I was in a remote ranch in Montana for a week last year. Almost every day we would head out to ride horses, find a distant fishing hole, or just randomly explore. Everything was great until I decided to test the bear spray into the wind.
After a long hike through the mountains of Yellowstone, I came across over 40 horses sprinting from one meadow to the next. I stepped behind a tree to get out of the way and shot this one.
We were lucky enough to spend a week with Dr. David Sands, a microbiologist and geneticist (if those categories are even appropriate for someone so diverse).Â Almost every day we went out on nature hikes and never made it more than a few hundred yards from the main lodge.Â He would stop at just about any plant, pull it up, and rattle off a million interesting facts about it.Â He constantly had Ethan running to and fro to collect different samples and then enter a Socratic mode, helping him to figure out what everything he found meant.
Dr. Sands also brought several suitcases full of petri dishes and a variety of interesting bacteria that have been the subject of some tests in his lab back in Bozeman.Â Ethan and Dr. Sands did a number of experiments when they weren’t out in the field exploring and discovering.
The first time someone photographs a new phenomenon they get to name it, right? I call this a “Steamtrey”. [edit: on Flickr, someone recommended “Treynado”.] Well this shot took forever to get just right… The weather was perfect for the steam to come off the geothermal area and the wind patterns were even more perfect to whip up the steam into a 30-foot high tornado.
All that red in the foreground is a special bacteria that has formed in the super-heated water.
We drove down to the south of Yellowstone near Jackson Hole to explore the Grand Tetons. Just as I was taking this picture, a huge bison came up behind me and caught me unawares… and I barely got the fifth exposure to this HDR! It’s amazing how big those things are and they are still quiet.