Glacier

July 2012: Drought and record high temperatures are scorching the Midwest. Our home turf has become a sea of crunchy brown grass. We need rain but it's not coming soon enough.

So we head to Montana and Glacier National Park. There we discover some of the most soaring and dramatic landscapes on earth; bears, mountain goats, and marmots; rainbows, waterfalls, and lakes smooth as mirrors; the most delicious bakery ever; and most of all, a place to go back to when we have more time.

Presented here are 270 images from this 8-day trip. I found it more difficult than ever to pare down from the 1200 or so shots I took, and of course 270 is probably too many for easy perusal. Regardless I hope you enjoy them, and please feel free to copy and share the photos, of course keeping in mind the Creative Commons license assigned to my photo collections.

These photos were shot with two cameras: a Canon 60D using a 15-85MM IS USM lens, and a Canon S100. The S100 proved to be an amazing little pocket camera, and I could carry it places where the 60D would be in danger from the elements, falling off cliffs, etc. You can see from the displayed metadata what I used for each shot, which I find useful for understanding what settings work in which circumstances.

Enough jabber, check out the photos!

Great Springs, Missouri River

Great Springs, Missouri River

Getting to Glacier was an adventure. Actually it was mostly driving. We landed in Billings, Montana and rented a car. Stopped mid-way to Glacier for the night in Great Falls. The falls are no longer so great since they are now dwarfed by hydroelectric dams, but we were startled to find the largest natural spring in the U.S. along the Missouri River. Great Springs outputs up to 338 million gallons of water every day. Plus it makes a nice cover image for our Glacier trip.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 11:59 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/22.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/4 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 47.500166666667 / Longitude: -111.30083333333

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Park sign at West Glacier

Brighton family standing in front of Glacier National Park sign

Ah, the obligatory family photo with the national park sign! Turned out to be the only time I used my tripod on the entire trip.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 10:40 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • Shutter speed: 1/200 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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First view of Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald with blue sky

How do you find the perfect blue? We discovered something close to it in our first view of Lake McDonald, just outside Apgar Village on the west side of the park.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x768
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 seconds
  • ISO: 80
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.525666666667 / Longitude: -113.9935

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Lake McDonald in portrait

Lake McDonald

As always when I see something beautiful, I take too many photos. I'll show you the other 40 of Lake McDonald upon request.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 768x1024
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/200 seconds
  • ISO: 80
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.525 / Longitude: -113.99366666667

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Dock on Lake McDonald

Boat dock at Lake McDonald

You can rent boats by the hour to explore the lake. We chose to just let our souls float out from our skulls and drift blissfully over the water

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x768
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/200 seconds
  • ISO: 80
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.5285 / Longitude: -113.99333333333

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Brightons framed by trees

Brightons looking at Lake McDonald

I love that first reaction of my kids when they first encounter some natural miracle like the ocean, or an ancient lake fed by glaciers. Nothing like this in Illinois.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x768
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/80 seconds
  • ISO: 80
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.525666666667 / Longitude: -113.993

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More angles on bliss

Brightons looking at Lake McDonald

Notice that no one is texting or checking their phone.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 768x1024
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/80 seconds
  • ISO: 80
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.523833333333 / Longitude: -113.99316666667

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Our cabin in Columbia Falls

Our cabin at North Forty Resort

We booked our trip months in advance but still could not find lodging inside the park. But we found ridiculous comfort at the North Forty Resort in Columbia Falls: a two-bedroom cabin allowing segregation of the teenagers.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x768
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/2.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/60 seconds
  • ISO: 160
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.368333333333 / Longitude: -114.2735

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Land Shark

Rosanne and Isiah horsing around in the cabin

When Rosanne attacks, there is no escape.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x768
  • Taken on: July 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 5.2mm
  • Aperture: f/2.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/30 seconds
  • ISO: 800
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.3725 / Longitude: -114.1815

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McDonald Lake, Day Two

Lake McDonald calm as a mirror

We drove up Going to the Sun Road on the second day, to find Lake McDonald calm as a mirror. These shots are ridiculous.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:02 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • Shutter speed: 1/500 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.532166666667 / Longitude: -113.983

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McDonald Mirror 2

Lake McDonald mirroring mountains and sky

These photos were shot in Raw with the Canon 60D, with very minimal processing in Aperture. They look like paintings to me. It's impossible to retain in your brain what your eyes try to capture, when the scene is something like this. All we can do is capture a corner of the view, and hope the essence shows through.

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:03 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 38mm
  • Aperture: f/13.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/400 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.532166666667 / Longitude: -113.983

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Lake McDonald Mirror 3

Lake McDonald mirroring the trees and sky

Several major fires swept through the park over the past 20 years. The patterns in the trees, reflected in the lake, show the layers of resurgent growth in the forests surrounding Lake McDonald

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:04 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 55mm
  • Aperture: f/20.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/100 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.532166666667 / Longitude: -113.983

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Perfect mirror

Lake McDonald mirroring the trees and sky

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:05 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/14.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/200 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.532166666667 / Longitude: -113.983

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Jess takes a photo

Jess taking photos of Lake McDonald

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 683x1024
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:06 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/14.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/100 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.532166666667 / Longitude: -113.983

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Tree over mirror lake

Lake McDonald mirroring the trees and sky

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:07 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 20mm
  • Aperture: f/14.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/320 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.532166666667 / Longitude: -113.983

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Perfect mirror 2

Lake McDonald mirroring the trees and sky

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:08 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • Aperture: f/16.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/125 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-17

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:14 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/500 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.616666666667 / Longitude: -113.87833333333

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Montana-18

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:15 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 42mm
  • Aperture: f/5.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.616666666667 / Longitude: -113.87833333333

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Montana-19

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:16 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/13.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.616666666667 / Longitude: -113.87833333333

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Montana-20

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:17 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • Shutter speed: 1/20 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.616666666667 / Longitude: -113.87833333333

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Montana-21

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 11:47 am
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/125 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-22

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 19mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/200 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-23

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/160 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-24

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/80 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-25

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/80 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-26

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 70mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/40 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-27

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter speed: 1/800 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-28

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x768
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm
  • Camera: Canon Powershot S100
  • Focal length: 26mm
  • Aperture: f/5.9
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 seconds
  • ISO: 320
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-29

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/160 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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Montana-30

Photo metadata:

  • File Size: kb
  • Dimensions: 1024x683
  • Taken on: July 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm
  • Camera: Canon Eos 60d
  • Focal length: 15mm
  • Aperture: f/18.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/100 seconds
  • ISO: 200
  • Processed with: Aperture 3.2.4
  • Latitude: 48.6175 / Longitude: -113.76066666667

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