(A fairly wide ranging article on travel photography, covering general philosophy and practice, can be found at The Travel Chronicle Travel Photography page.)
The photography tips which are inspired by this particular road trip can be applied in other settings, but specific situations work better than abstract examples when illustrating a point.
So, we’ll begin with a point we can’t illustrate. On the La Barge side trip discussed on the Travel Plan page, during our return from the snowdrift which reversed our course, I spotted a moose sitting in a field. We stopped by the side of the road, and with camera in hand, walked back a few yards to pay our respects. The moose, being appropriately wary of two legged creatures, got up and moved off a short distance to preserve its buffer zone. I didn’t really like the shot, there being a fence between us and the moose, etc., so I didn’t take the shot. This encounter, only a few hours into our arrival in Wyoming, suggested that there would be many better opportunities for moose photographs in the coming days. A few miles further on, we spotted two more moose at a great distance, and we looked forward to all the great moose encounters in our future. As you have no doubt already surmised, we never saw another moose. There are two morals to this story, the first being that when you see a moose, shoot it (photographically speaking). Second, try to avoid this sort of classic fish story. Travel photography is not about the one that got away.
The photo which leads off this Yellowstone Travel Chronicle on the Front Page is an example of the advantage of keeping your camera handy, in this case the center console between the front seats of the car. The Wyoming cattle drive photo might have been possible to get after climbing out of the car and rummaging through the luggage to find the camera, but it was a picture more likely to be taken when it required no more effort than extending a hand out the driver side window.
A truly specific photography tip unique to the Yellowstone setting is provided by the travel guide we purchased prior to our trip: The Ultimate Wyoming Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia. According to the Encyclopedia, “Geyser spray and mist from other thermal features can be damaging to cameras and video recorders. Immediately remove any overspray from your camera; otherwise, it may leave a permanent deposit.”
As the photo on the upper right demonstrates, there is certainly enough mineral laden moisture in the air at certain locations to be worthy of caution about exposing your camera lens. The photo on the left doesn’t illustrate any point whatsoever, but who doesn’t like a pink dinosaur? Using the Vernal dinosaur photo here removes the temptation to feature it on the Wildlife and Scenery page.
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