West Yellowstone, MT- 2020


Event Details – Additional Snowcoach Added!

Back and expanded by popular demand! This special tour will focus on the winter landscape and biodiversity of Yellowstone National Park. January in Yellowstone makes up for the cold by providing some of the best opportunities for images maximizing the park’s magical light, geyser steam, snow-covered bison, and more. Join Jeff Vanuga (a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year), licensed Yellowstone guide Trent Sizemore, veteran professional Yellowstone photographers Michael Francis and Mark Gocke for this spectacular NANPA Regional Event.

This event will be based in West Yellowstone and will be a little different than NANPA’s typical Regional Events. We will rent 14-passenger snowcoaches from Yellowstone Snowcoaches, and attendees will travel into the park by snowcoach for three full days. Lunches will be provided (and included in the registration fee) since there will be limited places to buy meals in the park at that time of year.

Buffalo wintering in on Fountain Flats with Lower Geyser Basin thermals as a backdrop. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. © Jeff Vanuga

This special event is limited to 28 paid attendees. There will be one driver/guide, 7 attendees and 1 leader per snowcoach — to allow for plenty of room for people and their photography equipment. A driver/guide who is familiar with the area is included in our rental fee.

About Yellowstone

Every year in early November, most park roads close to regular traffic in preparation for the winter season. The only exception is the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and the northeast entrance, which is open to regular traffic all year. Once enough snow accumulates (usually by mid-December), roads open to “oversnow” travel only. This means the only way to visit Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and other popular destinations during winter is by guided snowmobile or snowcoach.

Lone lodgepole pine and sunstar in winter. Yellowstone National Park. © Jeff Vanuga

What to Expect

This event is designed for photographers at all levels — amateur, intermediate/advanced and professional — interested in improving their photography skills or possibly looking for location guidance to capture that perfect shot. If you are new to photography, the leaders will be available to answer questions, teach new techniques and help you improve your photographic skills. If you already have plenty of photography experience, the leaders will ensure that you’re in the best locations at the best times for those perfect shots.

Just the Facts

Dates: January 11-14, 2020 (January 11 at 6 pm Meet & Greet at Brandin’ Iron)
Leaders: Jeff Vanuga, Trent Sizemore, Michael Francis and Mark Gocke

Cost: $1,495 members; $1,695 non-members
Last day to register: January 3, 2020
Maximum number of attendees: 28

Location: West Yellowstone, MT
Nearest Airport: Bozeman, MT
Transportation To/From Bozeman:  Karst Stage offers airport shuttle service between Bozeman and West Yellowstone. Phone 406-556-3540

2020 Yellowstone Snowcoach Tour Regional Event Cancellation and No Refund Policy: NANPA will not offer any refunds for registrations for this event regardless of when the cancellation is made or the reason for the cancellation. NANPA reserves the right to cancel any event or activity due to insufficient registration or any unforeseen circumstances. NANPA will offer refunds if NANPA has to cancel the event. It also has the right to substitute presenters if those originally scheduled cannot attend. Registrants may purchase event insurance as part of the registration process through NANPA’s partner, Allianz. More information on this option will be shown during the checkout process for the event registration.

NOTE:  If you do not purchase event insurance at the time that you pay for your registration, you will NOT be able to go back and purchase it with Allianz later.

If you choose to purchase travel insurance separately, you can do so with your own insurance carrier, or NANPA members can receive a special travel insurance rate through USI Affinity/Travel Insurance Services.

Buffalo or bison (Bison bison) wintering in thermal areas of Yellowstone National Park. © Jeff Vanuga


Brandin’ Iron Inn
201 North Canyon Street
West Yellowstone MT 59758
Phone: 406-646-9411
Website: https://www.yellowstonevacations.com/stay/our-lodging-partners

NANPA has secured a special room rate for $64 per night (plus 10% tax and $1 night city tax). Deadline for hotel reservations is December 1, 2019, or when block is full. Since this is a winter tour, you may want to plan your arrival a day earlier in case of weather delays.

Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at 406-646-9411. Attendees must identify themselves as attending the NANPA — North American Nature Photography Association — event to receive the group rate offered.


Jeff Vanuga

Jeff Vanuga is based in Dubois, Wyoming, and specializes in both advertising and editorial media. His work has been published worldwide in magazines and major advertising campaigns. Jeff leads tours for the largest photography tour company in the world and leads tours for national Geographic Expeditions, First Light Workshops and the Moab Photography Symposium. His work is represented by Getty Images and the Nature Picture Library stock agencies.

