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.