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Inspired Images: Photographing the Wonders of Yellowstone

Program Number: 17947RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/28/2014 - 10/3/2014; 2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015; 5/10/2015 - 5/15/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gardiner, Montana
Price starting at: $928.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography; National Parks
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

On this photography adventure, capture Old Faithful’s powerful skyward spray, a bison feeding in a meadow or the tremendous scope of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As you record impressions of Yellowstone’s landscape, wildlife, geothermal features and historic structures, an instructor discusses composition, the use of light, proper exposure and more. Cap your week with a participant slide show and supportive critique.




Highlights

• Find your own vision of the iconic Yellowstone images as we visit the Old Faithful, Fishing Bridge and Canyon areas.
• Explore the Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley, each a wide-open wildlife haven where you can expect to see bison, elk, waterfowl, coyotes and more.
• Take your photography skills to the “next level.” Whether improving your exposure or composition — or both — you will acquire new skills you can take anywhere!



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day on established boardwalks and trails and over uneven terrain with loose footing. Weather changes quickly. For serious beginner and experienced photographers.



Elevations of 5,200-9,000 feet.




Date Specific Information

2-8-2015

Because this is a winter date, the accommodations for 3 nights will be at the Best Western by Mammoth in Gardiner. This date will stay two nights at Old Faithful Snowlodge, will all accommodations inside the park. This is different than the spring and fall dates. This date only uses over the snow vehicles when going into the park, because this is all that is allowed in Yellowstone during winter months. The in park accommodations and use of over the snow vehicles accounts for the higher price.



5-10-2015

This date takes advantage of shoulder season lodging prices, which makes this date lower in cost



9-27-2015

This program coincides with program #4874 Hiking in Yellowstone: Take a Walk on the Wildside for a travel companion who would like a more active option.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




Gardiner

Founded in 1880, this town in Paradise Valley is the original northern entrance to Yellowstone Park and today is the park’s only year-round point of entry. Gardiner has the atmosphere of a quaint Western town, complete with elk meandering the streets.



Accommodations
Motel, patio overlooking Yellowstone River. Some rooms up one flight of stairs.
Meals and Lodgings
   Yellowstone River Motel
  Gardiner, MT 5 nights
 Yellowstone River Motel
Type: Motel
  Description: Lodgings are located on Gardiner's main street, Park Street, on Yellowstone's northern boundary. Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Roosevelt Arch is three blocks from motel. The Gardiner Arch was dedicated in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
  Contact info: 14 Park Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 888-797-4837
web: www.yellowstonerivermotel.com
  Room amenities: Refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, wireless internet, satellite TV, phone, air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: Quiet, though one block from downtown. Grassy patio overlooks the mighty Yellowstone River. Within walking distance of shopping, ice cream, deli, lattes. Hair dryers, iron, ironing board available upon request.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: varies Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information 888 797-4837.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: varies Seasonal rates; call Yellowstone River Motel for information 888 797-4837.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration at motel between 4 and 5 PM. You will be staying at Yellowstone River Motel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 11 AM brunch. You will be staying at Yellowstone River Motel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Please bring Golden Age, Senior or National Parks pass if you have one.
  Parking availability:
Free.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Gardiner, MT
  Nearest city or town:  Livingston, MT is 53 miles north.
  Nearest highway: State HWY 89.
  Nearest airport:  Gallatin Field in Bozeman, MT, 89 miles
  From End of Program
  Location: Gardiner, MT
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Bozeman, MT

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $81; call for current group rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Allow 2 hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Reservations must be made at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938 for rates and reservations. You may be asked to leave a message. Group shuttle departs airport at 1:30 pm. In order to take advantage of the group shuttle rate, your flight must arrive before 1 pm on Sunday and depart after 2:30 pm on Friday. Arriving in Bozeman a day early or staying an extra day may be more economical than booking individual transportation.

 

Bozeman, MT

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $81; call for current group rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Allow 2 hours. 

 

Distance:

 

89 miles.

