I’ve been meaning to reboot posting a weekly photo out of the portfolio and discuss the image and the story behind it. I’m starting with this image because it has been the most popular image I’ve published to date by a wide margin.

This photo came out of a trip to Yellowstone I made in early June in 2014. The goal for the trip was primarily wildlife photography, not the thermal features, and I came away with a good number of images out of the trip.

This image came on the last day of the trip. I was feeling tired and mostly satisfied with the results, and I felt I’d accomplished most of what I’d set out to do, and to be honest, just didn’t want to make another drive out to Lamar Valley.

Instead I grabbed fixing for a lunch out of the store near Old Faithful and wandered the geyser areas. The Firehole spring area is one you can drive through, and there are a number of geysers you can watch and explore as well as hot springs. Firehole spring is the biggest and most dramatic of those, and it’s literally on the side of the road to look at as you drive by.

I decided it was a good spot for lunch, so I parked and just enjoyed the view. As I watched, the afternoon thunderstorm clouds were building and creating some interesting drama in the clouds — something that was happening every day during the trip. As I was watching, I realized this was a really interesting composition, so I hauled out the camera and went off in search of the right image.

The spring had a regular string of small bubbles, with occasional large air bubbles hitting the surface. If you look in the background, you’ll see a small geyser visible; it was intermittently steaming. What I decided I liked was lining those up, and I tried to get a shot where both the geyser was steaming and a large bubble was on the surface. I spent about 30 minutes trying and never quite go it, and this was the one I liked the best.

Note this shot was taken at 2PM, which we all know is prime time for landscape photography. I mention that as a quiet reminder to photographers that if you don’t even try, you definitely will not get nice images, and there are always possibilities if you go searching for them.

When I was done here, I put away the camera and that was the end of the trip as far as photography was concerned. It is amusing in a way that the best image out of a wildlife photography trip was a landscape image; I guess the lesson there is to always keep your eyes and options open.


Firehole Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming