montana photography

Winter on the Edge - Glacier National Park - East Glacier Park, Montana

Winter on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park, in the small town of East Glacier Park, Montana, is known mainly to the few people that make this place their home, and a few travelers. Life in East Glacier Park is nothing like life in the more well known and often cited West Glacier (the headquarters of Glacier National Park). The wind blows more, it's colder, winter lasts about two months longer, and there's always more snow! That's a good thing if you like snow.

Recent study's indicate that about two million people visit Glacier National Park, Montana each year. People from all over the world travel to Montana and Glacier National Park for vacations and many of them travel though East Glacier Park, Montana. When people come to Montana it changes them.

I hear stories all the time about people affected by their time spent in Glacier National Park and in East Glacier Park specifically. I talked to one person last year who was working as temporary employee for the National Park Service who said they love the place so much they decided to stay for the winter. I replied with a question, "Where are you from?" Most are not use to long, hard winters in deep snow and often don't last long in East Glacier Park, particularity after spending one winter here.

The long winters are brutal on people who prefer warmer temperatures! There's often snow in yards starting in September and finally melting in late May and sometimes into early June. I hope that some of you will recognize a few of the locations shown in the photographs and in the slideshow.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long time. I’ve always wanted to share the sights of winter in East Glacier Park. I finally got it together and made it happen.

This post really is for those that love East Glacier Park, and Glacier National Park, but who only ever see it when it’s green and warm! Please enjoy the photographs and the slideshow with images of snow and ice in East Glacier Park, Montana. Please share a link to this post with anyone you think would be thrilled to see East Glacier Park in the winter, or those who you think don’t really know what snow looks like!

Have you ever been to Glacier National Park in the winter?

Stay warm out there!  Tony Bynum

Simple tips to improve your outdoor photography - take more outdoor photographs - 5 tips

The secret to good outdoor photographs starts by taking more of them!  Consistently good outdoor photographs are the results of practice, hard work, and a commitment to a goal. Make this years goal be, take more outdoor photographs!

Outdoor photography to most means nature photography. Wildlife, landscapes, etc. But, outdoor photography can be any photograph taken outside or even taken from inside of an outside environment!

Here are five simple tips that will help you improve your outdoor photography. They ONLY work if get out and take more pictures!

1. Keep your horizons level. Outdoor photographs of natural places look horrible with slanted horizons. . .

outdoor photography lone kayaker on calm lake glacier national park (Tony Bynum/

2. Eliminate distracting elements. Watching the edges of the frame. Don’t let that one blade of grass or stray branch ruin an otherwise great photo. You may have to find a new position, adjust your focal distance, or remove the item from the scene. Be judicious about moving things. I support some modest changes but I won't move a tree . . .

outdoor photography, bowhunter hunting elk deer mountains of montana burn area, fall hunting, bow hunting bow hunter in the field hunting old burn in western mountains (tony bynum)

3. Use shadows. Outdoor photographs should have some shadows. Find sidelight to help improve shadows and give depth to your outdoor photographs.

outdoor photography, glacier national park sunrise two medicine lake (Tony Bynum/

4. Use a human. Put a person in your outdoor photographs to give scale and depth.

Outdoor Photography, Hikers hiking on the prairie

5. Combine Elements. Use two or more strong elements to help tell a story.

outdoor photography, man photographing glacier national park winter scene (Tony Bynum/

Bonus tip:  Don’t drink out of aluminum water bottles when it’s 20 below! Just Say’n.

Good Luck out there,

Tony Bynum


Professional Outdoor Photographer - is there a future for professionals?

Is there a future as a professional outdoor photographer? As a professional outdoor photographer, I think about the future of outdoor photography, and where the art or profession is headed as a way to make a living.  I'm asked questions like, "aren't you afraid that you wont be able to make money," and "what about all the competition - everyone has a camera these days and are literally giving away their photos just to see their names in print - doesn't that worry you?"  Another common one, "what do you fear most about the future of your profession." People are assuming that the profession of photography is dying due to lower barriers to entry, more free time, more people with more money, and the improvement in technology, not to mention the changing culture and the fact that today's younger generation want what they want, and they wont be guided by rules and constraints. . . Saint Mary Lake storm, Glacier National Park, montana

So here's my answer. It's always the same, "I'm worried about my health (I'm not sick, but as our bodies wear out, it's harder to stay on top in the outdoor photography world), motivation to keep going, and ultimately my happiness." I don't spend time worrying about what other's say, do, or publish. I don't worry about the prices I'm paid for my hard work dropping though the floor. I'm in competition with myself to do the best job I can and make certain that everyone of my clients is taken care of. In other words, I just do what I do, and let the chips fall where they may.

