Cascade County, Montana

2000 photographs comprising stills and 3 time-lapse sequences in 2 days.  I can’t remember when I had done so much shooting in so little time.

Throughout the entire Northwest Territories trip, I probably snapped off about 1900 photos in 10 days.  What was different about this trip?  Well, first was the fact I had literally no plans, schedule, or shot list for this trip.  I was just ready for some good exploring without any time commitments.  Antsy from having been out of the field for almost 6 weeks and eager to make a worthwhile trip somewhere, I decided that Cascade County in Montana was going to be my destination.

Situated nearly smack-dab in the middle of Montana, only a short drive from Great Falls, Cascade County consists of a variety of buttes, rolling pastures, and other farmland.  During my previous trip here, I shot a time-lapse sequence here of the total lunar eclipse that ended up being in my “Surreal Journey” HD time-lapse compilation on Vimeo.  I also took a picture of Crown Butte with the full moon just out of the frame, that I like to call, “Moonshine”.

A full moon just out of the frame casts a swath of light onto Crown Butte, Montana, near Simms. (Benjamin Chase)

On this trip, I drove down nearly every dirt road I could find, totaling nearly 900 miles in two days.  Sleep is of secondary concern to me on most of my trips and a series of 20-60 minute naps tends to keep me going.  One image that I’ve wanted to make for some time is a group of horses together under the stars.  Fortunately with modern digital sensors, this is achievable now, assuming the horses feel like cooperating and standing still!

Horses by Moonlight

I probably spent 45 minutes waiting for the horses to stand still enough, but it was definitely a memorable experience!  Our equine friends were very interested in what I was doing next to them with a camera and tripod.

Moonlit Equine Gathering

One other great find in Cascade County was an abandoned homestead, devoid of signs or a gate.  It is rare to find structures in this condition that have not been marked with graffiti, so this was a pleasant surprise indeed!  I ended up shooting a time-lapse sequence here that will likely become a part of my next video project.

Abandoned Homestead

Abandoned Montana Homesite

In short, the two days I had to photograph the area ended up being a great success, probably one of my best ever within that time frame.  If I had made definite plans for my trip that weekend, I likely would have never captured these images.  So next time you are planning to take a photography trip, ask yourself, “Do I really need to plan everything to the Nth degree?”

I offer three styles of prints for all of my photos, all are offered as open editions and use the best technology available on the market today.  If you’d like to brighten up your home or office space with some great landscape or nature artwork, give me a call or send me an e-mail and we can work together to make your space shine!

I also offer private instruction within a reasonable distance of the Spokane, Washington region.  Please contact me for details.

Cheers!

Ben

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4 Responses to Cascade County, Montana

  1. Nice work Ben. Montana is one of my favorite states, spent my youth longing to live in a log home there. I love the area you covered here, the meeting of the plains and the mountains and all the history makes for rich photo opportunities. Wish I could get there this spring or early summer.

    • benchase says:

      Thanks Alan – I know that having a vacation cabin in Montana is something I’ve desired for a long time!

  2. Will Terpening says:

    Thanks for the pictures and the story Ben. I grew up in Montana and always love to see photos.

  3. Martha Madden says:

    Such nice pictures really enjoyed them

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