Glacier National Park

July 2009

This year, my trips were a little further apart than they have been recently, so I was definitely ready for this one. It had been 5 months since the last one. This one was definitely set to be a good one. Several of my favorite people were going along. This first photo is a little out of order, but it's the only panoramic that I took. It is a composite of several images. This is Avalanche Lake. It wasn't actually part of the tour, however, there were 3 of us that apparently don't listen very well and as a result took a little extra hike, each carrying about 20-25 lbs of camera equipment. It was definitely worth the 2.5 mile hike up the mountain. The lake was so beautiful and clear and there were 3 waterfalls coming down the mountain behind it. We took a few shots and then took our 2.5 mile hike back down. Luckily, Mark didn't seem to be too upset with us. It was a great adventure!

There were a lot of beautiful wildflowers all around us. We started our first evening with the sun hitting the mountains just beyond this field of flowers.
Our first morning shoot.
As we drove along, we couldn't believe how still the lake was. Couldn't resist stopping to take a few reflection shots. And of course, I had to get down near the water, so while everyone else was up in the field, I dropped down over the hillside and down to the lake.
This was one of my favorite places to shoot, so I included quite a few photos of the water. This is Siyeh Creek. These shots took a little planning to get. The rock bottom was EXTREMELY slick. One of the guys actually took one step and went down (luckily he was ok). At first, I had decided I wouldn't try it, with the fast moving water, the camera equipment, and the slick rock. Of course, the water kept calling me and I knew I wanted to shoot from the center, so I kept looking at the area. After everybody in our group had moved on up the hillside (no sense in having someone get the photo of my stupidity, if things went wrong). I extended the tripod and placed the camera on the ground on one side and the tripod legs out in the water, but it kept sliding down river. I finally found a little break in the rock that I could brace it against....step 1. Next was the hard part, getting me out to the center. I tried stepping but had no grip whatsoever, so had to just kind leaped out (no not landing on my feet) and grabbed a little break in the rock as I started to slide. I held on and then got my feet under me and found a little area to brace one let, in the fast moving water. Once I was situated, I reached over and grabbed the legs of the tripod and pulled my camera in. I braced one tripod leg against my foot, in the fast moving water. Now I was in position so the only problem remaining was to continually wipe the water off the front of the tripod....until it was time to get back to the side. I hoped the photos would be good but even if they weren't it was FUN...and I was a little bit soggy. Definitely not a cotton pants tour!
Now that I was back on land, Mark had to mention a shot he thought would be good, getting the widest angle lens I had and going back into the center of the water in this section, and getting as close as possible to the water that was popping up. This time, I gave him my camera, tripod legs extended, to hand to me once I was out there. I started out, slipped and landed on the rock, in the water and grabbed the first spot I could get a hold of. Then, once I got the camera, I slide up inch by inch until I was in position. I like the first ones better, but this was fun too. Besides, until this, I was still half dry.
Haystack Falls - We got to the falls just in time for a glorious sunset. The sun was hitting the mountain just over the falls. Mark had me take a few shots from the road area and then suggested I climb the rocks and head up a little higher to shoot. He knows I always enjoy getting the shots that everybody else doesn't have and knows he can just point me in a direction and I'll get to the location for the shot. Of course I think I make a few people nervous sometimes!
This mistbow can be seen just off the road.
One of our evening hikes to Hidden Lake. From Logan's Pass, this is about 1.5 miles up the mountain. It started out looking like it was going to be a beautiful sunset, but the clouds moved in and blocked some of our light. Before the clouds moved in, we were able to get some beautiful shots. Even after the clouds moved in it was a great place to just sit and relax, enjoying the beauty of the countryside.
This location is just off the road....literally. You drop off the side of the road and down the mountain. We weren't sure how easy it would be to get back up this slope. At first, we weren't going to go down, but the wildflowers were just too incredible. The side of the mountain was a little bit crumbly, sliding some with each step. I dropped over the side and got a few shots and then carefully climbed back up the hillside. Mark later borrowed a rope from the people that owned the cabins we were in, so that others could go down the hill and he'd be able to help them back up, if needed.

One afternoon we headed to Waterton Lakes, just across the Canadian border. Shortly after crossing the border, We found our first bear. This black bear was enjoying some berries along the roadside. We pulled up and snapped as long as he stayed. Then he crossed the road and disappeared into the woods. We headed off to meet up with the rest of our group, who had crossed over ahead of us. We ran across another bear further down the road, that further slowed us down. After meeting up with our group, we went searching for more, since the rest of the group had not been fortunate enough to see them. We saw a total of 5 black bears (most cinnamon in color) during our daytrip to Waterton Lakes. None provided the wonderful opportunity for quality bear shots, like our first one!

Just before leaving Waterton Lakes, we found these deer and stopped to take a few shots. Then we headed back to the US and Glacier National Park for sunset.
The morning lighting conditions provided a challenge using the Graduated Neutral Density filters to control the light, but I like a challenge. I ended up using 5 filters to get this shot. A polarizer, a 2 stop Reverse GND, 3 stop Reverse GND, 2 HS GND, and a 3 HD GND. Unfortunately I found the right combination just as the sun was coming over the horizon, but I still love the shot! I've talked to a lot of photographers lately that say you don't need the filters because you can do a lot of this stuff in Photoshop. There's a certain pride that I get when I can figure out how to get the shot in camera, in one shot. Besides, I'd much rather be out photographing than sitting at the computer putting my shots together!
This area provided a lot of opportunities for beautiful shots, with dead trees and other things. It also provided a lot of area for our group to spread out and shoot different things. I disappeared, climbing around and down the rocks and didn't see any of our group until I headed back up. There was a little drop off to the water. Mark, by now very used to me, just said he was listening for a splash, and if he didn't hear one, he knew I was fine! Of course, if he had heard a splash, that probably wouldn't have surprised him either...he would have just thought I found my way into the water!
Our last sunrise in Glacier National Park. It was a great trip. I met more people I hope I get to travel with again and I was fortunate enough to capture a few good shots in another one of our country's beautiful National Parks. It's always hard to say good-bye to new friends and old at the end of a trip, but I know I'll see many of them again very soon. Thank you Mark for providing another great trip!