Return to Swan Lake

There are days when I wake up so ready for what lies ahead, so anxious for what is waiting for me that I find myself awake far too early. Today my assignment involved going out on a boat on the Swan Lake (about 35 miles from Kalispell). Swan Lake is beautiful. The highway runs along the eastern shore and driving that road one is constantly treated to spectacular views and a sense of deep serenity.

I needed to be at the office and ready to leave by 7:15. No problem. No problem until I woke up sans alarm clock at 4:22. When it's that early in the morning, you know, still pitch black but no longer night, at that point the question becomes "if I let myself go back to sleep now, will I even hear the four alarms I've set or will I sleep straight through my assignment?" I like sleep. Too much sometimes. And I have been known to smother my cell phone in half-awake attempt to shut off the alarm. So, at 4:26 I decided it's time to start the day.

Jim and I met at the office and then we were off. The whole time I'm driving I can't help but think that I wish I had more time. We had to be at Swan Lake at 8 o'clock. That meant no time for side trips. But this morning was one of those that just begs to be photographed. I love fog. I love the way it changes landscapes, escalates mystery and opens up so many compositional possibilities. But there wasn't any time for that. We had an assignment to get to. So, I drove the whole way there and only sighed a little sadly at all the stunning images I had to fly right past

By the time we got to Swan Lake the sun was starting to climb up over the mountains, but still the lake was protected. And the dense fog ebbed and flowed with greater speed the way it does just before the sun burns it off completely. We were there for a news story. The Montana Wildlife and Parks department and others are working to reduce the number of lake trout, an invasive species that has been causing problems. I got several shots I liked and I will be very pleased when the photos run next week. But that doesn't mean I don't have time to look around and admire the scene before me.

This is my favorite photo of the day. Normally I like to start with my best picture at the top of the page, but this one I felt is worth waiting for. It's the earliest photo of the day, when the sky still had a little of that pink of dawn and the fog was not yet blindingly white.

This was my reward. This was what I was given in exchange for all those lovely possible photos I had to drive right by. This was an incredible way to start the day and a hope-filled way to begin the weekend. I am off for the next three days. Not because of the holiday, this is my normal three-day weekend. I expect I shall have a few more photos to share soon. Summer really is beginning to fade fast and I don't want to miss what's left of it.

And here is one last shot to end the day. After the sun was up and most the fog gone I noticed this pattern in the clouds, a symmetry. It made for a perfect vertical shot, not my usual for scenics, but doable in this instance.