Yellowstone is one of the premier destinations for landscape, nature and wildlife photographers. This is part 2 of a multi-part blog focused photographing Yellowstone. My goal is to pass along the lessons I learned and tips for photographing this wonderful park. This blog post will focus on landscape photography. My other posts on Yellowstone cover wildlife, travel and lodging, equipment and navigating the park, and geothermal activity. You can also view more of my photos of the park at my Yellowstone Gallery.
Yellowstone is primarily known for its wildlife. However Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have huge variety of landscapes just waiting to be shot. Mountains, waterfalls, bison filled plains, and geothermal activity are all popular landscapes for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Listed below are some of my favorite locations for landscapes in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River
One of the premier landscapes in Yellowstone National Park is the Lower Falls. Artist Point provides a great view of the falls at the end of a long colorful canyon. At 9:45 am on a clear morning a rainbow can be seen on the lower falls. Artist Point can get crowded as it is a popular spot for tour buses. So make sure to get there early to get a prime spot at the end of the canyon. Bring your tripod to shoot at slower shutter speeds or to shoot bracketed shots for HDR. Even though it was crowded, I was able to take numerous shots with my camera mounted on a tripod.
Favorite Landscape Locations
Other favorite landscape spots in Yellowstone include Mammoth Hot Springs, sunset along Yellowstone Lake, and many of the geothermal areas. See my blog post on top photos of geothermal features
The road from The Fishing Bridge to the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake provides several pull offs for landscapes of Yellowstone Lake with the mountains in the background. The sun from late afternoon gives a nice orange light on the mountains.
Lake Butte Overlook
Terrific views of Yellowstone Lake can be seen Lake Butte Overlook which is just past Yellowstone Lake on the way toward the East gate. This photograph of stormy clouds over Yellowstone Lake was taken from Lake Butte Overlook.
Mammoth Hot Springs
Walk the deck walk down into Mammoth Hot Springs. This quick hike will lead you to a picturesque setting of steamy water, colored rocks, and dead trees. I left the tripod in the car but the railing served as a nice support in a pinch. The entrance to this particular area of the hot springs is a bit south of Mammoth on the road to Norris, not the area where the road bends at Mammoth.
There are also many open areas around the park with mountain backgrounds that are perfect candidates for panoramas. This panorama was taken in Swan Lake Flats.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park has many locations for picturesque landscapes of the Teton Mountains. The GPS coordinates for some of these locations are also listed below. Oxbow Bend is a popular location where a bend in the Snake River can be used to photograph reflections of the mountains in the river. Don't forget to walk down and check out the river. River otters are often seen at this location.
Schwabacher's landing is an area where the beavers have dammed up the river to provide a glass like surface for mountain reflections in the water. Unfortunately, we had so much rain during our trip that the water overflowed the dam and clouded the mirror like surface. Be forewarned that it's a bumpy ride down the road to Schwabacher's Landing. Mormon Row gives the opportunity to photograph several unique barns and houses with the mountains as a backdrop. Also visit the Snake River overlook for photographs of the winding Snake River with the mountains in the background.
The Teton Village offers a less natural landscape to photograph with ski lodges in the foreground and the mountains in their back yard. The trees and buildings are lit with white Christmas lights during the morning and evening, even in June.
Schwabacher's Landing – N43 42.693, W110 40.218
Oxbow Bend – N43 51.966, W110 32.848
Mormon Row – N43 39.638, W110 39.908