This weekend October 13 – 14 2018 is the Annual Tour of the Arts

Fall comes to the high country

Right now the fall colors in the Swan Valley are popping! The Aspen, Cottonwoods and other broadleaf are in full color, and the Western Larch is turning fast!

Sponsored by the Alpine Artisans, the tour is a greets time to see the fall colors in Montana’s Swan Valley, Seeley lake and Blackfoot.

You can download map, directions and brochure TOA Map

We are #5 on the Map –1540 Guest Ranch Road.

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Epic Spring Sunset Light Storm

Two Elks Ranch in the Crown of the Continent experienced a spring sunset light storm in Montana’s Swan Valley at the end of May. Strong winds, rain and swirling clouds presented a challenge to be in and shoot.

Epic storm blows in over the old homestead.

This grateful photographer took his camera and walked out into the pasture that evening at 9:00, in the rain under the most dark threatening cloud bristling with lightning. It was an act of hope, maybe faith and perhaps stupidity.

Looking grim.

But then the storm started to swirl around the ranch and develop colors and cloud formations never before seen that took his breath away. From 9:00 to 9:29 he spun the camera on the tripod around in 360 degrees capturing 89 images.

As the storm clouds and colors grew so did the wind. It was so strong he had to hold his 20 pound tripod/camera rig down with one hand while shooting.

There were colors in every direction  with high winds, rain and clouds full of sunset light. He was spinning around the tripod shooting as fast as he could. Sometimes using a timed exposure as it was sunset dark, sometimes with timed exposure and graduated neutral density filters, and sometimes higher ISO.

But all the time he kept capturing images of the amazing sky as it glowed and changed. Toward the end it began raining so hard with thunder and lightning all around, he had to wipe the lens off for every shot.

The amazing storm lasted for 33 minutes. During that time, out of the 89 images he captured, many were sequenced into giga pixel panoramas like these that can be printed 60 inches wide or wider. The end result is a 48 image gallery, an amazing gift from a sunset storm in the Swan Valley.

The Light Storm Begins.

You can see the 48 image gallery of this storm at Epic Spring Sunset Storm

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Spring finally comes to the Swan Valley…

This was a winter for the record books. It started snowing in October and quickly began to accumulate. By early December, the snow on the ground was measured in feet, not inches.

Winter coats

It just kept snowing, and the snow built up. The deer and elk were struggling. But it was incredible snow for skiing, snowmobiling and winter play.

Winter Storm over Crazy Horse Burn

It was hard not seeing the sun for days at a time with all the storms. But there were some astounding sunsets to watch.

Gentle good night

Finally it began to thaw, sort of… at least the snow melted off of the river, sort of…

Swan River Green Ice

Seven months later in April we still had snow on the ground and were beginning to wonder if it was a new ice age? “What happened to global warming?” people in the Swan Valley asked. But then we started to see signs that spring was actually coming. The snow continued to melt, the wetland ponds begin to fill with water and the migratory birds arrived.

Spring wetlands in the Swan Valley

Winter didn’t want to let go and a big storm dumped over two feet of snow in the first week of April. Many of those migratory birds were pretty unhappy. But spring finally did arrive and the elk starting playing in the wetlands.

Elk splashing

Then the green came and the valley floor finally was free of snow and winter was actually over!

Holland Peak reflections

Spring in the Swan Valley is finally here.

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October is one of my favorite months…

Come to my studio and see the over 100 giclée on canvas gallery wrap images I have hanging.
They range in size from 18″x 12″ to 84″ x 36″. Fall is when we open our ranch, studio and gallery as part of the Alpine Artisans Tour of the Arts. It is held in October when the fall colors are glorious. The Swan Valley is full of Western Larch, which as the only deciduous conifer in Montana, turns brilliant gold before it drops its needles.

 

Fall is my favorite time of year and this image has it all.

Autumn Gold

Autumn Gold is a large 60×36 panorama that lights up any room with a cheery presence.

The nights are cooler and as the sun changes position with the change of season there is a very special light that appears.

Fall comes to the high country

 

The Tour of the Arts is for two days and takes in artists from just south of Swan lake through the Upper Swan Valley to Seeley Lake and then Big Blackfoot River.

Swan Lake is 30 minutes from our ranch in the Swan Valley.

 

It is a great time to see some beautiful county and wonderful art. And of course it is a great time to stop in at our ranch have some coffee and home baked cookies in the cook house and see these images hanging full size in the galleries.

Peaceful equine sunset at the old homestead.

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Fall Rains

The clouds clear ennough to let the sunset color them over Mollman Pass in the Mission Mountain Range.

The clouds clear enough to let the sunset color them over Mollman Pass in the Mission Mountain Range.

Fall rains pound on the steel roof while I sort and edit images. The snow line creeps down the mountains, but I am gratefully dry and warm.  Still even with this rain we are in the midst of one of the mildest falls I have seen in quite some time. A fall with spectacular colors.  I appreciate beauty once more as I sort images showing off  fall colors that give a little bit of the sun back to us.

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