Yellowstone Peaks

Yellowstone Peaks – West Yellowstone, Montana

A few days ago I posted what was in my plein air watercolor painting field kit, which you can read all about here. Within the article, I included an ancient throwback photo of myself actually using my existing field kit at the time – but I didn’t show you what the finished end result was. That completed watercolor painting is the one above, a painting that I’ve always loved and that we have hanging on our living room wall as I type this. It’s important to me for two reasons… a) I painted it near one of my favorite places, Yellowstone National Park, and… b) I painted it during our honeymoon.

Cindy and I were married in the summer of 1990, and our honeymoon consisted of our first epic road trip – driving from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, through the Mid-West, and staying for a week of hiking and mountain biking in Winter Park, Colorado. Then driving up through Wyoming, exploring Yellowstone in the process, and wandering through western Montana and eastern Idaho, before finishing up tent camping in the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, in central Idaho.

While we were meandering around in the Rocky Mountains, we would occasionally stop and I would break out my painting field kit for some plein air time. We have two paintings from that trip that I cherish, and this is one of them. This one is also the only one with accompanying photos of me painting, and the subject that I’m rendering on paper, which you can see below.

Subject I was painting – near West Yellowstone, Montana
Me and my plein air painting field kit in 1990

One other memory from this plein air session… I received a painful sunburn from sitting in the high altitude sun for so long. But it was worth it… oh so worth it!


Painting info:
Yellowstone Peaks
West Yellowstone, Montana
July 1990
Daniel Smith Extra Fine watercolors
Schmincke Horadam Aquarell watercolors
Lanaquarelle 300 lb cold press paper
5”x7”

Photo info:
Mountain peaks
Me while plein air painting
West Yellowstone, Montana
July 1990
Kodak Ektachrome 100 film
Olympus Stylus Epic point-and-shoot 35mm film camera

Sentinel Tree

Overlooking the Madison Valley – Cameron, Montana

We have always enjoyed 4×4 driving wherever the trails lead us, and this time was no exception. Getting up into the Gravelly Range is easy, but the single track trails leading off from the main route get progressively worse, until it begins to look like turning around is necessary or a tow is warranted. On this occasion we parked and walked to this vista, with the added bonus of the picturesque tree in the foreground.


Photo info:
Sentinel tree
The Gravelly Range
Cameron, Montana
October 2017
Eastman Double-X 5222 film
Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM lens
Leica M3 35mm film camera

Wishing for the Cold

Ennis Lake – Ennis, Montana

It’s in the sweltering dog days of the summer months – after weeks of stifling unrelenting heat – that I begin longing for the colder months. I know summer-loving people think I’m nuts – but I totally live for the brisk air, crisp sounds, crystal clear horizons, and clean scents that appear once the longer nights chase out the heat. Some people favor the warmer colors of summer; I just happen to favor the cooler colors of winter – like the blues in this image.


Photo info:
Ennis Lake
Madison Valley
Ennis, Montana
January 2019
Kodak Portra 400
Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM lens
Leica M3 35mm film camera