EnviroQuest

Photography by Larry A Lyons

Posts tagged ‘Yellowstone’

Winter Exhibit

Love the George Carlin quote ‘ Always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away”. Here are four such moments and images that have recently been accepted for the “Winter Exhibit” at the Jefferson Hospital Gallery in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

“A Cold Water Stroll” was taken on one of my snow coach expeditions in Yellowstone National Park. There is a reason this elk is strolling along this stream. Not only is it easier than moving through deep snow, but more importantly is the exposed vegetation along the banks to graze upon. The antlers of a bull elk can reach four feet above its head. Elks retain their antlers through the winter, but the antlers are shed in the spring. They begin to grow new antlers soon after in preparation for the late summer breeding season.

Bull Elk- A Cold Water Stroll

‘A Cold Water Stroll’© Larry A Lyons

‘Otter Family’ was captured at a specific location in Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park where the otters tend to show-up and entertain us. The many dozens of times that I passed this specific location, the otters were present on only a couple of times. Photography is often about being at the right place at the right time.

This otter family consisting of two adults and a juvenile was mesmerizing to watch. Their thick fur protects them against icy waters.  Their webbed feet and powerful tails help to navigate through the water. Otters close their eyes and nostrils underwater and use their whiskers to search for prey. They would dive down for two or three minutes and surface with a fish in their mouth.

Otter Family

‘Otter Family’ © Larry A Lyons

‘Dueling Big Horn Sheep’ was also taken in Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. These big horn rams decided to express some dominance by dueling on the edge of this cliff. However, there were no females around to impress. Guess these rams were just practicing for the Spring rut season.

Big Horn Sheep Dueling

‘Dueling Big Horn Sheep’ © Larry A Lyons

The fourth image that was accepted into the “Winter Exhibit” was my ‘Snowy Owl’ image.    It is an image that has been presented at several other exhibitions and has received awards. This image was captured at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. Snowy owls from Canada have been coming much farther south along the coast of New Jersey and have been spotted at times at the Forsythe Reserve. The number of owls spotted varies from year to year, but they have been coming south in search of food in the winter. Here this owl is posing and displaying a foot that is extensively insulated with feathers. This insulation explains how this owl is able to stand in snow for hours.

Checking You Out

‘Checking You Out’ © Larry A. Lyons

To see more winter images please go to my favorite place to be come winter – Yellowstone National Park.  It really is North America’s Serengeti. It really is a magical place to photograph wildlife particularly in the winter, including moose, elk, coyotes, foxes, wolves, big horn sheep, otters, bison, and a variety of birds.  To view more of the beauty of Yellowstone in the Winter, go to my gallery at ‘Winter Yellowstone’.

There are still openings in a photography workshop, entitled “Winter in Yellowstone”   scheduled for February 1 to 8, 2020. The workshop is geared for photographers of all levels. Go to ‘Winter In Yellowstone Photography Workshop” for details.

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone – The Landscape

An upcoming series of posts will be providing a “glimpse” of the National Parks in the United States including Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Badlands, Redwood Forests, Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and others. This series is intended to provide a glimpse into the uniqueness of each national park encompassing the beauty of its topography, its geological make-up, and the distinct ecosystems supporting a diversity of wildlife and plant species.

This National Park series will begin with Yellowstone National Park, which is the first U.S. National Park established in 1872.

Yellowstone is situated in the northwest corner of Wyoming and includes small areas of Montana and Idaho. It encompasses 2.2 million acres (or 3,400 square miles). It is an area larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

'May of Yellowstone'

‘Map of Yellowstone’

Yellowstone is one giant volcano resting on top of one of the largest magna chambers in the world. The last major eruption was 600,000 years ago. From 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes occur each year at Yellowstone, but most are too small to be felt.

Geysers and Steam Vents Galore' © Larry A Lyons

Geysers and Steam Vents Galore’ © Larry A Lyons

Yellowstone is home to more than 10,000 geothermal features encompassing geysers, hot springs, steam vents and baths, and percolating mud baths. All of these geothermal features are fueled by heat just a few miles underground.

Sixty percent of the world’s geysers are situated in Yellowstone with over 200 active geysers. Geysers are hot springs that are constricted at the surface that periodically erupt into a fountain of boiling water and steam.

The ‘Old Faithful’ geyser is probably the most famous geyser in the world, not because it is the tallest geyser, but rather it is one of the more predictable geysers. ‘Old Faithful’ erupts several times each day and its eruption is predictable within 30 minutes prior to erupting. Eruptions may occur as frequently as every 60 to 90 minutes. Each eruption blasts 3,400 to 8,400 gallons (14,000 liters to 32,000 liters) of boiling water to a height of 120 feet (36 meters).

'Old Faithful' © Larry A Lyons

‘Old Faithful’ © Larry A Lyons

The reason “Old Faithful” is quite the predictable geyser is because it does not share its underground plumbing system with other geysers. Most of the water from geysers first arrives from rain or snow melt. The water seeps deep into the earth and begins a long recycling journey back up again. The journey can take 500 years or more before it is recycled and blasts into an eruption. In other words, the hot water erupting that this image captured was last seen during the time of Columbus.

'Grand Geyser Erupting' © Larry A Lyons

‘Grand Geyser Erupting’ © Larry A Lyons

Grand geyser is consistently the tallest and perhaps the most spectacular of the predictable geysers. Grand geyser will erupt around every 8 to 12 hours and will blast to a height of 150 to 180 feet (46 to 55 meters).

'Petrified Trees' © Larry A Lyons

‘Petrified Trees’ © Larry A Lyons

Petrified trees border the Grand geyser pool area. There are two types of geysers, that is, either cone-shaped like the Old Faithful geyser or fountain-type geyser. The “Grand” geyser erupts from a pool of water to produce a fountain-type geyser. After the eruption has ended, the water will be out of sight or sometimes a pool of water will be visible.

