Island Park Adventure!


So the idea for this trip came after my teacher in my color photography class assigned to us a “landscape” assignment. Our assignment is to do 2 panoramas (like the one below) and 2 normal photos. So I figured why not escape the congestion of Rexburg and venture outward a bit to where the real beauty is?! I’ve been thinking lately how lucky I am to live so close to a place that people spend thousands of dollars to visit and to see. Really, there is no where like this any where else in the US. The east does not have as great of a variety of geological features as we do out here. I need to get outside of myself more and explore while I can! I need to be grateful for living so close to all this beauty!!


I remembered my teacher talking about Island Park and have seen a lot of beautiful pictures from there, so I decided to do some research on Flickr for inspiration. I wrote down some places I wanted to go to on my way up there… Mesa Falls (in the winter it’s frozen) unfortunately the road was not maintained so we couldn’t get back there…but we did find this place on our way! …..(below)

The river was windy, crystal clear, and there were cabins in the distance. The snow went up to my knees as I tried to walk downhill to get this shot but luckily my sister in law Lisa gave me these boots that have sheep fur in them so I wasn’t affected at all! To get this shot, I took about 6 vertical photos and twisted my body as if I were a tripod, making sure the photos overlapped a bit so in photoshop it could put it together. I realize that the photo came out a bit “fish eye” because I didn’t rotate my body perfectly so it is a bit distorted but I kind of like it. Josh and I are definately going to go fishing here this summer. Perfect spot. mesa_tonemappedresize

After this we headed up to Island Park…. we got a late start so we were in a rush to get there before sunset and actually get some photos. Unfortunately all the areas I wanted to go to you had to get there by snowmobile/and or the water was frozen with snow over it so I couldn’t take the photo I wanted. I realized I should just try and photograph the river since it doesn’t usually freeze. We were going back and forth on an empty stomach but putting off our hunger while we waited for the sun to set…. not sure where we were going to go. All of a sudden the sky began to glow orange and blue. I felt depressed because there was a beautiful sky but not beautiful place to stop to take photos….since we were just going with the flow not knowing where to go. All of a sudden we drive past this scene which you see below me as we go over a bridge crossing over buffalo creek. I scream oh my gosh!! Stop!! So Josh stops on the highway…and I get out with snow up to my knees trying to get to the spot where I want to take my photos. At first the snow was coming out blue, so I realized I should change the White Balance setting to “cloudy” so that way it warms up the photo. What you see below is literally how it looked. It was gorgeous and breath taking. I love how the reflection in the water leads your eye inward. All the lines in this photo lead the viewer inward and the color is captivating. I call this photo “The Magic’s in the Sky” because it surely wasn’t in my camera. It was just stroke of luck and determination on my part that got me this…oh and a nice camera of course! I was on a high after getting this one. I took more angles but this was the first one I edited and liked it. 🙂 vanillatwilightlogo

Afterwards we were starving, and we figured we were on a date night anyway so we began looking for a restarant…. the only thing in Island Park was a Pizzaria/Bar where literally 50 – 60 snow mobilers had parked. We went inside the gas station part….but looked over to the restarant and definately looked like drinking was going on. Nothing would have been more awkward. Josh and I would have stuck out like a sore thumb in a bar, and I didn’t’ feel comfortable there…. so we decided, what the heck we are close enough to W. Yellowstone so we decided to drive there…about 25 minutes away. It was a beautiful drive but the sun had set. When we got there we noticed that most restarants were closed down for the winter….even McDonalds and Subway and DQ were closed!! The only restarant open that wasn’t a bar was Arby’s of all places…. so I was more than happy to settle for one of their sandwhiches and curly fries at that point! The workers there looked almost bored, having little to no customers to serve… very unusual for a fast food restaurant but that shows you how secluded we were. We downed our food, and then got a peppermint milkshake that literally put me over the edge. lol. We wanted to try and stay the night since I wanted to wake up early in to get a pretty sunrise shot….so we found a spot and attempted to fall asleep…and we tried for a while but the cold was beginning to seep in through the blanket, and we had like 3 on. I could barely breathe because the cold air was so frigid. Finally we decided we might as well leave because it was 2 in the morning and I still wasn’t sleeping….so we left to go home…we saw a temperature gauge later in Rexburg which said it was 0 degrees, so we realized later we had been trying to sleep in negative degree weather! We are crazy. Anyway, Josh was telling me there was no cloud in the sky, perfect conditions for my star photography/milky way galaxy. We decided to stop on the side of the highway (it wasn’t busy at all) and attempt to take some photos. In order to take the photo, though, you have to turn off all the lights on the car while the camera takes a 25 second exposure. Seeing that we were surrounded by wilderness I said “Josh, you push the button…i’ll chill in the car” because i’m a scaredy cat. So being awesome and tough Josh agreed. One time I got out of the car and he didn’t see me and he freaked out because all he saw was something big coming toward him. He thought it was Big Foot…haha! It took a few times….figuring out the focus, and the light. It was too cold to take too many photos so we settled with this last one we took. . .


Not shabby, but I have seen photos online that are “breathtaking” . This summer my goal is to get the milky way! It’s happening!

Well it took a while to get home, but when we got there we realized the sunrise was going to happen soon…or so we thought. So I was like…we could shoot the temple as the sun is coming up! So we just parked in the temple parking lot waiting…..I realized the sun wasn’t coming up until later though and I was exhausted so i’m like… you know what? Let’s just go home. It was around 5 AM at this point.

Sleep never felt so good!!


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