The alarm goes off at 3:30am and the last thing you want to do is to get up. The easy thing would be to hit the snooze button a couple of times and get some much needed sleep. Then, when your mind is contemplating doing that, it realizes that you are in the Canadian Rockies with your friends in one of the most beautiful places in the world. If Mother Nature is kind, there will be some great clouds in the sky and the sunrise will provide some beautiful light to the mountains and lakes. All of a sudden, the decision is made, time to get up and get ready to go.
The morning when I captured this image, Mother Nature was particularly kind to us. We got all of the conditions we wanted along with mirror-like reflections and an encounter with a bull elk and his harem. That is what getting up at o'dark thirty is all about for a nature photographer. Not all of these good things happen every time you shoot, but the anticipation of it happening is worth getting up early. Even when it doesn't work out, you are still hanging out with friends in a great location.