Eager to photograph Yellowstone’s wild beauty during your visit? Photography is ultimately the practice of seeing. Prepare to slow down and leave the forward-scramble of your everyday world behind. It takes time and patience, along with a sense of adventure, to learn to see in new ways. Let your eyes be your guide and use technology to suit your eyes.
Experiment with how to frame a photograph. For instance, in a meadow rich with varied hues of flowers and grasses, experiment with the different feeling between a shot that focuses in on one or a small cluster or a group. Then try a shot that takes in a broad expanse vivid with color. Notice how the the relationship between the foreground of your shot and the background change when you change your distance from your chosen subject, and changes again when you use your camera’s telephoto to zoom in on one subject.
Taking several photographs helps to train your eye. Study each image to learn what you do or don’t like about your results. Check each image on your LCD screen to see how it worked out. If it clearly did not work, delete it right away. If you're not sure, save it to view later on your computer or a kiosk in a photography store that allows you to view images, then select your favorites for editing and printing.
Visiting a geyser basin? Look for patterns in the water, in the soil, and the wild contrast between the electric colors of bacteria. Look for repeating patterns. Notice how the light reflects from the it all. Again, try shots that embrace a wide view and some that focus on details. Shoot from a variety of angles to change the direction of the patterns you find. Horizontal and vertical lines are the most obvious choices, but diagonals and curved lines can create strong visual interest.
In a stream, notice how the water bubbles and swirls. Can you capture a perfect, focused shot of a bubble? Try it. First hand-hold your camera, then photograph with a tripod -- you can get nifty little tripods that work with point-and-shoot cameras. The bubble could be more interesting if it is moving through the frame. Using a fast shutter speed makes the bubble look stationary. Slow shutter speeds will blur it. Watch for reflections of light, for colors in the water reflected from the blue sky or from foliage along the bank.
Remember to be aware of your surroundings. Watch for sudden changes in the weather, like a looming thunderstorm, so you and your gear don’t get caught in a downpour. Be aware of the movement of wildlife around you.
Let your visit to America’s first national park be one of exploration and discovery, with your digital camera offering a creative window to seeing beyond the surface views. With Yellowstone’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife – does life get any better?
Jenna Caplette learns about photography by writing about it. This tip was written with the expert assistance of the staff at F-11 Photographic Supplies in Bozeman.