“Peaks & Waterfall at Sunset”

Peaks & Waterfall at Sunset, Glacier National Park, Montana (c) Mike Utley

Mount Oberlin and Cannon Mountain can be found along the Going-to-the-Sun Road which traverses Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana. These two peaks cradle the remnants of an old glacier that feeds Bird Woman Falls, visible between the two peaks. In this 1996 image, I was on a very rushed one-day tour of the park with a friend when we spotted this sunset scene. I had no way to compose the image with a strong foreground object as I would have preferred as I was on the opposite side of the steep valley from the peaks, so I utilized the two trees seen here to act as a sort of framing device and to divide the image into thirds to create a more pleasing shot in my mind. The fact that one tree is dead and the other thriving was incidental to my decision to include them, but they do provide a contemplative aspect to the image, especially how the waterfall seems to feed the living tree on the right, while the dead tree on the left signifies day’s end as it contrasts with Mount Oberlin’s brightly gilded face bathed in the dying day’s last light. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50).

32 thoughts on ““Peaks & Waterfall at Sunset”

    1. Thanks a bunch, Grace. Yes, I thought the lighting was pretty cool here, how the sun slipped in beneath those clouds to illuminate the rock face. I made several quick images of this scene and each one was different due to the rapidly changing lighting. Glad you liked this one. Glacier National Park is gorgeous. If you ever get a chance to visit this place, you won’t regret it. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you kindly, Xenia. Bird Woman Falls is quite impressive–it’s about 560 feet tall. Waterfalls are glorious things. Some possess such unbridled power, while others are the very essence of gentle contemplation. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you so much, Filipa. The landscapes in this national park are mind-blowing–powerful, dramatic, ancient and enduring. And there are baby mountain goats galore! πŸ˜€ I have a shot of some but it’s not scanned so I can’t post it, alas. So glad you liked this one. Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks so much, Jeff. It’s definitely worth the trip if you can visit Glacier. So much to see, such contemplative and peaceful vistas, and it feels as though you’re on top of the world. Nature at its best (just keep an eye open for grizzlies!) πŸ™‚

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  1. I’m always confused of one thing. Do I love your words more or your pictures? Haha! Both are brilliant renderings of your fertile mind, creative heart, and free spirit. Thanks for sharing a part of your world, Mike! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks so much, Terveen. Honestly, I can’t really separate my images from my words. I look at these old photos and so many memories resurface, all of them good ones. I can’t say that I have any bad memories associated with my nature photography. Even viewing those images that required standing in a lightning storm in pouring rain, or ending up with 37 dead mosquitoes on my leg while photographing a flower, or lying down amid black ants to shoot a yucca plant leaves me feeling that sense of wonder I experienced while making these images. Deciding back in January to begin publishing them on my blog was a good decision as it’s helped me realize there is still beauty in this world amid wars and pandemics and hatred and strife. And it’s always so humbling to receive kind comments such as yours. So, thank you, Terveen. Your words really matter to me. πŸ™‚

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  2. Breathtaking! There is something so wonderfully melancholic about this picture that you cannot put your finger on, and this makes it all the more charming.
    There is poetry in your photography as well!😊

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Aaysid. I’ve always felt like nature photography is a form of poetry, whether it’s grand scenic epics, sunset sonnets or flower haiku. Some things you just can’t put into words, so you photograph them instead. πŸ™‚

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