 0; Definition = 100; Shadows = 100; Temperature = -100; Tint = -70. A satisfactory result, albeit a result that makes me want to return with a proper camera setup next time.

Yellowstone Lake with Submerged Geyser, 11 August 2008

Yellowstone National Park is well known as possibly the single most dangerous location on the planet, the home of a supervolcano that erupts roughly once every 700,000 years and kills a significant portion of life on Earth, and the last eruption occurred about 640,000 years ago. So you might want to start preparing for the next one. This is not that supervolcano, just a probably extinct little geyser in Yellowstone Lake. Geyser in the foreground, mountains in the background, lake in between and a suitable response to this week’s Challenge.

Vonn Scott Bair


6 responses »

  1. Pingback: Solitary, Part 2: Animals. « The San Francisco Scene–Seen!

  2. Pingback: Solitary, Part 2: Animals. « The San Francisco Scene–Seen!

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