Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Glacier II

 With my back up camera in hand I was happily able to continue shooting with my new lenses. I gave Kristi my old Canon P&S, which still takes really good landscapes.  I wouldn't have been totally out of commision, if I hadn't had a back up.  We stayed outside the park the night before, and we were both up early to get going.  Entering the Many Glaiers section of the park we were treated to the rising moon over Lake Sherburne.  I chose an infrared filter when processing this image to amplify the contrast of the moon on the bright blue sky behind.   

 We didn't get too much farther before the moon repositioned itself just over this tree in the valley with wild flowers.   It doesn't get much better than this, we pulled over immediately and got the shot.   Many Glacier Bus

Just when I was rapping up, one of the cool busses that operate through out both Waterton and Glacier National Parks drove by.  They are old Ford busses that were originally built for the park, but recently resored by Ford Motor Company. They retrofitted them to run a more emission friendly propane.   Each passenger has thier own door, and the roof canopy rolls back to give passengers unobstucted views. 

Next up was Swiftcurrent Lake.  We arrived just in time for the first ferry to break the glassy water of the lake. I waited until I thought the ferry was out of view and the waves calmed down a bit to get this reflection shot. There was a nice water fall from off the dam that we hiked a short distance to get to.  There were bear and mountain lion sightings posted all around.  Our awareness was heightened in fear of discovering surprise wildlife.

Glacier was having a heat spell at the time, and was suffering from a high pressure system, so clouds were rare.  We wanted to hike around Swiftcurrent Lake and to some other lakes close by, so drove to the trailhead just up the road. Big horn sheep were rumored to be seen in the area, and we were on the look-out.  The dogs had to stay in the van, but before we left, we sprayed them down with the water spigot there in the parking lot.  We hiked along the chain of lakes and further up the creek.  With all the rapid run-off  the ground was squishy, and some drifts still lingered.  We decided to hike up another spur to get more photos of waterfalls, but soon came to a rushing creek with a washed out bridge. We had to retrace our steps and return the way we came.

Just before we hit Swiftcurrent Lake there was a rustling in the bushes.  I could hear people up the slope, and figured it was them. Then pow, before I could even raise my camera a big horn sheep crossed the trail, and disappeared into the thicket.  The people off the trail and up the hill were trying to get a shot of them, but failed too.  I was left with nothing but a blurred memory of a blond rump.  The last half mile we crossed Swiftcurrent creek and I grabbed a couple of photos of the creek and mountains. They were a bit unamazing, but with a little photoshop prowess, made for a nice couple of black & white infrared photos.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Glacier I

When visiting national parks sometimes doing a little bit of research is good for finding sunrise or sunset places. Sometimes not. When I did some internet research on Glacier National Park one of the recommended sunrise spots was St Mary Lake. I got up early, and found a spot on the shore and waited. And waited. The sun came up, left the lake in shadow, and there was only a small bit of light on the opposite hill across the shore. It was a bust.The real light was happening up the Going to the Sun road at Lyell pass. Lesson learned. The reality was there was very little going on in the sky, as there was a dominant high pressure system during the time I was there.

The light was harsh when we got to the top. I guess you just need to follow your instinct (and the light), and not be lead by what the internet says. Going to the Sun road was beautiful, waterfalls were flowing down every crevasse and canyon. We were treated to a rare experience at Lyell Pass.
When we got there we witnessed people grabbing their skis and snowboards, climbing up the side of the mountains and skiing down. This was June 24th. Glacier had received so much snow that year the pass had just opened the week before. Eight feet of snow still sat beside the parking lot, and the bathrooms were in operational. The park service had installed porto potties in the parking lot to accommodate. And me without my skis in the middle of June! We had our crampons though. We decided to hike to Hidden Lake, which was really hard to see. It was indeed hidden by ice and snow. We climbed the hill to the overlook and were surprised by some mountain goats.

 They were really tame, and started to hike with us. As we traversed the mountain and got to some green grass we left them behind to make the decent into the Hidden Lake basin. We never made it to the actual lake, as it was really bright and sunny. We were feeling a bit burnt on our eyeballs, and anticipating the long scramble up the snow back to the overlook.
Not wanting to pass up the snowplaying festivities, we decided to glissade back down the hill, being careful not to scoop snow with my shorts pant legs. Well turns out that last little bit was too much for my two month old camera lens.  It rattled the shims out of it and into the mirror box.  The next time I turned my camera on it quit. I removed the lens and discovered the parts inside.  With a week and a half still left on the trip, I was not happy.  Fortunately, I had my back- up camera with me and was still in the game.