Since my last post, I spent a few days wandering around Glacier National Park, hiking and making photos. For those who know the area, I stayed in the Two Medicine campground for two nights, toward the lower east side of the park, and then for two nights in the Rising Sun campground, along the Going to the Sun Road, but again on the eastern side of the park. From this base, I used the park shuttle to move along the Going to the Sun Road, so I did get to see the western side as well. The park is split down the middle by the continental divide, so there is quite a difference between the west and the east in terms of weather, foliage, and terrain.
I hiked probably 25 or 30 miles altogether, some of it in the rain, and all of it with a lot of gear. Given the number of days I was in the park, this is not actually that much, but my average speed was held down by the fact that I kept stopping to take photographs. I was also trying to be cautious of wildlife, as I was hiking alone. Glacier is filled with, among other things, bears, including Grizzlies. I carried bear spray for emergencies, but the best defense I guess is simply to avoid surprising a bear coming around a blind corner, so I learned to yell out at intervals to announce my presence well in advance and to take corners slowly. I also did not go as far into the backcountry as I might have with a companion. In the end, whether because of my caution or just due to luck, I never did encounter a bear, although many neighbors in the campgrounds spoke of (harmless) bear encounters. I did see lots of other wildlife, however.
The park is absolutely spectacular, and there is an amazing vista at every turn. Towering cliffs over valleys carved by glaciers, crystal clear lakes, and green meadows filled with a rainbow of wildflowers are everywhere. It was easy to get carried away and just start shooting. It took me a little while to settle down and exert a little discipline. Just because something looks spectacular to your eyes does not mean it will make a good photograph. But once I got into the groove and remembered my fundamentals, I made a few good photos.
I am particularly pleased with “Avalanche Creek” in the bottom row of the gallery below. This was along a fairly touristy, well-traveled trail, but the light was really soft and the view of the creek nice, so I set myself up on a rock and waited patiently for a break in the traffic (which would otherwise be visible right along the bank of the creek). I had been lazy and not lugged my tripod on this walk, but in order to work in this dim light, and especially to get the smoothed water effect that I wanted, the camera had to be steady for about a second. So I balanced the camera on a rock and laid down next to it to line up the shot (which got me a few strange looks by passers-by). In the end, I think it was worth it. But after that, I carried the tripod.