We moved to East Glacier so that we are closer to paradise on Earth. Our first three day weekend took us to Old man lake. We were lucky to get two nights at this campsite now - it is not possible in the high season.
Hiked in 6 miles, the trail wrapped around the Rising wolf mountain to start, than crossed Dry Fork and led us gradually up to a nice, unexpected waterfall...
After we set up a camp, we walked up towards Pitamakan Pass, only about half way to get a better view of the sunset. from there, I tried to get my first time lapse, and I think it turned out quite good, of course it should be longer.
I just couldn't wait any longer to take some sunset photos...
There was a grizzly mama with two cubs on the right side of the lake, too bad I didn't bring my zoom lens.
The next day we hiked to the top of Pitamakan Pass, to get a view of Pitamakan lakes, and also to see the other side... The sky was blue, so were the lakes, but it was incredibly windy.
Luckily, that night we didn't have the rain fly on. I was half asleep when Aaron woke me up that the sky is flickering. I quickly set up a tripod and snapped a photo of the sky, and sure enough, it was purple!
We got to see some flickering green northern lights as well, but not very strong. I really need a lot more practice on my night photography skills, as you can see...
And some more photos from the two days of awesomeness
I have done some research for my future trip (that is not planned yet), but I know I will go back to South America at some point. Here are some places that I will definitely visit - I collected some interesting articles to which I will redirect you. The photos are not mine since I haven't been to these places yet, they link to the original location. these places are in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. Laguna San Rafael
I loved Patagonia. In 2012 I visited Torres del Paine and I should've stayed in the area a bit longer and explore less visited sites. Here is an excerpt from a guide book Moon Patagonia.
Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael is a National Park named for the San Rafel Lagoon formed by the retreat of the glacier with the same name. San Rafael Glacier is a part of Northern Patagonian Ice Field. read more about the area from the article Chile's Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael by the Moon Guides
Chiloe is a small island that belongs to Chile, but has a lot to offer. It's wooden churches are declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. If you book a tour you can see wild penguins. It actually is one of few places in the world where Magellan and Humboldt penguins live side by side.
Couple of suggested posts to find out more:
Ashray and Zara wrote a short post that is spot on! Chiloe Island is like a movie.
If you want to read a longer story about Dani and Jess taking a side trip to Chiloe and read about all their adventures, read the Blind date with Chiloe Island.
3. Huilo Huilo
This is a private national reserve of 600 square kilometers in northern Patagonia. It is dedicated to the preservation of the region’s biodiversity and fauna. The Magic Mountain Hotel is a cone shaped building with water coming from the top. . It was recommended to me by a Chilean friend, but I couldn't make it there when I was in Chile, so it's on my list for next trip.
Hulio Hulio website for some reason doesn't work, I found a short article on Inhabitat.com: Towering Magic Mountain ... Please let me know in the comment section if you come across any interesting articles about it.
4. Patagonia, Ushuaia, Cape Horn
Cape Horn. The most southern part on the Americas. A challenge for sailors hundreds of years ago and also now. Sherry went on a cruise, I love her story.
Tiera del Fuego used to be home for the Yaghan People. Their ancestors arrived here 12,000 years ago by crossing a land bridge before the sea level rose and separated the main land from an Island When the first settlers arrived to the area, these people were quickly wiped out by now ways and diseases. All that there is left is a museum in Ushuaia.
If you want to go to the End of the world, you can't skip Ushuaia - another great post from Dani and Jess.
5. Star gazing in Atacama Dessert
Atacama is the driest place on Earth and also one of the best places to go stargazing in the whole world. Here is some photos to prove this. Best time to go is in winter (June to September). There's also geysers, hiking, a salt lake and other cool things to do.
6. Radal Siete Tazas National park
This Park doesn't get mentioned in guide books often, probably because it's not very close to anything. But if you are looking for a place where there is no foreign tourists, only Chileans, this is it. I had to dig deep, but found a nice post and it's funny!
7. Sewell, the ghost town
If you like ghost towns, this is the first copper mining town in Chile. Nomadic Niko went there and has a lot of information and photos in his post.
I just discovered this great poem and wanted to share it with you! The photo was taken at Lake McDonald yesterday evening... enjoy.
You can find more of Robert W. Service work at Guttenberg Project website
The Wild is Calling
Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God's sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert's little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o'er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild — it's calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map's void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild — it's wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed,
groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
"Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
(You'll never hear it in the family pew.)
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things --
Then listen to the Wild — it's calling you.
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching --
But can't you hear the Wild? — it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling... let us go.
Happy New year everyone! So I got myself a new tripod Christmas, so I had to test it out! everything turned out really nice, I couldn't be happier. walked down the ski trail (don't tell on me) and set up right before midnight. set my ISO to 1000 and did some test shots with f/22 and 25 seconds, but after a few shots when the fireworks started I realized it was too bright and dialed it down to 640, f/11 and a 15 seconds ended up being prefect for these fireworks. I just did some basic edits in Lightroom and am very pleased with results!
The Altai Hok skis we use are great for a beginner skier. they are wide and short, easy to put on and with the universal binding you can just put them on your favorite winter boots! so they are very affordable. you can buy them on their website or you can try them on at several locations in the US and Canada.
And I also love their story: the inspiration for the design comes from the Altai Mountains (on the border of Russia, China and Mongolia). The indigenous people have been using skis for centuries and very likely are are the first ones that came up with the idea of putting two boards under your feet. they also attached animal fur just as we use skins. Find out more about this at their website and blog.
I am not an affiliate for Altai company, just love them so much that I have to recommend them to everyone, especially beginners.
