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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s never a surplus of barns in Montana and it’s great! I love finding new ones to photograph because each one has such a unique story. Then again it never hurts to revisit the same old ones. They are a classic symbol of the west and honestly, they just look good. Add in a little color in the sky and some drama in the clouds and poof, a photo. This was taken with the D5 and 24-70 after an afternoon thunderstorm. The skies opened to the west while the clouds remained in the east. Turned out to be a nice evening.
It doesn’t always take much to make a photograph happen but you have to at least be out with the camera. I always carry something with me, whether it’s the bigger D5 or smaller Z50, on every adventure. This time it was the Z50 because it’s light and small enough to fit in my small sling bag. I wasn’t expecting there to be much to offer this past weekend but with all the storms rolling through the chance that something would open up was there. An afternoon on the Yellowstone River made this possible. That is such an amazing river, with it’s wide, fast current and sweeping banks that seem to just keep going. with the right light, it can make for a gorgeous afternoon.
Happy Fourth of July! Please be safe while you’re having fun today.
Montana is very blessed right now because the number of people to the size of the state is dramatically different. With a fewer number of people, the more places you can go by yourself. Small road trips are fun because you can see a different part of the world then you are used to without having to go real far. Thunderstorms are a common thing this time of the year so finding good clouds to work with isn’t very hard. I quick trip to the ponds on a good afternoon was all it took.
Can a photograph be just a cloud or is that not strong enough? I never really had a good answer to it but I always wondered. There are plenty of times where a cloud is not enough but there are certainly times when the clouds are so dramatic that yea, why not just take a photo of it?