Thoughts on Shooting at Glacier

I recently wrote about my thoughts on photographing the Palouse area in southeast Washington. I wanted to wrap up that trip by briefly discussing my experience with shooting in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park waterfall

One of the many roadside waterfalls in Glacier National Park

Abbie and I started our trip very early one morning and came into the park from the east. We made it to Saint Mary Lake just before sunrise. The water was clear and the mosquitoes were thick. I was trying to get far out onto some rocks so I could get only water in the foreground, but after a poorly judged step, my feet were totally soaked. I took advantage of this and just waded out a ways to get the shot I wanted.

Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

Wet feet at Saint Mary Lake

We got some nice lenticular clouds but the color coming from the clouds overhead was an unattractive yellow, so I didn’t get any photographs there that I was happy with. Soon the direct sunlight was hitting the mountains and it was time to move on up the “Going-To-The-Sun” road.

Glacier National Park

Going-To-The-Sun Road

Soon we were at the Logan Pass visitor center which hadn’t opened yet as it was still early. Several bighorn sheep had taken up residence around the parking lot, nibbling on the grass along the road and even some small sprouts growing through the cracks in the asphalt. A few of us early risers were gathered around shooting and the sheep seemed curious about our intentions.

Bighorn Sheep at Logan Pass Visitor Center

Bighorn Sheep at Logan Pass Visitor Center

_E2A0389We took our time descending the other side of the mountain range, stopping at a few roadside waterfalls along the way. The west side of the park was much busier and it was more difficult to get clean shots, particularly around the edges of the lakes. A lot of people were swimming, fishing, and boating. Beautiful, but not quiet and peaceful like Saint Mary Lake. We photographed both at McDonald Lake and Bowman Lake on the west side. Bowman is quite a drive into nowhere land, but there were still quite a few people camping there, making it difficult to shoot sunset at the lake.

McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park

Lying on a pile of rocks and resting my neck while waiting for peak light at McDonald Lake.

Flathead Lake at Sunrise

Flathead Lake at Sunrise – Abbie Herschbach

By far, the best part about the lakes around Glacier is the clear lake water and the stones and pebbles that turn orange, red, and pink when submerged. They compliment the warm color palette of sunrise and sunset hues and make for a beautiful photograph. Our last morning there, we photographed at Flathead Lake, which is a few miles south of Kalispell. It is the largest natural freshwater lake in the US west of the Mississippi, and it is one of the cleanest lakes in the world. We both got some great shots that morning. The clouds and color were great and there were plenty of lines in the rock along the shore to work with.

Glacier National Park was a great location to visit after Palouse because the two areas couldn’t be any more different. Palouse with it’s flat, rolling rural farmland and countless, quiet dirt roads is nothing like Glacier with it’s massive snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, old forests, and spackling of crystal lakes. Both were inspiring to me and I was able to find and capture my vision in them. I look forward to releasing my photographs from both of these locations on September 26 at my home gallery show. I hope you can attend!