Watching the sun set behind the Great Fountain Geyser in Yellowstone National Park totally blew me away! The Great Fountain Geyser only erupts every 9 – 15 hours, so it has a pretty large window of probability and is easy to miss. We got lucky to watch it erupt just before sunset. It was the eruption that kept on giving. After its initial eruption, tiny pockets all around the geyser filled with hot water, creating the perfect reflection pools for sunset. I took so many photographs, I made my first ever time lapse video (see below). While it’s a little choppy because it wasn’t planned, I think it turned out great all things considered:)
Sunset at the Great Fountain Geyser is a spectacular location for photography!
Do you want to find good sunset locations in Yellowstone National Park? My best advice is to ask the locals! On our second day at Yellowstone National Park, I visited the Art & Photography Center near the Old Faithful Geyser. There I met a resident photographer. She shared with me some of her most favorite photography locations at sunset in Yellowstone National Park. On her top 5 list was the Great Fountain Geyser located in the Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. She told me that if we were lucky, the geyser would erupt just in time for the sunset that evening.
After eating dinner at our campsite in Madison Campground, and visiting Gibbon Falls, I packed up my kids and we headed to the Great Fountain Geyser to set up my tri-pod and secure a photography spot. Surprisingly it wasn’t overly crowded, and my kids had plenty to see while we waited.
We arrived around 7:30 pm, just in time to watch a magnificent eruption.
The Great Fountain Geyser is located on Firehole Lake Drive
In order to find the Great Fountain Geyser, travel south on 191. This takes you towards the Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful. The entrance will be on your left before you reach the Grand Prismatic Spring. Firehole Lake Drive is a one-way road.
You will pass the exit on your left and then you will reach the entrance. There is limited parking near the geyser, however, most of the large crowds left by 5 pm, so parking wasn’t an issue for us (we went in July).
Let the wait begin
One thing I loved about this sunset was meeting a lot of interesting people. Even before sunset, the clouds parted and beautiful sun rays peeked through in the distance. I set up my tri-pod and began clicking random photos, checking my settings from time to time.
I saw a lot of people come, take a quick photo, and then leave. Even if you can’t wait, it really is beautiful in the low light of evening. Firehole Lake Drive in and of itself is lovely and is worth visiting. My kids walked to the White Dome Geyser to watch it erupt while we waited for the sun to set. You can see it erupting in the distance in many of these photographs.
We got an upside down sunrise before we got our sunset
After waiting for an hour or so, the sun thankfully peeked through the clouds. What started out as fun chit chat amongst an elite group of photographers turned into a sacred silence filled with quiet clicks of cameras.
This initial sunset turned out to be an upside down sunrise. It was really neat watching the sun emerge from the clouds before it set below the horizon.
The steam from the Great Fountain Geyser provided an eerie atmosphere and a nice diffuser for the bright sun.
Wait, and then wait some more
After the sun set, most of the photographers packed up and left. If I have learned one thing from my landscape photography classes, it’s this: WAIT. Some of the best magic doesn’t happen at sunset, but AFTER sunset.
So, I waited. Only about 3 other photographers waited with me.
As we waited, the sky took on an incredible glow. We watched as the geyser lit up reflecting the sky.
A magnificent lightning storm moved in as the basin edges turned black
We waited and watched and all of a sudden a terrific thunderstorm moved in. My jaw dropped as I saw the contrast on the geyser.
I tried and tried to capture the lightning, but wasn’t successful as it was totally intermittent.
Then, suddenly, the storm turned and headed straight towards us!
I watched as rain pelted the once still pools near the geyser.
Then, before I knew it, rain began pelting me and my equipment! So, I grabbed it and ran towards the car. I dried off my gear and said goodbye to this memorable sunset at the Great Fountain Geyser.
I hope you get the opportunity to see this for yourself. If not, at least you can live it through my photos! Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!
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