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Chief Mountain

Chief Mountain
Photo Information
Copyright: Niek Bouwen (SunToucher) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-07-04
Categories: Mountain
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 18-200 Zoom F3.5-6.3 DC, Tiffen Grad ND 0.6
Exposure: f/20.0, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Travelogue: Summer Vacation 2006: USA
Theme(s): 50-59 points Chapter 7, Your favorites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-09-11 13:29
Viewed: 7034
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
On our way to Waterton Lakes NP, we made a quick stop for some photos of the most famous mountain in Glacier NP. It was a clear and sunny day again, the light was so harsh that the exposure was tricky. So to overcome some of the problems I used my UV filter and my Grad ND filter.

Some information on the mountain:

Chief Mountain is located in the U.S. state of Montana on the eastern border of Glacier National Park (US) and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The mountain is one of the most prominent peaks along the Rocky Mountain Front, a 200 mile (321 km) long overthrust fault, known as the Lewis Overthrust, which extends from central Montana into southern Alberta, Canada. The peak is easily seen from Montana and Alberta due to the rapid 5,000 foot (1,524 m) altitude gain over the Great Plains which are immediately east of the mountain. Chief Mountain has been a sacred mountain to Native American tribes for hundreds of years. The mountain was seen by white explorers in the late 1700's and was known as "Kings Peak" on maps produced in the United Kingdom in 1795. Meriwether Lewis, coleader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, saw the mountain in 1805 and called it "Tower Mountain". The name was changed in the late 1800's in reflection of Blackfeet naming of the mountain which was "Great Chief". When Glacier National Park was created in 1910, the summit and most prominent eastern slopes of the mountain were located within the park, leaving only the lower slopes within Blackfeet jurisdiction.

The eastern face of the mountain rises over 1,500 vertical feet (457 m) and the easiest route on this section is rated class 4 by mountaineers. The rock is also primarily sedimentary and provides poor anchor points, which in turn is a contributing factor to the difficulty rating. Henry Stimson and and two other explorers, including a Blackfeet Indian, climbed the difficult eastern face on September 8, 1892, and this is the first known ascent of the peak by white explorers. Upon the summit, Stimson's party observed ceremonial remains including Bison skulls that had been left behind by Native Americans. The eastern face of the peak wasn't successfully climbed again until 1951. Though the summit can be gained by approaching from the west, the easiest access is from the east, and the Blackfeet tribe issues camping and access permits to cross reservation lands. National Park Service visitor centers at St. Mary, Montana and at Many Glacier have additional information available.


Tech Talk: Shot in RAW, adjusted white balance, converted to JPEG. Cloned out a few dust spots, crop, saturation and USM.

mbasil, wkshelton, hester, pablominto, dew77, horia, blakitan, Aramok, scottevers7, elefantino, lovenature, Naturewalk, NellyD, touristdidi, valy67, shirgold, gerhardt has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
Our Planetingridshaul 1 12-25 03:53
To gerhardt: +1/3 moreSunToucher 3 10-25 06:40
To enrico: UV filterSunToucher 1 10-24 04:59
To NellyD: Een eerSunToucher 1 09-15 01:59
To BillyGoat: Its still GlacierSunToucher 1 09-12 13:17
To mbasil: Where it isSunToucher 2 09-11 22:54
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Critiques [Translate]

For me, this is one of the most remarkable peaks in the parks. Remarkable job with the composition here. (One of the reasons I've never posted a shot was because I couldn't compose it nicely. Now I just have to find where you did it!) I think the exposure is well controlled, but the version I'm looking at is dark. I should check it on another monitor, though.
P.S. I'm looking forward to seeing Waterton. Banff, too, I hope...

Hello Niek,

excllent composed and capture shot, I like the colors and details, althought I do agree with Mike it is a little dark, But other than thank an excellent photo, Great colors,

TFS Kyle

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2006-09-11 14:38]

Great mountain, lovely composition

Hello Niek,
This is a fine composition, with good dramatic colours to match!
The side lighting works well in giving structure to the majestic mountain...
Good sky, of course... great deep blue!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-09-11 14:55]

Hello Niek,
Very nice landscape.Well caught,framed and composed.3D effect and POV are also wonderful.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-09-11 17:10]

Hi Niek

This is truely a beautiful shot!
Really great POV, excellent exposure and lovely colors. You did very well to use the Grad ND filter on this one. A very nice composition, too.

