One of the highlights of the year for our family is our vacation, a block of time when we can leave the heat and humidity of Southeast Texas behind and return to our roots by visiting family and friends in Montana and Eastern Washington. Not only is it a great opportunity to spend time with the family, but I also look forward to the time as an extended photographic trip. Here are some of my favorite shots from this year's trip:
On the way up to Great Falls, we stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, site of the defeat of Lt. Col. George Custer on June 25, 1876. It was late in the evening and the light was just fantastic for photography. The lone stone with a flag by it marks the grave of the remains of several soldiers that were found on the battlefield during excavations in 1958, 1984, 1985, and 1989.
On a lighter note, my son and I went out to get some shots of the Milky Way one evening, about 20 miles east of Great Falls, Montana. I decided to experiment a little and took this shot of him looking through his camera. I used a 30 second exposure at f4.0. For lighting him, I used a small LED penlight I got at Wal Mart for around three bucks. The orange glow in the background is caused by light pollution from the lights of Great Falls; if we do this again in the same area, I'm going to use about a 3/4 CTO (orange) gel to cover my light. That should pretty closely match the glow from the lights in the distance. Your thoughts?
Last but not least, during our annual trip to a family cabin in the Glacier Park area, we hiked up to Avalanche Lake. Avalanche is a relatively easy hike of about four and a half miles (round trip). Since it is one of the easier hikes in the park, it's one of the more popular stops on the Going to the Sun Road, the highway that crosses the middle of Glacier Park. If you're interested in making the hike yourself, the trailhead is located just east of Lake McDonald; just park at or take the bus to the Trail of the Cedars. If you don't want to walk the entire two-and-a-half miles to the lake, you can take the beautiful and very easy Trail of the Cedars which is about a one mile walk, mostly flat, that takes you up to Avalanche Gorge and then back to the parking lot.