Yellowstone Winter Photography Workshop Via Snow-Coach

Snow covered Bison in Yellowstone

Snow covered Bison in Yellowstone. Photography Workshops with Mike Wardynski

2025 DATES COMING IN SPRING

CONTACT ME TO BE PLACED ON THE NOTIFICATION LIST

Workshop Overview

Experience Yellowstone in a way that few photographers ever get the chance to. After all of the tourist have emptied out from the busy summer season, Yellowstone becomes a place of peace and beauty. The roads throughout most of Yellowstone are closed to private vehicles during the winter season which allows us to photograph landscapes and wildlife without the hoards of tourists.

Over the course of the workshop we’ll spend three full days photographing wildlife and geothermal features in the winter wonderland that is Yellowstone National Park. We'll be traveling by snow-coach with a local driver/guide who will take our group to the locations where the wildlife has been most active. Possible wildlife sightings include bison, elk, coyotes, wolves, swan, fox, deer and more.

Winter wildlife photography workshop in Yellowstone

Winter wildlife photography workshop in Yellowstone

Who this Workshop is for

This workshop is for anyone with an interest in wildlife and winter landscape photography. Beginners to pros will enjoy the winter sights of Yellowstone! In order to get he most out of this workshop, some basic understanding of photography is desirable since we will mostly be shooting in manual and aperture priority modes. Feel free to contact me for an introductory lesson prior to the workshop if needed.

Black and white bison portrait.

Photographing Bison in Winter during Yellowstone Workshop

Itinerary

We will enjoy an eight hour snow-coach trip though Yellowstone National Park each day of the workshop with the intention of photographing wildlife and winter landscapes.

Orientation

7:30pm orientation at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone - West Yellowstone MT

Day 1

Snow-coach tour though Yellowstone National Park

Day 2

Snow-coach tour though Yellowstone National Park

Day 3

Snow-coach tour though Yellowstone National Park

What's Included

Profesional photography instruction

Snow-coach transportation & local guide (3 eight hour trips into Yellowstone)

Box Lunch while we are in the park

Park Entrance

Yellowstone in Winter Post Processing Video with demonstrations on images shot during the workshop.

What's Not Included

Airfare

Lodging

Gratuities

Transportation to and from West Yellowstone

Geyser in Yellowstone National Park during winter storm

Geyser in Yellowstone National Park during winter storm

Cancelation Policy

Full payment for the workshop is due 90 days before the workshop start date.

Sometimes life can get in the way of a good a thing. Hopefully that doesn’t happen during this workshop, but if it does the following cancelation policy applies.

• 120 days or more – Full refund minus a $200 cancelation fee

• 60 days or more – 50% refund

• 60 days or less – no refund

Should you have to cancel and I find a replacement for your space, I’ll refund your full payment minus the $200 cancelation fee.

Lodging

We'll be based out of the Kelly Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana for the duration of the workshop. You are more than welcome to stay anywhere that you would like but keep in mind The Holiday Inn Express is where we'll be meeting up every day.

Resting Coyote
Resting Coyote in snow. Yellowstone National Park

Winter Weather in Yellowstone

The average elevation in Yellowstone is right around 8,000 feet above sea level and January is one of the coldest months of the year, but that is the perfect combination to photograph frosty bison as they gather around the geothermal areas in the park. Expect day time highs to stay below freezing with lows that could dip below zero. It is important to have warm winter clothing for this workshop including winter boots, a thick jacket, snow pants, winter hat and gloves and some packs of Mega hand/body warmers for each day.

We will stop at warming huts at various points throughout our trip to warm ourselves back up. While winter weather can be quite harsh, there could quite possibly be no better time to photograph Yellowstone than in the winter!

Bison in winter photography workshop though Yellowstone

Bison in winter time photography workshop though Yellowstone

Tuition

$2,800

Getting to West Yellowstone

The easiest way to get to West Yellowstone is to fly into Bozeman Airport BZN. From there, there are two options to get to West Yellowstone. The first easiest is to book a round trip shuttle ride with Karst Stage. (They begin booking for the winter season in November.) The second option is to rent a vehicle and drive yourself.

I recommend giving yourself at least one buffer day on the front end of your trip in case your flight and or shuttle service gets delayed due to snow. There's a Grizzly & Wolf rescue center in West Yellowstone that is walking distance from the Holiday Inn and can yield some fantastic photographs of animals that we might not see in Yellowstone National Park.

Bobby socks trees in Yellowstone National Park

Bobby socks trees in Yellowstone National Park

Recommended Camera Gear

Since we will be shooting in very cold conditions, it's not a bad idea to bring along a second camera body in case one of them starts to act up. If you do not own two camera bodies you can rent one for a very reasonable price from Lensrentals.com.

You'll also want a lens that can reach at least 400mm. 600mm or more is ideal. A few affordable options would be a 100-400mm lens with a 1.4 extender or an ultra telephoto zoom such as the Sigma 150-600mm. The advantage of an Ultra telephoto zoom is it can easily be used as a hand held lens when needed.

The final option for wildlife photography is a prime 500, 600, or 800mm lens. These lenses are tack sharp, have wider maximum apertures and have lightning quick and auto-focus systems. The downside is that they are very heavy and bulky. They are designed to be used with a tripod and gimbal or monopod so setup time can be much longer than running and gunning with a handheld zoom. That being said, if you haver a little bit of arm strength, a large prime can be handheld and produce great results in good light. One option would be to have one body for running and gunning and a second for times that will allow for longer setup.

No mater what option you choose, a 1.4 tele-extender will be a great addition to your camera bag on this workshop.

Yellowstone in winter photography workshop
Stream from a geothermal vent creates a dreamy landscape in Yellowstone National Park

Winter Conditions

This workshop is held in winter in order to capture Yellowstone in its most beautiful season. It is important to note that the park can sometimes close if a winter storm gets too bad or if the temperature drops below -40. Unfortunately refunds cannot be given in the event that workshop cannot enter the park one one or more days due to extreme winter weather. It is relatively rare for the park to close but keep in mind that it is always a possibility.

Wolf & Grizzly Center in West Yellowstone

It is recommended that participants show up a day to help prevent travel delays from winter weather. There is a Wolf & Grizzly discovery center that is walking distance from the Holiday Inn. It offer fantastic opportunities to photograph wolves and grizzly bears up close and is a great way to get some practice shoot wildlife with a long lens.

Yellowstone wolf photography
A gray wolf beds down in the snow at the Wolf & Grizzly center in West Yellowstone

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