Saturday, January 29, 2011

More from the Land of Fire and Spit

Black Sand Geyser Basin
The latest in photographs from the caldera of Yellowstone National Park!  I keep thinking of Yellowstone as an ancient place, where prehistoric beasts roam, and fire bubbles up from the earth.  These are panoramas made from three to sixteen individual parts, and photographed in some of the park's most active geyser basins.  The sun stayed protected until the morning I was leaving Wyoming, and even those rays were fleeting.  These should compliment the photos in my last post from this winter trip.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

"Bobby Socks" trees

Night at Mammoth Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bison Bison

 The Bison of Yellowstone National Park are the ugliest beautiful creatures among the many we saw in our latest visit to the Land of Fire and Spit.  For the first time I was able to visit Wyoming in a winter wonderland of wildlife activity.  We viewed Wolves, Coyote, Trumpeter Swan, Geese, Bald Eagle, Buffalo, Big Horned Sheep, Elk, and Mule Deer.  Still, I may favor the Bison as my overall favorite.  I love their slow landscaping as they peruse the warm thermal areas, and their masks of snow as they dig through drifts to reach meals.  They are the greatest contradiction; a species that looks as though they should never have survived the ice age 10,000 years ago, yet they also narrowly escaped extinction by man a hundred years ago.  Of the millions that once roamed North America, Bison bounced back from just 800 around the turn of the 20th century, to an estimated 200,000 currently roaming the U.S. and Canada.  

Yellowstone in the winter was gorgeous.  There were a lot of utterly quiet moments, where I walked in the snow at night, or out in a forest snowshoe adventure.  Compared to the peak summer months, Yellowstone winter felt like the park was just as busy as it should be, and the animals ran the house.

You should check out my previous Bison pictures if you haven't seen them.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A brief history of my love for the West

South Dakota

My love for everything West was seeded at a young age, but was experienced first in a trip from Philadelphia to Seattle with a good friend, Andy Szymczak.  This 2006 journey led us to Badlands and Yellowstone National Parks, both of which are now among my favorite public lands.  These Holga photographs are part of the documentation of my initial experience with the majestic Western landscape.  It was silly of me to think there would be wide open areas, ranges of untouched wilderness for us to dirty our boots, and still I try to wrap my head around my own feelings and approach to photographing this landscape.  Do I document these spaces for their pristine beauty, the preserved features of an ancient geologic era?  Or do I allow for the power-lines, fences, man made objects, and even human visitors?

I am lucky enough to be going back again this weekend, for a short stint in the frozen caldera of Yellowstone.  Soon to come will be snow covered bison and plumes of hot white steam rising through the frigid air.  Until then, enjoy these images that sparked what may become a lifetime of documenting our public lands...

Andy in front of Grand Prismatic Spring

Somewhere in Wyoming

Thermal Pool

Badlands National Park

Al's Oasis, Andy pets bison

One of the many wonderful oddities along the trip

Monday, January 10, 2011

No Pants Subway Ride!

 How does one explain the tenth annual No Pants Subway Ride in New York City?  Thousands gathered at six strategic meeting points on and off the island, riding out into the subway system, and removed their pants.  We rode the N from Canal Street uptown for ten stops.  After removing our pants, we transferred to a following N Train, and carried on as if business was usual.  Once at the border of Queens, we transferred to the 6, and rode back to Union Square where the no pants riders celebrated their liberation from chafing jean, corduroy, and leggings. The whole event was organized by a group called Improv Everywhere, and was carried out in cities globally.  

What was this experience? Strange reactions and confused participants mashed with too much media coverage.  I fully enjoyed the concept and desired effect.  Unfortunately the N Train was rather sparsely crowded and drew little reaction.  The return trip on the 6 was much more of what I would consider the goal of this event.  Our subway car was crowded with pantsed norms, and the pants-less participants (Lisa and myself included) made things uncomfortable, goofy, sexy, and flat out funny.  The party in the square was... polar bear club meets pillow fight meets fraternity hazing!

Photo by Lisa Barnshaw

Photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

Amazing photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

Photo by Lisa

Quote of the day (from bystander at start point): "Actually... I can't do this, I'm not wearing any underwear!"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trash, everywhere

You remember that snow, that blizzard that hit New York just after Christmas?  The city slowed down to a halt, and there was only quiet whisper of cars over the muffled blankets of snow.  It was beautiful, for a day or two, and quite charming to be knee deep in soft powder.  That fun has worn off, has shed its beauty, and now a week's worth of trash has piled up even higher than the forecast accumulation.  I guess the sanitation department has some catching up to do.

A day in the life between two bridges.  Sometimes it is all white smiles and clean sheets... but sometimes everything is covered in a bed of filth.  God, I love New York.

One more thing. Happy New Year! May it be more photographic than the last!