The Flatirons
The Lower Yellowstone Falls In The Fall
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The Lower Yellowstone Falls In The Fall

Item Number: A-136 Click to order

Location: Yellowstone National Park, WY

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Framing notes, click to view.


I got no sleep the night before this shot. It was mid September, the last night Canyon Village Campground was open.

When I went to sleep there was a group of campers laughing and making all sorts of noise. In the middle of the night I kept hearing all this noise. I thought it was the other campers again. When I woke up enough to understand what was happening, I realized I was listening to a raging elk rut happening right outside the campground. Groups of bull elk were running all around, bugeling for mates in a desperate attempt to stop the other bulls from gaining access to their harem. There were several different groups, some close and some far away. This lasted all night long.

I knew that night that Yellowstone National Park is not like other parks. When I awoke in the morning, there were no other campers anywhere in sight. The campground was empty. At first light, I made a commando run over to the falls as I do every chance I get. The mist of the morning was just beginning to lift. The colors shot to life when the fog lifted and the sun broke through. The canyon was as magnificent as I have ever seen it.

I could not believe how lucky I was to get this shot. Between this, the elk, and several bear encounters, I had a most memorable trip. I was the last person to experience that rut at night in 2006. The park service shut the area down the next day.

Notice the steam rising from hot springs coming out of the canyon wall. You can clearly see them in the rapid section at the bottom of the image, as the steam clouds hang over the river. They occur up and down the corridor.

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