Yellowstone is certainly crowded during the summer months. There are ways to beat the crowds, and one of the best is to become crepuscular. The term usually refers to animals that are active at dawn or dusk, or both. As a photographer, it’s good to be crepuscular, it’s simply more challenging during the summer months when the edges of the day meet so close together.
On this given morning, I was on the road while it was still dark, hoping to make it to West Thumb Basin in Yellowstone by first light. I’ve learned over the years that it’s better to be early and watch the morning come then it is to be driving while watching the pre-dawn sky light up before you’re ready to photograph.
As I walked the boardwalks into the basin I was surprised to find elk wandering among the features, attempting to get a drink from their edges. I was the only human there.
Suddenly, in the forest on the edge of the basin, I heard a male elk bugle. It was the first time for me to hear such a call. It was almost haunting the way it reverberated through the forest. It certainly caught the attention of this young elk cow.
West Thumb Basin rests along the edge of Yellowstone Lake, a perfect setting in the early morning hours.
The earliest hours of summer are still often cool enough, in the 40’s, to cause steam from the hot springs to overflow into the morning.
There are various plants the love the heat of thermal areas. The soil can be incredibly hot at around 110F (43C), and plants have been designed to thrive there.
From the elk call, to the beauty of the waters, to the steam rising in the air it was another magical morning in Yellowstone. Thanks for walking along with me.