Vacant Yellowstone - Evan Cobb | Photographer & Videographer | Utah

Vacant Yellowstone

Layers of the morning unfold in Yellowstone National Park.

I posted a blog about the landscapes of Yellowstone shortly after I returned from my National Geographic Student Expedition into the park. Recently, I returned to the full take to see what else I could find in the images. I was hit by the solitude and silence that some of the images held. There were few humans in the images that I made in the early morning or late in the evenings. There was a quiet to the place, but also a power that came with it. 

I continued to cull through the images and found that there were many images that felt very similar, because of how they were photographed and the absence of humans within the frame. I sorted out the images and began to trim down the amount to build a photo essay that speaks to the stillness that is still found in this national park. 

This stillness is an opposite to the visitation of the park. In the month of July (2012-2016) nearly 25% of all yearly visits happen during that time and that just happened to be when we were in the park. This means that there are tour buses filling parking lots, families in line at the restaurants, and crowds milling about the major sites. 

However, since the park can only accommodate about 14,300 people, many of these visitors stay outside of the park and roll into the park mid-morning. We were up and on the road by 5 am, which left us out with very few other visitors. This made it easy to let the power of Yellowstone sink in, without having to worry about bumping into anyone or being distracted from the place. 

The sun sets on a portion of the Yellowstone fires of 1988. These fires formed one of the largest wildfires in American history.

The opportunity to step away and come back to the photographs let me realize the similarities between many of the images. It allowed for me to process what the experience in Yellowstone felt like and led me to look for images that illuminated that. The project is currently up on my website here and I hope that the images allow you to enter into the silence and peace that is still available in the park.