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Playing Chicken With the Night

I see many photographs of the Milky Way. Most of them feature our galaxy as the principle subject of the photo, and usually accompanied by clear skies. This photography has grown a bit cliche for me, although I never tire of seeing the Milky Way in the night sky.

Thanks to the recent dry conditions in Arizona, as the Arizona Monsoon apparently has taken a vacation, I had been planning some night sky photography without the fear of having clouds spoiling my shoot. I did some online research and decided that the view from Chicken Point, a popular spot for hikers and jeep tours at the end of the Broken Arrow and Little Horse Trails in Sedona, would make a great spot for some views of the Milky Way, due to its open views to the south.

I had just a few days to work with. My first attempt was a bit of a letdown, as two jeep loads full of about a dozen young adults unloaded and began drinking alcohol and blaring loud mariachi music. The night sky was obliterated by the light pollution from their headlights. I had some polite suggestions for the partiers as I exited back down the trail in the dark.

On the way out, I discovered once again that Sedona trails are a bit challenging to follow in the dark. Much of the trail crosses bare rock, and the rocks off of the trail are not any different than the trail surface itself. So, I found myself backtracking a few times to rediscover the trail, by looking for footprints in small pockets of sand in between the rock slabs.

With two days left to work with, I had to decide whether to go out on a night with no clouds, or chance it on a night with plenty of high clouds. I had as hunch the cloudy night might make for an interesting combination with the Milky Way–assuming the stars were able to shine through the thin veil of clouds.

So once again, I headed the two miles down the trail, arriving at Chicken Point just after sunset. The clouds were brilliant pink at sunset, and I thought I might have a brief window of opportunity to catch the Milky Way rising while the clouds were still pink from sunset. Sure enough, about a half an hour past sunset the Milky Way began to make an appearance as the sky darkened. Just 15 minutes later and the clouds were no longer as colorful, although the Milky Way was more visible. For just that brief window in time, our galaxy played with the residual colors of the sunset, and it was one of the more remarkable displays of night sky that I have had the pleasure to observe.

And I had the trail to myself this time, no jeeps and no night travelers. It was a surreal spot with the red rocks towering above me like a scene from some rugged canyon on Mars. It was a special moment in a special place, and I feel blessed to have been able to experience it and share it with others.

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The Burrito Test

“Burrito and Red Rocks” (Exclusive edition: 48X72 signed at $10,000,000)

Each day, those of us who spend any time on the internet are inundated with images. I would guess that I see anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of photos on social media each day. Popular images rack up hundreds if not thousands of ‘likes’ and shares, and more than a few photographers judge their success by the number of followers or views that their photographs garner.

This is an example of how imagery, and especially artistic photography, has been devalued by the internet, thanks to sheer volume and availability. Before the internet, most images we saw were in magazines, books, and in (gasp) physical galleries.

Ansel Adams once famously stated that “twelve significant images in one year is a good crop”
Yet, today’s crop of internet photographers would have you believe that at least two significant images a day is easily attainable—because, apparently, two posts a day is optimal for social media engagement. 🙂

To explain why it is socially acceptable to not canonize every photo we see online, I came up with a simple test: The Burrito Test.

The ‘Burrito Test’ is easy to apply. Given any photograph, would you rather have a free ready-to-hang 8X10 print of the photo, or would you rather have a burrito?

If you’d rather have the photo, then it is significant. If you’d rather eat the burrito (which, personally, for me would be about 99.9% of the time…) then, while the photo might be superficially pleasing to the eye, its value to society or to you personally is minimal.

Imagine a world where only significant photos, those that pass the burrito test, would be commented on or shared. In such a world, the number of self-proclaimed professional photographers would be in the hundreds or thousands rather than the millions. You would not need a machete to make your way through Antelope Canyon. There would be fewer photography workshops than there are photographers.

Imagine all these people…living life in peace 😉
Now I am hungry for a burrito…

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The Processing Debate: Is Digital Art Photography?

No, it is not.

I have seen this issue debated many times over the 15-plus year span of my photography career. The discussion becomes more heated and more important as cameras and photo processing software become more powerful and more available to the public. A recent podcast hosted by fellow landscape photographer and friend Matt Payne is an excellent summary of the two opposing viewpoints, and after listening to it I felt it was time to again add my voice to the discussion. My own philosophy has evolved over the years but I have not strayed from the basic belief that there should be a distinction between landscape photography and digital art. Just as painting could not be called photography and vice versa, I think there is a clear distinction between digital art and photography, one that has been blurred my many artists to the detriment of all.