I was asked about how I made this photo and although there are tutorials out there on how to make the tiny planet, I decided to make one myself - so here's a new tutorial by me - made with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC.
1. get a 360 panorama of whatever you want on your planet. It turns out the best if you have a wide angle lens and you have to hold your camera vertically. Perfect scenario is to have even ground (all snow, all grass or pavement) and nothing too tall so can fit it into the frame.
The photo in my tutorial is only my second, but I was very pleased with how it turned out. My first had trees sticking out of the frame and when I finished it they were very stretched on top and unfinished.
2. edit your photos in Lightroom before you create a panorama.
3. when you are ready, send the photos to Photoshop and stitch them.
4. remember to merge layers and then crop the photo exactly in the spots where you want them to connect (do not leave any space to overlap like when you take photos for panorama)
5. resize the photo to a square (Image -> Image size) and change the length number to the height number.
Make sure that the aspect ratio is turned off. I know! It looks horrible!
6. flip the photo upside down (Image -> Image rotation -> 180 degrees).
7. here's where you're going to see your planet for the first time! Go to Filter -> Distort -> Polar Coordinates. Keep the selection of Rectangular to Polar.
9. fill in the selection with the color of the sky and fix it up with the Clone stamp tool (S). You might need to do also the ground, so it looks more even and the area where the two ends of your panorama connected.
It does take a while, but it's worth it! Let me know how yours turned out and ask if you have any questions in the comment bellow, email me or send me a message via my contact page.
"So how did you end up in Cooke City, Montana all the way from… wait, where is Slovakia?"
You would not believe how many times I got this question probably thanks to my accent. 'A plane dropped me off', or 'I drove here' would be the short version.
The true story is a little longer. In 2006 my friends and I signed up for a program for university students back home. I assume you already looked up Slovakia on the map, and if you ever meet a Slovak, you should also know that it is not in Eastern Europe, it was never part of Russia or Soviet Union, we have our own language (Slovak) and Czechoslovakia split more than 20 years ago, in 1993. It is located in the heart of Europe, even the geographical center of Europe is in Slovakia, or one of them. Back to the story though…
The program is called Work and Travel, students from all over Europe get to travel and know other countries thanks to this program. We got sent to Cooke City, MT. Imagine how we felt when we got there. After we spent 20 hours on the planes and at the airports; we got picked up at the Cody airport at 11 p.m. and spend another two hours in a car before we made it to Cooke City. The town has only a little over 100 residents, two gas stations, two bars, few restaurants and a general store. Trust me, after a week I wasn't very impressed with it. I was happy to have my friends there, and later we met a bunch of kids from Czech Republic and Slovakia. They knew the area so things got better and we had a lot of fun going on hikes and drives to the Yellowstone.
I cried when I was leaving for home at the end of the season, came back for 3 more awesome summers, brought many friends and cousins with me and some of them even got married and still live in Cooke City. After I graduated the university it was much harder to get visa, so I stayed at home for two years, worked a regular 9 to 5 job and kept missing my little piece of heaven on Earth. I signed up for a Green Card Lottery several times. Yes, the US Government has a lottery every year and they give away residency. And believe it or not, I won the third year I applied and since then I lived in Cooke City, MT. I'm loving it … when I'm there. I fell in love with traveling, it is like a drug to me! The more places I go, the more I learn about and have to visit.
But why do I always come back to Montana? Honestly, there is a lot of reasons. I can't just say it's the mountains and scenery, cause I can find that in Slovakia also, and not only there. It is not only the job, people or location (however awesome that might be). There is so much to come back to right now... but one day I may just pack my car and go to Alaska. Or Canada or Iceland. Or Tadzhikistan. The world is big …
It is the perfect blend of people, wilderness and freedom that made me so happy and I enjoyed staying at one place (Cooke City, Montana).
I recently moved up a little more north, to Essex, still Montana, where I found a seasonal job and some great scenery for landscape photography as I am trying to get better at it and learn new things. I kinda got dragged up here by my boyfriend Aaron, but change is good and I'm happy to be so close to Glacier National Park.
If you would like to know how I made this last photo, read my next blog post How to make a circle polyorama.
Dear TSA agent,
Thank you for checking my backpack on my way from Europe to the US and finding out that there is (yet again) nothing that could jeopardize the safety of my fellow travelers.
After a 20 hour delay I was waiting at the baggage carousel I couldn't see my backpack and was wondering whether it got lost. Finally there it was, coming towards me - the last piece left on the carousel. Contents of my backpack just dumped into a large clear garbage bag. I recognized my clothes, not the outside of it, I could barely see the backpack .
Once we showed it to a United Airlines' worker, she told me that it got there like that, and was caused by the TSA (she pointed at the card you left) and that he had not seen anything like that in a while. I know the "business cards" you guys leave at the crime seen - every time I travel through the States I find one - and sure enough, there it was. When I opened the garbage-backpack-bag at home I noticed you didn't even bother to close the zipper. If you can't close it back, don't open it!
Next thing I see is that a gift I was bringing to my friends broke. Of course I got them a nice bottle of red wine! Once I trashed the stuff that were ruined by the expensive red wine, I found another delightful gift from you - a nice chewing gum... pre-chewed, thank you... and it was stuck to my other things that were not ruined by wine.
Why didn't you close my bag properly? I don't know if you believed in the power on Universe to hold it together or you think you have some special mental skills. But I believe the solution is just simple, you don't care and even have the urge to spit a gum on my clothes !
Next time you dig in other people's luggage take it as somebody's property and consider that you might be on the other side some day. Oh, and let me leave you with one last thing:
DON'T TAKE APART ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN'T PUT BACK TOGETHER.
I hope you travel by air a lot.
traveler that is NOT a safety jeopardy