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

6.14glacier2-1

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:)) 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.

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  • 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 :) Sweet moments beautifully captured :)

  • 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! :)

  • 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” :) 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. :)

  • 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!!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • 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 :-)

  • 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 :)

  • 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!

    Thanks!

  • 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.

ISO 100, 1/200, f/7.1
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ISO 100, 1/200, f/7.16.14binoculars-2

ISO 100, 1/160, f/7.16.14binoculars-4

ISO 100, 1/160, f/7.16.14binoculars-5

ISO 100, 1/160, f/7.16.14binoculars-6

ISO 100, 1/200, f/7.16.14binoculars-3

Running Falls is on the east side of Glacier near Two Medicine.

One of my favorite parts of this trip has been watching the kids interact. It is such a gift to get to sit back and really watch their friendships and love in action. I need to sit back and watch more at home.

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  • Michelle Hill - That little one is such a stunner!

  • danielle - That is pretty adorable :) I really like binoculars!

  • Haley - That fourth picture is stunning! I love seeing how your sons treat your daughters so well.

  • Marianela - Linger just a little bit longer….

  • Laura S. - 2nd photo is sweet like jam. Beautiful falls in the background. Happy and safe travels.

  • Birdy - How happy she can be to learn from four siblings… the world must be so much more fun with a bunch of siblings!

    Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your trip!

    Love from Germany and the -fatcatconnection-
    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/06/have-wonderful-weekend_27.html

  • ratna - Hi Ashley, can you share with us what lens you bring for roadtrip or hiking like this?

  • Taylor - Such sweet pictures. I always felt that growing up, our family vacations had us leaving being better siblings to one another.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • kimberly oyler - i’ve noticed that a lot of your pictures this trip have has higher aperture numbers. like f/7.1 as opposed to your usual f/2.8. why is that? am i creepy for noticing such tiny details? ;)

  • Diana - I feel the same as Taylor re: family vacation with my siblings. We always got along better on vacation than any other time of the year, even all 8 of us being in a pop-up camper for 2 weeks!

  • AshleyAnn - Kimberly- I didn’t want to blur the beautiful backgrounds!!!

  • Heather McDonald - One of my many favorite places on the east side. I have loved seeing all your photos. I’m heading out to Glacier for the month of July. It’s my home away from home. I’m glad you captured its beauty.

  • Michele - “But your eyes are blessed because they do see, and your ears because they do hear! Matthew 13:16
    Thank you for sharing your family’s journey. I look forward to reading your blog every day because you are so incredibly kind to everyone. Blessings!

  • Heather - Your baby is turning in to quite the beauty!!

  • Irene Wiranata - Little One is sooooo pretty!!! Love love love the 4th pic :DDD Btw when is your next DSLR course? Been wanting to sign up for your course, but always find an excuse to find the time. Enjoy the rest of your trip!!! Love seeing a glimpse of USA from your trip, its a beautiful country ;))

  • AshleyAnn - Irene – the next course begins in August!

  • Amy F - I’m going backward through your trip, and decide to stop and say these pictures are bringing tears to my eyes. This is my dream to be able to travel around with my kids and show them the beautiful country we live in. Amazing pictures! Your kids are truly blessed!

In our original trip plans, we did not include Glacier National Park. After a day or so on the road, we decided we HAD to adjust and spend a few days in the park. We camped outside the park and spent a couple days exploring. Our first major hike was four miles long (2 miles up and 2 miles down) to Avalanche Lake. We knew the boys could handle it and were pretty sure our oldest daughter could make it most of the way. Chris carried our youngest on his back and then towards the very end had our oldest girl on his shoulders too. We didn’t see many kids on the hike, so that made our kids feel really cool that they were doing it. I think we hit the park about a week before most families arrive.

Chris got a lot of comments when people saw him carrying both girls up the mountain. One lady passed him and then turned around to take a picture of him and the girls. Made me laugh.

ISO 100, 1/400, f/2.8 ~ ISO 400, 1/160, f/2.8
6.14avalanchelake-1

We are sticklers about keeping distance from wildlife and not feeding them. My eight year old saw this little chipmunk in the distance. He squatted down take a photo and the little guy (or girl) scurried right up to his lens. It made my son’s day (and he got a super cool shot). The chipmunks at the lake were obviously used to people feeding them because they kept coming up so close.

ISO 160, 1/160, f/7.16.14avalanchelake-3

This was one of the longer hike the kids have done that is not flat. They did so good and I was so proud of them. The lake at the top was definitely worth the trip – we all agreed.

ISO 100, 1/200, f/6.36.14avalanchelake-4ISO 100, 1/200, f/6.36.14avalanchelake-5

ISO 100, 1/200, f/6.36.14avalanchelake-6

ISO 320, 1/400, f/4.56.14avalanchelake-7

It was a good day. A very good day.

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  • danielle - We were just their last year and missed that one! I could have stayed a really long time at that park and still missed hikes! We did some major leg killer hikes while there! Looks like you guys are making some amazing memories!