To illustrate the distinction, I have posted three versions of one photograph that I took outside of Sedona in July, a shot of the Milky Way and crescent moon over a desert landscape. The top version is straight out of the camera, a ‘RAW’ file as it appears when imported into Adobe Lightroom, with no processing or profile applied. As with most ‘RAW’ images, it appears rather dull and lifeless. The second version appears directly below it, and represents my final processed version of the shot. It represents my attempt to capture the scene as I observed and experienced it. I purposely chose an image that is on the extreme side of what techniques I regularly use to process the RAW files. For this version, I brought out the shadows in the foreground, increased the contrast, and bumped up the saturation a bit. I probably spent an hour or so just tweaking the colors and contrast in Photoshop. Finally, in order to compensate for the extreme dynamic range in the scene, I used a second faster exposure (1/20s compared to the original 20s exposure) to replace the blown out area where the moon was in the original with a ‘properly’ exposed version of the moon, so the crescent is visible in my final version. Does my processed version look exactly like the scene as I observed it in person, on site? No, it does not. The foreground in my processed shot is much brighter with more detail than I could observe with my naked eye, although with the moonlight and city light pollution I could make out some amount of detail in the landscape. Also, while I could see the Milky Way and galactic core quite clearly in the dark sky, the Milky Way as captured by my Sony A7rii shows considerably more detail than I could make out with my eyes. On the other hand, in person I could clearly see the waxing crescent shape of the moon, whereas the 20 second exposure obviously wiped out all that detail. The final version is clearly a compromise–my attempt to capture the scene as closely as I experienced it, while conceding that the camera never takes a photo that looks “just as you see it.”

The final version on the bottom represents an extreme version of post-processing. It looks ghastly to me, but I routinely see similar ghastly images rack up thousands of views, likes, and shares on social media, so perhaps my disgust is misguided. For this version, I bumped up the exposure and saturation considerably, by processing the foreground and background separately and then combining the two versions. Then, I completely replaced the moon with a full moon version from an entirely different scene, to create a ‘fantasy’ scene. The result is something I saw in my mind’s eye, certainly not with my unassisted eyes. It’s a creation of my imagination rather than a representation of an experience in nature. I would not hesitate to differentiate between this creation and the version above it. I am comfortable calling the latter “landscape photography” while the former, in my opinion, can only be called “digital art”

Why is the distinction important? Because, as the podcast reveals, landscape photography is unique in the arts in that it is the only medium that directly captures the light of a scene through mechanical means. It therefore creates an expectation that what one sees in the photograph is something that one could see and experience in person with the right motivation and the right circumstances.

Why are expectations important? To answer that question, let me propose a hypothetical. Suppose I decided my life purpose was to observe and photograph an aurora borealis at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Since there have been aurora sighted as far south as New Orleans, this is not outside the realm of possibilities. But it is probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. So…I patiently wait year after year, targeting solar storms and following the cycles, spend many hours and days scouting the canyon for the perfect location. Then, one lucky night, I get extremely lucky and observe that aurora; I’m prepared and get the perfect exposures, and I’m able to process the shot so it reflects this experience of the lifetime. It’s a ‘holy grail’ shot that every landscape photographer dreams of. Meanwhile, someone who feels that there is no line between digital art and photography decides that they would like to boost their popularity on social media, so they spend a couple hours in Photoshop combining a shot of the Grand Canyon with a second, unrelated, photo of an amazing aurora, taken somewhere in Norway. Since the aurora as seen from the northern latitudes is almost certain to be more impressive than one seen as far south as Arizona, this composite image is quite impressive and quickly goes viral on social media, earning the ‘photographer’ quite a bit of attention and offers of licensing and print purchases from prospective buyers.

Both versions of this “Grand Canyon Aurora” are deserving of the title “art.” So who is the greater artist? Arguably, it is the second person, the one who created the image by combining two unrelated images. His resulting image is more impressive visually, and he can be applauded for coming up with the idea in the first place. As anyone who has worked extensively with Photoshop knows, the mere process of combining the two images at least somewhat convincingly takes a great amount of acquired skill with the software–the average Joe could not pull it off. In contrast, the first photographer simply was very patient and got lucky, and required a minimal amount of skill to process the shot to present this amazing scene of an aurora over the Grand Canyon. However, who is the greater “landscape photographer”? I don’t see how anyone could argue otherwise–it has to be the first photographer. He is the one who put in all the time and effort to capture and amazing–and true–natural experience, one that anyone could truthfully aspire to see in person. The manipulator’s version is just a sham–and if presented as reality it is also a lie. Ethics have a place in any art form, and landscape photography is no excpetion. This is why labels matter.

