This past January (2016) I attended a wildlife and landscape photography workshop in Yellowstone National Park, hosted by the gracious Jim Harmer of As this was my very first photo workshop I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the entire experience was absolutely fantastic! It was great to get together with a big group of people just as (if not more) passionate about photography as I am.

As I was staying at the North Entrance to the park, the first major feature to be seen as I made my way into Yellowstone is the Gardiner River, A small but beautiful river carving its way through the mountains and boulders. I knew right away I was going to be spending a great deal of my trip trying to keep my feet dry while shooting it.

Garidner River With Bart at Yellowstone Photography Workshop

Gardiner River with Bart – Sony A7 – Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 – Aperture Unknown – ISO 640 – 1/100th sec

Gardiner River with Another Photographer at Yellowstone Photography Workshop

Gardiner River with Quinton – Sony A7 – Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 – Aperture Unknown – ISO 400 – 1/50th sec

Gardiner River

Gardiner River – Sony A7 – Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 – Aperture Unknown – ISO 100 – 4 Bracket Shots HDR 1/30th to 1/4th seconds

Though we never got much of a sunset or sunrise the entire trip, we made do with what nature gave us. Shooting RAW (and HDR) can give you the ability to pull amazing details out of an otherwise bland sky.

The next attraction along our singular route is Mammoth Hot Springs. While the town and springs were fun and something I highly recommend stopping to see, I found making an interesting photo of anything there a bit difficult. Around the thermal features you’re not allowed to venture off the wooden paths, so the angles you could get were somewhat limited.

Mammoth Hot Springs Tree

Mammoth Hot Springs Tree – Olympus E-M5ii – Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 @ 7mm and f/2.8 – ISO 200 – 1/640th sec

The rest of the time we spent driving between Mammoth and Icebox Canyon. The views along this route are some of the most spectacular I’ve seen. Great wide open valleys, blanked in sheets of pure white snow, dotted with huge boulders and small trees, crossed by deep blue rivers and surrounded by enormous peaks. No photography could capture the feeling of being there, but that never stops me from trying…

Abiathar Peak

Abiathar Peak – Olympus E-M1 – Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm and f/7.1 – ISO 200 – 1/500th sec

However, the mountains and planes we’re not what I’d left my warm home in Florida to photograph. The primary focus of this trip was wildlife! And let me tell you, Yellowstone did not disappoint. For starters, there are bison, elk, and pronghorn everywhere!


Elk – Olympus E-M5ii – Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm and f/5.6 – ISO 800 – 1/1000th sec


Bison – Olympus E-M5ii – Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 252mm and f/5.6 – ISO 1600 – 1/1250th sec

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope – Olympus E-M5ii – Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 286mm and f/5.6 – ISO 800 – 1/640th sec

Seriously, before the end of the trip I was so bored of shooting bison and pronghorn I’d pass a large group of them by the side of the road and say to myself “nah, there’s more interesting animals out there…”.

Much more illusive, though not impossible to spot, were the coyotes.

Coyote Pounce

Coyote Pounce – Olympus E-M5ii – Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 286mm and f/7.1 – ISO 500 – 1/800th sec


Coyote – Olympus E-M5ii – Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 177mm and f/6.3 – ISO 800 – 1/2000th sec

These majestic canines were by far the highlight of the entire trip. Never ones to stay around humans long they were much more difficult to capture, but well worth the effort.

Improve Photography Portfolio Review at the Yellowstone Photography Workshop

Improve Photography Portfolio Review given by Jim Harmer – From left to right; Quinton Tillman, Sandy Jorgenson, Jim Harmer, Tom Larkin, George Baskin, Monika Libson, Torrey Voigt, Teresa Malesardi

All in all, I don’t think I could have asked for more. The landscapes were marvelous, the animals we plentiful, the weather was pleasant, and most importantly, the people were great! The moment I hear word of another Improve Photography Workshop in an area I can afford to get to, I’ll be booking my hotel.