Storm Light, Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

While on my recent trip to photograph and scout for a future workshop in Glacier National Park, I made it a goal to come away with at least one dramatic image from Saint Mary’s Lake, arguably the most photographed location in the park. The last time I was in Glacier was about 12 years ago and I made the typical shot from the Wild Goose Island overlook. I was green back then and often times went for the low hanging fruit. However, I was determined to come away with something unique this time around and completely ignored the scenic overlook and the hordes of photographers lined up like soldiers on the front line. Walking by them I heard a few scuffs at me to get out of their images as I quickly made my way down the steep hill and into the woods looking for a path to the shore of the lake. It was a game path I spotted that led me through the woods for a few minutes before opening at the shore line of the lake. The fractured rocks along the shore was magnificent and I knew right away that this would be the spot to shoot from.

On that first morning the sun came up in its usual fashion with predawn light painting the skies pink over the mountains and finally about 20 minutes later painting the peaks in full light. It would have been a perfect chance to get the “shot”, but unfortunately there were no clouds and the resulting images were not very dramatic. With my new location in mind, I made my way back to the same spot on four more occasions over my time in the park. All were a bust, except for my last visit at sunset on the last full day of the trip. Late that afternoon a storm had begun to develop in the mountains and I thought this might just be my best chance to capture an image with drama and power from the lake. I made my way down with plenty of time to spare and found my composition, set up and waited. All the while hoping that there was a gap on the western horizon and a chance for dramatic light. There was and I ended the trip on a high note. More to come, so stay tuned!

Tech details: Nikon D700, 14-24mm @ F14. Three exposure hand blend in PS5.

Storm Light, Sainty Mary Lake, Glacier National Park