A photograph from a story I shot about Idaho, Wyoming and Montana for the Dutch edition of National Geographic Traveler was recently named one of the top 6 images published by the magazine in 2014. When I think of the thousands of images each photographer shoots and submits for each story, I feel humbled to have an image so honored. I can only marvel at the editorial work needed to winnow so many images into just 6 for an entire year.
The image that was chosen is a picture of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, (shown above). There are two Amish girls skipping stones on the lake. I remember this moment vividly. The editor and I had stopped for a break. I noticed a group of women and girls reading the interpretive signs next to the lake. These women were so striking in their dresses and head coverings that I couldn’t resist making some images of them. The color of their clothing seemed to come out of the landscape itself, which had a very blue cast that afternoon. I thought my timing was off as they were just leaving when I started to approach them, but luckily I had started to take pictures of the unfolding scene while on my way over to where they had gathered to admire the lake. I had my regular, two camera set-up at the time: one 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm and a second 5D Mark III with a 24-105mm. First, I began using a 200mm to photograph the women from the back, which made a very pretty picture. However, I had gotten close enough to use a shorter lens when I noticed the girls skipping stones. Although I was only able to take a few frames before they darted off, I managed to get the shot. This experience was a nice reminder that it only takes one frame to capture a beautiful moment.