The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park is 24 miles long and was created in the last 10,000 to 14,000 years by extensive erosion from the Yellowstone river. The river’s force established a canyon that is 800 to 1200 feet in depth and as much as 4000 feet wide. The upper 2.5 miles is the most colorful section. Hot spring activity has continued through the ages altering the lava rock to produce colors that are due to the varied iron compounds.
As we planned our trip to Yellowstone, there were numerous photos of the Lower Falls area and its different vantage points. Artist Point, in my opinion, provides the best view of the canyon and offers multiple composition opportunities. Patience is required as all the overlooks surrounding the canyon were teeming with people despite the fact that we arrived early having left Jackson, Wyoming at 4:30 AM to try to beat the crowds.
It was a bright and cloudless day so I purposely excluded the sky from these images. All images were shot with the Fuji X-T2, XF16-55mm zoom lens and a B+W circular polarizer to reduce the glare. I elected not to try to use a tripod because there were so many people around me. And, while a long exposure would have yielded smooth flowing water, I think these images convey a sense of the force at Lower Falls. Due to the bright sun, despite shooting these images as early as 8:15 AM, I exposed for the highlights to preserve detail and brought the shadows up to balance the image.
Yellowstone National Park is an expansive place that requires careful planning and several days to truly experience all there is to see there. For the next trip we plan here, we’ll look at timing to try to avoid the large crowds we experienced this time. We didn’t see nearly enough as the primary focus of the trip was the Grand Tetons. We’ll definitely be back!