2024 Photo Tour Dates:
February 3-10, 2024 and February 10-17 2024 (FULL)
Cost $3395 / Deposit: $500
Limited to 6 participants • Leaves from Bozeman, MT
Winter is a magical time in Yellowstone, the worlds first national park. The boiling hot pools, steaming geysers, dense concentrations of wildlife, a little fog to add mood, and the lack of crowds make this, perhaps, one of the most extraordinary times of year to visit. Since the wolf reintroduction in 1995 winter visits to Yellowstone National Park has taken on a new exciting dimension. Yellowstone is now the premier location in the world to view wolves and be able to witness natural behavior. Wolves hunt the large herds of elk which winter in the Lamar Valley, near Mammoth, and other areas within the park often close enough to witness. Commonly heard is the haunting sound of wolves howling from several directions at the same time. To be there to witness that is an experience that will stay with you forever. We will work hard to try to photograph these incredible predators.
We will also spend time photographing elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, moose, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and perhaps even less seen inhabitants such as otters, pine marten, bald eagles, and trumpeter swans. We will be out each day from dawn to dusk in search of as many excellent nature and wildlife images as possible. Private chartered snow coach trips will take us into the parks interior to visit locations such as the Norris Geyser Basin, Hayden Valley, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the Firehole Basin. Here frost covered wildlife in addition to the magical thermal features will provide us with extraordinary photographic possibilities.
As with all wildlife photography there are never any guarantees but in the past we have had very good luck photographing the wolves at this time of year. This is sure to be a photographic adventure you’ll never forget.
BEWARE: All photo tour leaders in Yellowstone National Park MUST have a Commercial Use License for Yellowstone National Park. Many photo tours are operating without one. Franzfoto Tours comply with current Yellowstone National Park regulations. Franzfoto is an authorized Yellowstone National Park Photo Tour permit holder and has the proper DOT requirements.
Day 1, Feb 3, or Feb 10: Arrive in Bozeman, Montana. Due to winter flying conditions and possible delays it would be best to arrive a day early and overnight in Bozeman. Pickup at Bozeman airport at will be 12 to 1pm. We then take a beautiful afternoon drive to West Yellowstone Montana or Gardiner Montana depending on which tours selected This will be our base of operations for the next 3 days. We’ll see some magnificent scenery and perhaps some wildlife along the way. We will meet for an orientation dinner and discussion or our upcoming photo adventure at 6pm.
Days 2-4, Feb 4-6 or Feb 11-13: We will spend 3 full days exploring the interior of the park via a chartered snowcoach. We’ll likely spend exploring the Old Faithful area and along both the Madison and Firehole Rivers. We’ll also spend another day to Fishing Bridge exploring the Canyon area and the beautiful Hayden Valley. A box lunch will be provided on our snow coach days.
Day 5-7 Feb 7-9 or, Feb 14-16: We spend the next 3 days exploring the wildlife rich “Northern Range” of the park along the 52 miles of road from Gardiner to Cooke City which includes the beautiful Lamar Valley a prime spot in the park for wolf watching. Our goal is for you to take home the very best photographs that conditions will allow. We’ll be leaving each morning early before sunrise and returning in the evening after sunset. Lunch will be at restaurants either in Cooke City or Mammoth.
Day 8, Feb 10 or Feb17: We will make one last run into the Park this morning. We’ll need to return to our hotel by 10am in time to check out and make our journey back to Bozeman. You will want to schedule your departure for home anytime after arrival in Bozeman which will be at approximately 12:00 pm.
Tour 1 starts tour in Gardiner MT and Tour 2 starts in West Yellowstone MT for logistical reasons
Tour Prices Include:
- Transportation from and to Bozeman MT at the start and end of the trip via group shuttle
- Welcome dinner and snacks/water throughout tour
- Chartered high top snow coach, great for photography groups
- Box lunch on interior snowcoach days
- Photo Instruction and image critiques (if desired) by D. Robert
- Guides and Drivers
- Taxes on all services
Tour Prices DO NOT Include:
- Airfare to/from Bozeman MT
- Lodging during the tour and in Bozeman before/after the tour (rooms during tour are reserved)
- Transportation to the park from Bozeman if you miss the shuttle
- Gratuity for Guides and Drivers
- Meals, except for welcome dinner, and snowcoach lunches
- Alcoholic beverages
WHAT TO BRING:
Equipment: We recommend a minimum of 400mm telephoto lens for this tour in addition to a variety of wide angle lenses or zooms and a mid range zoom lens.
Digital shooters will want to bring along a couple of flash cards and a means to download images when cards get full. We always suggest you bring along 2 camera bodies if possible in case of equipment failure. A sturdy tripod and a good ballhead or gimbal head is strongly encouraged but many photographers these days tend to handhold their lenses and that is perfectly fine in most situations. Extra batteries for your camera are vital in these cold conditions.
