Webcam FAQs

Old Faithful Geyser Live-streaming Webcam

Where is the webcam located?
The streaming webcam is attached to a lodgepole pine tree near the Haynes Photo Shop at Old Faithful.

The camera is down. When will it be back up?
The Old Faithful Geyser live-streaming webcam page is one of the most popular web pages in the National Park Service, so when the webcam goes down, rest assured that we are doing our best to troubleshoot and fix it. Outages are generally caused by problems with the infrastructure supporting the feed (e.g. Internet service, power). Service technicians dispatched to resolve issues have to drive a long way to diagnose and correct the problem, and this can take some time, especially during winter.

Why is the lens dirty and why don't you clean it?

Wind catches the over-spray from Old Faithful during an eruption and coats the dome housing for the camera with water, silica and dirt. Cleaning the dome on a regular basis in the winter isn't always possible due to freezing temperatures. In the spring, summer and fall, we do our best to clean the lens with available staff.

What is causing the camera image to shake or sway from time to time? It looks choppy.
The camera is mounted to a lodgepole pine tree. Wind causes the tree to sway back and forth. This movement is most noticeable when the camera is zoomed in to capture a distant image.

Why don’t you have a label that pops up to tell us the name of the geyser we’re watching?
That functionality is not available on this webcam.

Why isn’t the video image sharper?
This webcam is HD, but our bandwidth capacity on the available T1 line restricts us to using a resolution of 960x540 at 15 frames per second.

What kind of camera are you using?
The streaming video camera at Old Faithful is a CanonVB-H41, which is connected to a T1 line via a router.

Why do I sometimes get an image that is almost all grey with very little detail?
There are a couple possibilities here. On many winter days the steam from the geysers is held near the surface causing a foggy condition that can block the view of the camera completely at times. Sometimes there is a snow storm that makes everything white or grey.

Who is controlling the camera?
Park staff and volunteers control the camera.

Are there plans to make the camera controls available to the general public?
There are no plans to make the camera controls available to the general public.

Are you planning to install other live streaming video webcams around the park?
Not at this time.


Static Webcams

The webcam keeps showing the same picture and time/date stamp over and over. Why?
This occurs when the park loses FTP Internet access to upload a picture to our server. Sometime it's a webcam issue when it's accidentally unplugged (some are located in offices) or it loses power from a power outage. Try clearing your browser's cache and press the reload (refresh) button. If that does not work, please come back to visit later. Please know that when this incident happens or any webcam goes down, we work quickly to resolve the issue.

When will you clean the snow, ice, water droplets, bugs, and other stuff obstructing the view?
There are two webcams that are outdoors and completely exposed to the elements, the North Entrance-Electric Peak and Upper Geyser Basin webcams. The views will be obstructed when it rains, snows, or insects land on the webcam. Within a few days the issue is generally resolved. If it's not, we clean the lens.

Mount Washburn has two cameras inside the fire lookout. In the winter it is not possible to access the webcams, so it's up to Mother Nature to melt any snow and ice that forms on the windows. In the summer, the fire lookout employee stationed there cleans any obstruction.

The remaining webcams are located inside buildings that can be easily accessed, though the glass on the outside of the building isn't always easily accessible. When we can coordinate with maintenance staff to get a ladder and/or lift to reach high enough to clean the windows, we clean them. This does not happen on a weekly or monthly basis.

I would like a different webcam angle. Will you change the view for me?
This is probably the most frequently asked question we receive. As you might imagine, it would be impossible to accommodate everyone's taste, so we do not take requests.

There is a bright blue streak across the tops of the trees at times. Why?

The technicians call this a "tear" and it is a recognized characteristic of the camera used in the webcam. It occurs when a large, extremely bright portion of the image is next to a considerably darker portion. This occurs every morning on the Old Faithful webcam since the sun rises in front of the camera and off to the right. It also occurs at other times of the day when the sky is extremely bright compared to the treetops. This problem never occurs on the Mammoth webcam since there are no extremely bright areas in that image.

The webcam shows a white page, a partially loaded page, or an error message. What should I do?
This is a good time to press the reload (refresh) button, in order to start the webcam images reloading again. If that doesn't work, try visiting again later.

When I come back to the webcam after being away, it shows an old picture. Why?
Your browser didn't update the photo because it was not the active window. When you first come back to a webcam after being away, press the reload (refresh) button to see the latest image. That will get the ball rolling once again.

The webcam page loads but there is no picture. Why?
If you are getting a gray or black rectangle instead of a picture it could mean that you are not visiting during daylight hours. There are no artificial lights in front of the webcams. If this isn't the issue, please see the first FAQ answer of the static webcams.

Last updated: March 3, 2017

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