Cody, Wyoming

Hill outside our vacation cabin in Cody, Wyoming.

The view from our cabin included this rugged hillside.

We arrived at the Trail Shop Inn late at night, sometime around 9:30 or 10:00, and had enough time to bring in our luggage, drink some coffee, and go to sleep. It had been a long day behind the wheel and it would take all night to unkink my body from the vaguely car-shaped angles my joints had acquired.

The next morning dawned clear. The innkeepers had provided breakfast in little rectangular baskets: oatmeal, granola bars, an orange. We had a coffee pot and everything we needed to make ourselves comfortable. I always get excited on vacation. I ate quickly and wanted to get going. We were going to Yellowstone National Park today, and neither of us had ever been there. Before we set out for the park, which was another half hour or so drive to our west, I slipped out of the cabin and took some photos of the surrounding countryside.

It’s a rugged country, with scabrous rock hills climbing to the sky on all sides. And yet there’s enough open space between the hills that there wasn’t that feeling of claustrophobia that I sometimes get in Maryland, which is full of trees. The trees here in Cody were a bit more spaced apart, with large swaths of grass in between. I love taking pictures of land like this because of the textures of the landscape. Early morning and late afternoon light is best for the kind of side lighting that helps bring out the detail in the rock. In this photo, there are plenty of shadows from rock overhangs to give it detail. A midday photo wouldn’t give such texture. Don’t let the time of day prevent you from taking pictures, though: you can still take good photos at high noon, but they’re going to have a completely different look to them.