Photographing Montana National Parks
If you're scratching your head and looking at a map wondering what could be so wonderful and fascinating about taking pictures in Montana, perhaps a quick reminder that two of the most famous and beautiful National Parks occupy, at least in part, the State of Montana, will jog your memory.
In the northwest section of the state, Glacier National Park offers amazing photographic opportunities. If you have ever wanted to take a photograph of a smooth glass-like lake with mountains reflecting in the water, this is the National Park for you. In wintertime, the park is covered in snow. While traditional mountain snow photography calls for shooting undisturbed, freshly fallen snow, Glacier offers several variations on the theme that can provide just as impressive of pictures. Consider shooting windblown snow with its harsh streaking surface, or find a large object that has built up an impressive snow drift on one side. Don't forget about footprints! The large wildlife in the Glacier National Park leave impressive trails in the snow.
While you're at it, you better get a shot of an actual glacier. Unfortunately, glaciers are so big and impressive, it is hard to capture an impressive picture with a digital camera. That stories-high wall of ice loses something in capturing its light on your sensor's pixels. The solution is a nice hike up toward Siyeh Pass. Keep your eyes open for a great vantage point of a hanging glacier. Now that makes a cool Montana picture.
Best of all, for those of you who want great outdoor photography without having to really be outdoors very much, the Going-to-the-Sun Road offers not only the coolest name of all National Park roads, but also dozens of turnouts that provide stunning locations and overlooks for the sedentary photographer to enjoy.
Yellowstone National Park is primarily located in Wyoming, but a very scenic part wanders over the border on the south. However, the amazing wilderness doesn't stop there. Gallatin National Forest borders Yellowstone to the north, and as you can imagine, the animals and forests don't just stop at the park boundary. While Yellowstone's famous hot springs are technically within Wyoming, the Northern Entrance to Yellowstone National Park is in Montana, and open year-round. A quick day trip from shooting the rest of Montana's beauty can yield not only spectacular erupting geysers, but also high waterfalls.
Of course, if you want something a little different out of your waterfall photo shoot, consider one of the numerous mountain streams and mountain rivers that freeze over in the winter. A frozen waterfall can be just as dramatic as a flowing one.