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Photography Question 
Don Curry
 

Glacier National Park photography


What is a good time of the year to photograph at Glacier National Park, but miss the crowd.


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1/5/2006 11:58:15 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Don –

Your timing could not be better! Here I am sitting at my computer trying to get my notes together to begin work on an article about Glacier and feeling overwhelmed by all the material I have coupled with all the work I need to get done and I decide to procrastinate a little longer by visiting BP and here is your question! Thanks!

GNP is wonderful all year; however, if your goal is to go when there are fewer tourists spring and fall are your best bets. The tradeoff for encountering few crowds is that the weather in spring and fall can be problematic. You may have stunningly beautiful, clear and warm days that are a photographers dream; however, you may also have day after day of gray overcast with fairly poor light. You just need to be prepared to cope with the changing conditions. Having visited the park in both spring and fall, I personally, prefer fall. The weather tends to be a little nicer and the fall color is nothing short of spectacular. The elk are in rut – which can be an amazing experience to witness if you have never seen them in this state – you are more likely to see bears, mountain sheep and goats and other wildlife. The trails are usually still open at least until around Thanksgiving and you can sometimes go all day without seeing people. Keep in mind that Going to the Sun road (the main road through the park) closes depending upon snow fall. You can visit the GNP website and get up-dated road reports. http://www.nps.gov/glac/

If you decide to go, whether in spring or fall, make sure that you take warm clothes. A day that starts out sunny and warm can quickly turn cold and snowy, particularly at higher altitudes. During the off-season services in the park are somewhat limited, so go prepared. Services, such as gas, food and lodging are readily available in the neighboring communities of West Glacier and Columbia Falls. Another advantage of an off-season visit is the lower prices charged by nearby motels and campgrounds. On the subject of camping; the campgrounds in the park close as winter approaches and remain closed until late spring. The picnic ground at Lake McDonald remains open for camping all year, but space is limited. Backcountry camping is by permit only and can be all but impossible to access once snow arrives.

One last point (well, for now anyway lol): while Glacier is wonderful, the entire area is truly a photographer’s paradise. There are many, many places around the area that should be visited and photographed – so many you could probably spend a year there and not see everything. As you can probably tell, this is one of my most favorite places on earth. I’ve spent a whole lot of time there, so if you have more questions or want some specific information, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll share all I know about GNP.



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1/5/2006 12:28:28 PM

 
doug Nelson   "Bad" weather means you miss the crowds. Here is a California-based photographer who loves bad weather:
http://home1.gte.net/res0a2zt/thumbnails.html
I was at GNP in AUG '93. It seemed crowded, but you only had to get a few hundred feet down a trail, and you could be nearly alone.


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1/5/2006 12:52:30 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  I'll bring this back to the top.....
Crossing off the Grand Canyon due to gas prices...I live in Tacoma Wa...I've decided to drive to Glacier, instead...any hints/tips for a July trip??
Thanks,
Bob


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6/19/2006 3:51:12 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  My eyes are stinging from a very long day spent starring at the computer screen, so this will be a “lick and a promise” answer: Going to the Sun Road is perhaps the most incredible road in North America. It spans the entire width of GNP and offers incredible views of mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, old growth forests, wildlife and a whole lot more. That is mandatory! Just make sure that you leave plenty of time for the drive – you will find yourself stopping every few miles or perhaps feet. Tomorrow, when I am not about to fall asleep in front of the monitor, I’ll post lots more info. Meanwhile, if you have specific questions or ideas of what you’d like to see, let me know. BTW: I am enormously jealous! More to come.


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6/19/2006 5:29:14 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You want to miss the crowds, go in winter.


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6/20/2006 12:44:48 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Don't forget about me Irene....:-)
An email to me at home would work...

Bob


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6/21/2006 7:53:39 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Bob - I have not forgotten and promise to get info to you very soon!


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6/22/2006 3:09:42 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  To Bob C. (the other one)..., I would like to concur on several points:

First, The winter is the best time to avoid crowds at the "name attractions" anywhere in the U.S....though I doubt if I'd personally brave going to northern Montana in winter when getting there and back might prove a bit challenging.
(I visited the southwest last winter and found literally NOBODY at the major state and national parks.)

I agree that despite the crowds, some degree of isolation can be achieved in any season with careful planning...i.e arriving early or late in the day at the major attractions,..when most folks are either still asleep or are contemplating where they will spend the night, or by taking lesser known side routes and detours.
You will likely have many areas to yourself.

I also agree that Irene will come through with some valuable info. She helped me plan my June trip out west and I'm forever grateful.

Bob


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6/22/2006 3:57:22 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  I have no real choice other than going in July.
My wife is used to me these last couple years getting up early/staying up late and not taking the most travelled path...:-)
This is our only trip and we've got about 10 days, so we have time to get there (maybe 2 days travel time), wander, make sure we have time for my wife to check out shops/attractions/whatever and me to take pictures.....And eat!!!!!

Bob


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6/22/2006 6:28:47 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Wow! Glacier is fantastic/awesome! We've done the "Going to Sun" road twice. hwy 2 around the bottom, hiked up to Hidden Lake (about 1/3 of the trail is still in snow), got sunburned, .... Today we are kind of worn out and may do big mountain and the Hungry Horse dam....
Now I know why there are so many little crosses alongside the roads up here....speed limit is 70 and the roads are narrow 2 laners!!
Irene, your email has been our bible, it goes with us everywhere...:-) Thank you most kindly!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bob


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7/13/2006 5:48:05 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Bob - I so happy to hear that your trip is going well. Keep safe and be sure to post all those images here when you get home!

Irene


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7/13/2006 8:12:17 AM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Did I say sunburned? Today was the total opposite on the west side and up to the divide. Grey and very windy...windchill was 900 below zero if you ask me....Got a couple nice shots I think of the clouds zipping thru the valley past sunlit mountains...I hope...:-)


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7/13/2006 3:17:21 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Bob, I'm jealous!

...It's 95 degrees and opressively humid here in the east.
The highlight of MY day was when the traffic started to move fast enough to take my car out of "ooze-control" :(

Sounds like you're having a great trip....wish I was there.

Bob


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7/13/2006 3:37:07 PM

 
Corinne M. Thompson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/31/2005
  Hey Bob...good to hear you're having a good trip! Can't wait to see your photos! :)


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7/13/2006 7:37:25 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  Bob/wife at Glacier
Bob/wife at Glacier
© Bob Cournoyer
bobslens.com
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Still sorting blurry and unblurry....One day I'll get this camera right....If this works, I'm the grey haired dude looking into the sun with a stupid grin on my face...my wife is next to me with her head covering the "r"....glad I still have a day job..;-)


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7/14/2006 9:38:41 PM

 
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