How could I not take a few night photos while visiting Canadian Rocky Mountains? I had to keep the night photos limited since you just can’t burn the candle at both ends. It’s a bit difficult to dedicate your entire time to both night photography while exploring during the day. Luckily in late October the night lasts longer. The sun sets just after 6pm and doesn’t rise until around 8:30am.
One specific night called for a late night out though. We kept our eyes on a solar storm for days previously and hoped for some clear skies. There were fast moving clouds on this warm October night. The sky would build up with a green hue and the white pillars of light would slowly reveal themselves. It was my first time seeing the Aurora, and I’m incredibly grateful that I had the ability to see it first hand.
This was the first location I visited and it was for sunset. Returning for a quick star trail was a no brainer since it was super close to the place I was staying at. The one odd thing I noticed was all of the light being reflected off of the mountain range. There was no moon out, and my guess is that they were picking up the light from nearby Calgary. This is about an hour and a half of time passing. Every 30 seconds the camera takes a shot and I then take all of those photos and layer them to reveal this.
Waiting for a star trail shot to complete, you have a lot of time to take everything in. I’m usually gazing up at the sky looking for interesting things or chatting it up with another photographer, but still keeping an eye in the sky. The best moment is when you catch a real meteor burning up in an instant. This was my view opposite of the star trail shot above. Nothing but pure nature.
On my last night I decided to go out alone and capture a sunset. I had just pulled into my location, but it was more like I slid into my parking spot with all the un-plowed snow on the ground. I didn’t get far from my car at all when I spotted two coyotes making a hasty beeline. I’m so glad I had both of my cameras ready to go since there was no stopping. Moments after this they quickly disappeared into the forest.
Elk are the most dangerous animal in Banff. In the spring, mother elk protect their newborn calves fiercely, warding off any and all creatures that come between them and their young by slashing with their hooves. Similarly, in the fall during the autumn rut, the bull elk become extremely aggressive towards people, using their large racks of antlers to display their dominance.
The Great Gray Owl is an elusive bird that is not easy to find, despite its size. This one photo took an accumulated 8 or so hours over the course of two days of searching and driving around. The first day I was with the full group of photographers, so the six of us crammed into a SUV and searching we went. We all had high hopes and all of us were intently scanning around to no avail.
Take 2! We set aside some time to give it one more try. It certainly was a gamble, and a really difficult decision to dedicate another 4+ hours that may end up with nothing to show. I’m a landscape photographer at heart, but I do enjoy a challenge once and while. Hours and hours passed, and all hope was abandoned. As we drove down the last part of road before we left the known territory, there was one perched on a fence post. It was such a rush to go from accepting defeat, to being rewarded with this. We had maybe 10 minutes to slowly approach before it just got too dark out.
Thanks to photography, I’ve been able to experience so many amazing things. There have been many disappointments, but small victories like this are worth it.