Thumb Geyser Basin

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Thumb Geyser Basin features a boardwalk that takes visitors past a number of steaming, colorful hot springs. Be aware that steam can condense on camera gear, so take steps to keep it clean and dry.

Photographing Yellowstone? Be prepared.

In Yellowstone, you’ll discover spectacular opportunities for incredible photographs every day. Be prepared.

1. Keep your camera handy, loaded with fresh batteries. While changing batteries, great photo opportunities can evaporate.

2. Know what your camera can do.

There are some shots you will see folks with fantastic lenses making that your camera may not be able to replicate. Then it’s best to just enjoy the view.

3. Taking several photographs helps to train your eye.

Check each on your LCD screen to see how it worked. If it clearly did not work, delete it. If you’re not sure, view it later on your computer or a kiosk in a photography store that allows you to view images, select your favorites for editing and printing.

4. Carry a notebook.

Document your experience as you capture images, record what did and didn’t work, what to do differently next time.

5. Get up and get going.

Morning offers incredible opportunities for seeing wildlife, and some of the best lighting for outdoor photography. So do evening and shiny-bright days that are slightly overcast. Fog and snowstorms and other types of weather also create dramatic opportunities for extraordinary photographs.

6. Steam from geysers and hot pots can condense on your gear. Know how to keep your camera dry and carry an absorbent, lint-free cloth, to pat dry your camera body and lens. Purosol Optical Molecular Lens Cleaner is a “green” cleaner that breaks down the bonds that dust, dirt and grime use to glue themselves to lens surfaces. Use it with a microfiber lens cleaning cloth like Spudz that comes in a handy pouch that you can easily hang on your camera bag.

7. Photographing wildlife requires distance for safety and good inter-species relations. Be prepared to work from a distance despite the temptation to get just a little closer. If your camera has interchangeable lenses, work with a larger one, 300mm or more. The best wildlife photos show their subject interacting with landscape, weather and other animals — not with you.

If you have a spotting scope or good binoculars and want to use your iPhone for wildlife shots, look for a Universal Optics Adapter.

Your images evoke memory. At the end of each day, protect them by transferring them from your camera’s flash memory to a computer and backing them to an external drive.