Death Valley in the Morning

I started the year off with a couple of trips to California. Death Valley was one of the highlights and the January weather – a little bit of rain/clouds – added to the atmosphere of the shots. I never got much of the clear skies that Death Valley is known for in the summer but that’s okay because it kept the heat off of me throughout most of the day.

Death Valley in the Morning

Death Valley in the Morning

A few more posts to this site but once the new year starts I’m going to migrate exclusively over to so make sure to follow me over there. We will be heading to Africa for our big trip next year and I’m thinking of upgrading from my current camera (Canon Rebel T3i) and lens setup to a new full frame camera – Nikon D750. After four/five years of picking up Photography it appears to be a hobby I intend on keeping so I think it is about time to make the jump to a full frame camera. It isn’t an easy decision primarily because of the cost involved but I’ve been told by many that a crop sensor vs a full frame sensor is a night/day difference. Additionally, I’ll have to invest in all new lenses as well since my current crop of lenses won’t work with this camera. I will be selling all my older stuff but that will only recoup a fraction of what the new setup will cost me – the way I see it though it is more of an investment.

Lake Moraine in the Morning

Similar to Peyto Lake in Banff National Park the blue color of the water from Moraine Lake is unlike anything else you will see throughout the world. Rock Flour that tumbles down the glaciers that surround the lake give it that distinct color – although from this angle it isn’t as prevalent as from a higher vantage point.

Lake Moraine in the Morning

Lake Moraine Reflection in the Morning

One of the only hikes that solo tourists – like myself – are allowed to take in the Lake Moraine area is the Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail (most of the other trails require a minimum of four people in a group because of heightened bear activity in the area – it wise to heed the warnings not only because of the bears but also the park rangers who levy heavy fines against those not obeying the group rules of the area). The trail leads around Lake Moraine to a stream feeding it from the mountains above. I spent a bit of time at the stream trying to frame out a shot that I liked – I got a few (haven’t posted them here yet) – before turning to head back to the parking lot. As always I made sure to spend some time glancing over my shoulder for interesting view points and this one caught my eye because of the reflection that wasn’t there the hour or so before when I’d hiked past it. I setup the shot with the curve of shoreline leading back into the mountain in the distance.

Alaskan Coastline

Alaska is massive and one thing that I learned while we were on the cruise boat is that the coastline of Alaska is longer than that of all other US States combined. Luckily most of it, when it isn’t shrouded in clouds, is nice to look at as well.

Alaskan Coastline

Coast of Alaska

My wife graduates from nursing school this afternoon after two long and hard years of graduate classes. This will be a career change for her and one that was met with a lot of challenges in the past 24-months. There is a still a lot to do ahead – in particular getting her license so she can actually practice – but I have little doubt she will accomplish that early next year and be well on her way to saving some lives in the future. I’m very proud of her and look forward to going back to being a D.I.N.K (Dual Income No Kids) for a little while longer – although the student loan payment isn’t going to be pretty!

Griffith Observatory at Sunset (Los Angeles, California)

A few weeks back I hiked up above the Griffith Observatory to catch the fading light on downtown Los Angeles with the observatory featured in the photo. I was out there for a business trip and was wearing nice jeans and loafers. I didn’t think the hike would be as challenging as it was – and probably shouldn’t have been – but in my inappropriate attire it was a real pain in the @ss! However, I am pleased with the results and ruining a halfway decent pair of shoes was worth it.

Griffith Observatory at Sunset (Los Angeles, California)

Griffith Observatory at Sunset - Los Angeles, California

A friend of mine at work was out riding his bike and came across this quote nailed to a tree in the park. He took a photo of it and sent it to me. A really touching gesture and one I appreciated. While I may be scarred and down-trodden now I know the pain will subside eventually. The pain will never not be there – and that’s okay – but I’ll learn to carry on as we all do when we lose someone close to us. We have to for the others who continue to carry on with us.

“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same nor should you want to.”

– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Peyto Lake (Banff National Park)

Fed from the glaciers surrounding it Peyto Lake in Banff National Park sits at an elevation of 6,100 feet so it freezes easily in the winter. However, in the summer months a significant amount of ‘rock flour’ is washed into the lake which gives it that bright turquoise color. Not surprisingly it is this bright blue color that brings tourists in buses to the trailhead and ultimately to the viewpoint that looks down upon it. I packed a lunch to eat there and rather than go up to the viewpoint I hiked down a little lower to a ledge where I could find a little peace and quiet away from the crowds. As the afternoon passed away I sat on the ledge and pondered all the beauty in the world. It is really quite amazing and I don’t know that anything could be better than having scenery like this in your back yard…People from Calgary are really lucky.

Peyto Lake (Banff National Park)

Peyto Lake Banff National Park

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes it worth living.

- Dave Attenborough

What a Wonderful World – Dave Attenborough

Pre-Dawn at Swiftcurrent Lake (Glacier National Park)

In Glacier National Park one of the best places to catch the sunrise is at Swiftcurrent Lake as many photographers like to capture the unmistakeable Grinnell Point with the alpenglow on it. Unfortunately for me the clouds interrupted my sunrise and the colors weren’t as dramatic as I hoped. However, the pre-dawn light was nice and I think the poor weather conditions kept alot of the other photographers away because I was here almost by myself which is amazingly rare with an almost always full hotel right on the edge of the lake (Many Glacier Hotel).

Pre-Dawn at Swiftcurrent Lake (Glacier National Park)

Pre-Dawn at Swiftcurrent Lake Glacier National Park

My posting has been a little sporadic lately but I’m hoping to get a more scheduled approach going as my personal life settles down. This has been one of the most difficult year’s of my life and I will be really pleased when the clock turns to 2015 and I can put it all behind me.

Castle Junction (Banff National Park)

A little over halfway to Lake Louise from the town of Banff in Banff National Park lies Castle Junction. The junction is nestled at the base of Castle Mountain and the bridge connects the scenic highway (Highway 1A) with the main highway. This is one of my favorite spots in Banff to take pictures (thus the number of photos on my website with this picturesque mountain) because it is fenced off and thus most tourists won’t venture down there so I have the place to myself. What most people don’t realize is that the fence isn’t for humans but rather it is to keep the animals off of the road (they can cross at the river under the bridge or at one of the many crossing bridges that they’ve built) so as long as you shut the heavy gate behind you there is no issue with you hiking down along the river.

Castle Junction (Banff National Park)

Castle Mountain Reflection Banff National Park

I expected more color in the sky at sunset – and all around me there was – but the view over top of the mountain was pretty mundane. Still I was able to crouch low and with the wide angle lens get a nice reflection of the mountain in a relatively stationary pool of water outside of the river. This is one of my constants when I’m in Banff – I love the views that the hike along this river provides. If you can’t make pictures here that make people go ‘wow’ you may need a new hobby.