Takakkaw Falls (Yoho National Park)

At this point of our trip we should be on the brink of just departing Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe and so I thought it made sense to post a shot of a beautiful but much less impressive waterfall. Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park (near Banff National Park)is a nearly 1,000 foot waterfall that is easily accessible and can be viewed from the road if desired without taking the short half mile trail to this point here alongside the river.

Takakkaw Falls (Yoho National Park)

Takakkaw Falls (Yoho National Park)

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Evening on the Kicking Horse River (Yoho National Park)

I haven’t been up to Banff in awhile but I’m excited to say that we retained our client up in Calgary that I was out to bid so I’ll be heading back a couple times a year for the next few years. Each trip I may not have the luxury of making the short 90 minute drive up to Banff (like this coming trip in March which is nestled between a likely weekend in New York City for our 6th anniversary and Africa for two weeks in April) but I will certainly try more often than not. If you haven’t been and are debating I can tell you its the prettiest place in the world I’ve ever been and if you need any more incentive next year – 2017 – it will be free so you won’t even have to pay the daily visitation fee.

Evening on the Kicking Horse River (Yoho National Park)

Evening on the Kicking Horse River (Yoho National Park)

Sunset on the Cathedral Crags (Yoho National Park)

In June 2014, I was in Yoho National Park (just outside of Banff) taking in some new viewpoints for sunset. This was a location I read about online before my trip called the Meeting of the Rivers and is a location in Yoho where two primary rivers (the Yoho River and Kicking Horse River) meet and then start to flow together. Scouting told me this was a nice sunset point and as I stood waiting for the colors to come in I was disappointed because there didn’t seem to be too much happening. I thought maybe I got unlucky with the time of year as maybe the sun was positioned behind another peak someplace and thus the Cathedral Crags (steep cliff faces of the Cathedral Mountains) weren’t going to catch any sun. I started to focus on some longer exposure shots of the water in an attempt to salvage the evening. However, a few minutes later – really out of nowhere – the peaks lit up as the sun popped out from wherever it was hiding.

Sunset on the Cathedral Crags (Yoho National Park)

Sunset on the Cathedral Crags (Yoho National Park)

By that point the foreground was pretty dark which was fine because it allowed me to get some good shots of the river running while still getting the nice color of the peaks. I blended a couple of shots together – a ‘regular’ exposure for the foreground and a darker exposure for mountain in order to bring out the direct sunlight setting on the Cathedral Crags. It was a nice ‘blue hour’ moment.

Serenity in Yoho National Park

I’m not trying to be overly religious here on this blog – those who know me know that I’m spiritual but not really religious. However, during challenging times when the situation arises I do find myself taking comfort in spiritual words that apply no matter what (if any) deity you believe in. Today I turn to the Serenity Prayer to give me strength as I deal with issues that are beyond my control.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Serenity in Yoho National Park

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park

The Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park are the third highest waterfall in Canada standing at nearly 1,300 feet. The word ‘Takakkaw’ translates to ‘it is magnificent’ in the local Indian Cree language and it certainly is while you are there witnessing and listening to the sounds of the falls. It is a place I discovered on my last trip to Banff and I’ll certainly go back when given the opportunity to find serenity.

Mount Stephens (Yoho National Park)

Yoho National Park is near Banff National Park just north of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. As I’ve started to go to Banff more frequently I found the desire to explore other areas that our outside of Banff. Banff on its own is obviously beautiful but there are so many amazing places to visit nearby (Yoho being one of many) that you just can’t do it all in one trip. Believe me if you could I would but you can’t. I don’t think you could ever get bored of this area of the world – so much beauty, so little time.

Mount Stephens and the Kicking Horse River – Yoho National Park

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As always, before visiting a new location I got some guidance from other photographers in order to make my best use of a limited amount of time in one area. The guides on Banff National Park, Yoho National Park and the Icefields Parkway have been amazingly helpful in finding interesting photography spots so if you are planning a visit to the area I cannot more highly recommend the guides from world renowned photographer and one of my (many) idols in the field of photography – Darwin Wiggett. You can check them out on his website – at around $10 CAD per book they are an absolute steal! I never would have found this spot without them as it is about a mile down an abandoned road near the Natural Bridge off of Emerald Lake Road in Yoho.

I headed down the road about an hour before sunset – making sure to make plenty of noise as there are sometimes bear and moose in the area which I did not intend on spooking as I came around blind corners. I spent some time exploring the area before ultimately settling in on this area as the sun went down. I picked this spot because there were two rivers coming together – the kicking horse river (on the left of the photo) leads up the image and towards the mountain while the river on the right (I believe that is the Amiskwi River) flows heavily into it. There was a decent current to the water and with darkness creeping in I didn’t have to use a filter to get a nice blur/motion to the water in the foreground.

I also recorded my screen as I went through the steps for post-processing this photo from the ‘original’ version to the version above. As usual I tried to keep the image as ‘real’ as the scene was while I was there two weeks ago. I find it highly important to not ‘overcook’ anything in post processing because unfortunately there are just some really, really bad HDR images out there that give the whole genre a bad rap….to all the ‘purist’ photographers out there – we aren’t all bad and gaudy. Some of us actually enjoy the art of post processing on our PCs just like you enjoy the art of creating the perfect image in-camera. I don’t have expensive filters and all that jazz but it doesn’t mean I go home and pump my images up to make them fake. But I digress…Hopefully, if you have an interest you can take a minute and watch the videos. Please email me with any questions – always happy to help!

Editing Yoho National Park Photo (Part One)

I didn’t upgrade my account before making part one (it was only $15/year) because I wanted to make sure it worked decently. After recording the first fifteen minutes I realized it worked decently so I spent the money to upgrade. I also didn’t think it would take me thirty minutes to edit this photo (I usually can be done in about 10 – 15 minutes) but I guess with all my talking it took me a lot longer because I kept trying to explain what I was doing. I’ll make these videos occasionally going forward so hopefully you find them helpful. I know when I was learning the most helpful thing was watching someone else do their thing and learning from what they did. Enjoy!!

Editing Yoho National Park Photo (Part Two)