Glacier National Park

An early June trip to Glacier National Park in Montana isn’t quite early enough to see everything.  The winter, of course, will dictate whether this holds true.  In the case of 2011, the Going to the Sun road was still closed so seeing a majority of the park was made a little more time consuming.  Besides the long drives from West to East Glacier, we also experienced weather extremes: a day and a half of rain and clouds followed by a day and a half of clear skies.  These conditions gave me the opportunity to capture waterfalls and streams with saturated greens in the forest.  A short hike around the Avalanche Creek Nature Trail and two stops at Silver Staircase Falls produced these shots:


Silver Staircase Falls Detail


Silver Staircase Falls


Rain at Avalanche Creek


Once the rain cleared the mountains in all the grandeur appeared.  The shear escarpments worn by the glaciers accentuated their majesty.  I felt a little cheap since these views and locations were simply being driven to by car.  I’ve become accustomed to backpacking for such scenery.  I can see why this park is so highly visited.  Half of one day was spent at St. Mary Lake.  Unfortunately it was right at midday so the shooting conditions were far from ideal.  Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but take picture after picture with numerous peaks lining both sides of the lake.


St Mary Lake and Goose Island


Going-to-the-Sun Mountain


The highlight of the trip for me was a sunrise at Two Medicine Lake.  We changed our lodging plans at the last second.  The drive from Kalispell to East Glacier was very long so we spent our final night at Glacier Lodge.  This put me just minutes away from Two Medicine Lake.  I drove up there for sunset but didn’t capture anything special since most of the peaks were in shadow.  I was able to scout a couple locations for the following morning.

Awaking at 4:30AM, my dad and I drove up to Two Medicine under clear skies.  Some clouds would have been nice but after all the rain I was pleased with the clear morning.  I setup first at an inlet stream.  It was deeper than I expected so I was unable to position myself where I wanted.  I still had decent position in the stream so I made a few dawn captures from that spot.  As the antitwilight arch faded and light began to illumine the mountain I started changing my compositions between portrait and landscape.  I moved progressively down the shoreline stopping at rocks that added a nice foreground element to the scene.  The multicolored pebbles in the lake made the scene more unique compared with mountain lakes that I’ve seen before.  After 30 minutes of shooting I had taken many frames from dawn to first light.  I left satisfied with my captures.  Here are my three favorite from that morning:


Two Medicine Dawn


Morning on Ice at Two Medicine Lake


Two Medicine Sunrise


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