Explore MT {Glacier National Park}

We only had 2.5 days in Glacier; we could have spent so much longer there. Cold rain has seemed to follow us quite a bit on this trip. It did not follow us to Glacier! We had gorgeous weather. I got to wear shorts again – that made me super happy. June is supposed to be shorts weather, not fleece pull-overs. At least June to this Okie girl.

Light coming through massively tall trees is one of my favorite things. I couldn’t get enough of it.

PHOTO NOTE: Several of you have asked about what lens I have been using on the trip. The majority (nearly all) of the shots are taken using my 24-70mm f/2.8. This is not my favorite lens, but it is my favorite multi-purpose lens. This trip I’ve used a camera strap and just have it wrapped across one shoulder when we hike. I’ve been posting my photo settings and some of you have noticed ways I could have improved my settings and asked why I chose what I chose. One reason I like to post settings when I am shooting fast, like hiking with changing light, is to show I don’t always use the best settings. Sometimes I am trying to change things so fast, I just get what get and I don’t throw a fit. There is tons of room for improvement in my shots, but at the end of the day what matters to me is not a perfectly composed and technically great shot. What matters to me is capturing how I see beauty…and I usually see it most in my kids and Chris!

These were both taken at Lake McDonald.

ISO 160, 1/250, f/2.8 ~ ISO 160, 1/320, f/2.8


Polebridge was a quiet little town not too far south of the Canadian border on the edge of Glacier. It was quiet until the Campbells took over the stage for the loudest version of “Let’s Get Together” the northwest has ever heard. My kids have no issues making a stage their own. They get that from their dad.

ISO 800, 1/120, f/2.86.14glacier2-3

Bowman Lake. The drive there is a long, twisting, gravel road – single lane. We decided to drive it on a whim after stopping at Polebridge. We barely made it before the last of the day’s light disappeared. It was stunning. Chris and I tried to stand and stare, but mosquitos the size of Oklahoma hummingbirds were swarming us. The kids gave up the battle and took cover in the car. Chris and I just ran in circles trying to absorb the beauty while trying to keep a faster pace than the insects. I would love to tent camp there one day in the future, but I will need tips from those of you that have survived the mosquitos to help me come out with some blood still left in my body!

ISO 160, 1/250, f/2.86.14glacier2-4

ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.86.14glacier2-5

Waterfall hike on the east side of Glacier, very close to the Jackson Glacier lookout. I’ll try to find the name and add it later.

ISO 320, 1/250, f/2.86.14glacier2-6

This kid has lost two teeth on this trip. Lost because he refuses to pull them.

ISO 160, 1/500, f/3.56.14glacier2-7

Jackson Glacier is overexposed in the background of this shot, but I know it is there!

I propped my camera on a rock across from us and used the timer. ISO 160, 1/500, f/2.86.14glacier2-8

Chris celebrated his birthday on a last night in Glacier…pretty epic (as the kids say these days πŸ™‚ ) place to celebrate. The girls and I searched for anything remotely like a cake or cupcakes. All we could find were Zingers. A tower of zingers cake it was.

ISO 1600, 1/50, f/2.86.14glacier2-9

ISO 1600, 1/50, f/2.86.14glacier2-10

The last shot is one of my all-time favorites of Chris. The photo above is truly a picture of him. He is delighting in his youngest daughter blowing out his birthday candles, while the other kids are piled around him. To me, this is such a picture of what fatherhood looks like on Chris. And it looks good. Real good.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • michele - Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
    Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
    Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children! Psalms 127:3-4
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful family. Your blog inspires and encourages me every day.

  • Nell-Ann - I Love that you are not worried about your settings .Living the moments are so more important !! This is a good read on just that bananafishstudio.com/2014/05/girl-interrupted.html Make it a Great day !!

  • kimberly oyler - ahhh! i hope you didn’t think i was criticizing your settings when i asked about them! i was just trying to get in your head and learn from you. scout’s honor. on another note, i’ll be in tulsa next sunday having dinner with your sister, if you’re in town i’d love to see you!

  • Mek - The last picture truly made me smile πŸ™‚ Sweet moments beautifully captured πŸ™‚

  • Beth Jones - That last picture! Tears! Ashley, your photography of your family is just priceless. I love that you don’t focus (ha, no pun intended) on making each shot perfect but on the precious people and the moment you are capturing. I’m a beginning photographer and your blog is sooo inspiring to me. Thanks so much for all that you do!

  • Christy - I love all the pictures. Breath taking for sure. The last picture of your hubby and kids is priceless! It was definitely an “ahhhh” from me when I saw it.

  • Callie - Your trip photos have been stunning. all of them. but those birthday shots make me teary! what a beautiful capture of fatherhood. what a gift and sweet reflection of the Fathers love that they have an earthly father that looks at them with such awe. so incredibly beautiful. thank you for sharing.

  • Nikki - Love these photos. Especially the last one- what a treasure!

  • Dawn - Beautiful, beautiful pictures! I wish I could come over and watch a slideshow of all your pictures and hear stories in person! What a trip of a lifetime! I love the last picture- especially how Firecracker is looking at her dad! So sweet!

  • natalie - i got all teary-eyed seeing the last photo. this is just so true. happy birthday, chris! πŸ™‚

  • Debbie H - I agree with all comments before me! I am so loving watching the path your month of travels is taking you. Your photos and family are lovely and bring back many different memories to me. I’ve learned it takes the time of living in small spaces away from daily distractions for kids and dads to really collapse into each other, because they get to spend so much more close time with one another than is possible in normal life. The look of love and that sense of family is SO prominent in that last photos of Chris and your kids. Facial expressions could not appear more relaxed. Tears for all kinds of emotions, for sure! Your children will remember all their lives the trip where Dad carried one if not two girls hiking and the reassurance and comfort they’ve learned that home really can be anywhere when your family is together.