   

Return shuttle must be arranged at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938. Group shuttle departs site at 11:30 am. Outside of the above scheduled times, individual transportation (not at group rate) can be reserved through Greater Valley Taxi (406) 388-7938 or Karst Stage (406) 556-3540 (72 hours notice required). Car rental and drop-off are available at the Bozeman airport; drop-off is not available in Gardiner or Yellowstone National Park.

 
Driving Directions
  Bozeman, MT Travel east on I-90 for 26 miles to Livingston; turn south here onto US HWY 89 and travel south 53 miles to Gardiner. Proceed into town, cross the Yellowstone River bridge and straight ahead to Park Street. Turn left; Yellowstone River Motel is one block down at end of street on left. OR Travel south 89 miles on HWY 191 to West Yellowstone. Enter Yellowstone National Park and travel east 14 miles to Madison Junction. Drive east then north 14 miles to Norris Junction; carry on northward 21 miles to Mammoth; bear north five miles to Gardiner. (Please note that travel in the park is slow; speed limits average 15-40 miles per hour.) Drive under Roosevelt Arch onto Park Street. Proceed to end of Park Street; Yellowstone River Motel is on left side of street. Call (307) 344-2117 for road conditions, closures, etc. in Yellowstone.
  from the East (Cody, WY) Call (307) 344-2117 for road conditions, closures, etc. in Yellowstone. Travel east from Cody 53 miles on HWYs 20 and 14/16 to Yellowstone Park, then 27 miles on past Fishing Bridge area to junction. Turn north here to Canyon (16 miles). Travel 12 miles west from Canyon to Norris Junction. Travel north 21 miles to Mammoth; continue north five miles to Gardiner. Drive under Roosevelt Arch onto Park Street. Proceed to end of Park Street; Yellowstone River Motel is on left side of street.
  from the North (Livingston, MT) Exit I-19 onto State HWY 89. Drive south 53 miles to Gardiner. Proceed into town, cross the Yellowstone River bridge and straight ahead to Park Street. Turn left; Yellowstone River Motel is one block down at end of street on left.
  from the South (Jackson, WY) Travel north 86 miles on HWY 89/287 (slow miles as most of travel is through two national parks with speed limit averaging from 15-40 miles per hour) to West Thumb, then west and north 33 miles to Madison Junction. Drive east then north 14 miles to Norris Junction; carry on northward 21 miles to Mammoth; bear north five more miles to Yellowstone's northwest entrance at Gardiner. Drive under Roosevelt Arch onto Park Street; Proceed to end of Park Street; Yellowstone River Motel is on left side of street.
Elevation Note: Site elevation 5,260'. Activities take place at elevations ranging from 5,260' to 9,000'.

