The first morning in Yellowstone, we made a trip over to Grand Prismatic spring. A relatively recent area open to the public. The surroundings of this spring are ridiculously alien (as is most of Yellowstone).
It was about 6 a.m. No one was there but us. Dense fog filled the air around us. Even driving in, fog covered this portion of the park. I was a happy man, but my road trip guys were not too happy with the fog.
I’m a big fan of abstract landscape. It’s one of the few forms of abstraction in art that I can get behind. This particular area of Yellowstone, and most of Yellowstone, for that matter, seems to call for wide-angle lens action. But if you’ve followed along, or know me at all, I don’t really enjoy wide-angle landscape as much as I do long-lens and standard lens landscape.
The textures that surround Grand Prismatic are surreal. The erosion and plates of bacteria that make up the ground look straight off of Venus. It’s so hard to not photograph everything there, and I did photograph a lot of the area. The fog removed any sense of location and allows the viewer to be lost in this surreal landscape. Most photographs I’ve seen of Grand Prismatic are made in the daytime.
However, as much as I enjoy this photo for what it is, I didn’t compose it very well. It’s very right-side heavy. It’s sharp as a knife, and has beautiful deep depth of field, allowing the viewer to almost feel like they’re floating above a plateau. But an unbalanced composition is a big no-no in my book.
I could have spent a little more time looking around for these same “ripples” in different forms, giving me a variety of compositions to chose from and shoot my favorite. In hindsight, I should have. The guys were already stressed and annoyed by the fog, while I was having the time of my life. They went back to the car before I was anywhere near done shooting.
In the end, this photograph taught me to slow down and really study the landscape before making an image. I could have had a much better composition that’s more compelling and balanced. I had more than enough time to look around, but I was too distracted to slow myself down.