Today we return to one of my favorite drives on Earth, the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada. The 140 mile road links two of the most beautiful national parks in Canada: Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The road runs parallel to the Continental Divide. The natural attractions along the route include glaciers, waterfalls, icefields, canyons and too many lakes and mountains to count. Many of these attractions are a short walk or drive off of the parkway. This image is of Herbert Lake, just north of Lake Louise. It is literally 20 feet from the road. There is no better time to shoot the lake than at sunrise. The lake is usually abandoned that early in the morning and the peace and tranquility lends itself to become one with nature.
The drive north on the Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park passes a number of lakes that are reachable from the road. One of my favorites is Bow Lake which can be seen from the parkway. The Crowfoot Glacier hangs suspended over the lake. We pulled into the parking lot of the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge and got out to stretch our legs. Walking around the property, I took a number of shots including this one. It was taken in mid-morning and the sun was starting to lose it’s soft light. The hard light helped highlight the ruggedness of both the mountain and it’s reflection.
There are so many beautiful lakes that can be found along the famed Icefields Parkway that connects Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta. Everyone has a a favorite and mine is Peyto Lake. Located about 25 miles north of Lake Louise, the viewing area can be found off the parkway and is well marked. Park your car and climb the short distance to this viewpoint and you are greeted with this scene - one of the best views in Canada (in my humble opinion). The lake is located in a valley that is surrounded by magestic mountains and forests. The water source for the lake is the Peyto Glacier (located to the left of this view) which gives the lake a magnificent blue-green color due to the mineral content.
The Icefields Parkway connecting Banff National Park and Jaspar National Park in Alberta, Canada is probably my favorite road to take photos. That's saying a lot as it beats out California Highway 1, the Alaskan Highway, Montana's Going to the Sun Road and Arizona's Apache Trail. It is probably the combination of pristine mountain lakes, beautiful glaciers and towering mountains that makes it my favorite. I am often asked how far I had to hike to reach some of these lakes and my answer sometimes surprises them -- very little. Of course, there are some lakes that hiking boots and a long hike are required, but many are just a short distance from the highway. The lake in this image, Herbert Lake, is a prime example. I literally had to walk about 20 feet to set up my tripod, wait for the golden hour glow (in this case just past dawn) and shoot the shot. The biggest variable for photographers is the light which can never be predicted. I was lucky this morning to get some great light.
So what are your favorite roads to photograph? If I don't have them on my "to visit" list, I will be sure to add them.
For those who have followed me for a while, you can't help but notice that one of my favorite places to visit and shoot is Banff National Park. I would go there every year if my wife would agree to it but she has her own bucket list of places to visit and, of course, they are places that I want to visit too. That doesn't stop me from remembering the serenity I feel every time I set foot near one of the park's great lakes like this one -- Lake Louise. Lake Louise is turquoise colored and is located about 45 minutes from the town of Banff. The lake is surrounded by numerous snow-capped mountains and the head of the Victoria Glacier as can be seen in this image. It is also home to a five-star resort hotel, the Chateau Lake Louise -- very expensive but worth it. It is so easy to wake up before dawn, grab your gear and be pretty much alone as the sunrise hits the peaks of the surrounding mountains and the head of the glacier.
I know that I have been posting a lot of images from Alberta but I can't help it! I just love the Canadian Rockies and it's surrounding lakes and towns. I would probably go to Banff every year if my wife said it was okay. Okay, now that I have warned you, today's image is of Cascade Mountain from the town of Banff. It was very early in the morning, shortly after sunrise. The town was pretty deserted, especially for a summer morning. I am sure that it is very hard to shoot a bad photo when the subject is so magnificent, the light so nice and soft and the weather being just about perfect. Just another day in paradise (at least to me).
Last week I posted the shoreline of Bow Lake located on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. Today we travel further north on the parkway to Upper Waterfowl Lake. The lake is easily accessible from the parkway and is surrounded by the awe inspiring mountains of the continental divide including the rugged Mount Chephren that is shown in the photo. The mountain was originally named Pyramid Mountain but was renamed after a Egyptian pharaoh when it conflicted with the identically named Pyramid Mountain in Jasper National Park.
Today we head back to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, Alberta. There are so many lakes that can be explored along the road that if you stopped and explored each one, it would take days to drive the 140 miles. One lake that must be explored is Bow Lake. It is a relatively small lake at about 1.25 square miles so it can explored in a short time. It is home of the Crowfoot Glacier and the old quaint lodge, the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. As can be seen in this image, there is a decent gravel path that borders part of of the lake. The road is only about 30 yards from this spot and the rising sun cast beautiful light through the trees onto the lake.
Back from an unplanned week away from the blog. Been a busy week and I am glad to be back. Today's image is of the Chateau Lake Louise located on the lake of the same name in Banff National Park. The original Chateau was gradually built from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The hotel is not an inexpensive one but if you are going to splurge on any hotel in Alberta, this is the one to do it. The hotel sits on one end of the emerald waters of the spectacular lake and is perhaps the most picturesque hotel in the Canadian Rockies. The view from the hotel is the beautiful Victoria glacier that hangs suspended above the frigid waters.
