Yellowstone Unveiled

America’s first national park has long captivated our imaginations and affections, but it speaks on a different level to photographer David C. Olson, who’s spent years capturing its beauty.

The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, nearly twice as high as Niagara Falls.

As professional photographers, my wife Adrienne and I capture everything imaginable at our Rockford-area studio. But one thing we simply can’t photograph indoors is nature’s beauty.

The iconic wild bison.

I enjoy capturing breathtaking shots of our natural world, and my works have helped me to become a nationally recognized photographer. Adrienne and I travel to distant corners of North America, either alone or leading photographic tours that teach people about some of our favorite destinations. These are true immersions into the wilderness, as we find stunning landscapes and all sorts of wildlife, often in remote locations.

A bull elk blows off some steam.

Last October, we returned to one of my favorite places, Yellowstone National Park. America’s first national park celebrates its 152nd anniversary this year.

The tiny pika.

I have an extensive background in this corner of northwest Wyoming, having once lived and worked just outside Grand Teton National Park, which is just to the south of Yellowstone. My knowledge of this area, its terrain and its wildlife helps me on my photography tours because I can show my students the best places to find wildlife and scenery in this beautiful 2.3 million acre park.

The raven

The grandeur of Yellowstone overwhelms most people. The park is full of ancient volcanic and geothermal activity that generates steam, boiling water, mud and other visually appealing attractions.

The fascinating red fox.

Yellowstone’s environment is unlike any other. Its enormous biodiverse landscapes are home to bison herds, elk, pronghorn, moose, bears, mountain lions, wolves and many species of birds. 

The pronghorn antelope is North America’s fastest land animal.

The park’s grandeur has been captured many times over since William Henry Jackson took the first photographs of Yellowstone in 1871. In fact, you can still stand in the exact spot where he stood to photograph Lower Falls.

The elusive gray wolf.

believe Yellowstone is a must-see destination for everyone. When I take people through the park, I love to share stories from my travels here. I’ll tell stories of the bull elk bugling in the fall, which sounds like a loud double reed instrument echoing through the canyons. I might even share how I saw grizzlies and howling wolves battling over a bison carcass.

Roaring Mountain’s geothermal landscape.

In my approach to photography, I use imagery to tell a story in a way that’s both aesthetically stunning and eye-catching. To do this well, it’s imperative to pay attention to details. Before each photograph is taken, fantastic lighting, tack sharpness, optimum exposure and balance of composition must be considered. Sometimes you have to make these decisions in a split second.

A bull elk bugles at dawn.

When I’m out in the wild, I like to remind people, “Here, we are but guests. The animals live here, and this is their home. It is not ours.” 

A coyote howls.

To fully appreciate the Yellowstone experience, you must slow down and smell the sage. This involves getting out of your vehicle, hiking, turning off that phone ringer, and connecting with nature. It will benefit your mind, body and spirit tremendously.

The very focused Great Grey Owl.

If you are interested in seeing more of David Olson’s imagery and traveling on a tour with David, visit