Yellowstone in Springtime

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The onset of spring brings an awakening to a national park that has been gripped in the slumber of deepest winter.  The snows have melted, and the delicate greens of newly emerging plant life sprout through brown remnants of last year’s growth.  Chipmunks and ground squirrels shake off the blurry haze of deep hibernation as bears emerge to a world refreshed.  Herds of grazers return to the verdant grassy expanses of the Lamar and Hayden Valleys bringing with them their wobbly-legged calves.  Bison, elk, moose, deer and pronghorn relax as food becomes abundant and the pressures of winter abate.  Birds have also returned to reclaim their territories and vigorously build nests anew—some traveling from as far away as South America.  The activity of Yellowstone National Park’s rebirth is seen everywhere you look.
Coyote in Yellowstone National Park in springLarger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, this 3,472-square mile World Heritage Site is home to the largest concentration of free-roaming wildlife in Earth’s temperate zone.  It is truly America’s greatest wildlife spectacle.  With over 370 miles of paved roads to explore, the photographic potential for locating and “shooting” wildlife during the spring is unparalleled in North America and is one of the best times of year to photograph in Yellowstone.  On our newly created spring photo safari we thoroughly work the great herd areas while also seeking opportunities to photograph bighorn sheep, coyotes, and grizzly bears.  Our images have a fresh look as wildflowers paint the landscape and winter snows retreat to the highest peaks.
The park's unusual geothermal landscapes, fumaroles, geysers, boiling paint pots, travertine terraces and colossal waterfalls are other features we photograph.  One of the highest waterfalls on the American continent fill our frames from several angles in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.  As if from an alien world, surreal scenes emanate from steaming fissures which allow us opportunities for truly creative photography.  And Yellowstone has more geysers, hot springs and other geothermal features than the rest of the world combined!
Here is a refreshing look at the world’s first national park.  This trip features a private chef cooking in exclusive facilities rented for our group.  This will reduce exposure to the general public and add flexibility to our photography schedule.  Reserve your space on a tour led by two photographers with many years of experience photographing in Yellowstone.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Jun 12)
Arrive to Bozeman, Montana—Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport—and take the hotel shuttle to our lodging.  This evening we meet for a private catered dinner and trip orientation at our hotel.  (D)
Day 2
Today we head to West Yellowstone through the beautiful Gallatin Canyon. We take our time and enjoy gorgeous vistas of the Gallatin River as it tumbles along, bounded by the towering hillsides of the Spanish Peak and Gallatin mountains. As we move southward, we travel through the northwestern corner of the park and are on the lookout for many of the wonderful photographic opportunities that present themselves—from scenic landscapes to delightful encounters with wildlife. Upon arrival to West Yellowstone, we settle into our accommodations for the next 3 nights and our private chef treats us to a tasty dinner before we head back out for some evening shots. (BLD)
Days 3–4
Over these next two days we concentrate on photographing some of the most interesting and wildlife-rich areas in the central parts of the park.  Many of Yellowstone’s abundant geothermal features are iconic, and we spend quality time capturing other-worldly images of these famous landmarks.  We also visit the stunning Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where the Lower Yellowstone Falls plunge over 300 feet as it continues to carve away the colorful walls along the Yellowstone River.  Wildlife is always on the agenda, and areas along the Madison River, as well as the remarkable Hayden Valley, offer some of the most reliable spots for photographing wildlife.  (BLD)
Day 5
This morning we pack and head north, photographing through the park on the way to Silver Gate, Montana.  Along the route, we have more opportunities for geothermal areas as we pass by both Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs.  There are always chances for wildlife along this route and Mammoth is known for its resident cow elk with calves at this time of year.  After lunch, we make our way east, passing through the famous Lamar Valley.  It seems as if there is just too much to photograph along this route which is why we spend the next 2 full days in this part of the park.  (BLD)

Days 6–7
These next two days are dedicated to exploring in and around the Lamar Valley.  The “northern range” of Yellowstone is famous for its substantial herds of bison.  At this time of year, those herds are spotted with little red calves—that the locals call “red dogs.”  Other grazers also call these grasslands home and we are likely to find pronghorn, mule deer and elk grazing amongst the bison.  And, of course as we all know, where there are young animals, we often find predators.  We are always on the lookout for bears, coyotes, raptors, and with luck, wolves.  (BLD)
Day 8
Today is our final chance to wander through the Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs on our return trip to Bozeman.  We are in no rush and we take advantage of all the photographic opportunities to enjoy on our last day in the park.  By late afternoon, we check into our hotel in Bozeman and celebrate a trip well-traveled at our farewell dinner.  (BLD)
Day 9 (Jun 20)
Our hotel shuttles everyone to the airport for their flights home.  (B)
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Yellowstone in Springtime

Jun 12, 2021 - Jun 20, 2021


A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposit only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Yellowstone in Springtime: Easy Activity Level

Van transportation with six participants per van.  Expect chilly springtime temperatures.  Elevations on this tour range from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. Most shooting is done from the road near the vehicles.  Hiking with camera gear for up to one mile (per hike) on a few days.  Occasional stops at toilet facilities throughout the day.
Trip Details
Jun 12 - Jun 20, 2021
Fee: $5,995 from Bozeman, Montana
Deposit: $800
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy
  • Trip timed to photograph Yellowstone’s baby animals in Spring
  • Private chef and private dining facilities for most of the trip allow greater flexibility and security
  • Trip led by 2 leaders with years of park photography experience
  • 6 participants per 15-passenger van
  • One of Joe Van Os’ Top Ten recommended wildlife and American landscape photography locations
Tour Leaders
Jeff Vanuga

Jeff Vanuga

Eric Rock

Eric Rock