Dean M. Chriss
Trees at Dawn, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

Trees at Dawn, Yellowstone National Park

(Click image to enlarge)

I first noticed this group of three trees several years before photographing them. They seemed to make a compelling subject but the background was too distracting for a nice image. Thermal areas like the one around the trees can generate a considerable amount of fog if temperatures are cold enough. I thought that fact might be used to simplify the background. One frosty morning all of the required elements came together. A very light breeze kept fog from enveloping the trees, and when sunrise came a layer of clouds in the background was illuminated with a wonderful warm glow. From this vantage point, the bottom of the clouds melted into the fog and their top faded into a crystal clear sky. Distant hills can barely be seen through the mist. Luck provided a brief and unusual opportunity to get the photograph I had envisioned along with some color I could not have anticipated.