Clothing: Clothing should be comfortable and very warm. Below zero temperatures are possible so we recommend layering your clothing. Good warm boots and gloves are essential; chemical hand and foot warmers are very helpful. There are new heated gloves available that seem to work fairly well. Remember, since most of your body heat is lost through your head, warm headgear is a necessity.
About your Tour Leader
D. Robert Franz has been full time professional wildlife photographer for the past thirty five years. With undergraduate degrees in wildlife management, geology and graduate studies earth science, Robert has an extensive knowledge of the natural world. His nature and wildlife photography has been extensively published (over ten thousand published images including hundreds of front covers) worldwide with images featured in, Audubon Magazine, National Wildlife, Sierra Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Defenders Magazine, National Geographic, Das Tier Magazine, Sports Afield, Field and Stream, and many more. Their photographic prints have hung in the Smithsonian and the United States Congress. They are also accomplished assignment photographers specializing in nature and environmental issues. Clients have included Adolph Coors, Wildlife Conservation Society, Field and Stream Magazine, The Trust for Public Lands, Via Magazine, Greater Yellowstone Coalition and others. Their photography is represented by a number of the worlds leading stock photo agencies such as Getty Images, Alamy, Windigo Images, and Okapia
Robert has won many awards for his nature photography over the years. In 1989 Robert won the Colorado Outdoors Magazine Nature Photography Contest. In 1993 he won the Wyoming Wildlife Magazines Nature Photography Contest. Also in 1993 Robert and Lorri won an award for a published calendar image from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History. In 2001 and 2004 Robert had winning images the prestigious Nature’s Best photography contest. In 2003 Robert won Image of the Year for Nature Photographers.net. In 2006, 2008 and again in 2010 Robert finished 2nd in the Images for Conservation Pro Tour of Nature Photography contest held in different locations in Texas. This is the world’s most challenging nature photo contest. In 2007 Digital Photography Magazine proclaimed Robert as one the worlds best wildlife photographers.
Robert has been leading photo tours since 1989 and now conducts high energy nature & wildlife photo tours through Franzfoto Instructional Tours. Robert leads tours almost daily throughout the summer in Yellowstone National Park with his latest venture Experience Yellowstone Tours. He spends 130-140 days each year in Yellowstone. In years past Robert lead tours for Wildlife Images Photo Tours, Voyagers, Natural Habitat Adventures & Close Up Expeditions. Robert, his wife Lorri, and Roscoe live in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem near Cody Wyoming.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
GROUP MINIMUM: Occasionally, we are able to run a tour below our group minimum which is usually 4. In such instances it may be necessary to apply a small group supplement in which case you would be contacted regarding such a situation but you would not be obligated to accept the new terms.
RESERVATIONS: Your deposit is required to secure your place on any tour, with the balance due 60 days prior to the departure date. Deposits are fully refundable minus a small handling fee if cancellation is received at least 120 days prior to the departure date. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will mail you our acknowledgment and tour reservation form. Details of hotels, flight arrival recommendations, and other trip tips will be mailed when the tour is full.
MEALS: Some meals and refreshments are included depending on the trip details,but not alcoholic beverages.
ADMISSIONS: Access to public buildings and national parks etc. is not included in the land price.
CANCELLATION P0LICY: Due to the high number of cancellations we’ve received in the past several years a new refund policy has been implemented.
- Cancellations more than 120 days ahead of the tour are refunded 50%.
- Cancellations between 60-120 days ahead of the tour will be refunded if the spot can be filled minus $50 handling charge.
- Cancellations less than 60 days ahead of the tour are non-refundable.
CANCELED EXPEDITIONS: In the event of insufficient tour sign‐ups, Franzfoto Tours reserves the right to cancel any given tour. In that event 100% of moneys received will be returned. However, Franzfoto Tours is not responsible for expenses incurred by its customers.
LUGGAGE: Franzfoto Tours requests that tour participants limit their luggage to the equivalent of one suitcase, one flight bag, one camera bag, and tripod. We do not wish to be dictatorial in this matter, but asks that group members bear in mind space and comfort in our vehicles. All personal luggage are the responsibility of the owner.
SMOKERS: Smoking is not permitted at meals or in vehicles. It can be permitted at photo stops where local ordinances permit, photography and photographers are not affected.
RESPONSIBILITY: “Nothing in this Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Release and Indemnity Agreement shall be interpreted as the participant and parent releasing Franzfoto from liability for injuries, damage, death, or other loss to participant or others that may occur within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and is caused by Franzfoto negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct, including but not limited to any negligence with respect to Franzfoto judgments and decisions, or Franzfoto failure to take reasonable precautions to ensure it provides defect-free equipment.”
Franzfoto Tours comply with current Yellowstone National Park regulations. Franzfoto is an authorized Yellowstone National Park Photo Tour permit holder.
A few images from recent tours
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