Another visit to Glacier National Park

Before my recent outdoor workshop at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography we spent almost a week in Glacier National Park.  Since I grew up on the other side of the country from this place, and because it’s pretty remote from most of the country, it’s not a park I ever thought I’d visit much less become familiar with.  Of course, that familiarity extends only to the places you can drive into or hike less than 3 miles!  Still, you can get a sense of the awesome nature of the place even if you aren’t walking into the distant roadless areas.

Grinnell Peak behind Swiftcurrent Lake below Many Glacier Hotel. ISO 100, 14mm, 1/60 sec., f/8

For this visit we stayed at the Swiftcurrent Inn, a somewhat out of the way place in that you have to leave the main road through the park in order to reach it.  It’s a location that rewards you with several trails into the valleys and slopes as well as to several lakes where falls and wildlife can be spotted.  Being away from the main park doesn’t mean isolation, however, as every day we were there (during the week, no less) the parking lot was full and the trails populated with hikers.  All ages were completing some end-of-the-year vacationing and the location offers something for just about anyone interested in seeing a different part of the park.

Swiftcurrent Valley, ISO 100, 14mm, f/8, 5 image HDR

Part of the attraction in this section of Glacier is the Many Glacier Hotel, one of the grand structures built back in the day when guests came in by horseback or slow truck to enjoy time in the backwoods.  Just the place to venture from to reach nearby peaks, fish in lakes, or set out on a multi-night excursion through the “wilder” areas of the park.  From here the intrepid adventurer could reach one of the stone chalets built in the park as rest stops for travelers, and after days of exploring the glaciers and alpine lakes, return to more civilized accommodations.

Many Glacier Hotel, ISO 100, 35mm, 13 sec., f/6.3

Although we made the drive over the Going to the Sun road and spent some time at Logan Pass it was in this valley we did most of our photography.  You can zip around a place for days, snapping images in impulse, or you can take time to get to know a location and see what it offers.  Doing so takes advantage of how views change, particularly with weather.  We saw the gamut from clear, blue skies to ominous dark clouds and that really helps with compositions of mountains.

Here are a few of my favorite scenes from this area.  More to come later as I continue processing my image files – working through 2000 right now!

Fishcap Lake, ISO 100, 100mm, 1/160 sec., f/4

Fishcap Lake, ISO 100, 81mm, 1/60 sec., f/5

Ptarmigan Falls, ISO 100, 35mm, 1/40 sec., f/5

Ptarmigan Falls, ISO 100, 73mm, 1/30 sec., f/4

Swiftcurrent Valley, ISO 100, 14mm, f/8, 5 image HDR

Redrock Lake, ISO 100, 37mm, 1/320 sec., f/8

Redrock Falls, ISO 100, 14mm, f/7.1, 3 image HDR


6 thoughts on “Another visit to Glacier National Park

  1. Grinnell peak is beautiful, the light on those mountains and the scale indicated by the person in the foreground. I love ptarmigan falls, nice the way you used the composition and redrock falls too


    • It was a nice boat ride and hike to Grinnell lake; in a drizzle. Ran into a moose cow feeding along the trail, which was a nice bonus. Luckily the clouds came down to cover the higher peaks so the grey sky wasn’t so bad. Ptarmigan falls was a challenge – too many trees blocking the overall view. I put the people in the top of the image to at least show some scale. We learned they do horseback tours into the higher elevations; now I have a reason to go back!


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