America: Beehive Basin & Ousel Falls, Montana

America: Beehive Basin & Ousel Falls, Montana is a new body of Montana landscape photography from artist Lincoln Schatz. Winter was slow to leave and there is still snow dotting the forest floors and mountainsides. But in this limited edition series of photographs by Schatz, spring has arrived to the Beehive Basin in south-western Montana and the entire landscape is lush with life and color.

Located near Big Sky, in the Spanish Peaks region of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness and the Gallatin National Forest, Beehive Basin sits just west of Yellowstone National Park. During June of 2020, Schatz began traveling from Chicago to a series of locations across the United States. Choosing to navigate the secondary roads that criss-cross America, Schatz would arrive in Big Sky in time to photograph the riotous transformations that accompany spring.

 

Montana Landscape Photography

Hiking into the mountains, the trees in the forests that flank the path usher you along. Growing more dense as you begin to climb up into the mountains on single track trails. The forests here are predominantly pine, fir and spruce. Often the trails run alongside Crail Creek. Brook trout fill the river. Their silvery backs flash as the sunlight hits the water.

 

The name for the section of trails that come before the mountain peaks is Bear Basin. And the name is a strong reminder of the wildlife that fills this great wilderness. However, bear were not much of a concern on this day. Rather, it was the moose who had clearly been present within the last few hours that remind you to remain aware of your surroundings. Because, while a moose might not seem that dangerous from afar, up close and in spring, they are something to be very careful of. By the time you make your way through the forests, fields and rivers that lead up the mountains and reach Beehive Basin, you are above nine thousand feet.

 

Montana Geology

 

The geology of this region is fascinating. A series of fault systems come together to create this landscape of mountains and valleys. These faults in turn, are responsible for the high altitudes of the area, along with rock formations that are unique to this location. As a result, much of the metamorphic rock in the Spanish Peaks can be identified as having once been as deep as 30 kilometers beneath the earth’s surface. Forced upwards over billions of years. In fact, at various points along the trails that Schatz hiked on this particular day, one has the opportunity to step across two billion years of time.

 

Twenty-one miles away, to the south of Beehive Basin, you will find Ousel Falls. Ousel Falls is part of the South Fork/West Fork Gallatin River that eventually feeds into the larger Gallatin River, just like Crail Creek. This early in the season, the river waters are turbulent and tumultuous. Pounding against the rocks as the water erupts over the edge of the falls. Creating a mist that filled the canyon on this day. These waters will nourish the river valley that it carves through, sustaining life through the summer months.

Learn More about this Edition of Montana Landscape Photography

 

These photographs are a part of the America edition. Starting in the summer of 2020, this project explores the varied landscapes of the United States. From the ranches of Utah, to the mountains of West Virginia, and beyond. The America project takes these lands and the people who live and work on them as its inspiration and subject.

To learn more about this project, including information on pricing, editions, framing and portfolio options, please click here. To see the landscapes of America: Vernal, Utah, another location in this series, please click here.