Morning Glory-Sunrise at Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park

The rising sun streams across the tops of the mountains surrounding Saint Mary Lake painting the clouds and the mountainsides orange on a windy morning in Glacier National Park, Montana.
The rising sun streams across the tops of the mountains surrounding Saint Mary Lake painting the clouds and the mountainsides orange on a windy morning in Glacier National Park, Montana.

After a couple of mornings at Two Medicine and Swiftcurrent lakes, my good friend and fellow photographer Luke Tingley and I were ready for a change. The problem was that the road going into the park was closed until 7:00 AM just outside of the tiny town of St. Mary where we were staying. With sunrise being around 7:15 that didn’t leave much time to get anywhere once they opened the road.

One of the most popular locations to shoot in Glacier National Park is at the Wild Goose Island Overlook. As you travel into the park from the east side, it is just towards the west end of Saint Mary Lake. About a mile past the Rising Sun Campground in fact, which is where the road was closed. So, if they actually opened the gate on time, that would leave us about fifteen minutes to reach the parking area, grab our gear, find the perfect spot, and get setup to shoot. We decided to give it a go and arrived at the gate about a half hour early. You never know, maybe they would open the gate early, right? That wasn’t the case, but we couldn’t complain. Besides it seeming to take forever for the guy to slowly unlock the gate and move some barriers, we were parked and running across the road in no time. Looking back at my images now, I see that I first snapped the shutter at 7:12. The clouds were just starting to get some color and by 7:15 the sun started to hit the mountainsides. This shot was taken at 7:20 and within ten minutes the show was over. Nothing like being rushed!

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