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.
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!
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.
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!
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.