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Opportunity in Change


Sunset, from the lava fields north of Flagstaff.

2018 has been a year of transition for me. Susie, the woman who challenged and changed my way of looking at the world (as expressed in my August 2017 blog “In love with Photography”) proposed to me in January; we married in June outside of the Great Sand Dunes. Within a few weeks we sold both of our houses in Colorado, while buying a new home in the Ponderosa forest south of Flagstaff, Arizona. Susie and I had debated and discussed the move; we will miss the one-of-a-kind scenery of the Colorado Front Range, and I particularly will miss the proximity to alpine country at 14000 feet. Ultimately we decided the best move for our careers, our family, and our partnership was to make the move to northern Arizona. Flagstaff, at 7000 feet, offers a lot of the same benefits of living in Colorado along with the proximity to world class scenery. With change comes opportunity.


Lightning from a monsoonal storm at the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Within a couple weeks of moving, in between unpacking boxes and setting up the new home, we made our first trip to the Grand Canyon, less than two hours drive from home. We were greeted by a magnificent storm moving through the canyon, and followed the deluge to the west until we exited the park and celebrated our good fortune with beer and pizza in Grand Canyon Village. Since then, I have spent many days scouting the canyonlands south along the Mogollon Rim, and especially around the wonderful town of Sedona, which I had never visited before this move.


Mars rises over Cathedral Rock in Sedona on a quiet night in August.

Even the relatively unvisited areas within just a few miles of home have proven to be a fruitful source of new scenery, new visions, and new ideas. The thrill of new discovery calls me to seek out both the hidden and obvious beauty that fills the landscape in the Desert Southwest. Over the coming months I will continue to challenge myself to find and reveal nature’s art, and with new beginings comes a new opportunity to fulfill my goals of bringing the joy of discovery and the lesssons of art in photography to a wider audience. Change is good, when you let it bring you growth and happiness.


Kelly Canyon, in the Ponderosa forest south of Flagstaff (just bring mosquito repellant!)

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In Love With Photography


Since I began a serious effort at building up a portfolio of nature photography, my focus has been primarily on landscapes. Photographing the grand scenic vistas of the mountains and canyonlands is what got me started on nature photography, and while I have occasionally tried my hand at some wildlife and even portrait work, landscapes have been my main interest. I drew my inspiration from legendary photographers like Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell, and contemporaries like Art Wolfe. But my artistic goal of freezing brief moments of time, and preserving the beauty that our natural environment shares with us, is equally served by other genres of photography. My love of nature and the natural world began at a very young age, observing and learning about the plants and critters that surrounded me as I played in fields and forests as a child. This incessant curiosity with the natural world never left me, it has just been resting and waiting for the right time to emerge from sleep.


I met fellow photographer Susie Binkley online, after some of my photography was shared on a national park Facebook Page. We both share an intense interest in the natural world, especially the bugs and flowers, the weather, and the vastness of space beyond our own atmosphere. Her style is very different from mine. While I concentrated on big landscapes, hiking in the dark to wake up to sunrises at mountain lakes, her photography explored the smaller world. She captured the squirrels, the deer, and the flowers that sprung from the forest floor. She would spend hours kneeling or lying down, just to get unique and intimate views of the world at our feet.


Our favorite pastime (aside from eating chocolate and drinking raspberry ale 😉 ) has been to go on hikes at the local parks and open spaces that make living in Eastern Colorado so unique and exciting. Watching Susie work her craft has been where my love of the little things has reawakened. I suddenly found myself following in her footsteps, taking the time to patiently stop, wait, listen, observe, and capture those unique moments that make our natural world so enriching and joyous.


And so my love of the little things–of all that nature has to offer–has been reawakened, and my life is fuller and richer to have rediscovered my childhood spirit. I found it by discovering a love to share with a fellow photographer and artist. I see many wonderful things waiting for us to discover ahead in this marvelous place we call home.

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Miracle at Lathrop Lakes

Lathrop,Colorado,sunset

Miracle at Lathrop Lakes : Prints Available

I almost missed seeing this amazing sunset from Lathrop Lakes State Park. Skies were totally grey and overcast, but a break on the horizon permitted this incredible display.

