The best known attraction in Glacier National Park — besides the glaciers — is Going to the Sun Road. This road is a scenic 50-mile drive on a highway first built in the 1920’s to connect one side of the park to the other.
It was built in difficult terrain for a different generation of vehicle (read: narrower) so it is not an easy road to navigate. Add in the traffic, the road construction to restore the road, and at times the weather, and it becomes a challenging drive.
It’s also challenging for photography. There are very few vehicle pull-outs, none at the upper part of the road going over Logan Pass (the highest point), so it’s catch-as-you-can for photographs. It’s a practice in quick composition: Photographing out the window of a moving vehicle, between trees and other obstructions to get a good view. I love this photo of my sister and I with our cameras pointing out the truck windows. It just captures it all – the scenery, the road, the photography experience.
Landscape photography isn’t typically my “thing” anyway, but it was fun to see what I could capture. Here are a few of my favorites from our various trips over the road. We traveled it 4 times during our week-long visit to Glacier, so I had ample opportunity to practice.
I like how this image shows the road, the traffic and the dropoff. It gives you a sense of the experience.
The light and shadow on the mountainside caught my eye here.
We even captured wildlife on the move. This was the only mountain goat we saw during our visit. He just happened to turn his head and look as we drove by.
Capturing another sort of “wildlife” — tourists — was fun too. I love the way they are all photographing different directions out of the top of the bus. The buses were pulled over and stopped, but we were moving on the road across the valley.
This is my absolute favorite of the bunch! Maybe not a classic “landscape,” but I love the shades of green and the layers of the hills created by the haze in the atmosphere.
Photographing out of a moving vehicle is not as hard as you might think. You want a fast shutter speed to reduce motion blur and it works best if you don’t have elements very near to the vehicle, as that’s where most of the blur will come from. You get a lot of “throw-away” shots but with practice you can get some good images. Give it a try sometime!