Yellowstone, then and now
Yellowstone, then and now Pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson took this photograph of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River during the 1871 United States Geological Survey of the Territories, lead by Ferdiand Hayden, in the region that would become Yellowstone National Park. (William Henry Jackson/National Archives And Records Administration via AP/Bradly J. Boner/Jackson Hole News & Guide via AP)
Yellowstone, then and now
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Boulders shift, canyons erode, old trees fall, new ones grow and tourists crowd Yellowstone National Park, the length of their vacations barely any time at all in the stream of history.
 
A century and a half is nothing in the eons of often violent geology that made Yellowstone. Even so, an exhausting project by a Jackson, Wyoming, photographer shows how an ecosystem protected for that long can change in ways obvious and subtle.
 
Brad Boner visited dozens of sites in the park photographed by William Henry Jackson in 1871. That was the year before Congress made Yellowstone the world's first national park. Boner painstakingly replicated in color more than 100 of Jackson's black-and-white photographs.
 
This summer, 40 of Boner's images go on display. They will be next to Jackson's originals at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. It is in Jackson Hole, Wyo.  During the centennial year for the National Park Service, the exhibit testifies to the success of the world's first national park, Boner said.
 
"The whole point of creating Yellowstone was to give future generations an opportunity experience these special places," he said. "When I look at these pictures, I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that my kids are going to be able to go to a lot of these places and see the same thing."
 
The images show what can change, too. Rock pinnacles at Tower Fall crumble and alter the flow of Tower Creek, the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake erodes dozens of feet in places and the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where Jackson once stood, collapses into the chasm.
 
Boner took several trips to Yellowstone over the summers of 2011-2014. He spent much time wandering with Jackson's photographs held up to the horizon.
 
"Things would just sort of click and fall into place. All of a sudden, you're looking at the landscape that is in the photograph that I was holding, that Jackson took," Boner said. "There were definitely times I got goosebumps."
 
Jackson traveled Yellowstone as part of a federally funded expedition. He went to explore and document the area. He carried his photography gear on mules. Taking a photo back then involved exposing images on an 8-by-10-inch glass plate. Then he developed the negative on the spot.
 
"Basically he had to set up his little darkroom every time he wanted to take a picture," Boner said.
 
Boner had modern digital camera gear. But a couple of his trips were plenty ambitious. With a friend, he paddled around the edge of Yellowstone Lake in a canoe. It was about 60 miles. Another trip took him, his wife and a friend more than 30 miles over the rugged and remote Mirror Plateau.
 
"We saw bears where we didn't think we would see bears. We got snowed on in July," Boner said.
 
Other times his targets, especially grand vistas and thermal features, were heavily traveled.
 
"I'd be standing shoulder to shoulder with a whole bunch of tourists because Jackson had this knack for a picking out the best spot," said Boner.
 
Boner is a staff photographer for the Jackson Hole News & Guide. He plans to publish the images in a book later this year.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/yellowstone-then-and-now/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why can't we compare photos of Yellowstone today and 1,000 years ago?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (18)
  • avab-4-bar
    6/09/2016 - 02:04 p.m.

    We can't compare the photo from Yellowstone today from the 1,000 year old photo because we didn't take photos at this time. The photograph wasn't created then.

    I found this interesting because I have never been the Yellowstone, but I have always wanted to go there.

  • kevinb-1-bar
    6/09/2016 - 06:38 p.m.

    We can not compare photos of Yellowstone from the past to the future because, of land formations and rock movements in the mountains. Also trees may have grown in or died out, and maybe animals may have gotten endangered, or the ecosystem may have changed. These things can all be reasons on why you may not compare a picture of the same place in any national park in a thousand years or so. It says in the text,"Boulders shift, canyons erode, old trees fall, new ones grow and tourists crowd Yellowstone National Park, the length of their vacations barely any time at all in the stream of history." which means that the park may change in many ways to not look like the original picture. I liked this article a lot and it was interesting!!!!!!!

  • lucasddd-3-bar
    6/09/2016 - 11:02 p.m.

    We can not compare photos of Yellowstone today and 1,000 years ago because there was no photography gear back then. One paragraph says "Boner had modern digital camera gear." The Indians living in the U.S 1,000 years ago did not have modern camera gear, so they could not take a photo of Yellowstone.
    This article was interesting, and I want to visit Yellowstone sometime.

  • audreyv-4-bar
    6/10/2016 - 12:22 a.m.

    We can't compare photos of Yellowstone today from 1,000 years ago, because cameras didn't exist that long ago. The first few photos taken of Yellowstone weren't taken until 1871, by William Henry Jackson. It also wasn't until 1871, that Yellowstone became very important, and turned into a national park. Before that year, not as many people cared or noticed the rapid changes of Yellowstone. I found this article very interesting, because it shows that Yellowstone has been a national park for nearly a century and a half.

  • luket-4-bar
    6/10/2016 - 01:42 a.m.

    We can't compare Yellowstone today with it from 100 years ago because things like "Rock pinnacles at Tower Fall crumble and alter the flow of Tower Creek, the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake erodes dozens of feet in places and the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where Jackson once stood, collapses into the chasm." can happen.
    I thought this article was interesting because I think Yellowstone is a very cool place.

  • michaely-6-bar
    6/10/2016 - 06:54 p.m.

    We cannot compare photos of Yellowstone today and 1,000 years ago because the environment is always changing. The article states, "Boulders shift. Canyons erode. Old trees fall. New ones grow". I found this article interesting because the environment is my home and I feel like I am supposed to know and understand more about it.

  • ldots-wim5
    9/16/2016 - 01:15 p.m.

    We cannot compare pictures of Yellowstone today and those of 1000 years ago because the land has changed over the 1000 years. One example of this is that rocks can be weathered down.
    Another example that the text stated is that "the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake erodes dozens of feet in places and the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone." I quoted this text because this quote is important to the new version of yellowstone.

  • meghanp-pav
    9/26/2016 - 09:55 a.m.

    We can't compare photos from 1,000 years ago because we weren't taking pictures then, if someone painted a picture we would be able to compare it so it's not impossible.

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