Swiftcurrent Lake, Glacier NP, Montana, USA by Michael Blanchette

Picture Story

Glacier National Park is a park in the United States, located in northwestern Montana. It abuts the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park consists of more than 1 million acres spanning across the Rocky Mountains, including some 130 named lakes.

Lying at 4878 feet (1487 meters) above sea level, Swiftcurrent Lake is located in the scenic Mary Glacier region of the park. The Many Glacier Hotel, the largest hotel in the park, sits on the east shore of the lake, offering stupendous mountain vistas and numerous hiking trails.

We stayed a few days at the Many Glacier Hotel while photographing that section of the park. We came in July, hoping to capture the mountains at the peak of wildflower season. But unfortunately, several large forest fires were raging on the Canadian side of the border during our stay, sending up a heavy smoke filter into the atmosphere. At times, the smoke was so intense that it entirely concealed the mountain peaks from view.

Mount Wilbur is one of the largest mountains immediately west of Many Glacier Lake. The mountain looks like a steep pyramid on three sides, rising at 9,326 feet (2843 meters) and normally very visible from the region of Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent Lake.

I took this photo of Mount Wilbur over Swiftcurrent Lake from the Many Glacier Hotel just before sunset. It was one of the last days of a very frustrating trip, with smoke still hovering over the mountains and lake. But the heavy haze from the smoke allowed me to keep the low sun directly in the frame without fear of burning out highlights. I took a 30-second exposure to smooth out the ripples on the lake surface that reflected the setting sun.

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