Equipment Requirements: Digital shooters bring digital camera including equipment to download and view photographs and extra batteries. Film shooters bring 8 rolls film (36 exposures each). Course designed for all types of photography equipment with emphasis on digital photography. Concentrate on how to take the best picture possible under existing conditions, not on photo manipulation. A tripod is useful. Bring binoculars, durable water bottle (at high altitudes you are more susceptible to dehydration and altitude sickness-carrying a water bottle with you and drinking plenty of water is of utmost importance to avoid these sometimes dangerous problems) and fanny or day pack to carry photography equipment on walks. Bring your walking stick if you use one.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Orientation and Introductions
(Sunday, September 28)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in between 4 and 5 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Evening: Orientation, Introductions and a look at the week ahead.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Fundamentals of Photography, Introduction to Yellowstone
(Monday, September 29)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at meeting room.
 Morning: Instructor presents photography fundamentals; discuss composition, lighting, proper exposure, sharpness, lens choices, and much more.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Afternoon: Acclimation/photography walk near lodgings with photographer/naturalist for "the art of seeing." Free time to explore the town.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Evening: Evening presentation reflects the rhythm of Yellowstone's changing seasons. F.Y. I. Coming up are three field days in the park; you will see wildlife - bison, elk, waterfowl, perhaps big horn sheep, coyotes and fox. The possibility of seeing wolves and grizzly bears exists; however, sightings cannot be guaranteed.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field day in Yellowstone National Park
(Tuesday, September 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Morning: Enjoy the first of three field days in Yellowstone with professional photographer/naturalist who provides ongoing photography discussion and guidance, supports hands on aspects of field photography, all the while interpreting the park's natural history. Expect exploratory/picture-taking walks on moderate terrain - up to two miles each field day. Be sure to bring your binoculars as the possibility of wildlife observation awaits around every bend of the road or trail. Though the program's emphasis is Yellowstone's fall scenics, you may have the opportunity to photograph wildlife. Autumn days in Yellowstone may be warm or chilly. Wear warm clothing - a layer of sweatshirt/sweater or fleece, a vest, warm jacket, hat and gloves.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Ongoing interpretation of the park's natural features, wildlife, etc. during this photography field day. If the weather is inclement we will visit the Albright Visitor Center and the Museum in Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs area. Here is the park's administrative center with buildings built by the US cavalry during "Fort Yellowstone" times. The museum includes history-themed exhibits, predator-prey themed exhibit, Moran Gallery (reproductions of Thomas Moran watercolors), Jackson Gallery (original William Henry Jackson photographs and 1871 Hayden Survey photographs), theater, and information desk.
 Dinner: Picnic suppers in the park.
 Evening: Evening return to lodgings offers beautiful light for picture taking and prime time for wildlife spotting.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field day in Yellowstone National Park
(Wednesday, October 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Morning: Depart for the Old Faithful area via Gibbon River, Gibbon Falls, Firehole River and Fountain Paint Pot. Enjoy geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles in the heart of Yellowstone. Opportunity to photograph historic Old Faithful Inn and geyser basin ecology. Expect moderate walking up to two miles and picture taking during this field day among Yellowstone's grand landscape with its fall lighting, colors, and wildlife.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Depending on weather and road conditions, field exploration will introduce photographers to either the Lamar or Hayden Valley; each a vast, wide-open haven for wildlife. Enjoy expanses of open space and expect to see bison, elk, waterfowl, coyotes and more. Consider a magnificent ecosystem and how all its aspects intersect, creating a tapestry of life not to be found anywhere else in the nation.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Evening: Discuss the basics of the digital darkroom, downloading, saving, and cataloging with an introduction to image enhancement.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Field day in Yellowstone National Park
(Thursday, October 2)
   
 Breakfast: Hot, boxed breakfast to go.
 Morning: Early morning field trip departure to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area where you'll note beautifully tinted canyon walls caused by hot water acting on volcanic rock. Experience the roar of 109' Upper Falls and the classically spectacular 308' plunge of waters over Lower Falls. Enjoy a walk along the Yellowstone River among either a section of its dynamic riparian area where you will feel the great river's power and beauty and perhaps see water ouzels and waterfowl or atop the canyon rim where views of sheer magnificence, of endless, painted perpendicularity invite speechlessness. Appreciate the challenge of capturing images of the mighty river, its canyon, water falls and autumn ambiance.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the Park.
 Afternoon: Field day continued. Enjoy moderate walking on picture taking and natural history explorations with professional photographer/naturalist; walk up to two miles on asphalt paths, stairs and boardwalks. Early return offers free time to enjoy Gardiner's small town/Yellowstone gateway ambiance.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Evening: Free evening or work on photos for tomorrow's review.
   
Accommodations: Yellowstone River Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Participant slide show with a gentle critique from the instructor.
(Friday, October 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant; walk up to four blocks.
 Morning: Participant slide show to show off a week's good work; an opportunity for fun and for a final critique session from the instructor. Yellowstone finale; Q & A Closing reflections on your week of learning in the Great Caldera.
 Brunch: Grab-n-go brunch to take with you.
 Afternoon: Shuttle departs at 11:30 AM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Gardiner, MT Hiking
One trailhead 1/2 mile from lodgings; another 3/4 mile from lodgings.
  Horseback Riding
Trailrides provided by Rendezvous Outfitters in Gardiner, MT (406) 848-7967.
  Rafting
Scenic float or whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneraft.com
  Xanterra Parks and Resorts
Xanterra Parks and Resorts is Yellowstone's principal concessioner and includes operations of park's lodging facilities, some campgrounds, restaurants, gift shops, interpretive tours, etc. For additional information, visit www.TravelYellowstone.com
  Yellowstone Association
Founded in 1933 to assist with educational, historical and scientific programs that would benefit Yellowstone National Park and its visitors. Operates book sale outlets in park visitor centers which supports expanded naturalist training and programs, finances publication of trail guides, books and pamphlets about the Park, helps with funding for museum exhibits and research equipment. The Yellowstone Association Institute sponsors outdoor courses for all age groups, some of which are especially designed for women, families and children. The Institute's purpose is to explore, understand and appreciate Yellowstone. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneassociation.org
  Yellowstone National Park
Official website for Yellowstone National Park. Information, planning a visit, history, etc. For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Designing Wildlife Photographs: Professional Field Techniques for Composing Great Pictures


