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Lake McDonald Dive

Justin Kauffman


Behind the Shot

When it comes to iconic sights in United States national parks, Yosemite has Half Dome, Yellowstone has Old Faithful, and Glacier National Park in Montana has Lake McDonald.

Formed by massive glaciers and fed year-round by snowmelt from McDonald Creek, Lake McDonald is located on the west side of the Continental Divide. Measuring 10 miles long, 1mile wide and 472 feet deep, the lake is the largest lake in the park. Going-to-the-Sun Road parallels the lake’s southern shore, making the lake easily accessible to visitors. The lake is also home to Lake McDonald Lodge, the second-largest lodge in the park, which was built in 1914 in the same Swiss chalet style as the other original structures throughout the national park.

Justin lives about 45 minutes from here and has made the lake one of his favorite locations to visit and to photograph. On an early July morning, he brought some friends out for this shot. “Since I live so close, I visit here a lot. I’ve seen it in a ton of different situations and lighting, and over time I've learned the best times to shoot it and when to get really epic sunrises. I wanted to get this shot concept—diving from the boat with the hills and water. This was taken in early morning in July, and the sun had lit up the valley.”