Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Firehole Lake Drive - Yellowstone National Park

About 2 miles north of Midway Geyser Basin is Firehole Lake Drive, one of the few places you can watch geysers from your car. It's not nearly as popular as Midway or Upper Geyser Basin, and is often missed by people in a hurry. Big mistake!

Great Fountain Geyser reportedly erupts in a series of several bursts 100 - 200 feet high. I did get to witness an eruption, but it was from a distance with gray overcast skies (flat light). The terraced pools surrounding the geyser are magnificently beautiful and worth photographing in their own right, especially in the evening. They hold a reflection well!

Just northwest of Great Fountain Geyser is White Dome Geyser, an attractive geyser at any time of day with its white geyserite cone. I first visited the area in the morning to scout the area, and found the dramatic light under storm clouds to allow the imagination to run wild. Not a bad first impression!

I returned that evening hoping to capture an eruption of White Dome in much more appealing light. We arrived a half hour early, after having spent time at Great Fountain Geyser, so as not to miss an early eruption.

We waited and waited, braving the increasing numbers of mosquitoes in hopes of catching a pleasant show. The scheduled time arrived and nothing. Then, some rumbling began and steam began to come out in spurts, teasing our expectations before settling back down to calmness again. This continued several times over the next hour. The few people waiting besides us grew tired of waiting and left. Still we held hope.

Light faded as the sun began to set to the west and the sky began to turn orange, then pink. All of a sudden the Geyser awoke - nearly 1-1/2 hours late. Oh, the show Mother Nature had in store for us! What a treat to capture evening light on the erupting steam!

Then as quickly as it had begun, it was over. Still I was full of jubilation for the spectacular treat we were offered. The smile on my face was permanent this evening, and was due to the pride I had in being rewarded for my patience and perseverance. As many times as we photographers are not rewarded, those times that we are can be very especially satisfying.

We finished our evening at the Lower Geyser Basin parking lot as the dramatic sunset continued to unfold before our eyes.

This is the fifth part in a series I am posting from our wonderful visit to Yellowstone National Park last June. I hope you enjoy it.

Next Up: Lower Geyser Basin and Fountain Paint Pots!

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