22 Nov 13. Picking up where we left off yesterday at the north end of the park. To fully understand and appreciate Yellowstone National Park, you first need to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. This is easily accomplished as the two parks are not that far from one another and they truly complement each other. My original intent was to write a fair bit about Craters of the Moon, but I've written about it several times before so I thought I'd take a different approach. THE most interesting thing at Craters is a diorama in the visitor's center that provides a very graphic explanation of how Yellowstone came to be. The diorama depicts how geologists believe the Snake River valley was formed, via a series of volcanic eruptions, which basically end in Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone is just the most recent location for what will be the next mega volcanic eruption and will significantly reshape probably 4 states. More about that later. Because of this volcanic activity so close to the surface, much of the water in the area is quite hot!! What is truly amazing is that there is life in those waters comprised of thermophiles. The photo in the link is one which I'll share later, but my version of it obviously. Today's photo is another image of thermophiles living in a small rivulet that comes off the limestone terraces in the background. The shot for yesterday is located about a 100 yards away. Most of the western side of the park sits on top of this highly active area, from the south where Lake Yellowstone is situated all the way north to the Gardner gate. This particular rivulet runs under the boardwalk on the way to Canary, Dryad, and Grassy Springs. There are three distinctly different thermophiles in this shot which I got by getting down on my knees to in order to emphasize these tiny microorganisms; the white star shaped clusters, the dark orange mass, and the lighter tannish group behind the dark orange mass. Unfortunately, I don't know their names. Most of the visitors were totally ignoring this amazing life form, but I found and continue to find it to be absolutely amazing and took many photos of these organisms throughout our 3 day visit. We'll see more images later. To get what you are seeing, besides getting down low for the shot, I started with the base image, added a levels adjustment to tweak the highlights, then a curves layer to modify the global contrast a small amount, then a layer to very slightly enhance the detail in the thermophiles, then ran a filter to manipulate the overall contrast to get the exact look I wanted, and finally I added another curves layer to lighten just the hillside by using a mask to control the effect. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 200; 1/640 sec @ f / 9.