Spring or Fall

Some years it’s harder to tell than others that it is actually Fall. Thanks to the Typhoon in the Pacific a couple of weeks ago there has already been a significant dump of snow in the Rocky Mountains, while not unusual to have a storm in September, it was a lot at the time. All of that has melted away of course but it was a welcome sight for the fire season. In the time I’ve spent in Bozeman the weather has always seemed unusual. We get weird chinooks where it goes from warm to cold and cold to warm. There are have been past October’s where a T-shirt and jeans were too much and Septembers where you need a down jacket. The best advice for shooting under such conditions is to be prepared for just about anything. Do some homework and see what the weather gods bring.

It’s Almost That Time Again

Well, we aren’t quite there yet but pretty soon there will be snow on the Bridger Mountains. Right now we are faced with a terrible fire on the Bridgers and honestly, I can’t wait for the snow to show up. This past Monday we had the first minor snow flurry come through in the higher elevations and a welcome reprieve of cooler temps. Pretty soon it will be chasing fall color and fall spawning Brown Trout. Until then, here’s hoping the fire will get contained.

The Reliable Jug

It was strong, lethal, rugged, and heavy, but the P-47 got the job done and it brought it’s pilots home safe. The P-47 Thunderbolt was Republic’s answer to the need for a single-engine fighter early in WWII. This massive plane weighed 10,000lbs when emptied, had armor plating, eight 50 caliber machine guns, and self-sealing fuel tanks. Like most planes when it came off of the assembly line there were issues but as more were, pilots found ways to improve upon them and they became well-liked by those that flew and maintained it. Several years ago I was very glad to be able to go down to Planes of Fame where five P-47’s attended. It was quite the show one which I can’t wait to see happen again.

Another Day, Another River

The Bitterroot River, what’s to say? I’m not really sure. One of the best things about Montana is how much there is to explore and how much you can see. The Bitterroot River runs through the Bitterroot Valley and is 90 miles of beautiful scenery. In a lot of ways, it is reminiscent of the Gallatin River with its long rocky sandbars that appear at the end of summer when the water levels go down. Fishing it also feels the same, with a rod in one hand and a camera in the other, it will be a fun new challenge in the months to come.

The Anchor Rock

It is a well-established practice to place an anchor in landscape images. Most of the time these anchors are small objects in the bottom corners of the photograph. The idea is, these anchors give a place for the eyes to rest as they move throughout the image. Anchors can be very useful but they can also be really bad. Often times they are overused, such as a fallen log or stump. They are boring, ugly, and take up to much of the composition. IF you’re going to use an anchor point in your landscape images be sure that it fits the story and isn’t obnoxious.

Can’t Beat Those Mountain Lakes

For the second time this year I hiked up to the Hidden Lakes but this time the intent was to catch the allusive Golden Trout which inhabit at least two of these lakes. Golden Trout are said to be the prettiest of trout in North American and the little beauties certainly don’t disappoint, but first, you have to catch them, in this. Clean and clear mountain lakes are a ton of fun to fish in but they can be challenging as the fish are easily spooked. Photographically the lakes are gorgeous! Between the backdrops and the clear foregrounds, they can lead to all sorts of different photographic opportunities.

A Solemn Day

There are some days in history that are harder to remember than others, mainly because those days mark something awful but nevertheless they are an important day. Seventy-five years ago the allied powers dropped the second atomic bomb on Japan. Six days later, Japan surrendered and WWII was officially over. While the ink wasn’t dry until September, and fighting occurred on islands in the Pacific far longer than September, officially it was over. The use of atomic weapons changed the face of the globe forever and while the cost was justified at the time, the idea being that more would die in an invasion than using the bomb, it is still hard to fathom that mankind was capable of such a thing. WWII saw a massive change in technology in a very short amount of time, not much different than the world we live in today. With these technological advancements comes the responsibility to use them wisely.

Another Hidden Gem

While exploring the Hidden Lakes, to which there are nine lakes right next to one another, we found a number of different lakes but were unable to get to them all. While the elevation was too high it certainly seemed like the type of place where a Moose would just pop out at you. Unlike the other lakes we visited, this one definitely seemed shallower almost like it was winter runoff but that was debunked after we saw some fish swimming around. Again this is one of those, you’re there why not take the photo kind of shots. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the purpose of each photo and need to have a use for each. Sometimes it really is best just to take the shot because you want to enjoy it later.

The Hidden Lakes

If there is one thing that I wish I would have done more of in all of my years here in Montana, it would’ve been more time spent hiking the surrounding mountains. There are so many great trails leading to so many different places that it’s hard not to get hooked on the experience. This past weekend I spent a day hiking the trails in the Gallatin Mountain up to the Hidden Lakes, which is a well-known area but new to me. As always, I had a camera on my back but as to be expected during the middle of the day, the light wasn’t the greatest for photography. However, given the situation and the difficulty in reaching the destination, why would anyone not take a photo? Sometimes you just have to take a photo for the sheer fact to say that you were there.

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