So, why am I writing this? I'm writing this because I read a great article about photography and the new generation, and I absolutely loved it! I wanted to share it with my community of photographers.

The future is exactly where the past has been. Moving forward. Inventing newer, faster, smaller, better ways of visually communicating. The profession will leave behind those that can't or wont adjust. There's no stopping the momentum.

To me it's like a wave. If you're surfing, you're either paddling out and over the wave, riding in front of the wave trying to get enough speed to actually ride the wave (get on top of it), or you crash . . .  I feel like I've always been paddling in front of the wave but never really been on the top - "owning it," so to speak. . .  As good as some of my work is, (I'm not back slapping, I'm acknowledging hard work,) I still feel like I'm never "killing-it." The younger generation does not worry about "killing it."  They "kick-it." They grow their hair out like we did when we were kids and I swear if I had my Welcome Back Kotter (I hope some of you remember that show) t-shirt that said, "up your nose with a rubber hose," I could sell it to one of these kids for a mint! That's just the way things are going . . .  No restrictions, and no boundaries. The rules are blurry and becoming more blurry by the day. The younger generation is not compelled to follow the traditional process or get stuck in the quagmire of some sophisticated system of becoming an artist, they just do it!

The future of the professional outdoor photographer is positive.  There is a future in it for those who are willing to embrace change learn to live the lifestyle . . .  So, embrace the future. Move with it not against it.  Ride the wave but better yet, skip "killing-it," and go right to "kickn-it."

If you're into photography, or philosophy, read this pieces by Kirk Tuck, I think you'll like it!   Here is the link to Kirk Tuck's article,

The graying of traditional photography and why everything is getting re-invented in a form we don't understand.

Where do you think photography is headed?  What are your challenges?


Tony Bynum

P.S. Check out this great interview with Maury Postal if you want the "big-shot's, take on professional photography, it's worth the read

Nature Photographs - 10 musts for consistently good Nature Photographs

If you want to consistently capture great nature photographs, the following rules apply. . .

  1. Great Nature Photographs come from getting up early and/or staying late - not even Photoshop can make this rule go away.
  2. You must use good technique and quality lenses.
  3. Great Nature Photographs mean you can't be afraid of or dislike bugs.
  4. You must be willing to travel, and sometimes all night.
  5. You must be able to adjust to changing environmental conditions.
  6. Great Nature Photographs require that you sleep less.
  7. You must sometimes come home with an experience, a sore body and tired legs.
  8. You must be able to be disappointed - a lot!
  9. You must do some things that no one else will.
  10. Most of all, great nature photographs come when you are in the moment and having fun!

Do you have any "must's" to add for great nature photographs?

Sincerely, Tony Bynum

Big Skies and Badlands - Photographing Eastern Montana Lightning

Every year I make time for a trip or two to the badlands of Eastern Montana. The badlands are located where you find them - meaning you just have to tour around until you see them. Why, because I'm not even sure what badlands are these days. I mean, it seems that at least in Montana if something is a badland it inevitably must have some good land mixed in with it - right? So to the best of my knowledge, the "badlands" part is the steep sided, highly erosive, clay soil areas found throughout the eastern and central Montana prairie lands. The areas you can't really ride a horse through, or drive a pickup in, especially if they're wet! Don't argue with me, I know some of you will say, "I could ride MY horse across that country," and some of you would be "right," but in general, these areas are difficult to cross on foot and in most cases you'll need to park your horse. Here's a photographic example of the badlands of Eastern Montana taken near Fort Peck Lake. This photograph is one of my favorites from this summer's adventures. After spending about 40 days on the road shooting and studying the land and it's critters, and watching countless clouds build, spill rain, and blow by, I finally wound up in the right place at the right time with the right conditions to capture an interesting photograph.

Tap to view my "Wild Prairies" Project

Tap to view my "Wild Prairies" Project

There are countless fantastic subjects to photograph under the big skies of Montana. I particularly enjoy photographing the badlands when I find them. I also like the areas I find in between those badlands. What do we call the areas in between the badlands, are they the good-lands?  Hum, I'll explore the areas in between in my next post.

For now, remember to keep a safe distance from lightning. Lightning strikes do kill people every year.

Tony Bynum