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Yellowstone in winter is a photographer's delight: mineral pools burn through the snow, revealing their gem-colored depths; waterfalls freeze mid-spill; and elk and moose stand out clearly against the glistening white landscape. Record the beauty of winter in our oldest national park, zooming in on wildlife in the Lamar Valley, catching the interplay of steam and snow on Mammoth Hot Springs, and rising early for a sunrise photo shoot in the Lower Geyser Basin.
Go on an early morning photo shoot in Lamar Valley, zooming in on wildlife against the sparkling snow: from elk, bison and bighorn sheep, to coyotes and the elusive gray wolf.
Visit the studio of a local wildlife photographer to learn tips for photographing Yellowstone in the snow.
Capture unique angles on famous sites like Old Faithful geyser without the crowds and discover some of the park’s lesser known areas, exploring in the comfort of heated snow coaches.
Learn about the reintroduction of Yellowstone’s wolves and meet a cinematographer who has produced films on the park and its wildlife for National Geographic.
Itinerary - 6 Days
Day 1 — Bozeman, Montana/Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming
Travel from Bozeman, Montana, to Yellowstone National Park, following the Yellowstone River through magnificent valleys on the lookout for bald eagles, mule deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. At Mammoth Hot Springs, settle into a historic national park lodge, and take our first photo walk amid the steaming, colorful mineral spring terraces outlined in pure white snow. Meet up this evening for a welcome dinner. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or Best Western Plus by Mammoth Hot Springs (D)
Day 2 — Lamar Valley
Rise early for an excursion to the Lamar Valley to photograph wildlife at one of their most active times. Gray wolves were first restored to Yellowstone in the Lamar Valley in 1995, and the snow-covered meadows host herds of elk and bison. Use a spotting scope and your telephoto lens to find coyotes and eagles, and perhaps an elusive wolf. In the afternoon, visit the home and studio of an accomplished wildlife photographer, who will share tips on photographing the landscapes and creatures of Yellowstone in winter. An Emmy® award-winning wildlife cinematographer joins us this evening to discuss his career shooting films on wolves and other wildlife for the National Geographic Society.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel or Best Western Plus by Mammoth Hot Springs (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone/Old Faithful
Travel by private snow coach to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where winter adds extra magic to an already dramatic landscape. Walk to the rim of the spectacular gorge to capture images of its thundering waterfall and the ice arch that forms from the spray. Stroll amid the bubbling mud pots and fumaroles of the Upper Geyser Basin with your camera in hand. Then continue to Old Faithful, stopping along the route to photograph a geothermal wonderland of erupting geysers, frozen waterfalls, and gem-colored mineral pools. Keep an eye out for wildlife—bison, encrusted in ice, often stand among the pools for warmth. Old Faithful Snow Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Old Faithful/Upper Geyser Basin
Awaken at dawn to photograph Old Faithful in the first light of morning. After breakfast, hit the trails on an optional snowshoe or cross-country ski excursion, or go on a photo shoot near the lodge. This afternoon, head to the Upper Geyser Basin, discovering the geological forces behind Yellowstone. Focus on steaming, mineral pools, whose sapphire, emerald, and violet hues appear even more brilliant in the snow. After dark, step outside to admire the incredible canopy of stars in one of the world's best constellation-viewing spots, and work on low-light photography to capture scenes of steam, stars, snow, and night sky.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Yellowstone/Gallatin Canyon, Montana
After breakfast, head west, stopping to photograph the colors and shapes of bubbling, popping mud at the whimsical Fountain Paint Pots. Leave the park via the West Yellowstone gate and travel to the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, Montana. Settle into a comfortable log cabin lodge and gather to share your best photos. Set out on a sleigh ride through the countryside, before toasting your winter adventure in Yellowstone at a farewell dinner. 320 Guest Ranch or Lone Mountain Ranch (B,L,D daily)
Drew Rush has a long history of working in and teaching about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Before embarking on a career in photography, Drew spent ten years guiding on the Snake River and taking people into the heart of Yellowstone National Park in the winter. Since he transitioned into a professional photographer, his work has appeared in numerous international publications and books such as National Parks magazine and National Geographic: Complete Photography. His photographs have also been displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. Drew has recently spent years working in the Yellowstone-Tetons region on several long term photographic projects for National Geographic magazine. He looks forward to sharing an insiders' insights into these magnificent parks!
Drew will join the following departures:
Jan 11 - 16, 2017 Jan 27 - Feb 01, 2017 Feb 12 - 17, 2017