This photo of the hotel was taken a little after dawn from the dock across the lake. The morning was still and the lake was glass-like.
After viewing fellow photographer and blogger Rick Louie's gorgeous image of Herbert Lake last week, it reminded me that I had a number of images of the lake that I haven't looked at in a while. I tried to find one from a different vantage point and this is it. The image was taken about one half hour after dawn (also known as the golden hour). Herbert Lake is located on the Icefields Parkway just north of Lake Louise in Banff National Park. The lake is only a few feet off of the road and the only obstacle is a guard rail. While I enjoyed the beautiful light and scenery, I thought of my poor wife who was dragged out of the hotel before dawn and was sleeping in the car. What photographer spouses have to go through for a photo.
One of the most photogenic places on Earth is located in the Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park is a destination for any landscape photographer and no visit to the park would be complete without a stay in the Town of Banff. The town is located about 75 miles west of Calgary, Alberta and about 35 miles east of Lake Louise. The town was the first municipality to incorporate within a Canadian national park and is known for its surrounding mountains and hot springs. It is a destination for almost all outdoor sports, especially skiing. While not as high when compared to the US Rockies, it's elevation of 4,800 feet is still the second highest in Canada.
This view of the Town of Banff from Mount Norquay shows it nestled in the valley to the right of Mount Rundle with the Bow River running past.
The Icefields Parkway is one of the longest and most beautiful scenic drives that I have ever been on. The parkway traverses the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies and connects Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The Icefields Parkway is 140 miles long and named for ice field and glaciers that are visible from the parkway. One of the glaciers that can be seen from the parkway is the Crowfoot Glacier pictured in this image. The Crowfoot Glacier's runoff is the main source of water for Bow Lake that can be seen between the parkway and the glacier. The glacier has retreated and has lost an entire "foot" so it no longer resembles the shape for which it was originally named. Even with its missing part, it is still magnificent and provides a breathtaking view especially when seen in the glow of sunrise.
Today, we return to Lake Louise in the heart of Banff National Park and Lake Louise. The boathouse on the lake is located very close to the hotel (Chateau Lake Louise) so you can roll out of bed, walk out of the room and be set up in minutes (my way of shooting). I almost had the whole lake to myself as there were few photographers to be seen. The morning was very still and the water was like glass. The boathouse is cast in shadows in the early morning and is a subject better suited for the evening sun. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the serenity and the scene.
Just back from Maine. While it wasn't a photography rich trip as the weather did not cooperate for most of the week, it is always good to travel with good friends. I was able to get a few decent shots that I hope to post shortly. For now, we revisit one of my favorite places: Johnson Lake in Banff National Park. The weather had been a bit overcast and was starting to clear. By the time I got to the lake, all that was left of the overcast skies were a few low clouds covering the mountain tops. The lake is a destination for families to have a nice, easy hike with a nice view of Cascade Mountain. Picnickers, hikers, sunbathers, fishermen, and swimmers congregate here during the summer months. The lake is also part of Banff's Minnewanka Loop.
The Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. The three hour drive (only if you don't stop) from the town of Banff to Jasper traverses through the Canadian Rockies. It is famous for it's scenic mountains and lakes. About an hour and fifteen minutes north of the town of Banff lies Bow Lake. The northern shore of Bow Lake is the location of a great old lodge, the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. It is a family owned lodge and it's history can be found here. When we first pulled into the lodge's parking lot, we saw the rugged mountains reflected in the water. I immediately got my camera and shot quite a number of images, this being one of them. Every angle produced a beautiful composition. This image is just a very small slice of what you will find along the Icefields Parkway. I haven't been back there in a number of years but I still dream of my next trip to Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.
The Canadian Rockies are filled with spectacular lakes, mountains and scenery. Whenever I visit Banff National Park, I make sure I get to the "Valley of the Ten Peaks" to shoot at Moraine Lake. The lake is glacially fed and when it is full, reflects a blue shade. There are boats available at the lake and there are numerous hiking trails. Early in the day it is extremely serene and you can feel one with nature. This particular morning, the sun was hitting the opposite shore resulting in a wonderful reflection. While I like to have clouds in my images to add depth and interest, I think that the beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains speak for itself.
In the heart of Banff National Park lies the beautiful turquoise colored Lake Louise. Located about 45 minutes from the town of Banff, it is a favorite destination for hikers, skiers, snowboarders and boaters. The lake is surrounded by numerous snow-capped mountains and the head of the Victoria Glacier. It also home to a five-star resort hotel, the Chateau Lake Louise (a Fairmont Hotel). We decided to spend a couple of days at the Chateau (really great hotel but a bit pricey) and used it as our home base to explore the surrounding attractions (Moraine Lake, Yoho National Park, The Icefields Parkway to name a few). One of the advantages of staying at the lake was the ability to roll out of bed before dawn and quickly set up the tripod for sunrise.
On this morning, there were very few people up and out and I was able to move freely around the lake to get whatever scene that I was interested in. I am always drawn to boats and the boat house spoke to me. The forest behind the boat house, it's reflection and the glow of the sunrise on the mountain made the moment one to remember.