Glacier National Park

We scheduled our photo expedition to the park several months in advance to be there in August when the flowers are blooming and the summer storms bring interesting weather. What we didn’t know was going to happen was the large number of wildfires that started two weeks before we got there and continued throughout the time we were there. It was happening all over the northwest section of the country, resulting in smoke and haze so think that you could barely see the mountains on some days.

We were there for ten days and every now and then the wind would blow out of the east and push the haze back to the west and we could get a few shots in. I considered leaving and going somewhere else, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go that didn’t have the same problem. We stuck it out and I’m glad we did.

The mountains there are impressive, especially Mount Oberlin. It quickly became my favorite and we returned there every afternoon until we could capture the image we were looking for.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, Oberlin, sunset, mountain
Majestic Glacier : Prints Available

At the same location, there was this colorful field of Fireweed that made for a great foreground in front of the mountain just to the west of Mount Oberlin. Multiple attempts and a truck load of patience got us the great sky and clouds in front of the mountain.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, fireweed
Morning Fire : Prints Available

In the Many Glacier area, if you are lucky enough to get a calm morning, there are some great reflections of Mount Grinnell and Mount Wilbur.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, Mount Grinnell, reflection
Grinnell's Glory : Prints Available
Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, Mount Wilbur, reflection, Many Glacier, sunrise
Reflecting On Wilbur : Prints Available

One of the iconic locations in the park is the view over St. Mary Lake with Wild Goose Island. Almost every morning the smoke and haze prevented us from photographing it. We got one clear morning, it was a little stormy, but still a nice image.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, Wild Goose, Island
Wild Goose Sunrise : Prints Available

An unexpected surprise was this late day view of Clements Mountain. There was one tiny space to park on the narrow, winding road, but it was all we needed. The warm light of the setting sun provided exactly what the scene needed.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, mountain, Clements, sunset
Glacier Sunset : Prints Available

A main target for the trip was to get up to Hidden Lake. It’s a little bit of hike, about a mile and a half uphill with one of the most spectacular views in all of the park. We hiked up there three separate times because of the smoke and haze. On this sunrise, the wind was out of the east blowing most of the haze away. The smoke from one of the new fires is clearly visible, and there is just something about it that seems to add an interesting element.

Montana, Glacier, Glacier Park, Glacier National Park, sunset, Lake, Hidden Lake
Hidden Sunset : Prints Available

Next up is Fall in southwest Colorado at the end of September. I’ve been there three times before, but it is just one of those locations that is hard to pass on. Thanks for looking and feel free to share. I also post more currently at www.Facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography. We appreciate all “Likes” of the page.

From Roan to Rainier

June and July were busy months, photographically and otherwise. One of the main attractions in the east in June is the Rhododendron bloom in the mountains of North Carolina. In July, we headed back to Washington State and Mount Rainier for some unfinished business there.

On the way to Roan Mountain North Carolina, we made a stop at Babcock State Park in West Virginia to photograph the Glade Creek Grist Mill. Usually, this is done in the Fall, but I wanted to shoot it with a more lush backdrop of green summer trees. We were fortunate enough for it to have been raining all day, giving the trees deep, saturated color. I got wet in the rain, but it was well worth it.

West Virginia, Babcock, Grist Mill
Summer Flow : Prints Available

The Rhododendrons were in full bloom at Roan Mountain. There is an ideal spot to photograph sunset from that turned out to be a couple of miles over and up some of the foothills. I wasn’t alone and we all made the hike back to the parking lot in the dark with the help of our headlamps, where my sister and daughter were patiently waiting for me. The results were worth the effort.

North Carolina, Roan, Mountain, Rhododendron, sunset
Rhoddies of Roan : Prints Available

Flowers were also blooming in a variety of areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was checking out a trail up the mountain to a viewpoint and came across this wonderful setting of Rhododendrons blooming under a tree. It was totally unexpected, which just made it all the more fun to photograph.

North Carolina, Rhododendron, mountain
A Pleasant Surprise : Prints Available

While scouting around the Parkway, we came across this beautiful area of ferns under the trees. I am just a sucker for ferns under trees. We immediately made plans to come back the next morning when the sun would be bursting through the trees behind them. We took a large number of multiple exposure images from various positions, but after all was said and done, this was the blend that worked the best.

Green Morning : Prints Available

Before heading to Mount Rainier after arriving in Seattle, we first headed to an area a couple of miles south of there. For several years, I have been wanting to photograph Lower Lewis River Falls, but just couldn’t get up there from where I was at the time in Oregon. It’s a short hike to the river, but the trail stops short of the river, about 6 feet above it. There is a rope you can use to repel down to the river at that point. With rubber boots on, we waded out to the middle of the river where you can get close enough to the deep aqua pool at the base of the falls. We had to keep wiping the spray off the lens between shots, and after taking a bunch of them, this was the one that really conveyed the beauty of the falls.

Washington, Lower Lewis Falls, Waterfall
The Aqua Pool : Prints Available

It was on to Mount Rainier, where I have been wanting to photograph it from the east side at Little Tipsoo Lake. The weather was a challenge, with either the mountain being covered by clouds and not visible or totally clear skies with no clouds. We would head out at 4am every morning to get there for sunrise, that would be behind us to light up the mountain. After days of zero clouds, they came back, but covered the mountain where you couldn’t see it.

