The pristine ecosystem of Montana’s Glacier National Park was made for landscape
photography. Called the “Crown of the Continent” its’ graphic glacier carved
geography and flow of energy is nothing short of stunning.
Known as the “Backbone of the World” by Native Americans, Glacier has more
than a million acres of aspen and pine forests, flowery alpine meadows, clear lakes,
jagged peaks and prominent glacial-carved valleys.
The Park’s diversity is also home to nearly 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, and wolf, Mountain Goats and Bighorn sheep. Everywhere you turn it’s easy to get
electrified by the view and the life that surrounds you.
Up at Many Glacier on the eastern side of the Park I intended to photograph Swiftcurrent
I wanted my images to be powerful and dynamic. I scouted the location and climbed down to small ledge facing the deafening cascade. You could feel the energy of the thunderous falls charge through your body.
To convey its’ power and flow I chose a 20mm wide angle lens and got in close, careful not to slip into the stream and get flushed down into the gorge and river
I used the juxtaposition of background and fore ground to create an illusion of perspective. I feel it gives the viewer a sense of being there in the image, itself. It expands the experience and gives the viewer a further sense of your perception. In this
case a sweeping wide angle of power and strength.
Near far compositions create scale and interest. Coupled with the slight zigzag pattern of diagonal lines in the composition it keeps the viewer’s eyes moving back and forth
within the picture.
When photographing waterscapes it’s a good idea to eliminate as much of the sky as
possible because the sky can be a distraction drawing the viewers eye away from
the essentials, the dynamics of the composition.
Overcast light, even haze is good when photographing water because it diffuses the light
so that you can employ slower shutter speeds and not get hot spots that are
created by bright light. A polarizing filter also comes in handy.
The use of motion blur and the texture that forms with water from a timed exposure is
essential in capturing the vitality of a waterfall. Applying a full depth of field and an ISO of
100 with shutter speeds from ¼ to ½ second and you’ve got the shot. Slower
shutter speeds in brighter light would have washed out the highlights and
faster speeds would have distracted from the impression of movement and flow I
wanted to portray.
I encourage readers to get out and photograph water. Experiment with liquid movement,
motion and blur as design elements to express yourself. Be in the moment. Let
me know how it goes.
Get helpful information from these websites:
National Park – www.nps.gov/glac
Glacier’s webcams – www.nps.gov/glac/photosmultimedia/webcams.html
Lodging and activities – www.glacierparkinc.com
Montana Visitor’s Guide – www.visitmt.com
Sunrise Sunset calendars – www.sunrisesunset.com
The Photographer’s Ephemeris – www.photoephemeris.com
Photographs used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2011, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. My image catalog can be viewed at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com.
You can contact me through this blog or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org