Upcoming Yellowstone Trip in June

Discussion in 'Travel' started by jimradja, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. My wife and I are taking a trip out to Yellowstone this June and are deep into the planning stages. We're staying in the park at two different lodges (one the first half of the week and moving to another the second half).

    We came across this site showing a list of companies offering painting and photography tours and wondered if anyone has taken advantage of them and what your experience has been.

    Painting & Photography Tours - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

    I'm still pretty much a newbie but am learning so I'll probably be quite a bit behind most experience photographers if that's relevant.

    Also, I'm not up for hikes up the side of a mountain (long past that in life) but do love some "communing with nature" type of hikes to get to vantage points.

    Obviously any additional tips would be greatly apreciated.

    I'm going to be posting this in the Landscape portion of the forum as well in case you see this there.

    Thanks for all your help.
  2. It sounds like you are a senior citizen, like me.
    I would caution you about taking too much gear. Weight has a nasty way of getting heavier as the trip gets longer. That 8 pound bag you started with, will feel like 20 after 3 weeks.
    If you can, schedule a rest day in the middle of the trip, to do nothing but rest and recuperate your muscles. Going non-stop for 2 weeks might be fine for a younger person, but it is really tough on us older folks.

    Warning: If you stay at "old faithful lodge," the "morning glory" pool is a great sight, but make sure you leave before sunset. When the sun starts to go down, the mosquitoes come out, in SWARMS. And it is a LONG walk back to the lodge, with the mosquitoes harrassing you all the way back. Been there, done that, was NOT fun :(
  3. SCL


    Having hiked out west in several national parks in June, let me advise you to wear good hiking shoes, not tennis shoes, with good supports and carry lots of water. It can go from a really chilly night to over 100 degrees in the sun next day. I'd also encourage you do do a little physical conditioning for a few weeks/months before going, as your idea of short hikes to get to vantage points and the park's ideas may differ more than you think. Don't get carried away with too much camera gear, but really enjoy the sights and learn some of the history...it's truly overwhelmingly beautiful.
  4. Some general ideas about your visit:

    In June, the park will be quite busy every day of the week, but especially on weekends. Funny thing about crowds - they don't seem to like getting up early. So getting out for sunrise to shoot and begin your walks will offer you some much less crowded time.

    If your schedule and transportation plans allow, allocate at least a day in Jackson Hole immediately south of Yellowstone NP.

    When an animal (or herd of animals) find grazing that they like today, it's a good bet they'll be back to that spot tomorrow. Ask the rangers at the visitor centers where animals of interest to you have been seen in the last day or two. Such spots will be a good place to start the next day.

    The animals cause traffic jams. A bear feeding near a road will cause everyone to stop and get out to see and take pictures. Some of them never seem to grasp the concept that these are truly wild animals and not Disney characters in costume. Expect one or more rangers to show up at any bear jam and go to considerable trouble to keep the tourists from getting too close. You don't ever want to find yourself between a momma bear and her cub!
  5. Practice with your camera before you go especially if it's a new one. Know the ins and outs. Learning while you;re traveling will get you a lot of missed shots.

    I'm a senior and I gave up on heavy cameras for traveling. All I take now is a light camera and maybe a light tripod and/or bean bag. Small cameras are great for slide show on HDTV's. It's where I show my shots and make a travelogue of the trip that;s easy to show and add music, narrative,, etc. I use a P&S that shoots automatically and in manual and other modes as well as shoots 4K movies and 20mb stills - they look great on my 4K TV.
  6. We did our first trip to Yellowstone+Grand Teton last fall, using an all-inclusive photo trip plus 5 days on our own. So no direct experience with any of the companies on your list. But I'm sure any of them would tailor their activities to the fitness level of their clients--that's just good business practice for them. Both parks are at 5000 feet elevation or higher, so that factors into the equation as well. Having said that, almost all of the areas of interest are pretty flat (Mammoth Hot Springs being one notable exception). My wife and I are both in our mid-60s, and we didn't have any problems. Be prepared to be amazed and awe-struck. You'll likely find that you will spend more time stopped taking photographs than walking. Minimizing the weight of gear to carry is a consideration, but I'm betting you'll be working out of a vehicle most of the time, so its not like you have to carry everything all the time. You'll want a good wide-angle lens for landscapes, but a good long telephoto (>300mm) is a necessity if you're looking for wildlife. Bison you'll get closeups with your 35mm lens; just about everything else (birds, pronghorns, elk, etc.) will need 300mm+. I rented a 500mm f/4 lens (8 lbs) and another 6 lbs for the tripod to hold it and got some spectacular wildlife photos. I never had to carry it more than 100 yards from our vehicle, and most of the time, considerably less than that. I second someone's suggestion to get some practice/training in ahead of time. Enjoy!
  7. Thanks for everyone's input. I'm getting psyched up for the trip and mentally preparing myself for the crowds. As for the gear input, I'm still new to the game and working with the kit lenses so I don't have much. I could bring all my stuff and not over load myself (says someone whose hasn't taken a long hike with gear since backpacking in Boy Scouts ;) )

    We'll be coming in from the south through Jackson Hole and have planned a day in that area but I know it won't be enough.

    The issue of being prepared for snow came up and, interestingly, we were blocked from going up Mt. Rainier in Washington during the same part of the year (early June) because they hadn't finished clearing off the snow on the roads. We'll be prepared.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.
  8. I checked into the Old Faithful Lodge a couple of years ago. The room was #237.
    I said "Isn't that the..." and the clerk said "yes"
    I went in May, and despite a major snowfall just before I got there, the park was relatively open.
    A lot of the wildlife were still used to using the roads (their winter practice), however.
    jimradja likes this.

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