I was driving back to Pueblo from the New Mexico badlands wilderness. The sky was almost completely overcast, but I noticed a thin line of blue sky on the western horizon. “Gap Light,” I thought. Gap light occurs when there is a break in the clouds on the horizon, and it creates some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. I pondered whether I should stop at the Great Sand Dunes NP and wait for sunset. By the time I got to the Sand Dunes, sunset was two hours away, and the sky was dismal looking, The clouds seemed to be getting thicker and no blue sky could be seen. I wasn’t anxious to wait two hours for a busted sunset, especially since that would mean a couple more hours of driving in the dark over La Veta Pass, infamous for suicidal deer and homicidal truckers. But I knew there were two other locations yet to come on my drive home, so I kept driving, figuring I could resort to ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’ if conditions improved. But by the time I got to ‘Plan B’–La Veta, the sky was even more dark and dreary, so I kept going, not expecting much from ‘Plan C’–Lathrop Lakes–at this point. When I got to the State Park, I could se the frozen lake in the distance, but the dull sky was still there, and I was more anxious to drink beer and eat chicken wings back home than to wait another hour for a sunset that surely would be quite boring.

I drove another five miles, into Walsenburg, and any opportunities for good sunset compositions were behind me, since the mountains run north to south and and I was about to drive to the eastern side of the range. Just as I entered town, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and caught a glimpse of a glow on the horizon. I remembered that thin strip of blue, and knew the clouds were moving from west to east. I thought to myself, “It would be an embarrassment if someone who wrote a whole book on forecasting good weather for photography were to miss a stunning sunset…” The lure of beer and chicken wings called, but I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give the sunset a shot, so I made a U-turn and headed back for the lakes.

I drove into the State Park, and circled the main lake, looking for a good spot to photograph sunset. I pulled off to a fisherman’s cove, and got out to hike along the shoreline, scouting the best view. But the wind was biting cold, and there was still 45 minutes to sunset. The sky looked darker than ever, and prospects for sunset looked grim. Chicken wings and beer continued to tempt me, so I got back in my car and headed out to the park exit…the sunset was going to be a bust, I decided.

Just as I exited the park, suddenly a ray of sunlight broke through on the horizon, from just a small break in the clouds. But this was enough–damn it, I could wait another 30 minutes in the cold! So, yet another U-turn, and this time I was committed. I got back to my scouted location just in time for the first color to start appearing over the twin peaks of Spanish Peaks, the thirteen-plus thousand volcanos of Wahatoya, the most prominent landmark of southeast Colorado.

Lathrop State Park,Colorado,sunset

Getting Ready : Prints Available

An amazing sunset unfolds from a frozen lake in Lathrop State Park.

For the next twenty minutes, the sky erupted into a blazing nuclear display; one of the most incredible sunsets I have witnessed in my over ten years as a landscape photographer. I fired off a couple dozen exposures to cover four different compositions; the best three are posted here. Chicken wings and beer were now a celebration of nature’s finest. The only chore left was processing the shots, which proved to be nearly as challenging thanks to chromatic aberration and extreme dynamic range. While no photograph can truly capture the brilliant red light shining on the frozen lake, I was glad to have caught a memory of this magnificent event.

Lathrop State Park, Colorado,sunset

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An icy lake blazes with a firey sunset.

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November Arrives

Two Rivers Lake,Rocky Mountain National Park,Colorado

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Two Rivers lake begins to freeze as November arrives in Rocky Mountain National Park.

On Halloween, I studies the weather maps and decided there was a good chance for a terrific sunrise the next morning. So, after a few hours of sleep, I drove three hours to arrive at Estes Park and the Bear Lake Trail head. I met up with a photographer friend, Kane Englebert, and we hit the trail a couple hours before sunrise. THe last time Kane and I hiked this trail, it was raining and sleeting and despite a brief break at sunrise, the peaks never really lit up. This time, the weather cooperated and we ended up with a beautiful sunrise from Two Rivers Lake, a small lake that is off-trail. Kane used his GPS to give us a short trip off the trail to reach the half-frozen lake shore. The colors were already starting to blossom when we reached the lake, and I couldn’t resist taking one shot of the brilliant colors to the east!

Two Rivers,Rocky Mountain National Park,Colorado,sunrise

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Sunrise in November 2014 at Two RIvers Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Then, I slipped along the ice on the shoreline in search of a good angle on the lake and distant peaks. The wind was really starting to pick up and it was biting cold; between the wind and the ice it was tricky finding a steady spot to place my tripod. But persistence paid off and I came away with a couple of my favorite shots from one of the premiere spots in Colorado.

