A blog about photography

Thoughts & Musings

Bucket list photos!

A blog about photography

What's on your photography bucket list? 

No, I'm not talking about gear. I'm talking about that one unique photo you NEED to take! For me, personally, it was photographing the milky way with Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Just think about it, the beautiful lines and colors of Grand Prismatic Spring lined up with the milky way and even some reflections! Sounds awesome right?  

The sun is setting in Yellowstone NP

I was fortunate enough to go to Yellowstone National Park last September (2017). When I knew I was going to Yellowstone, I had to prepare this shot. First thing I checked, was it even possible?! According to Google Earth, it was. Phase one completed. 

Phase two is figuring out how and what I needed to do, being able to photograph the milky way. For me, it was the first time to photograph the milky way. It was nerve racking to think about it.
What if I screw up? What if I miss focus? What if for some magical reason the milky way doesn't show up? Here is where Google Earth, Instagram and 500px played a big rol. On these platforms I could learn what kind of settings I needed to use and at what time the milky way showed up in September. I used 500px to look for some examples for composition, but I was a little confused when I couldn't find anything! Was I really the first one to think about it? There was literately nobody who photographed the milky way, at Grand Prismatic Spring with the milky way reflecting in the water? So, you're telling me I have a photo on my bucket list that nobody has and I have the change to make it work? The pressure is building!   

Fast forward to September 2017. 

Finally A clear sky in Yellowstone NP

I'm walking in Yellowstone NP. It's cold (30F/0C) and what happened when it's cold outside with hot springs? A LOT of mist emerges from the springs and you'll not see anything of the colours of Grand Prismatic Springs or the line... Come on! This sucks right? Well, let's check it out tomorrow! It will be better, right? Nope. Still the same.       

After two unsuccessful nights in Yellowstone, we gave it one more try. After spending some time at Grand Prismatic Springs, we went to Great Fountain Geyser. Just 5 minutes by car so, when we could see if it was possible to photograph Grand Prismatic. During photographing Great Fountain Geyser, the clouds cleared and the night sky was even more beautiful than I could imagine. 

After photographing Great Fountain Geyser for almost an hour and got some sweet milky way shots from this spot, I knew. I had to try it one more time to get the image I was dreaming of. 

And what did you know! There was almost no mist! I was almost running to my spot, I had scouted earlier this day. The conditions where perfect.
No wind, almost no mist, clear skies. The only thing I needed to do was not to screw up.
Get your focus right, get your exposure right and get your composition right. A few 'simple' things, but crucial! 

Anyway, it al worked out in the end. Check the photo below and see for yourself. Let me know what you think of it. 

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone NP

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone NP

Matthijs BettmanComment