While reworking and sequencing my Winter Water project, I realized that, for a photographer as well as a physicist, snow, ice, and liquid are very distinct states of water, with distinct texture, tone, and shape. Perhaps because those photographs had no sky, I managed to completely forget about the vaporous state. Last Monday, however, I was vividly reminded of that glorious phase while biking through Yellowstone. Roads were clear but cars not yet allowed, so I had it almost to myself: only a half dozen other bikers all day, and a few service vehicles per hour. Fortunately I had a late start, so by the time I reached the Lower Falls it was well on in the afternoon. The westerly light left the falling water in shade while illuminating the mist.


The constantly changing shapes were mesmerizing and kept me occupied as long as I dared stay. There’s clearly a reason for the overused description wraithlike. It was unusually dynamic because it was very windy; in fact, I finally lost my hat (a baseball-style cap like June’s) down the canyon, and was in no way tempted to go after it.

Besides the mist, there were some intriguing crevasses that had opened up in the snow pack. The sharp tears in the smooth surface made a nice contrast with the hovering mist.


On the way back I stopped for a more peaceful image at a thawing lake. There seemed to be something a mystical about the neatly sliced mound of snow. I suspect I could be happy photographing nothing but the infinite forms of water.


Which leads me to think about the benefits of narrowing one’s focus, one’s effort. The nature of a project is such a focusing, but I frequently wonder if I don’t have too many projects in hand. They often conflict; I can’t do more than one thing at a time, and the time is so limited. Do you also feel pulled in too many directions artistically? Or, on the contrary, do you want to broaden your scope?