    Thanks so much, Ashley, for taking the time to post nearly daily, and sharing all of the details that you do. It cannot be easy – so thanks to your family as well for giving you the minutes of peace you need to do it. It is crazy how much your posts touch and affect so many on a daily basis. I so look forward to them and the sense of calm they bring me. One day we need “outtakes” πŸ™‚ of shots of rain and all you’ve encountered that HAS to be some normal.

    Oh! And I also had a kid who would not allow their teeth to be pulled. hahaha. They were lost in the bottom of swimming pools, in apples, in their sleep, swallowed…I had not thought of those days for awhile, and needed those memories today. Enjoy your kids at these ages. Special times indeed.

  • Erica - I so love the birthday pictures of Chris with the kids. Sure, the pictures of God’s creation are beautiful in their own right, but that look of love and joy in his eyes – priceless. Great moments captured – your perspective on photography is soooo refreshing in this day in age when everyone is all about taking the best pictures and the result can be missing out on life. Photography can help us remember the beauty but it shouldn’t distract us from living in the midst of it. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. πŸ™‚

  • Jenny - That last 2 pictures are perfection! Soooo sweet!

  • Bee - Everything looks absolutely beautiful! Love those family shots, so much joy!

  • Kim - That last picture gave me tears as well. Such a beautiful moment captured! This trip has inspired me to take a RV trip out west when the kids are a little older

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ok – Tears. Yes! Happy birthday, Chris. You are an amazing father. Thank YOU for being such an awesome example. Ashley, thank you for capturing it and giving us a glimpse of how much our heavenly father loves us, His little ones.

  • susie - It sure has been a cold summer- but typical! June is always cold… often the mosquitoes disappear in august

  • danielle - These are so great! That lost shot is beautiful! I put my camera in Aperture priority for hikes most of the time. I don’t like it but I have missed too many shots of animals while in Manual! Even though I was just there last year I know want to pack up and head that way again!

  • Diana - Amazing pictures of what appears to be an amazing trip. Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • annieg - Was lake mcdonald as clear as all of the pictures I’ve seen of it? I love following your family through all of your journeys

  • Meg - Seeing you and your family helps me remember how much to cherish my little dudes and our little family! Even in the hard times! Thanks for that!

  • emmybrown - PRECIOUS picture! Happy Birthday, Chris! Fatherhood really does look amazing on you!

  • Katie Lockhart - Holy cow. That last photo is pretty much the photo of a lifetime. There little candlelit faces around his happy face. Perfect!

  • Julie W - The last 2 pictures are amazing!!!! The soft glow of the candles on their faces….wow!

  • SueY - I ???? the look of love in Chris’ eyes in the last two photos! Such tenderness!! Thank you sharing.

  • SueY - Sorry, those ???? Are supposed to be a heart.

  • Mia Yu-Asensi - Love, love, love from across the globe (I’m from Manila, Philippines)! You have no idea how you’re making my everyday inspired by reading your blog. Keep the breathtaking pictures and wonderful behind the scene stories coming! God bless you and your beautiful family always. =)

  • Emily - Those last pictures of Chris make my heart pop. What a great dad he is. Happy Birthday Chris!

  • AshleyAnn - Annie – it was!!!

  • AshleyAnn - Kimberly – No, of course I didn’t think you were criticizing! I was so glad you ask. It never dawned on me that I had not really explained that I post settings even when they aren’t the best ones for the shot. I am so glad you (and several others) asked! We probably won’t be home by Sunday night…sure wish I could meet you for dinner though!

  • Irene Wiranata - Last picture speaks louder than words. Totally made me teary.. Thanks for showing us those pictures :)))

  • Katie - Wow, what an amazing pic! Makes me tear up. I hope I am as blessed as you are some day.

  • Taylor - I love that last shot! I thought that even before I read your own words on it; but it is perfect! That lighting with the candles: gorgeous!!


  • Carrie Rowe - These are so happy!!!! SO glad you guys enjoyed Montana.

  • mara - that last picture is EPIC. you have a beautiful way of telling your story πŸ™‚

  • Robyn - The waterfalls on the east side of the park by Jackson glacier are St Mary Falls (Virginia Falls is a little further down the same trail) – such a great beautiful hike and easy to do with kids πŸ™‚

  • Jen - I’ve never commented here before, but that last photo – unspeakably beautiful. What an amazing shot.

  • Megan - Was this hike fairly easy? I’ll be making a similar trip in a few weeks and would like to do an easy hike trail. My dad has cancer, he is still fairly active, but can’t hike something that most people would be able to do.

    Any recommendations would be wonderful!


  • Kristin C. - Such beautiful scenery! I love the last photo!

  • amy cornwell - that last picture makes me tear up…so much love and adoration in one photograph. love seeing how you tell a story through photography. so beautiful.

  • victoria - lovely. just lovely.

  • Donzel - Hmmm…. Surviving Bowman’s voracious mosquitoes? Slathering on that icky Deet stuff is about the only way. When we were there for a long weekend quite some years ago we all did the bug spray multiple times a day routine and still fed them! However, it’s not something I’d recommend – my littlest sister, Tivoli, got quite sick once we were at home & my mom thought it was because of a overdose of spray. πŸ™