Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring is located in Yellowstone National Park. Measuring somewhere at 370 feet in diameter and just over 120 feet deep, it's the largest spring in the United States. The Color of the spring comes from microorganisms. The microorganisms present in the spring produce color ranging from green to red depending on the temperature and other contributing factors. The temperature of the spring range from 150 degrees to a high of around 190 degrees.  The deep blue color in the middle of the spring comes from the purity and depth of the water. Much like you would see in a much larger body of water.

Grand Prismatic is a difficult subject to photograph. The boardwalk at the spring will get you up close but it will be hard to capture the full spectrum of color the spring displays. Also there is an abundance of steam and being close to the spring makes this photographic subject difficult.

Your best bet is to climb a hill to get a better view. There is a small parking lot just south and west of the official lookout. Park here and hike north for about a 1/4 mile then climb the biggest hill you can find. You will see multiple trails heading up the various foothills. I started taking this route but there was bear sign and also park warnings of bear in the area, although I did have my bear spray I didn't want a risk it. So I decided to head back and drive north to a pullout and climb the hill on the east side of Grand Prismatic. After reaching the top of the hill I captured an 8 image panorama and this weeks post picture.

Your best view may come from a helicopter, but the surrounding hillsides do provide good photographic opportunities. Be patient and wait for the steam to dissipate. Work quickly, you may only have several seconds to capture the image you are looking for.

The color alone makes this spring a must see and is highly recommended.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is located about 30 miles from Moab Utah. I stayed in Moab to visit both Canyonlands and Arches National Park. This is the best place to stay when visiting these two parks. Many different accommodations and things to do. A quick google search of Moab is all you really need to find what, where, how, and when.

First off I must say it was HOT. It was near 100 f during the day in mid July. When it dropped down to 85 f at night it actually felt a bit chilly, that's how hot it was midday. If you plan on visiting these parks during the summer months, please take this into account.

Canyonlands have very unique geological features that are carved out by the Colorado river. My first impression of Canyonlands was that it looked a lot like The Grand Canyon. Canyonlands National Park also has many features that rise above the horizon which give it a unique feel.

The main reason I wanted to visit Canyonlands National Park was to get a shot of Mesa Arch at sunrise. The underside of Mesa Arch glows when the sun hits it and you can look through Mesa Arch and see the canyon below. It's a beautiful sight! Moab being 30 plus minutes away and it's July so the sun rises early, you have to get up well before the crack of dawn to see the sunrise. I made my way out to Mesa Arch and being that I was a little behind I may or may have not drove really fast to get there in time. Shh don't tell anyone.

When I arrived to the trail head parking lot, there were about 7 or 8 cars already there. The path to Mesa Arch is about 1/4 mile and being how light it was already, I  dang near ran to the arch. I got there and already a string of photographers were set up photographing. It was funny though because there was a spot open almost like they knew I was coming.  I wedged my way in with my tripod and started photographing. As the sun came up shortly after I got there, my fellow photogs and I just started saying ooo and ahhh. For a moment we all stopped taking pictures to enjoy what we were witnessing. The excitement and comradery is great in places like these. I have heard stories of photographers getting into fights over the "best" position but I have yet to witness this and actually my experiences have been exactly the opposite. Respect can go a long way, and I end up talking and making friends.

This weeks post picture was taken at f16 so I could get the "star burst" effect. I was using my 16-35mm lens at 16mm, tripod mounted with a cable release. This photograph was the best of my trip and I am glad I was able to witness a Mesa Arch sunrise.

As far as the rest of Canyonlands, it was ok. I defiantly enjoyed Arches more, and if I were to do a "canyon" trip I would go to the Grand Canyon instead.

I recommend visiting Canyonlands National Park just based on the fact that Mesa Arch is a must see!