About Me

My photo
Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Photography in Yellowstone

Old Faith in the Dawn Light

How to get Geysered Out in 3 Days

I apologize for being largely out of touch and late with this posting. Susan and I are into our eighth day of our western trip, and we have been out straight trying to pack as much as we can into the short time we have in each location. This all started with an invitation to the wedding of our good friend’s daughter, Katherine, in Hood River Oregon. Of course, we took advantage of the event to take a couple of weeks to get there, visiting Yellowstone and Teton National Parks in Wyoming on the way.

Great Fountain Geyser
We flew to Salt Lake and then drove to Yellowstone, staying in a cabin at the Old Faithful area. Our 3 days in Yellowstone were wonderful, but completely inadequate for the exploration of our nations largest park. We got up early, and came back late, exhausted. I have had time only to upload, location tag and label my images. I have, at this point, processed just a few of the pictures to share but I’m sure I will be working on these for months to come.

I feel quite nervous about sharing my observations of Yellowstone since Gustav W. Verderber, a fellow New England Photography Guild member, literally wrote the book on the topic. Gustav’s beautifully illustrated guide “Photographing Yellowstone National Park” was a great help on our trip. I have just a few observations to share about our experience.

White Dome Geyser
First, Yellowstone is most famous for its thermal features, especially the many geysers and hot spring. One of our first stops on entering the park was at the Firehole Lake Drive where we were lucky enough to wait only an hour before the impressive Great Fountain Geyser erupted. This geyser erupts only twice daily at irregular intervals, but just a couple of hundred yards down the road the White Dome Geyser blasts more frequently and we were able to catch the double feature. Of course Old Faithful Geyser lives up to its name erupting every 60 to 90 minutes to the delight of the vast crowd encircling the scene. The geysers are unique and dramatic examples of nature’s power, but after the first day I began feeling a bit geysered out. I began looking for different ways to see the eruptions, and we increasingly appreciated the park's many other attractions.

Old Faithful Dawn

Being so close to Old faithful, I had the opportunity to try a variety of approaches to this classic. On two mornings I crawled out of bed for sunrises. The clouds on the horizon were problematic and the eruptions were a bit later than I would have preferred, but I got some interesting images. On the first morning I shot with the sun in the background. On the second, with the warm light illuminating from the side, I was able to get the plume to standout against the dark sky. On our last night I got out on a remarkably clear night to record the eruption with the Milky Way in the background. There was enough faint artificial lighting during the 45 second exposure to make the geyser brilliantly visible.

Milky Way Faithful

Firehole Spring
Geysers are not the only thermal attractions at Yellowstone. The steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud pots were interesting, but, photographically, the hot springs were the most beautiful. The deep emerald pools were intensely inviting, with the colors varying depending on the temperature which affects the level of thermophilic bacteria. I almost wanted to jump in, but reminded myself that these natural hot tubs would boil my skin away in a few seconds.

Bison on the Ridge

Falls at Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Getting away from the geysers we explored Lake Yellowstone and Yellowstone's grand canyon area. The "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone" was spectacular but the trip there through the wildlife rich Hayden Valley was even more exciting. We saw Elk, Deer, Coyotes and herds of Bison. The bison in particular caused traffic jams as they unconcernedly meandered across the road. 

Yellowstone Elk

Mystic Falls
Despite our short time in the park, we were able to get away from the crowds on a couple of hikes into Yellowstone's back country. A fairly short trek from the Biscuit Basin area took us along the Little Firehole River to the lovely Misty Falls and on our last full day in the park we took a longer hike through beautiful woods and an expansive meadow to pristine Cascade Pond. After all the bustle of the parks popular locations the quiet isolation of this spot was a welcome relief.

Susan Lost in Cascade Lake Meadow

One of the best part of this experience has been that our daughter Abigail and her boyfriend Grayson have joined us for parts of the trip. At times they split off to do considerably more aggressive hikes, but last night in Jackson Hole they actually paid for dinner. Parenthood has finally paid off! 

Abby and Grayson Waiting for Old Faithful

I could go on about this portion of our trip, but we just finished our stay in the Tetons and I have many more images that I'm anxious to process. More later.


  1. Excellent post, thanks for sharing! I visited the Tetons and Yellowstone with my dad and brother a few years ago. The wildlife was what really blew me away there. That was before I got hooked on photography, so I might have actually been able to enjoy it a little more/differently. Know what I mean? haha.

  2. Great shots as always. So many years since I've been to that area. I especially liked Old Faithful against the Milky Way and the shot of the Elk.