  • kimberly oyler - love that last shot of the girls. aren’t last minute road trip decisions always the best?

  • Addie - That looks like an amazing place! Great job Chris for packing in the kids!

  • rhonda - Glacier is so great! You should have kept coming and come across to the Canadian side and seen Waterton :)

  • Meg - The photos are beautiful. Both my husband and I grew up in the midwest but have never been to any of the places you have been visiting. Every day I send him the link to where you are and write, “We need to do this!” He is now convinced :) We thought we would wait until the kids were a bit older (7,6 & 3) but seeing your little one makes me think that next year, we are going on a road trip!
    Thank you for the beautiful photos. I really appreciate the time you take to write in the “technical” info. I am pushing myself to use manual more and more and your notes on each photo help so much :)

  • NanaBeast - Ashley,
    I am in love with the photo of the girls on the log on the shore of the lake. The composition is so pleasing, the way the downward slope of the mountain into the lake is taken up by the log, directing the motion to end at the girls. As you know, your girls are beautiful, and the colors they are wearing are perfection in this composition (to me, I’m no expert.) I know you didn’t pose the girls and just that fact makes this even more beautiful. I praise God for orchestrating all the elements so I can enjoy photography like this. And for the ability to appreciate it most of all. The Creator amazes me All. The. Time. Anyway, thanks for your part in all this.

  • Amy Espinosa - Just breathtaking! And your pictures of your husband carrying your girls brings back so many wonderful memories. My husband carried our girls just like that! They are 13 and 11 now, but it seems like just yesterday. Enjoy EVERY minute!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Hooray for not feeding the wildlife! Thanks for teaching your kids that. And the lakes in GNP are always worth it. Awesome! You make me want to go back.

  • Jenny - After living in MT for 31 years, and never having been up to Glacier Park… you have totally convinced me that I need to make time to take a trip up there. Your pictures are all amazing!

  • Diana - Gorgeous pictures (as always) and incredible scenery! What a wonderful looking place to visit!

  • kaitlyn bright - I am loving all of these pictures. I am sure you will be sharing your trip itinerary?! Or you can whip up a little e-booklet and charge some $ for that thing! PS. I am hoping my package arrived at your house. Its been a while but thought I’d ask.

  • Kelly - Love that hike! We do it every year. You’re lucky you only saw the chipmunks. Last summer we ran into a bear on the boardwalk! And then a mama and baby moose before the official trail head. All way too close for comfort!

  • erin - awwwwww…come on!!!! you *know* we need to see his chipmunk shot!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley, how beautiful! Thank you for sharing your f-stop with us! I was wondering how you were able to get everyone on the log so perfectly!

    And way to go Chris! Rockstar.

  • Sarah - I’m so antsy to take a trip like this! My kids are two and six months old and while I’m loving this little stage I’m looking forward to when they’re a little older and we can do more involved family activities. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to see where you are next :)

    P.S. Let’s see the picture of the chipmunk your son took!

  • Glenda - My goodness your family is just so cute! I really enjoy reading about your adventures and just you lives in general. You guys make me smile!

  • Michelle Hill - The way that you encourage and challenge your children is so inspiring. I hope one day I can be half the mother and woman you are. Your family is beautiful!

  • Christine - I love reading and seeing all your family adventures! Seriously, your husband is a ROCK STAR for carrying both girls. I would love to see your son’s shot of the chipmunk!! Can you post it?!?

  • Pat B - I’m enjoying “following” your sweet family on your vacation. Your photography is stunning! My husband & I were blessed to visit this part of the country a few years ago and hope to go back someday. In the meantime, I’ll go vicariously through you! :)

  • Taylor - Gorgeous photos! This place looks absolutely breathtaking. Also, wow, Chris! What an impressive being to carry BOTH those little girls up the hills!!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Kate S. - Thank you for being “sticklers” and teaching your children to respect wildlife. I rarely take a hike anymore that does not include the infuriating sight of someone’s kids chasing wildlife. I can even name a few bloggers who constantly let their children harass wildlife when they find it. DRIVES ME CRAZY. I so appreciate that you are teaching your kids better behavior.

  • Jeannine - My son would LOVE to see your son’s chipmunk shot!

  • Natalie - Gorgeous pics! Just curious- why did you crank your ISO up on the last few photos? The first few at the lake were ISO 100 and then you changed it to 320. Working on shooing in manual and when you post your camera settings its always a HUGE help! Thank you!

  • ellen patton - What an amazing trip!

  • Hannah - Ooooh!!! We just LOVE Glacier! Lake MacDonald on the west side is gorgeous along with Going to the Sun road… I am LOVING your pics of this amazing trip. What a gift!

  • Megan - The backgrounds in all of your pictures look SO fake, like I feel like you are taking these in front of a green screen. :) I can’t even fathom how beautiful it all must be in person.

  • Monica - Last picture is absolutely gorgeous! Love sisters pictures ! :) I have two girls, hopefully one day my soon two years old she can stay still to take her a picture with her sister, is so hard when I want to take a picture hugging each other because the little one she runs right away. LOL :D