I’ve decided to finish out 2021 with two of my favorite weekend workshops here in Montana! Both of these workshops I’ve had the privilege of teaching over the years and they have some of my favorite locations to photograph in the fall. These workshops will be held in October and will be limited to a small group size. I will be offering the Bitterroot Valley Workshop Oct. 15-17 and the Seeley-Swan Valley Workshop Oct. 22-24, please see the workshops page for more details or to reserve your spot. Here are a few images from our previous trips over the years.
I’ve finally wrapped up a few of my fall trips here in Big Sky Country for September and October. Talk about a weird fall! Our September had some beautiful weather and fall colors were slowly coming in until we had a crazy arctic blast from the north putting things in a deep freeze throughout October. Unfortunately this took a lot of the fall color with it. We had a record breaking snowstorm the week after my September Glacier National Park trip that dropped up to four feet of snow in some areas of the state. Crazy!
So it’s been an interesting fall here in Montana to say the least. Despite the lack of color, we still managed to get some great stuff. One tree that was immune to the early freeze was the Larch and these were going full force during my Seeley-Swan Valley trip. Really breathtaking up there this year and even more so with some fresh snow.
All in all it’s been a great fall, now shifting gears and looking forward to some upcoming winter trips! Here’s a few from the last couple months in Montana.
On my way home tonight through Montana’s Bitterroot Valley.
Canon 5D markIII 100-400 4.5-5.6L IS f8 1/500 ISO400
I was out last night checking on some of the fall colors where we live and decided to see how things were progressing with the trees around the Daly Mansion in Hamilton, Montana. The Daly Mansion is the historic home of 19th century industrialist, Marcus Daly, and located in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. Daly made his fortune in copper back in the late 1800’s, built the town of Anaconda, and settled here in the valley. The Mansion is an amazing glimpse back into Montana’s past here and worth visiting. This time of year the grounds can be spectacular to photograph as well with all of the fall colors emerging around the main road.
Canon 5D markIII 100-400mm 4.5-5.6L IS f8 1/180 ISO800
Apple Tree. © Jason Savage
What’s up with the weather lately? It’s supposedly fall, but apparently fall with all of the wonderful attractions of the middle of winter. The last couple days we’ve had snow flurries and tonight’s apparently going to be around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s right, “0”. If we keep going at this rate, I’m afraid to see what Winter has in store!
Fall Cover. © Jason Savage
In any case, I’ve still been sneaking out and keeping tabs on what the colors are doing. Right now we’re just getting going, some leaves have turned and some are being stubborn. We seem a little behind this year and I was surprised earlier in the week when I took a drive up near Lincoln to an aspen stand that I usually photograph, only to find it was still green and no brilliant colors to be found.
Hopefully our blast of Arctic air will give the fall colors a little nudge and get things moving. As always in Montana, this time of year is extremely unpredictable for photography, but also short lived. We probably have another couple weeks and winter will be in full swing, leaving us waiting until next year for more fall photography. If you can get out, now is definitely the time. So good luck, and you might want to bring that parka just in case…
Fall Snow.© Jason Savage
Fall colors have arrived… and I did an extensive survey this weekend and drove my butt off. Not that I don’t mind a little road time, but I really covered some ground this weekend and found some great spots where the colors have just started. By next week we should be in good shape.
I was over in the Seeley Lake area Saturday and it still needs another week or so before things start getting better. The aspens are just starting to turn and of course it will be another two to three weeks before anything is happening with the Tamaracks.
Lost Creek/©Jason Savage
Venturing further south down to Anaconda, Lost Creek State Park had some great colors already happening. The underbrush was fiery reds and oranges and again aspens were just starting. Anytime now until the end of fall it will be good here.
Hylite Creek/©Jason Savage
Sunday was up in Hylite Canyon hiking around and it’s definitely fall here. Colors are spectacular and it will only be getting better in the next week or two.
So that’s all to report for now. Will be hitting the road this weekend for Glacier and with no dogs allowed in the park, sad to say my faithful traveling companion will have to sit this one out.
Fall Colors.©Jason Savage
Well believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking fall photography here in Montana. It may still seem far away,but if you are traveling north say to Glacier, it’s just around the corner.
I’ve been drawing up some plans for my trips over the next few weeks and it got me thinking of offering up some fall photography trip ideas for anyone looking to get out and capture some of the amazing stuff that happens during this time of year.
A couple great locations for the early part of the season are the National Parks. Not only is the scenery outstanding in fall, but you can’t beat having the parks to yourself.
Glacier and Yellowstone both offer diverse scenery and wildlife and are unique in their geography. If you head to Glacier, you want to go early. Say third or fourth week in September. It’s usually stellar, but your window is small for fall colors so you want to time it just right.
I usually prefer the east side of the park due to the dramatic peaks and being able to take advantage of that morning light. The aspens are brilliant and lots of wildlife to be seen. Late September.
If you head to Yellowstone, September and October can be some of the best months to see the park. Not only is there a sense of solitude, but the wildlife is shifting gears before winter and is on the move. Watch out for the bull elk in rut, they can be a little surly!
If you are looking for some other areas around Montana that are a little off the beaten path other than the National Parks, there are plenty to be found.
The Seeley-Swan Valley an hour northeast of Missoula has one of the most spectacular displays of Tamaracks around the state. I will be teaching a workshop in this area the third week in October with our company Big Sky Photography Workshops. The Tamaracks are unbelievably brilliant and if you are lucky the Swan mountain range will have a dusting of snow. The Tamaracks are usually at their peak third week in October.
If you are looking to get some river time in, the Big Hole running south down below Butte, offers some classic Montana scenery, complete with that Fly-Fishing esque image that Montana is known for. Hit this early and mid October.
Hope that gives you a few ideas on where to head this season. Fall may have seemed a little further away, but upon waking this morning it was 37 degrees and the mountains are covered in snow. Yikes…