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The next three days were spent in the Upper Geyser Basin, staying two nights at the Snow Lodge adjacent to Old Faithful. I traveled there via snowcoach, having booked reservations for both the transportation and the lodge the previous October. Given I would not have my car for transportation and wildlife opportunities were expected to be less, I left behind my bigger supertelephoto rig, and instead limited my equipment to a more landscape oriented setup, consisting of a Canon EOS 5D mark III with the EF 25-105mm f/4L and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lenses plus some filters, tripod, and cable release.
On the way to the Snow Lodge that first morning, the snow coach stopped at the Norris Geyser Basin for about 20-30 minutes. This ended up being quite fruitful for photography. The cold winter morning air tended to condense quite strongly in the presence of the hot vapors emitted from the geysers, creating a more mystical world to the surrounding landscape. Even though I have visited Norris Basin in the past during the fall, the winter photography of the same areas tended to look strikingly different, being well worth this repeat visit (see images 62-71).
The second day was spent exploring some of the upper geyser basin on my backcountry skis. The snow conditions ended up being quite icy and patchy in places with many areas of exposed ground, making travel by skis quite dicey. After exploring half way up the Lone Star trail, and struggling to get my skis to bite, I decided it was best to travel by foot, using my insulated snow boots, gators, and Yaktrax to get around.