  • First place in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the National Wildlife Photographic Competition
  • Showcase top ten winner in the North American Nature Photography Competition in 2010 and 2011
  • Showcase top ten winner in Nature’s Best Photography Competition in 2008, 2010 and 2011
  • Placed 1st in the 2015 Olympus Global Open Competition Places to Preserve out of a – field of 120,000 submissions
  • Recently his book titled “Fodor’s Compass Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks” took a silver medal in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication from a field of 1,161 entries.
  • Photo District News featured Jeff as one of their top 50 States Photographers, and he has hosted TV shows on nature photography for the Outdoor Life Channel and Nature’s Best Photography.

Trent Sizemore Bio Photo

Trent Sizemore

Just a day after graduating college, Trent packed up and headed west. His travels led him to the Grand Teton National Park and eventually landing in his current location of West Yellowstone, Montana. Trent is a licensed Yellowstone guide and leads both wildlife and landscape tours in the park. Trent has a formal education in art, with a focus on both photography and graphic design. Most of his recent photography work involves wildlife: the predators and prey of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The stunning volcanic landscapes of Wyoming and Montana also make up significant portions of his portfolio. Trent was the head leader for NANPA’s 2017 Spring Yellowstone Regional Event.

Michael H. Francis

Mike is a veteran tour leader and has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years. He’s led photo trips worldwide to such locations as Africa, Patagonia and Madagascar, as well Alaska for bears and Montana for wild horses. He worked in Yellowstone National Park for 15 seasons, and the winter trips he leads there are still among his favorites.His images have been used on hundreds of magazine covers, calendars and postcards, and he has35 single photographer books to his credit. He has also served on the board of directors and as president of NANPA.

Mike looks forward to seeing you in Yellowstone National Park!

Photo Locations

Canyon Area

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is roughly 20 miles long, measured from the Upper Falls to the Tower Fall area. The canyon was formed by erosion as Yellowstone River flowed over progressively softer, less resistant rock. The Upper Falls is upstream of the Lower Falls and is 109 ft. high. It can be seen from the Brink of the Upper Falls Trail and from Uncle Tom’s Trail.

The Lower Falls is 308 ft. high and can be seen from Lookout Point, Red Rock Point, Artist Point, Brink of the Lower Falls Trail, and from various points on the South Rim Trail. The Lower Falls is often described as being more than twice the size of Niagara, although this only refers to its height and not the volume of water flowing over it.

The volume of water flowing over the falls can vary from 63,500 gal/sec at peak runoff to 5,000 gal/sec in the fall. A third falls is located the canyon between the Upper and Lower falls. Crystal Falls is the outfall of Cascade Creek into the canyon. It can be seen from the South Rim Trail just east of the Uncle Tom’s area.

Hayden Valley

The Yellowstone River flows through here, and can be home to otters, foxes, and several species of birds. Wolves can be seen throughout Hayden Valley and along the banks of the Yellowstone River. Aside from the wildlife, the landscape also offers an endless.

Firehole River Area

The Firehole River, fed by thermal sources like hot springs and geysers, stays relatively warm throughout the year. This entire area sees bison, coyote, elk, and otters during spring, as the warm ground keeps snowpack low in many areas. The Firehole Canyon is a short drive through vertical canyon walls, where the Firehole River flows over several stunning waterfalls. The geyser basins here feature the majority of the park’s hydrothermal features, including Grand Prismatic Spring and the Old Faithful area.

Madison River

The closest area to the town of West Yellowstone is the Madison River, along the west entrance road. This valley is home to bald eagles, osprey, elk, bison, and coyotes. A crisp morning would offer the opportunity to photograph a beautiful fog floating over the warm waters of the river. Surrounded by steep mountains formed by volcanic lava flows, the Madison River offers a scenic opportunity to start and finish the day.

Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest, oldest, and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s thermal areas. The highest temperature yet recorded in any geothermal area in Yellowstone was measured in a scientific drill hole at Norris: 459°F (237°C) just 1,087 feet (326 meters) below the surface! There are very few thermal features at Norris under the boiling point (199°F at this elevation).

Norris shows evidence of having had thermal features for at least 115,000 years. The features in the basin change daily, with frequent disturbances from seismic activity and water fluctuations.


Basic 2020 Yellowstone Regional Event Schedule

This event will be based at the Brandin’ Iron Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana, and will be different than NANPA’s typical Regional Events. We will rent 14-passenger snowcoaches from Yellowstone Snowcoaches, and attendees will travel into the park by snowcoach for three full days. (January 11 at 6 pm Meet & Greet at Brandin’ Iron)

Meals:  Lunches will be provided (and included in the registration fee) since there will be limited places to buy meals in the park at that time of year. All other meals are on your own.

Transportation: On your own. We will be based at the Brandin’ Iron Inn.

NANPA is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Yellowstone National Park.