falling-glacier

Fall has arrived at Glacier National Park, and it’s stunning. Crushing clouds and rain greeted Nate Luebbe at Glacier, but as he crested Logan Pass he was treated to one of the most spectacular alpenglow sunsets we’ve seen. “The sun shot golden fingers between jagged peaks and illuminated the clouds from below, and I couldn’t help but admire the timing. Montana was welcoming me home.” Photo courtesy of Nate Luebbe.

Going back to locations you have shot before but during a different season can completely change the mood and style of your photograph. Although the locations may be the same, the new season gives a fresh look at things you may have never noticed or thought about before. Yosemite is a place accessible the entire year, and as winter brings the annual snow fall shooting locations like Glacier Point in the winter brings a new element to the landscape.

Hey, followers! Next week I’ll be driving from Boston to Seattle, in about 7 days. We’re thinking of taking this northern route, and stopping at Niagara Falls, Roosevelt NP and Glacier NP. Anything else we should be sure not to miss?

Base camp day!

Gorak shep is 5100m. And Base camp is 5300m. It’s going to be a tough day no matter what the hike is like.
It’s ‘nepalese flat’, which means it’s not flat at all, but a constant up and down.
It started cruisy enough and the constant view of the worlds largest mountains always makes it easier. But eventually we were scrambling up and down massive piles of boulders and rocks. By scrambling I of course mean ‘slowly making my way up, catching my breath, coughing, continuing the slow walk. Slipping over the odd rock, but always managing to catch my footing before an injury occurs’

Luckily when you reach Gorak Shep you can put your pack down before you continue the hike to Everest Base Camp (EBC to those in the know). Unluckily for me, I’m a photographer, so my bag still consists of 5kg’s of camera gear.
We ran into a couple who had just got back from the hike, they were energised, fresh faced, not suffering any illnesses. They told us ‘it’s a pretty easy hike, took us 2 - 3 hours return’. Stupidly I took them at their word, forgetting I still have several kilo’s to carry, and my rattling lungs (which by now I was starting to suspect wasn’t a simple cold) made every expulsion of energy into a difficult and time consuming challenge.
For the fit and healthy it’s a 2 - 3 hour hike. For our group it took maybe 4 - 4.5 hours.
I take full responsibility for the hold up. Bob is an absolute gun and Spencer, who was also sick, still managed. Though we did often sit down together and hold an orchestra of coughing. I hate being the slow one. I have lived my life trying to prove to myself/the world, that I can do anything I set my mind to. Except apparently walk to base camp in an upbeat and timely manner.

We finally reached a bunch of prayer flags, a sure sign we’d reached a destination. I celebrated too early, I looked down and realised base camp was below us, it was a swift descent down and then back up to actually be able to walk in amongst the few tents that were left (most of base camp had packed up in the preceding week)I considered not making the effort but I didn’t trek for 9 days to sit on my tired sick butt and NOT go explore base camp.
So down we walked, right up to the khumbu glacier. The ice fall. The most dangerous part of the everest summit ascent. The part that has claimed so many lives.
Also the first glacier i’d seen up close.
So many doco’s, movies, pictures, books. So many years of dreaming of this moment and here I finally was. Standing ON the worlds tallest mountain, maybe standing on the place where one day i’d start my ascent to the summit (although we’ll wait and see how expensive it gets, I am just a struggling artist)

These moments are always so anticlimactic. It’s hard to sit in awe when you’re so breathless and cold and tired. But sit in awe I eventually did. My brain just needed to time to warm up to the fact.
What a beautiful desolate wasteland base camp is.

Snow.

He was a trickster still. Even now, he was hidden, masked, exposed as he had become. Distantly, miles off, he could smell the smoke from the encampment they stalked. She was there. He was so close. She was there. He walked on silent feet through his own small camp. Well, camp was a euphemism. There was no visible sign of his men, his spies, his roots–no trace at all in the forest–they were in the trees, meditating, waiting, dozing perhaps, unnoticed until one was upon them as suddenly as he was. One moment, silent trees, not even breathing in the wind, and the next, two of his spies, crouched low, voices so soft that the twinkle of the stars was louder.

