Night Photography at Yellowstone Geysers

The Grand Prismatic Spring

An amazing foreground, with really dark, clear skies and no crowds.

During the day this spot will be packed with people. Come back here at night time to get some beautiful night sky photography with the amazing hot springs and geysers in the foreground, without the crowds.

If you are new to night photography, you can read my adventure on Mormon Row where I explain the essentials and the basics so you can get started. I've also included it below for reference.

This is a great place to learn or for advanced photographers as well because it has some of the clearest skies and the brightest Milky Way I have ever seen.

Check what time the moon will be setting/rising to make sure it won't be out while you are shooting or else you won't be able to see. The milky way rises in the SW part of the sky and comes up at different times during the year, so look that up to so you don't miss it!

Aim where the milky way is, if you can get good photos of it, then you can at least sort of see it in the sky. If you cant see it in the sky, most likely it won't show up too great in your photos. Turn your ISO up to about 2000-3200 depending on what kind of camera you are shooting. Cropped sensors will be really grainy at 3200 but 2000 is acceptable. Full frames should be fine and 3200 and anything brighter isn't necessary and will just take out a lot of contrast from the dark sky. If you are shooting a wide lens like 16mm-8mm you can get away with a 30" exposure but 25" will make the stars look the sharpest. If it is still really dark you can bump it to 30" though, there will just be a tiny bit of drag as the earth rotates. If you are shooting tight like 50mm-24mm you won't want to pass 20" or else the star streaks will be really noticeable and your sky will never look in focus. Open your lens up to f/2.8 or the widest aperture it can go, to let in the most light possible. If you go past f/2.8 your foreground can be really soft or it can be really hard to get the stars in focus. To focus your lens correctly, switch to live mode and zoom in. Search for a bright start and manual focus on it, this way you won't have a soft sky and thus will be able to see more stars/ more detail in your photo. After that, just snap away!

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Remote/ Timer
  • Tripod
  • Extra Batteries
  • Wide Angle Lens
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Hot Springs
Scenic

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Different Landscape

Unlike photographing any other landscape.

How to fall in love with astrophotography!

Dark skies combined with incredible scenery, Yellowstone is a great place for astrophotography! Make sure to be vigilant about local wildlife, especially in the quieter park times of the year!

This is the best way to see the park with some solitude.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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