Two Rivers Lake,sunrise,Rocky Mountain National Park,Colorado,vertical,alpenglow

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Sunrise lights up the peaks at a little-visited lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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First Snow

sunrise,Sangre,snow

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The Sangre de Cristo Range at sunrise after a light snowfall, October, 2014.

Every year, I make a pilgrimage to Mueller State Park to photograph the fall colors after the first snowfall of the season. This is usually sometime in October; this year it fell on October 13th. Mueller is a hidden gem of a park in any season, but it’s especially beautiful in fall, and after a light early snowfall, it’s a place that will bring you goose bumps.

I had scouted the park the week before this shoot, in order to find the best spot for a planned sunrise shot. It looked like a couple of storms would move through the area in the coming week, and I was pretty sure at least one of them would bring some snow to the park. The first storm proved to be a bit too warm, and all the snow fell above the park’s elevation, which ranges from about 9-10,000 feet. The next storm was starting to weaken as it approached eastern Colorado, and I was starting to get nervous. I watched the park webcam the afternoon before my planned sunrise adventure, and as it got closer to sunrise, the parking lot at the visitor center just looked a bit wet, with no snow to be seen. Finally, just as it started to get too dark to see anything from the webcam, I noticed a light coating of snow on some of the structures in the background of the lot, and I was convinced that there would be enough snow to make the sunrise interesting.

I got up a couple hours before sunrise, and as I drove up through Woodland Park and then Divide, I could see the light snow on the sides of the road. By the time I got to Mueller, there was even some snow in the road on some of the windy curves that lead up through the park, and it was clear that I was the first vehicle to make the drive up the park road that morning, so I had sunrise all to myself. I hiked a bit up Overlook Trail, and took some time lapse of the clouds rolling off the west side of Pikes Peak and out towards the south and west. The glow on the Sangre de Cristo Range in the distance was beautiful, and I took the photo at the header of this story. I could even make out the 14,000 peaks of the Crestone group on the left side of the photo, more than 70 miles away!

I took a number of photos as I hiked back along the trail; the light was magical as it shone through the brilliant aspen trees and onto frosty ground and grass.

: Prints Available

: Prints Available

Usually, the “magic hour” that is best suited for photography last about an hour after sunrise (what a coincidence…) but this morning, the light and colors just kept on shining well after sunrise, so I spent all morning photographing the snow and aspen. My favorite spot was at Peak View Pond, where I found some great subjects in the leaves and reflections.

Peak View Pond,Mueller State Park,Colorado

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Peak View Pond, October 2014, after a light snowfall.

aspen,leaves,Mueller State Park,pond

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Aspen Leaves on a pond in Mueller State Park.

There’s only one first snow at Mueller each year, and I already am looking forward to next year, for this great combination of magic in the company of Pikes Peak and the aspen forests of Teller County.

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Reflections in a pond a Mueller State Park.

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Why Photograph Maroon Bells?

Crater Lake,Maroon Bells,Aspen,Colorado,sunrise

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Spectacular sunrise from Crater Lake in the Maroon Bells Wilderness area near Aspen.

Because the Bells are the most awesomest thing to photo, EVER! You can go there on even the dullest, grayest showery morning of September and still walk away with superb photos that will get 3 million likes on FB, and Peter Lik will beg you to hang your prints in his Aspen Gallery. Never mind that you will be elbow-to-elbow with 200 other photographers who share your undying love of the Bells, because the three inches between you and the guy-leading-the-workshop next to you will result in a slight angular difference that will make your photo your unique vision! 🙂

Lololololol!

With no vacation time off from work this season, I had to make do with a weekend
which did not look too promising for a good sunrise. But, it looked like there was at least some chance of light Sunday morning before a storm moved in, so that was my target. With little time to plan, I stayed at a hostel Saturday night, then headed for the Maroon Bells at about 4:30 am. Since there had been a thunderstorm the night before, and the main area of rain was still on the way, I wasn’t very hopeful. But my main goal was to shoot some time lapse for a video I am working on, and the beauty of time lapse is that even overcast skies can be interesting when set in motion.

When I headed out from Maroon Lake, even in the darkness I could tell that there wasn’t much hope for spectacular sunrise light on the Bells. But there was a glimmer of light on the southeast horizon, which gave me some hope. My plan was to hike up to Crater Lake, about two miles and 1,000 feet above Maroon Lake. In my opinion, the views of North Maroon Peak and the Bells are superior from Crater–plus it gives one the option of shooting from more varied directions. There are few options from Maroon Lake, especially when you are surrounded by throngs of other photographers.