One stood when he saw them. Replacement, in their eyes. Nothing more than another agent, another cog in the machine Solas–no, Fen'Harel–had put in place. Not even a nod of recognition, and the agent was gone.

“The camp?” Solas whispered, voice a dry crackle of fire snapping twig.

“News,” the spy said, voice a bit softer, the fall of snow on glacier. “The mission is…canceled.”

Every muscle tensed in Solas’ body, yet looking upon him, he had not moved nor even twitched. “Explain.”

“She is dead.”

Ice. Everything was ice. The fire that had burned inside him, the very one she had kindled, was blown out in the frozen wind that was the word “dead.”

The agent kept talking, as if the story mattered. The world was going to be ripped apart and the veil torn asunder. Whatever way she had met the end did not matter because he was going to destroy every–

“…child…”

His thoughts stopped abruptly. “Child?”

“She had been with child,” the agent continued, not pausing, not realizing. “She had hidden her condition so well not even we knew. It seems as if she had been alone when the birthing began. Her company had seen battle; many had died. Most were too wounded to even know. They sleep on still. If only we had been here sooner, this might have been prevented.”

Solas sat back on his heels, his head bowed as if in thought. The cloak masked the tear carving a path down his cheek.

“Here,” the agent said, sliding a roll of cloth into Solas’ arms. “I must report my findings.”

The sack of cloth sagged in his limp arms. Cold air sunk into his bones. He would never feel the warmth of her again; never see her smile, the gleam of her eye; he would never hear her laugh, her voice, her breathe, again.

Solas raised his head slowly, his eyes unfocused, seeing only the past. He needed to seek solace in the Fade. He needed–

The bundle coughed. It shuddered. Rain, rain Solas hadn’t even noticed had begun to fall, was seeping into the cloth and onto the baby held within. The baby.

His. His baby. He hadn’t noticed the other life force pulsing in his arms because her energy was so close to his own–

Her. Her energy.

She was a girl. A baby girl.

His sob was silent, a mere shudder down his spine, a clench in his jaw. His fingers, steady despite how he wanted to be weak, to tremble, pulled the cloth back and exposed a tiny face, puckered, furrowed, but refusing to cry. That face blinked up at the rain, stubborn, alert. She was watching him with eyes he knew. Not hers. His own.

Those eyes held his own. They bore into him. They saw him. Recognized him for everything he was. Father. Creator. Equal.

He pulled the bundle close to his chest, his own cloak wrapping her tight and keeping her warm. Her own warmth folded back on her for he was nothing but ice.

As he turned, determined to find his daughter milk, one more tear crept down the chiseled surface of his cheek.

The thaw had already begun.

flickr

Views Along a Hiking Trail (Glacier National Park) by Mark Stevens
Via Flickr:
Views Along a Hiking Trail. What I wanted to capture was the vista like setting of the mountains and St Mary Lake. This was another of those image rotations I have on my Mac desktop from past trips during a hike to St Mary Falls in Glacier National Park and another where I decided to see what I could do with some post-processing knowledge I have with Capture NX2 and Color Efex Pro. With some adjustments with adjustments to exposure to bring back some lost highlights, some use of color control points and a Low Key and Polarizing filter, I was able to bring this out as a final image…and definitely a place I really need to visit again one year soon!

vimeo

70 days. 2 countries. 23 states. 12,000 miles.
“Moments” is a creative vision captured by a California couple, Justin and Cady Majeczky, as they traveled across North America accompanied by their two canine companions, Siberian Huskies named Nico and Taj. Destinations included Antelope Canyon, Banff, Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Glacier, Hamilton Pool, Burning Man, and many stops in between.
Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.