Recently, I spent a smoke filled week in northwestern Montana. Forest fires in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canadian provinces colored the skies with orange light as filtered by the smoke. This filtered light, however, makes for lovely lighting in the landscapes. We hiked up the Caribou Mountain trail and enjoyed open pine forests that made way to alpine fir stands at higher elevations. Here, summer had reached its end. Flowering plants had dried up or stood tall with seed pods. Even small bushes began to show the wear of little rain through curled leaves. Grouse surprised us as we surprised them. Butterflies enjoyed the last wildflowers in bloom, mostly small, delicate thistles.
I couldn’t resist photographing these areas and plants. It all seemed like the perfect time of day.