August 9, 2013

A Personal Photo Challenge - Water

It’s time for A Personal Photo Challenge! “Water” is the theme this month.

A Personal Photo Challenge

Plans for this challenge had to be scrapped. My computer is still at the Apple Store repair shop, and I don’t have access to the photos I had prepared. As a result, I dug into my archives on an external hard drive and went shopping for some images taken during our August 2012 trip to northern Montana, Glacier National Park, and Waterton, Canada. I had never touched these particular files, so the post-processing is fresh from the digital oven! (I’m much obliged to Mr. Jim for lending me access to his Photoshop program and various Nik filter plug-ins.) Because of the lighting conditions, I did not use a polarizing filter when I took these images. Ordinarily, I would use such a filter for landscapes that include water.

We decided that if we were going to go all the way to northern Montana, then visiting the Waterton Lakes National Park on the Canadian side was essential. And what’s a trip to the charming village of Waterton without admiring the renowned Prince of Wales Hotel, right? Well, we did more than admire it. We stayed there for two glorious nights! Our room had a spectacular view out to the water and the park mountains, with the U.S. border in the far distance. Our room was located on the right-hand wing, second balcony, to the far left.

Built in 1927, the Prince of Wales Hotel is one of the largest all-wood buildings in the Alberta Province. This historic landmark has survived wind, fire, and even the 1930s depression. We certainly enjoyed this stunning view of it, from the water's vantage point, when we cruised Upper Waterton Lake, with rainclouds and mist providing a dramatic background.

f/10, 1/400 second, ISO 400

Our destination on the cruise was eight miles south, over on the U.S. side of the border, and a visit the Goat Haunt Ranger Station. We showed our passports here to the border guards and got a special stamp in our passports at the International Peace Pavilion. Nestled along the shoreline, the ranger station has quite a dramatic setting.

f/11, 1/400 second, ISO 400

The last photo of my challenge offering was taken at Running Eagle Falls (also known as Trick Falls), located in the Two Medicine Valley of Glacier National Park. It is named after a female Blackfeet warrior born in the early 1770s. This waterfall is quite unique because it is actually a double waterfall. Water rushes over the top and through the middle of the rock throughout most of the year. In the late summer, when we visited, water was flowing only through the lower falls.

This was a difficult scene to photograph because the foreground was much darker than the distant mountain peak during our visit. Though today's camera sensors are technological marvels, they do have limitations with extreme variations of exposure within a single scene. I shot it based on an average exposure, knowing up-front that I could coax the digital information out of the various areas with Photoshop. The mountain was overexposed, and the rest of the scene was underexposed. Instead of compositing multiple exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) image, I used only one RAW file. I adjusted exposures dramatically downward in the highlights and upward in the shadows. Only a RAW file can provide enough digital information to make these kinds of major adjustments with success. A jpeg format would probably not be up to the task. After looking at the pathetic original file (straight out of the camera), I was more than pleased with the final result. I hope you will agree.

f/11, 1/80 second, ISO 200

Now that you’ve seen my photos and read my post, I hope you will visit A Personal Photo Challenge blog and check out the creative efforts of other participants. Thank you so much!


  1. Wonderful views. I don't think I even took my camera when we were in Alberta. And we certainly didn't stay at the wonderful hotel. But so glad you had a wonderful adventure.

  2. really beautiful shots. that hotel is really impressive looking!

  3. Pretty darn good for "second choice!" It must have been fun digging around in photos you hadn't seen in a while.

  4. Wow, what a beautiful old hotel. I've never heard of it before and being that we're now in Alberta on vacation it would be great to see but it's too far from us. I'm sorry but I won't be joining the photo challenge this time as I can't take the time to visit the other participants. I did happen to do a post with water in it today though of our recent visit to British Columbia. I hope you will pop over to see it. Blessings, Pamela

  5. Polarizing filter? You know what? I'd love to see what you could coax out of one of my dumpy photos. Now THAT would be a challenge! LOL! What year was that Indian maiden born? I don't think we've seen that one yet. (I'm yanking your chain after your telling me how many photos you had to wade through recently.)

    Your photos are beyond stunning. The last one made me's that beautiful. I'd love to visit Alberta. It looks like another wonderful part of God's country.

    My photos will be up in the morning. I may have to scurry back and see if anything can be done... Scuttling off now...

  6. What an amazing place to visit and wonderful photos to share. I'm sorry your computer is still on the mend. You found some photos that help us understand about the different lighting. It's nice to learn some of the reasons that some photos work while others don't show what we see with our naked eye. I'm enjoying the challenges! Thank you so much for giving us so much information to make us smarter in the future. Enjoy your weekend! Sweet hugs!

  7. I love that first photo Donna, it's the dramatic clouds that give it the finishing touch. As for the last one, I can see the details of texture and green coloration of the trees like I was standing there myself.
    Thanks for hosting and always sharing your expertise.

  8. Wow, that is such a charming hotel.
    And the view looks fabulous.

  9. Gorgeous. Again! I always feel as if I'm right there in the photo. And then I want to really 'be' there. I often add these places to my list of travels for the future.

  10. These are simply beautiful!

    I always fall short in photography but love to try anyway!


  11. Love the first one especially. I don't know why I never think of using my actual filters when I take pics. I'm going to toss them back into my bag and try to remember they are there. I've gotten so use to using photoshop for everything I guess I've gotten lazy. lOl. Sorry to hear you computer is still on the blink. I was able to clear off some stuff on mine using MacSweeper?? Although, it does nothing for the awful sound coming from the fan area as I am typing this. Can you hear it too? Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. Your photos (as always) are stunning, Donna! Your pictures make me feel as if I am right there at the site! What a treat that must have been to stay at that grand hotel, and look out at the lake and mountains...sigh...

    There are so many glorious things to see, and being able to capture them in such beautiful photos is a gift.

    Maybe I'll be brave enough to join your Photo Challenge some time. But I feel like I am in Photography Kindergarten (or Preschool even)...I have so much to learn.

  13. That hotel is really something. Beautiful shots Donna, as always.

  14. Donna, all your shots are wonderful! This is indeed a very beautiful park, drove through there a few years ago when heading down through Montana, but did not see this Canadian portion. Love that first shot of the Prince of Wales Hotel and the dramatic clouds. I'd love to have the opportunity to spend time there again, and do more photography...

  15. I Swear girl!! Larry and I went through this post like a travel guide!Hahaaa....."OH! I 'wanna go there!!"
    Geeez...Beautiful shots Donna! Thanks for all the tips!!

  16. Wonderful pictures for a scrapped photo challenge!

  17. Hi There, I'm back after a big birthday week. Trying to catch up a little on my blogging.

    Sorry your computer is still in the shop. You are probably LOST without it... We didn't have internet access this past week at our mountain cabin in North Carolina --and both of us missed it so much!!!!! ha

    Great photos... We hope to get to Glacier next year.. That's on our hopeful list....


  18. We've never visited Waterton Park, but this just might be our destination for next summer. What a sensational place sandwiched between the water and the sky in your photo. Really dramatic.
    You've got me interested in shooting RAW - my camera will do it, but I've not attempted it yet. Wonderful photos.
    Thank you for hosting these challenges and finding the links for us.

  19. Sorry I didn't comment earlier dear - did look and sigh at the beauty captured here, but arms and hands have not been cooperating! Less pain now so here I am and have to say they are beautiful shots of such gorgeous country.

    Hope all is going better - any news on your Mac yet?

    Mary X


Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!