Author: Joe McDonald


Description: Learn how to create a well-designed image of an animal in its natural environment. Features crisp instructions and critiquing and a short list of suppliers of photographic wares.



Focus on Nature: The Creative Process Behind Making Great Photographs in the Field


Author: John Shaw


Description: "Photographing nature is an attempt to order the chaos around us by emphasizing some aspects of the environment while ignoring others. There is a big difference between the procedures and the process of photography and this book attempts to help the reader recognize the difference."



The Nature Photographer's Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques


Author: John Shaw


Description: Field-tested handbook includes beautiful photographs and well-written text which covers everything the photographer needs to know.



The Art of Photographing Nature


Author: Martha Hill and Art Wolfe


Description: Nature photographer and former photography editor of Audubon Magazine collaborate to show the novice to experienced amateur how to see like a professional.



The Art of Bird Photography: The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques


Author: Arthur Morris


Description: The author ia an acclaimed freelance nature photographer and writer specializing in avian subjects. The hands-on guide provides practical guidance and professional advice covering topics from buying the right camera equipment to composing the perfect picture, making correct exposures, capturing bird behavior and action and evaluating and selling work. Consider ethics relating to bird photography and information on bird watching locations. Colorful images of birds in action are sure to inspire.



Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park


Author: Peter Nabokov and Lawrence Loendorf


Description: This first comprehensive account of Indians in and around Yellowstone corrects more than a century of ignorance. Detailed here is Yellowstone's native peoples and their story of a long engagement with a remarkable landscape.



Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness


Author: Paul Schullery


Description: Eloquent, elegant, truthful and practical - an environmental history of America's best idea, Yellowstone.



To Save the Wild Bison: Life on the Edge in Yellowstone


Author: Mary Ann Franke


Description: The author brings clarity and revelation to one of Yellowstone's most complex struggles by tracing the history of bison and humans into the 19th century and further into the national parks era. Here's discussion of bison management and park policy - the battle over brucellosis, snowmobiles and groomed winter roads, desires of Native Americans, bison and predators.



Decade of the Wolf, revised and updated edition: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone


Author: Douglas W. Smith and Gary Ferguson


Description: Research and storytelling meld to document wolf recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wolf biologist, Smith, and nature writer, Ferguson, provide an inside look at the Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Project ten years after the controversial decision was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to reintroduce wolves into the park. Smith, wolf project leader who has worked with the Yellowstone Wolf Project since its inception, has studied wolves for 25 years. Ferguson, whose writing largely arises from intimate experiences, followed through the seasons, the first 14 wolves released into Yellowstone National Park. Their collaboration offers hard facts and 'impressionistic portraits of individual wolves that reveal their epic lives full of struggle and conquest.' Here is the history of the return of the top predator to Yellowstone.



After the Fires: The Ecology of Change in Yellowstone National Park


Author: Linda Wallace, Editor


Description: The ravaging fires of 1988 caused many scientists to predict long-term devastation which did not come to pass. This scientific summary by wildlife biologists, ecosystem and forest scientists and landscape ecologists discusses the many things that changed and did not change in the Yellowstone area. Realize the role of fire in the ecosystem and the resiliency of nature.



Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country


Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas


Description: Updated, classic roadside geology book for the Yellowstone Region explains current geological theories.





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