It's our country's very first National Park, and it is grand... but not in the ways you think. Here's a rundown of expectations vs. reality and a super cute video of us being dorky tourists!
Yellowstone, in my book, is famous for two things: this guy pictured above, known worldwide as Old Faithful, which actually looks more like this....
Two rows of bleachers in a semi-circle, surround the famous site. There is no way to take an interesting, unique photo of Old Faithful and even if you could, I am sure one of the hundreds of visitors EACH eruption would likely score the same shot. Don't even get me started on the dully unoriginal dad jokes heard from EVERY WHITE MALE in earshot. *Old Faithful shoots up some steam for a second or two* "Oh there it goes, that's it. Time to go!" *Geyser in the distance erupts* "We picked the wrong one! We should be over there!" Now chorus those original thoughts through 20 or so oh-so-proud-of-themselves men. Don't forget the overly pushy tourists that come by the busload. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were important. Let me step aside so that YOU can get that unoriginal shot right in front of me, thank you.
The second on the Yellowstone "It" list are the brightly colored thermal pools, which on Instagram look like this...
And here is the classic case of expectations verses reality...
Now, I am no photographer. I point and shoot with my archaic Samsung Galaxy IV that likes to shut itself off randomly throughout the day and basically needs to be plugged in 24/7. But come on Yellowstone, come on! Even in person the view is not too much more grand than the "before" photos. It's cool, don't get me wrong. It's just, the hype, the National Geographic photos, the Instagram casual selfies; I expected more.
If you're wondering how I turned "blah" cellphone snaps into "wow!" photos, let me introduce you to my favorite app. My photographer extraordinaire friend, Jana Obscura, let me in on a little secret called Snapseed (available for both Android and Apple). Okay, it was rated one of the Top 100 Best Andriod Apps of 2015 PC Magazine, so I guess it's not that big of a secret. Still, Snapseed is a free app that allows you to edit your photo on your phone and requires little skill to navigate. My favorite aspect is the ability to adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation of a specific part of the photo. Most photo editing apps just apply the effect to the entire photo, Snapseed is the first I've found that gives you more control.
Back to Yellowstone-- despite my disappointment with the "It" list, there are some really awesome aspects to the park. There are plenty of stupid, stupid tourists trying to take waaaaay too close selfies with wild bison. And even better, away from all the people is a much underrated, gigantic and glorious canyon. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a picturesque fall reviling Snoqualmie Falls, pouring into the lush counterpart to the national park of the same name, the Grand Canyon. It's beauty feels unreal. No fancy photo editing required :)
And here it is, the cheesy and adorable video to entertain you all and perpetuate the Yellowstone National Park mis-expectations!