Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the largest and most beautiful examples of a common hydrothermal feature in Yellowstone, hot springs. The prismatic or colorful features come from several sources; the deep blue in the center is the clear super-heated water circulating up from the subterranean heat source under the Park. As the water cools at the surface, some of it sinks back down, and some of it runs off in shallow rivulets in all directions of the compass. As the water cools at the edges of the pool and on the sinter terraces, bacteria and algae live and prosper producing a rainbow of colors. From this aerial perspective, a pair of convection currents, like a pair of eyes, is visible where the water boils up from the immense heat source below. This hot spring was specifically mentioned in Osborne Russell's Journal of a Trapper , by the name of Boiling Lake, which apparently was a name given to it by Rocky Mountain fur trappers in the 1830s.
Winter light in Yellowstone is almost always clean and blue cold. If there is any warm light, it is very brief at sunrise and sunset. There would normally never be a reason to stop for this forlorn-looking lodgepole pine killed by the North Fork Fire of 1988. One morning before sunrise I was watching steam from Calcite Springs drift through nearby trees. The sun came up over the ridge and lit up this little frosted tree along with the top of the snow drift. Then the sun brightened everything around it, and in less than one minute this magical, golden tree once again became a nondescript stick.
Crested Pool, next to Castle Geyser, boils constantly, producing a lot of noise and steam. In spite of all the furious activity there is little runoff. Bison seek these shallow runoff channels to soak up the steam's heat, ignoring the furious bubbling next to their feet.
There are twenty-eight species of gossamer-wing butterflies in Yellowstone, including the 11 in the subfamily Polyommatinae called “blues”. Blues, scarcely an inch across, are butterflies that eat nectar, mud, and dung. Each species has different host plants such as sulfur buckwheat, wild rose, and lupine. This small group of blues perched on a water saturated log next to a spring. They sipped mineral rich water from the log in an idyllic, cool and shaded refuge.
Lodgepole pine trees in thermal runoff channel Lower Geyser Basin Yellowstone Park. Marsh grasses, snowstorm.
Ermine hunting in deep snow. Poking head out of tunnel in snow. Winter pellage. Mustellid. Long tailed weasel.
This muskrat dove to the bottom of a pond and hauled up armloads of greens. He draped them over a secure log and, starting at one end of each tendril, nibbled rapidly through dozens of pieces. I watched him consume ten armloads in about one hour, using his front feet to feed the greenery into his vegetable chopper.
Clouds visible on the eastern horizon were pink from the last bright colors of a spectacular sunset. The moon had risen about 30 minutes into the sky and was adding its meager light across the Upper Geyser Basin. Castle Geyser erupts about every 12 hours and eruptions last for about 50 minutes. Castle started to erupt after the pink light had faded from the cone but the large clouds to the west behind me cast a faint pink glow across the entire landscape. Water bursts went 60 feet into the air and helped push the clouds of steam hundreds of feet higher.
Wildlife Bears Polar Bear
En soldat i det grønnes hær.
På den rette side af historien.
I naturens tjeneste.
Var det ikke Emerson der sagde, at glad er ham (eller hende) der lærer sin lektie fra naturen, at tilbede? Som mennesker er vi tilbøjelige til at overestimere os selv; som Jordens vogtere tror vi os selv det mest intelligente væsen. Fordi at vi har hænder der kan manøvre og sind der tror på en fri vilje, tror vi os selv ophøjet. Men hvad hvis vi altid blot var instrumenter af naturens intelligens. Soldaterne gjorde altid tjeneste for den sedentariske konge i sit palads. Hvad er naturen end en konge i en milliard paladser, allestedsværende?
Fotografen Tom Murphy er en sådan soldat. En indfanger af naturens sublime skønhed; en tilbeder af det grønne ynde. Han indfanger det der er blevet taget fra os, og påminder os om dets vidunderlighed og pragt med sin fotografi. Det minder os om det fundamentale vi har glemt, og kun de fattigste af sjæle ville kunne ignore et sådan agte til handling.
“Jeg har valgt at dedikere min tid til den naturlige verden. Jeg vil gerne vise andre hvor smuk naturen er. Hvis folk ser det som skønt, vil de tillægge det værdi. Så snart noget bliver betragtet som værdifuldt, bliver det værd at bevare.” Siger Tom Murphy selv.
Siden en ung alder har han været tæt knyttet til planteriget, og for 33 år siden blev han den første person til at blive licenseret tilladelse til at udøve og undervise i fotografi i Yellowstone Nationalparken.