Photography 101: Landscapes

Landscapes are not only my focus in photography but also in my geography research. While photography focuses on wide sweeping landscapes geography looks at the broader landscape as well as singular elements and their connection to the broader landscape topic.

Yellowstone National Park, while not nearly the largest, is certainly a massive park. In square miles it’s nearly three times the size of Rhode Island. My first visit put all those square miles I read on paper into perspective.

We approached the gate in the early evening, still daylight, when the ranger warned that we may not have time to get to the closest campground before it filled. “What? How is that possible”. He explained it was 50 miles to the closest campground. Again, “What?” My mind couldn’t wrap itself around that number. He further warned if we didn’t get a campsite not only would we have driven 50 miles for nothing we’d have to drive back the 50 miles to the exit and another 50 miles back to Cody. Well we didn’t chance it and found a lovely cabin only about 20 miles outside the park.

This put these 3400+ square miles into perspective but the next few days would show me how vast and varied the Yellowstone landscape really is. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve visited in the lower 48 and one of my three favorite national parks along with the Teton’s and Glacier.

Ansel Adams is my favorite photographer and as good as he is even he could not capture the true vastness and sense of amazement of our national parks. Photos can entice us to visit but you will never feel that sense of wonder unless you are fully present, looking on its beauty with your own eyes.

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It’s about 10 miles from Norris Basin in the forefront to the Gallatin Range in the back.

And here is my attempt at an Ansel type image…

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