St. Mary Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park in northern Montana is a world carved by ice. Known to Native Americans as the “Shining Mountains”, canyons flow down from this alpine environment along the Continental Divide that were formed a millennia ago when mastodons roamed the earth.
Moving just inches a year, the glaciers fill the rivers and streams below with silt giving them their unique turquoise hue. And set against the red and green sedimentary rock (the oldest in the entire Rocky Mountain chain), the colors provide a visual feast while the chill in the air is a constant reminder that the ice is not far above.
Glacier is recognised as an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, and preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and glacial-carved valleys. Though evidence shows that within thirty years all of the ice may be gone, rangers are quick to point out that the park was named as much for the forces that formed it as the glaciers themselves.
A trip to this magnificent park should be on anyone’s bucket list to North America, but it’s frozen remains are just one facet of the many awe-inspiring sights waiting to explored.
Les Braves WWII D-day monument on Omaha Beach created by French sculptor Anilore Banon
TGIF – It’s easy to say after a long work week in which maybe things didn’t all go as planned, but we need to put things into perspective. Seventy years ago on this now quiet beach along the coast of Normandy, France decisions were made that have provided us with the freedoms we continue to enjoy today. This monument on Omaha Beach, Les Braves created by French sculptor Anilore Banon, is a tribute to the soldiers who made such great sacrifices during the Allied invasion on D-Day to preserve our way of life.
On this Veteran’s Day, I’m grateful to those who have given so much to allow me the opportunity to live and work as I choose. In honor of the day, the National Park Service has waived the entrance fee for all parks, monuments and historic sites in the country. So head out and exercise your freedom, and enjoy America’s Best Idea on the house!
Moonbow and starry sky over Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is a mecca for adventure and nature photography with its steep granite walls, lush meadows, alpine spires and booming waterfalls. I’ve spent over forty years exploring its unique features and it always feels like home whenever I return.
But as with any well-loved location, it’s easy to find yourself in a creative quandary when it comes to seeking out new perspectives. With iconic landmarks around every turn, it’s a challenge to create fresh images that (no matter how beautiful) don’t leave you feeling as if you’ve just seen that same view in a recent car ad or magazine. So what to do?
Last spring I admit I did take some of those classic shots, but I also came away with a few truly unique images. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, waterfalls are always a rewarding subject as no two shots will ever be the same. The flow of the water is in a constant state of flux and experimenting with shutter speed opens up a whole new world of creative expression. From what Ansel Adams called “straight photography” to ethereal artistic interpretation, the sky really is the limit with this liquid landscape.
To take this one step further, my trip coincided with the full moon so I took advantage of the lunar light combined with a fairly full flow from the spring runoff to create nightscapes like the one above. Moonbows have become a popular subject in recent years, and the opportunity provided just the creative portal I was seeking.
Also known as lunar rainbows, moonbows are a unique phenomenon that occurs when the full moon illuminates the spray of a waterfall. The moon needs to be low in the sky (less than 42 degrees) and the night sky must be very dark making Yosemite an ideal location. The best times are typically 2 to 3 hours before sunrise or 2 to 3 hours after sunset when the brightness of the stars compliments the moonlight reflecting off the water.
Framing can be a challenge in such dim light, but once you have a composition set and your eyes have adjusted the fun part begins. Watching the moonbow magically appear and disappear with the ebb and flow of the spray is mesmerizing and makes for an evening of photography you won’t soon forget.