With the heavy cloud cover, we took the chance to drive up to Sunrise Point to see if we could get above them. It was really spectacular. We captured this one image before the clouds moved in and covered the area that was picking up the color from the sunrise. In some ways, it was my favorite of the trip

Washington, Mount Rainier, Sunrise, Clouds
Clouds : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Tipsoo Lake, Reflection
Tipsoo Morning : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Mountain, Reflection, Tipsoo Lake
Reflection : Prints Available

It was a good couple of trips and I’m pleased with the images. We head for Glacier National Park in a few days. Hopefully, the flowers are in bloom at Logan Pass and we get some good skies. This is another one that has been on the list for a while.

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Summer On The Maine Coast

In August, the sun rises and sets in Maine from the best locations. The other issue on the coast is the tides. You really want to be there when the tide is close to high at sunrise and sunset to avoid the look of low tide, which is not that attractive.

So, with the timing figured out, it was off to Maine. I have been wanting to photograph the very picturesque Portland Head Light for several years. I stayed in Portland for five days just to be sure I got the sky that I wanted and it worked out great. One day at a location is just not going to get you the best results. It can be a little boring, but that’s just the way it goes.

I spent the other half of my time four hours north at Acadia National Park. I had been there a couple of times before, but did not get the results I was looking for on Cadillac Mountain or at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. In between, I was able to capture some nice images at the Cobblestone Bridge.

Success feels good in any form, and this was no exception. Next up will be the Wasatch Mountains at the end of September for fall colors and mountain vistas. I haven’t been there before and look forward to some serious exploration of the area. I may even sneak in a special side trip.

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Maine, Portland, Portland Head, Lighthouse, sunset
Sunset At The Light : Prints Available
maine, acadia, bar harbor, Cadillac mountain, sunrise
Mountaintop Sunrise : Prints Available
maine, acadia, sunset, bass harbor, lighthouse
Harbor Light : Prints Available
maine, acadia, trail, trees, steps, fog
Steps On The Trail : Prints Available
maine, acadia, cobblestone, bridge
Boulders And Stones : Prints Available
maine, acadia, cobblestone, bridge
Side Glance : Prints Available

Arches National Park

I headed to Arches National Park in early November to meet up with my good friend Jess Lee, with the main goal of doing some light painting of some of the arches at night. This time of the year can often provide clear skies, which is great for having the stars show up in the photographs.

I had done a little of this sort of thing before, but nowhere near what we were attempting this time. Our first attempt didn’t work out too well. Then, the storms moved in and we lost the clear skies we needed.

Our primary target was Double Arch, my favorite arch in the park. We finally got a night of clear weather, made some significant changes in the way were lighting up the arch and were quite pleased with our results. The second night, I went back to get a photo looking overhead in Double Arch. This was also high on my list.

There isn’t much to photograph in the park when the sky is clear, but in November the sun rises behind Balanced Rock, and I just had to capture the sunrise there.

That was about it for this expedition. Up next is Arizona in early December where we will work in the Superstition Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and maybe somewhere else depending on weather.

As always, hover over the photo for more information. Best viewed in Safari or Chrome, IE tends to shows too much contrast and saturation. Also, remember to “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions:www.facebook.com/josephfilerphotography.

Utah, Arches, National Park, double arch, milky way
Two If By Night : Prints Available
Utah, Arches, National Park, double arch, night
Above : Prints Available
Utah, Arches, National Park, balanced rock, sunrise, sunburst
Sunburst : Prints Available

Mount Rainier, Washington

In just about every year on record, the wildflowers in the pastures surrounding Mount Rainier bloomed in August. There are limited places to stay near the park due to its remote location, so you have to make your lodging arrangements six months in advance. As luck would have it, the continued drought in the west caused the wildflowers to bloom in early July and they were all gone when we got there in August.

Undeterred, Kelly and I searched high and low for other alternatives. We found a few remaining flowers to include along with some other subjects. It turned out to be quite productive with about ten images worth keeping.

This place is a hiking paradise, although many of the hikes do involved some serious elevation gain. We did some hiking, and the higher than normal temperatures resulted in some mild dehydration, which may have been a factor in causing the kidney stone I got. There were a couple of difficult 30 mile drives to the closest emergency room. I will try to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

The Washington State wild fires did cause some hazy skies for a couple of days, but it could have been worse. If we had stayed longer, I think it would have become worse, but my photographic issues with it pale in comparison to what those that are fighting the fires are facing. We wish the best for them and their families.

Next up will be short trip to Acadia National Park in Maine and then we’ll be in the Rockies for fall colors at the end of September.

Washington, Mount Rainier, Reflection, Lake, Sunrise
Rainier Sunrise : Prints Available
Emerging : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Mountain, Sunrise, Myrtle Falls
Myrtle Morning : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Tatoosh Range, Sunrise
Sunrise On The Tatoosh Range : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Christine Falls, Waterall
Christine Falls : Prints Available
Washington, Mount Rainier, Reflection Lake, Sunrise
Reflecting On Rainier : Prints Available