Memorial Day Weekend – Yellowstone NP – Sun

Today was a quiet day in the Park, for us. Plenty of wildlife, but none of it close enough for my short glass.

The highlight of the day was Dad’s discovery of a badger den. We stopped at a pullout from which we watched a coyote den years ago. Dad was glassing the many, many fresh digs on the slope. He commented that it was possible there could be a badger den. I sarcastically responded “or a bunch of gopher holes.” Sure enough, no longer did that come out of my mouth that he spotted a badger. We didn’t see any kits at this location. We spent about an hour there that night, and Dad, my Aunt Cindy and I walked out to a distance of 25-30 yards and I managed to get a few shots before it ducked down into it’s den. This is a crop of a photo taken at a focal length of 300mm…

DSCF3487 - edit

So, while I may not have been so privileged as to enjoy the four kits at the Little America den, at least I did get my first, albeit poor, badger photo.

We haven’t published the location of this den, as we don’t want to see it turn into a mob scene like the den in Little America.

It rained off and on all day. Mom, Dad, Bridger and I went into Gardiner for dinner and an early night.
However, since I have no glass and no wildlife was being so obliging as to give me close range opportunities, I had not played with my camera much. My shutter finger was itchy. So, I went back into the Park with the intention of a visit to the Upper Terrace with a flashlight in hand just after dark to play around with light painting. However, I had some time to kill so I drove east as far as Floating Island Lake where I enjoyed spending some time watching and listening to a pair of sandhill cranes.

As darkness settled in, I arrived at the Upper Terrace to play with light painting.


So, if the term “light painting” is unfamiliar to you, by light painting I mean waving a flashlight over features to light them up at night during a long exposure.

I tried out various apertures (F11 and smaller) and shutter speeds (2″-30″) as well as focusing methods. I left the ISO set at 800. A number of different aperture/shutter speed combinations worked out. This particular photo was shot f14 and 30 seconds.

Sometimes I focused by shining the flashlight on one of the trees or a terrace and letting autofocus focus on it. Other times I used manual focus set at infinity. Both worked but manual at infinity was easier — autofocus hunts a bit in the dark and steam, as you might imagine.

I varied my flashlight technique, too, from passing it slowly over features to waving it quickly over features, having it on for the entire exposure and having it on for only part of the exposure. Different flashlight technique made as much difference as aperture and shutter speed. In this photo I used the flashlight for only a fraction of the 30 second exposure.

The flashlight was a wide beam halogen (about the size of a headlight).

I used auto white balance and, in hindsight, should have tried different white balance.

The RAW files have an orange/pinky cast to what should be white travertine terrace as below:

Light Painting v1

I removed that color cast from the version posted first but it has since grown on me somewhat…

The Upper Terrace always seems otherworldly, but it is especially true at night

Another World

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>