McDonald Reflections, Montana, USA by Kyle Jones

Picture Story

I decided to drive into Glacier National Park for sunrise, after seeing a beautiful sunrise in nearby Kalispell the previous morning and a prediction for similar conditions in the forecast. Lake McDonald is easy to reach year round and is a great place to view the mountains, so I made my way there and arrived about an hour before sunrise. Some fresh snow had fallen over night and it as a calm, peaceful morning. In fact I had never seen the lake that calm.

I found a spot along the shoreline and zoomed to frame the mountains and their reflection. Even though it was still dark, I captured a few frames to check my composition and to make sure I got an image in case the wind came up. As it turned out, these were my favorite images from the morning.

I used an aperture of f/8 as there was nothing in the foreground that needed to be sharp and used ISO 400 to keep the shutter speed reasonable without adding any significant noise. My goal with the composition was to fill the frame with the mountains and clouds. I processed the image to retain the feeling of a cold, still morning, with a slightly blue white balance and avoiding too much contrast. My final adjustment was a 16x9 crop to keep the emphasis on the mountains. As much as I was hoping for the sun to light up the clouds and mountains as it rose, I was very happy with the serene mood that I was able to capture.

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