In October of 2019 I took a trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, specifically Banff and Jasper National Parks. I was fortunate enough to be invited to go along with a group of very talented photographers. Being that we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, I thought it would be nice to group up all of the photos I’ve worked on so far, and share some stories. Plus it’s nice to reminisce on fun times. I could have spent a full year there, taking in all seasons.
This spot was made famous by Nicholas Morant, a staff photographer for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He took photographs for the company during the middle of the 20th century. Many images of the trains traveling through the curve were used for CPR promotional materials. Since the freight trains don’t really run on a schedule, you never really know when one is coming. I really wanted one that was going towards me instead of away, but this works!
This was my first location stop on the trip and I was overjoyed at the opportunity to be in a location like this. The weather would swing drastically at times and this was one of them. Off in the distance, a small snow squall coats the base of the mountain range. To the left of this was the three sisters mountain range which was what brought me here.
I’ll never forget the peacefulness of this morning, or the numbness in my fingers. This is an 8 shot pano, stitched together to help reveal the break of dawn. I wanted to capture the sun breaking the horizon on the left, fighting off the remnants of the starry night sky. A true ‘blue hour’ time of day shot.
This is from a picnic area along the Icefields Parkway, 140 mile long scenic road that parallels the Continental Divide, traversing the landscape of the Canadian Rockies. It connects Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.”Nathaniel Hawthorne
Standing in front of a mountain range with clouds just whispering by really give you a sense of natural time. Our lives seem to move so slowly from day to day, but when you stand still, you realize how fast everything around you is moving.
There’s just something about waking up to a fresh coat of snow in the morning. And when the sun makes it’s crawl up and over the horizon, the world you are used to seeing has changed. This is the first of three from that morning, it was just as the sun pushed through a small window of clouds. Note the almost clear reflection? See how a slight breeze distorts the reflection even more in the next shot.
Fleeting moments like this can be challenging to capture. Only a few minutes had passed from the previous photo, and I had to literally high-step through the snow to setup for this shot. The clouds allowed for the suns rays to burst through with color for about 5 minutes. A slight breeze started up, but it still allowed for a nice reflection, and I was still able to capture the steam rising off in the distance.
One last shot from Bow Lake, post sunrise. Water in the lake is meltwater of the Bow Glacier and its turquoise coloring is due to glacial sediment. The wind picked up more and the reflections in the water were just about gone at this point.
On this morning I had already grabbed a few photos of Elk while it snowed on and off. The morning progressed and the clouds hung around. And they specifically hung around the top of this mountain. Quite a view for camping!
This was on my list of places I wanted to see with my own eyes, even if I walked away with no photo. The water originates from the Athabasca Glacier, and water flow is higher in early summer because of glacial melting. Sunwapta is a Stoney language word that means “turbulent water”. The Stoneys are the only Siouan people that live entirely in Canada, and the Stoney language is spoken by five groups in Alberta.
How about something a little more abstract? I saw these trees on the side of the the Icefields Parkway and knew it was worthy of pulling over. I just liked how they rolled off in the distance, up and into the snowy mountain.
Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular day hikes in Banff National Park. Nearly every day throughout the summer, hundreds of hikers follow its canyon-clinging catwalks and cliff-mounting staircases to the gorge’s Lower and Upper Falls. The falls were just starting to freeze over on my hike in and there was hardly anyone there.
Driving along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National park means pulling over often. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic at all to worry about. This panoramic shot is composed of 4 shots. It had snowed the night before so there were plenty of freshly coated pines. Seeing it small doesn’t do it justice.
I didn’t realize it at first, but I actually visited 3 Canadian National Parks while traveling in Canada. There were two quick stops, with the Natural Bridge being the first stop. The Natural Bridge lookout presents you with the opportunity to view the formation from a variety of different vantage points. And of course, I had to get up close to that glacier water.
Right off of the Icefields Parkway, there are numerous places to pull over. And in late October, there is so little traffic you can pretty much pull over anywhere. There was a parking lot for this stop, and it was just a short 5 minute walk.
The color of a glacier lake can appear different from one day to the next or even from hour to hour. The intensity of the color varies depending on the lighting conditions. As the melted water from a glacier starts to flow in the spring time it carries with it glacier silt. It’s the silt that is suspended in the water that is reflecting the light.
While visiting the Canadian mountains, I stayed in the small town of Canmore. I made the early morning drive up a neighboring mountain to grab this shot. I was hoping to get a nice city glow, and was happy when the sun squeaked out just long enough to light up the chilling light blanket of fog over the small community.
Here’s a quick montage of some of the locations from this trip. These were mostly from the first half of the trip because I ended up becoming so focused on photography. I still need to get into the mindset of stopping to take video since I absolutely love being able to create more of a story.
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