On Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, And How Photography Is Like Fishing

Lamar Sunset 1

Like fishermen, photographers tend to go back to the same places, looking for light, weather, and other conditions to combine for an image as great as the last one we caught there.  In our hometown of D.C., photographers congregate near 7th and H Street in late afternoon, because that’s where the crowds and good light combine; there is a spot like that, a fishing hole, if you will, in every city.  For us, when visiting Yellowstone National Park, we like to go to the Lamar Valley, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and also a location where you are likely to see (as we did on Friday), grizzlies, pronghorn, bison, osprey, and if you are lucky (others were, we weren’t) wolves.

But we begin this little photo essay with a confession that, having waited patiently, binoculars in hand, communal spotting scopes from our fellow wolfers nearby, we were frustrated that the wolf pack, 18-strong, including 10 pups, was either in the den for the evening or out hunting.  And with an annoying grey cloud low on the horizon covering up the declining sun, there didn’t even seem to be the prospect for a sunset shot.  So, like a fisherman who has determined that the fish aren’t biting, and hungry after a long day, we prepared to move on.  Except, as the photo above will indicate, just as we were preparing to leave, the light began getting interesting.Lamar Sunset 3

To the west, the sun began sliding down toward Idaho, leaving the Lamar Valley with very subtle light, and a large and beautiful cloud reflecting it.  We had no idea what was about to happen.

Lamar Sunset 2

As cars passed on the road to Cooke City, the cloud began taking on yellow tones.

Lamar Sunset 4

We said, just one more photo and we’ll go.  But then a half mile later, we were excitedly pulling over again because the light kept getting better.  Again, the equivalent of a fisherman who gives up and is about to put his rod away only to find the fish suddenly biting.

Lamar Sunset 7

We were pretty stunned, shot a lot of images, and kept thinking, Of all the places on the planet, this is the best place to be, right now.  And then as the sun was extinguished to the west, the frenzy of light and clouds reached its amazing conclusion.  We drove to Cooke City for pizza, and all four of us were giddy and stunned by the show we’d just witnessed.  And like fishermen, we recounted our catch.

Lamar Sunset 8All images Leica SL with Vario-Elmarit-SL-24-90mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH

One Response to “On Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, And How Photography Is Like Fishing”

  1. […] Commentary On Music (Mostly), With An Occasional Photo « On Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, And How Photography Is Like Fishing […]

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