Great Fountain Geyser

Great Fountain Geyser

The Shot

This sunset shot of Yellowstone National Park‘s Great Fountain Geyser was taken one September evening around 6:30 PM using a Nikon D50 with a 12.0-24.0mm f/4.0 lens mounted on a Manfrotto tripod. The exposure was 1/50 with an -1.33 offset at an ISO of 200.

The Spot

Great Fountain Geyser is located off Firehole Lake Drive about 10 miles south of the junction of the West Entrance Road and the Grand Loop Road. Firehole Lake Drive is a small loop road that connects with the Grand Loop Road. There is a large parking area and bench seats for watching the geyser erupt. This is another of the spots popular with photographers.

Sunset at Lake McDonald

Sunset at Lake McDonald

The Shot

A sunset at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park is a favorite subject for many photographers. There were many on hand this particular summer evening in late June. The distant thunderheads beyond the mountains highlighted by the setting sun added much drama to the view and contrasted sharply with the dark mountains. The shot was taken by a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens mounted on a Manfrotto tripod at aperture prefered f16.0 at 1/30th.

The Spot

A sunset at Lake McDonald easily can be shot from many locations along the lake. This particular shot was taken on the beach at Apgar Village on the west side of the park. Apgar Village is found on the south end of the lake near the West Glacier entrance.

Indian Beach Sunset

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The Shot

When I first set up at Indian Beach I was facing the setting sun. But then the feathery looking clouds showed up and grew stronger and really showed off the evening sunset. So after grabbing a few shots of the sun setting, I changed directions and shot south along the beach to catch those amazing looking clouds as they became more dominant turned a solid pink in the evening sky. As much as I disliked not having more sky above the clouds, I also really wanted to get the cloud reflections in the wet sand and gentle surf.

The photo was shot with a Nikon D300 with a 12-24mm F/4 lens mounted on a Manfrotto tripod.

The Spot

Indian Beach lies on the Oregon Coast in Ecola State Park about two miles north of the town of Cannon Beach. Though fairly secluded compared to other nearby beaches, this scenic beach does see its share of sunbathers, beach combers, and surfers. It’s also a great place for a picnic. Visitors also often see wildlife such as elk, deer, gray whales and eagles.

Indian Beach was the setting in the movie Twilight where Jacob tells Bella about his Native American legends while they walk along the beach. The beach also was seen in Steven Spielberg’s World War II comedy 1941.

Falls Creek Falls

Falls Creek Falls

The Shot

Falls Creek Falls in eastern Idaho is one of the more difficult water falls I’ve ever photographed. The challenge was dark shadows on the falls and bright sunlight highlighting the opposite shore and the mountains in the background.

This shot was taken on a late August afternoon. I had left Grand Teton National Park in the early afternoon and was driving west toward Washington. I stopped at the small community of Swan Valley to grab a snack and a cold drink and ask for directions to Falls Creek Falls. This was late afternoon and I still needed to drive for several more hours to get to Salmon, Idaho where I would spend the night.

My webmaster had seen a photo of the falls gracing the cover of a magazine and requested that I capture photos of it. I followed the directions obtained at the Swan Valley store and found myself driving on a dirt road paralleling the Snake River. Still could not see the falls until I doubled back. I soon spotted the falls off to my right. I stopped and walked a few yards to a cliff overlooking the Snake River and finally saw the falls. I was standing at the edge of a cliff as the sun was rapidly descending. But I managed to catch a few shots without falling off the cliff and made it to my motel in Salmon, Idaho close to midnight. I only learned much later that the photo on the magazine was taken from a boat such as the fishing boat seen here.

I was shooting with a Nikon D300 set at ISO 100 with a 12-24mm f/4 lens at f22.0 at 1/4th mounted on a Manfrotto tripod.

The Spot

Falls Creek Falls is located on the Snake River just below (south of) a bridge on US Highway 26 that crosses the river about two miles from the small community of Swan Valley (population 204 in 2010) in eastern Idaho’s Bonneville County.

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 43, 26.4436 north; Longitude: 111, 22.6442 west; Elevation: 1627 meters/5338 feet.

Parker Homestead Once Was a State Park

Parker Homestead

The Shot: Parker Homestead

Unexpectedly came across this old homestead around noon on a cloudy September afternoon while driving to Yellowstone National Park. The old cabin seemed like a movie set begging to be photographed. Shot it with my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D50 with an 18-0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Settings were f9.0 at 1/320 and 200 ISO.

The Spot: Near Three Forks, Montana

The Parker Homestead is located on a parcel of private land just off US 287/MT SR 2 in Southwest Montana about three miles south and west of the town of Three Forks. The homestead once was leased from the property owner as a one-acre Montana State Park. But after serving as a state park for 25 years, the park department determined it no longer could afford to maintain the property as a park so let the lease expire.

Travelers stopping to take photos or otherwise wanting to see the homestead should remember that it now is on private property. Also, watch for rattlesnakes. The homestead still was a state park at the time this photo was taken and signs warning of rattlesnakes were posted.

The homestead is easy to find as it lies right alongside US 287 south of I-90, a popular route to Yellowstone National Park by travelers driving eastbound from Butte, Montana.

If heading to Yellowstone eastbound on I-90 from Butte, drive all the way to the interchange of I-90 and US 287 to see the homestead. Drivers exiting I-90 at either Whitehall or Cardwell to take the highway 359 shortcut likely will miss the homestead unless they turn back north at the intersection of 359 and US 287.

State Route 78

Montana State Route 78

The Shot

This image taken along Montana State Route 78 was shot with a Nikon D300 with a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm 1:35-5.6G ED lens at f5.0 and a shutter speed set at 1/500. ISO: 400. The shot was made while driving west and heading into rain and thunderstorms.

The Spot

State Route 78 in South Central Montana is a pleasant drive through farm and ranch land between the towns of Red Lodge and Columbus. The mountains in the distance are the northern edge of the Beartooth Mountains. I had just spent two days based in Red Lodge to explore the Beartooth Highway and a couple of trail heads, access points and northern entry points into the Beartooth Wilderness areas.

Mount Moran at Sunrise

Mount Moran

The Shot: Mount Moran

Mount Moran, at an elevation of 12605 feet/3842 meters in Grand Teton National Park, is a dominant peak in Wyoming’s Teton Range. The massive peak, often mistaken as being the Grand Teton, has some rather unique features. Perhaps the most striking is Skillet Glacier, seen in the photo as the large area of snow. My impression is that of a giant, broad, dog’s head with a streak of white running from the top of the head down to the nose and muzzle.

Look real close and one can see a vertical band of black off to the left of Skillet Glacier. Geologists call that 150-wide strip of black a “dike”. Then, near the very peak of the summit, one can make out a small light colored area of sandstone sitting up there like a cap.

This shot of Mount Moran was captured with a Nikon D300 with a Nikon 18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens adjusted to 70.0 mm at 4:55AM on a late August morning. I also often record GPS Coordinates and elevation using a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx attached to one or the other of my Nikon’s.

The Spot: Oxbow Bend

The location was suggested to me by a helpful employee of the Jackson Lake Lodge who knew I was taking photos in the area. The spot is well known I discovered, for there were a number of other photographers who also showed up to catch a sunrise photo. This location is a pullout along side US Highway 191 at Oxbow Bend on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park in Northwest Wyoming.

Oxbow Bend is easily found on a map showing Grand Teton National Park, but in case you don’t have a map handy, here are the GPS coordinates as recorded by the image: 43,51.9667N, 110,32.9068. Elevation: 2062 meters/6765 feet.