Bravo and TFS

Salut Niek
Très jolie la composition de ce joli paysage montagnard avec cette bande de forêt séparant le lac de la montagne.Les couleurs et les détails sont parfaits.
Bravo et au revoir....JP

  • Great 
  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2006-09-12 3:38]
  • [2]

That is some mountain you have caught Niek. Great composition and detail. Touch dark on my monitor as well though...

just one question... when the light was so bright and the weather so clear, why did you use ISO 200? I would have though ISO 100 would have been better... and would have helped to reduce some of the noise in the sky... just a nit, not a crit...


Hi Niek,
That is a very impressive shot! I could sit and stare at this for a long time. Beautiful colors and tones, great deail and DOF. The overall composition is perfect. SUPERB!

Hello Niek, this landscape is simply beautifull and peacefull.
You composed it really well and you did good use fo the grad. filter.
Good notes, too.


I love Waterton Lakes Park! Great shot with the deep blue sky and that little puffy cloud; makes me want to get a grad filter myself.

  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-09-12 17:46]

Hi Niek
Great landscape shot again. Great colours, sharpnes, DOF, light and POV.
Well done Niek


Hi Niek,

Another great shot - I can see that the use of Grad filter really helped to calm down the bright sky, lovely simple composition too.

I must concur with the other comments - just perhaps a touch dark? But still very lovely.

TFS, Doug :-)

Hi Niek
Such a unique looking mountain Niek. The Chief Mountain looks like it came out of a Western movie, so rugged and strong. The blue sky really shows off it's height and you can see how it's eroding away slowly. A beautiful shot.
TFS Janice
PS... can't wait to see your 100th post :))

Nice pix Niek,

Good use of your filters. I like the horizontal line of trees. Help to see the scale of this massive mountain.
All your pictures of your western US trip realy encourage me go go there for my next summer vacation.

Hoi Niek,

Wat een schitterende foto van deze indrukwekkende berg!
Het geeft een gevoel van nietig zijn, zeker ook door de bomen op de voorgrond.
Het ruige van de berg tegen de mooie blauwe lucht, maakt het echt een prachtige foto.

Groetjes, Nel

Fantastic scenery!!!!! Just wonderful!

Hello Niek !
What a great picture ! The composition and POV are outstanding, and the colors are really wonderful - the color of the sky is particularly beautiful, I like all these blue tones. Very well done !

Hi Niek,
I've seen Big Chief several times but not with a blue sky. I think the gradation line on your ND grad is a little obvious here. Perhaps just a full 2-3 stop ND filter would have been more effective.



Love your notes.
This capture is so very MAJESTIC.
Lovely composition & presented elegantly.
Greetings from,

Hi Niek,
This is truly beautiful - what an impressive mountain.
Very nice capture but seems just a bit dark.
I guess the colour of the sky is due to the filter? -great result.
TFS - Shir

Hi Niek!
Very nice lanscape!! I think it is only slightly underexposed. Why did you use a UV filter? I use it only high in the mountains when there is snow to avoid everything getting blue... And maybe in digital photography there isn't also that need, because you can correct the color tone in postprocessing.
Anyway, a beautiful and relaxing shot.

Thanks, Enrico.

It is a very nice landscape. I like the shape of the mountains. The sky looks very good and the ND filter shows. Somehow I think it could be +1/3 more. Well done.

Hi Niek, very impressive shot, Cheers, Luís!!!

Hi Niek!
This is a very impresive landscape presentation. The moitain looks very spectacular. I like POV a lot. I am not sure but I believe that the light was very strong and that is why contrast is a little to strong as for me (on the border of mountain and sky). Anyway, interesting place presented in good way :)
Best withes,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-01-15 0:36]

Hi Niek,
this rock is really wonderful. Beautiful atmosphere captured here is impressive with truly blue sky. The sharpness is felt and etails are seen.
Well composed with the foreground of a forest scenery.


Dear Niek,
Before writing a critique - I always read about and also look at google - in order to familiarise myself with the subject I am looking at.

In this case - amongst other articles - I read "Chief Mountain is a prominent square topped peak that immediately attracts the attention of climbers... A lot of people from Calgary travel to the Flathead valley or Glacier Park and a common route goes past Chief Mountain. After driving by for 25 years I decided we had to climb it."

I am a "Couch Potato" and must admit, I have never driven past a shear rock face and decided to climb it :did you feel this urge? :))

Your photo - presenting the stark bare rock faces - make it evident, that mudslides can be a dangerous factor and of course in winter avalanches.

Thanks to your sharp focus, one can see the interesting layers of strata on the upper part.

I like your layout i.e. the green in the foreground softens the harsh impact of this forbidding looking mountain.

The single cloud adds interest to the azure summer sky, which is typical in the high mountains everywhere.

By placing the mountain exactly at the cutting lines (Rule of Thirds) you have created a perfectly balanced Landscape.

Best Wishes

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