'Castle Rock Venting Steam' © Larry A Lyons

‘Castle Rock Venting Steam’ © Larry A Lyons

Castle geyser is considered a very old geyser that is 5,000 to 15,000 years that has a 12-foot (4-meter) cone. Castle geyser erupts at an interval between 9 to 11 hours. Bison are often seen grazing near the geysers.

'Hot Spring' © Larry A Lyons

‘Hot Spring’ © Larry A Lyons

Hot springs are the most common geothermal feature in which rising hot water is released as a runoff or as steam. Water temperatures can exceed 190 degrees F (90 degrees C). Unlike geysers with a pressurized plumbing system that erupts through a small constriction, hot springs have wide openings where super heated water is continuously circulating to the surface.

'Colorful Microbial Mats' © Larry A Lyons

‘Colorful Microbial Mats’ © Larry A Lyons

Colorful microbial mats, composed of trillions of pigmented bacteria, live in and around the hot springs. The colors can range across a wide spectrum of colors.

'Thermophiles' © Larry A Lyons

‘Thermophiles’ © Larry A Lyons

The bright colors found in Yellowstone’s hydrothermal basins originate from thermophiles – microorganisms that thrive in hot temperatures and the mineral-rich water.

'Close-up of Pigmented Microbial Mats' © Larry A Lyons

‘Close-up of Pigmented Microbial Mats’ © Larry A Lyons

'Small Geysers Sprouting' © Larry A Lyons

‘Small Geysers Sprouting’ © Larry A Lyons

Large Hydrothermal basins, like the ‘Grand Prismatic Spring’, also reveals extensive microbial mats with the vivid colors that flourish throughout the basin.

'Grand Prismatic Spring' © Larry A Lyons

‘Grand Prismatic Spring’ © Larry A Lyons

'Sunset Over Grand Prismatic Spring' © Larry A Lyons

‘Sunset Over Grand Prismatic Spring’ © Larry A Lyons

In addition to all of the geothermal features that Yellowstone has to offer, there are many other spectacular vistas including snow covered mountains and a golden grand canyon.

'Rocky Mountain Vista' © Larry A Lyons

‘Rocky Mountain Vista’ © Larry A Lyons

Here a couple of bison are resting in the grassy plateau while waterfowl wade in the pond. Yellowstone is home to 50 species of mammals and 300 species of birds. An upcoming post will provide a glimpse into the wildlife of Yellowstone.

The “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone’ is situated in the middle of the park with Yellowstone River flowing through it. The canyon is 24 miles (38 km) long and 1,200 feet (365 meters) deep. Yellowstone River drops an astonishing 300 feet (91 meters) at the Lower Yellowstone Falls.

'Grand Canyon of Yellowstone' © Larry A Lyons

‘Grand Canyon of Yellowstone’ © Larry A Lyons

This golden canyon was formed from volcanic rock about 600,000 years ago. The golden color of the volcanic rock evolved from the iron in the rock that had become ozidized from steam and hot water.

'Volcanic Rock Close-up' © Larry A Lyons

‘Volcanic Rock Close-up’ © Larry A Lyons

Yellowstone River is recognized as the longest free-flowing (undammed) river in the United States.

'Upper Yellowstone Falls' © Larry A Lyons

‘Upper Yellowstone Falls’ © Larry A Lyons

Forest fires are an important part of Yellowstone’s ecosystem and has become to be understood that fires are a natural regeneration process. Yellowstone, like other parks, have instituted a natural fire management plan that allows fires caused by lightning to burn out on their own. For instance in 2013 there were 15 fires. Of the 15, eleven of the fires were only 0.1 to 1.0 acres in size. The remaining four fires ranged in size from 189 acres to 7,200 acres for a total of 11, 933 acres. Five of the 2013 fires were attributed to human activity while the remaining ten fires were caused by lighting. In 2014, there were only five fires reported and each of those fires was only 0.1 acres in size.

'Forest Regeneration' © Larry A Lyons

‘Forest Regeneration’ © Larry A Lyons

Many of Yellowstone’s plant species are fire-adapted. For instance, lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta), which make up nearly 80% of the park’s extensive forests, have cones that are sealed by resin until the intense heat of fire cracks open and releases the seeds inside.

Pine and Aspen Saplings' © Larry A Lyons

Pine and Aspen Saplings’ © Larry A Lyons

One lonely Aspen sapling along with the pine saplings are in the process of regenerating into a new forest. Fires may stimulate regeneration of aspen, sagebrush, and willows, but the interactions between these plants and fire is complicated by other influences such as grazing levels and climate.

The scenery of Yellowstone at night can be as grand as the daytime hours.

'Night Eruption of Old Faithful' © Larry A Lyons

‘Night Eruption of Old Faithful’ © Larry A Lyons

'Venting To The Stars' © Larry A Lyons

‘Venting To The Stars’ © Larry A Lyons

'Big Dipper and Yellowstone' © Larry A Lyons

‘Big Dipper and Yellowstone’ © Larry A Lyons

Here a full moon is shining through Old Faithful’s eruption.

'Goodnight Yellowstone' © Larry A Lyons

‘Goodnight Yellowstone’ © Larry A Lyons

Bid adieu to Yellowstone for now. What a magnificent treasure! Stay tuned for upcoming posts. Two more posts on Yellowstone will be forthcoming. One is a glimpse of Mammoth Springs, which consists of extensive limestone formations generated by the hot springs of Yellowstone, and the wildlife of Yellowstone. In addition, a ‘glimpse’ into other National Parks, including Grand Tetons, Badlands, Redwood Forests, Yosemite, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon, will be forthcoming.