The hike up to Crater was quiet and peaceful. A couple of guys passed me on the way to climbing Pyramid Peak, one of the toughest 14,000 foot-plus mountains in Colorado to climb; they were seemingly unconcerned about the downhill trend in the weather. When I got to Crater with plenty of time to spare for sunrise, I was the only person up there. All the signs posted warning of bears in the area were a little unnerving, but I saw no signs of bears. As sunrise approached, it became clear that the higher clouds above would block most if not all of the sunrise light from hitting the Bells, so I shifted strategies and set up from the far side of Crater Lake looking east, where I could see the light was trying to break through at the horizon. Just before sunrise, there were more breaks in the clouds to the east, and the sky began to light up in hues of pink and then yellow. The reflections on the lake were ever-changing, and made for an exciting time lapse. I felt sorry for the mob down at Maroon Lake–they probably missed all of the excitement that was happening behind them as they focused on the gray skies above the Bells. The photo above was at peak color; without a second camera I was forced to halt my time lapse to grab a shot of the spectacular sunrise. As expected, a few rain drops started to fall as I made my way back down to the parking lot.

I didn’t come away with the ‘classic’ views of the Bells that draw the crowds to the area each year, but I was far from disappointed. I just hope my secret stays safe in the coming years, so I can continue to have Crater Lake all to myself!

The unexciting skies to the west:
Fall2014-g

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Glacier National Park: Triple Falls

Glacier National Park, Montana

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Fog clearing after sunrise along a beautiful creek near Logan Pass.

Triple Falls is one of those icons every landscape photographer has on their ‘bucket list’. Most photographers were introduced to this location by the late Galen Rowell’s photos of this area taken in the 90’s. My introduction came by way of one of Galen’s protege’s– Marc Adamus, a well known adventure photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. His fresh look at the place got me thinking about getting a shot of the falls with some unusual conditions. I was hoping for some fresh snow, but the snow fell a little bit too high–not quite cold enough in early September! Fortunately the strong west winds ensured a bank of fog would form west of the Continental Divide. A quick look at the weather maps convinced me that would happen. So my plan shifted to trying to get a shot of the falls as fog cleared from the peaks at sunrise.
The stars were out as I headed up Going to the Sun to get to Logan Pass. A large bull moose stood in the middle of the road at one point, and I had to break to avoid hitting him. I could see the clouds banked on the other side of the divide, and when I finally got to the parking area it was completely fogged in, and pretty dark as well. I was a bit wary of hiking in the dark off trail in heavy fog through prime grizzly bear habitat. I ran into another photographer, Denis Dessoliers, as we both prepared to hike out to the falls, and we agreed to stick together to minimize the bear threat. The fog was dense enough that I was not optimistic that it would clear for sunrise. Here’s Denis setting up at the head of the falls.

Glacier National Park, Montana

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Denis Dessoliers at Triple Falls

For the next half hour or so, before and after sunrise, the fog toyed with us and kept revealing pieces of the surrounding peaks but never the whole grand landscape. While Denis patiently waited, I ran around frantically from spot to spot, trying to grab a shot of the emerging peaks with the falls in the foreground!

Glacier National Park, Montana,sunrise

Foggy Games : Prints Available

The fog toyed with the mountains at sunrise, leaving just glimpses of the peaks.

Finally, the fog started to break up a bit as the sun tried to rise above the distant peaks. It was a magical period of time as the light bounced around the fog bank and pushed its way over the peaks. The light and the spectacle were changing dramatically from second to second, and I blasted through about half a memory card as I shot from the edge of the waterfalls.

Glacier National Park, Montana,triple falls,fog,sunrise

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Fog, sunrise, and fresh snow on the peaks, at Glacier National Park’s Triple Falls.

Glacier National Park, Montana,Triple Falls,fog

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Sunrise from Triple Falls, as the fog clears.

With the best light behind us, We hiked to another waterfall and grabbed some more photos as the fog continued to make advances and retreats into the valley. The atmosphere was special; nothing can really top morning fog in the high country of the northern Rockies!

Glacier National Park, Montana,fog

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A foggy morning in the Glacier high country.

When we got back to the parking area at the pass, it was well past sunrise but the fog was still hugging the divide and spilling over into the eastern portion of the park. I grabbed a few last shots of the mountains and fog before heading back down the scenic highway. It was a great way to wind down my short stay in Glacier–hopefully when I get back I’ll be able to go deep into the back-country to see the heart and soul of Glacier.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Hugging the Divide : Prints Available

Fog over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

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