It’s June in Montana which means that the Salmon Flies are starting to make their way across the state in what turns into one of the biggest fish-feeding frenzies of the whole summer. These giant prehistoric bugs look like something that you would never want to come across but in fact, they are not only harmless, they are very docile. In all my years of fishing in the state, I’ve never had an issue with them except when the face gets covered by too many. While I don’t normally photograph insects these things are so cool and are part of such unique biodiversity in the state’s rivers that you just have to stop and grab a click. Over the next month they will continue to move south and as they do the fish will turn on and off like a light bulb, with the fishing gorging themselves. The opportunities with the camera and the line can be endless during this time.
It’s that time of the year again when the afternoon thunderstorms come rolling in at 2 pm and last for a few hours. The Gallatin Mountains get covered with these black streaks as the rain and hail come down. It’s really fun to watch these systems pass through the valley and then disappear over to the east. The best part is that tiny sliver of light that pops up on the western horizon letting in just enough to light up the underbelly of the clouds before disappearing entirely. With the Z50 and 16-50mm there wasn’t much needed to make a good capture of this previous afternoon.
Today marks one of the largest military achievements in modern history. 77 years ago Operation Overlord, the allied plan to establish a foothold in occupied Europe, began. Thousands of naval ships launched one of the largest amphibious assaults on the beaches of Normandy, France. For months leading up to the invasion, disinformation was leaked out about the upcoming invasion to fool the German army to think the allies would be landing in Calais. A complex series of fake vehicles made of rubber were even made to fool aerial reconnaissance and German Spies. Britain was the staging ground for it all and it was one packed island before it was over.
Along with the men who went ashore on the landing, crafts were the Paratroopers that landed behind enemy lines in a joint effort to meet up with those on the ground and catch the Germans in between. It was a massively complex Operation with many variables that could go wrong. Without the efforts of D-Day, the events and longevity of WWII could have been much different.
Today is not just about BBQs, no work, or socializing with friends. Today everyone should give thanks to the ones that are not here anymore, who gave their lives to help make this country what it is today. A lot has happened over the last few years but we must remember that we do live in a great country with many freedoms.
I blog about this every year because every year I enjoy it. Spring thunderstorms are so cool and so much fun to watch. Great big dramatic clouds and that little bit of light that comes through really makes the drive and the time spent hunting for that right landscape worth it. I am blessed to be in an area where there are so many possibilities for great landscapes and I always feel bad when I don’t take advantage of them more.
Springtime is such a fun time of the year. The dark dreariness of winter is coming to an end and new life has begun again. More sunshine, more colors, and more opportunities are bound. With the excitement and opportunities that come with spring, responsibility is also important. It’s to get sucked in with everything and forget to be mindful of the fragile state some of nature is in. Nesting birds, newborn critters, fields of wildflowers, are just a few examples but it’s important that if you are going to go photograph them then you do your homework and know what is safe for the subject.
As I write this it’s actually snowing but that will quickly pass and go back to rain. Spring has finally arrived for certain in Montana and with it comes the ever-changing weather from the sun, to rain back to snow followed by sun. You can’t ever predict it because you just can’t. The great thing is it’s green and beautiful and with all the rolling storms that come through the skies are often filled with these great puffy clouds that make landscapes so appealing.
Today we honor the many sacrifices that were made seventy-six years ago, when on May 8th, 1945 VE Day, Victory Europe was declared. The end of WWII in Europe had begun with the German surrender and while the war continued on in the Pacific and peace was not entirely secured yet in Europe, the end was in sight. Today is an important day to remember that hard-fought victory.
WWII changed the lives of everyone. It was the second time in the same century that the world was engaged in conflict and sadly it was not the last time that nations were fighting each other. Kids and adults had to fight to secure peace. It was not an easy victory, it took time and many lives. As we go through these uncertain times now, let us not forget the past and most certainly not repeat it.
Six years ago, I had the privilege to document the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, in which 52 aircraft flew over the nation’s capital in honor of the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Over 800 veterans and 30,000 people were in attendance at the national mall. The Texas Flying Legends Museum brought eight aircraft in support of the flyover. This is what it was like for them.
Last September we had a forest fire come through the Bridger Mountains, which is the first time in fifteen years of me living in Bozeman that that has happened. It’s actually the first time in decades that fire of that size has gone through the Bridger Mountains. It was started by a lightning strike that hit a tree and instead of igniting a blaze, the fire remained trapped inside the tree trunk until finally, under the right conditions the fire escaped the trunk. I couldn’t believe it at first because it sounds so far-fetched but it is a real-life phenomenon. I watched from a patio that day as the fire moved up the hillside.
Thankfully the fire was put out with only minimal property damage but aftereffects are still present today. I decided to hike up to the fire line one day and see for myself what the fire did to both sides of the mountain. It was quite impressive and oddly surreal to see so much gone from the area. Very carefully I made my way through the forest on the path photographing the damage. Life will spring anew and in time it will go back to being a forest again. In the meantime, the area has lead to some nice photographs, including what I was surprised to find out was some really interesting black and whites. The heavy contrast of the burnt landscape combined with afternoon light and clear skies turned out to be an interesting combo. I found myself playing between color and monochrome on multiple images seeing what looked better for the end product and not really landing on an absolute answer. That there is the fun that lays within photography.