Peace and Serenity on Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park)

We take off on Saturday so this may be my last post for a few weeks. I will try to post some photos while overseas and if time permits I’ll schedule a few to post while we are on vacation but I have a feeling the wifi is going to be spotty over there.

This is another of my favorite spots in Banff – Two Jack Lake – Sunrise and Sunset from this spot with a great view of Mount Rundle across the lake.

Peace and Serenity on Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park)

Peace and Serenity on Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park)

Crowfoot Glacier (Banff National Park)

I was up in Calgary this week but was unable to squeeze a trip to Banff in as our upcoming vacation to Africa (two weeks – EEEEKEKKEKEK) is taking up a bunch of the year’s holiday budget. I’m still hoping to squeeze a weekend in up there in May/June but it will depend on the budget at that time. For now I love going back and revisiting old pictures. This was from June last year when I drove up the Icefields Parkway and took pictures along the road during a mildly overcast day.

Crowfoot Glacier (Banff National Park)

Crowfoot Glacier (Banff National Park)

It will likely be brief posts for the next few weeks as we prep for our trip to Africa. We are heading there pretty much on the cheap thanks to hotel points, rental car points and the plummeting Rand (15.5 to the USD). We’ve been pretty fortunate the past few years with our international travel as the strengthening dollar has helped put some funds back in our pocket!

The Town of Banff (Banff National Park)

On the way to the Norquay Ski area in Banff National Park is a picnic area that sits on the side of Mount Norquay and provides stunning views of the town of Banff beneath it. In the distance (left hand side) towers Mount Rundle which regardless of where you are in the town serves as a marker given its imposing size. I could have waited for the small child in the lower left hand corner to clear the frame before shooting (or photoshopped her out) but I liked the sense of scale she provided in the image. Hopefully, it helps to give sense of size to the grandness of the landscape.

The Town of Banff (Banff National Park)

The Town of Banff (Banff National Park)

Mount Crowfoot over Bow Lake (Banff National Park)

Sitting parallel to the Icefields Parkway connecting Banff National Park with Jasper National Park is the large Bow Lake. Because of its ideal location and easy to photograph views (just step out of your car and you are treated to the view below) it is among the most popular stopping points on the highway.

Mount Crowfoot over Bow Lake (Banff National Park)

Mount Crowfoot over Bow Lake (Banff National Park)

The spot I chose to take this picture from was slightly different than the ‘easy’ shot but not to challenging. Rather than just pulling off of the highway I drove into the parking lot of the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge (which was closed for the season) and walked out to the shoreline. I set up my tripod and snapped a few shots before continuing on in my drive along the Icefields Parkway. This was in the early morning but the light wasn’t conducive to sunrise because of the cloud cover so during this day of shooting I was focused primarily on finding spots that offered moving water or reflections.

Under the Moonlight (Banff National Park)

I was in Banff National Park earlier this year and spent a few nights exploring and taking photos with my (relatively) new Nikon D750. One of my goals while I was there was to get the Milky Way over Lake Moraine. Unfortunately, the nights were never clear enough for me to do that because (as you can see below) the clouds started to role in just as nightfall was settling in.

This picture wasn’t planned at all but as I turned the corner after watching the sunset over Peyto Lake I was greeted with this moonrise shot. The moonlight draped a bluish hue over the snow still lingering on the highest peaks of the mountain while the trees were litup below. I stopped and quickly took a few pictures before retreating tot he car as the mosquitoes came out to feast on unsuspecting photographers like myself.

Under the Moonlight (Banff National Park)

Banff Under the Moonlight (Banff National Park)

We get it almost everynight
When that moon gets big and bright
It’s a supernatural delight
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Everybody here is outta sight
They don’t bark and they don’t bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Dancin in the moonlight
Everybody’s feelin warm and right
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancin in the moonlight

We like to have fun and we never fight
You can’t dance and stay uptight
It’s a supernatural delight
Everybody was dancin in the moonlight

Dancin in the moonlight
Everybody’s feelin warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancin in the moonlight

Everybody here is outta sight
They don’t bark and they don’t bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light
Everybody’s dancin in the moonlight

Everybody’s dancin in the moonlight
Everybody’s feelin warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancin in the moonlight
Dancin in the moonlight
Everybody’s feelin warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody was dancin in the moonlight

– Van Morrison, “Dancin in the Moonlight”

Dreary Morning at Herbert Lake (Banff National Park)

This little picturesque lake in Banff National Park can be easy to just blow by on the trip from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. It’s the first lake you come upon when you start your trip on the Icefields Parkway and most people are focused on getting to better known destinations like Lake Peyto so they just blow by this tiny point. However, it is (under normal circumstances) a nice place to watch the sunrise as the peaks of the mountains in the distance glow under the rising sun….unfortunately, I didn’t get quite so lucky when I traveled to Banff back in late June for a brief trip. The clouds blocked the sunrise but I tried to make the best of it.

Dreary Morning at Herbert Lake (Banff National Park)

Dreary Morning over Harbert Lake (Banff National Park)

In setting up for this image I tried to line up the dead trees in the lake to direct the eye to the back of the image towards the mountains in the distance. The reflection on the water turned out okay but a brief burst of wind wiped out the perfect reflection I was hoping for.

Evening on the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

Driving along one of the most picturesque roads in the world, the Icefields Parkway, it is easy to get distracted by the scenery that abounds. The speed limit on the Icefields Parkway is slower than on the major highway and for whatever reason it is much less traveled so it is the perfect road to sight see between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Earlier in the day I passed over a bridge and noticed a river that led towards a mountain in the distance. I marked the area in my mind and returned for some shots before sunset when the light was softer and I could keep the shutter open long enough to capture the silky look in the water.

Evening on the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

Evening on the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

I hiked about a half mile up the river until I reached this spot and set my camera up for a few shots. The composition seemed to work in this image – but I took about 20 others. What I like about the composition here is that the rocks are in the immediate foreground (lower left corner) and the river leads the eye from those rocks back towards the mountain and then it seemingly disappears into the base of it. The mountain has a nice triangular shape and leads the eye towards the clouds hovering above it.

Big Bear Along the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

It’s the Boy Scout motto (maybe Cub Scouts?) that says “Always be Prepared” or something like that but I wasn’t while driving down the Icefields Parkway between Banff National Park and Jasper last weekend. I still had my wide angle lens on the camera as I turned a bend in the road and saw a big bear walking along the side of the road. I stopped and pulled over to allow others to pass and hurriedly switched my lens. However, by the time I put my zoom lens on the camera this bear was already drawing a rather large crowd of other drivers. I was able to snap off three shots before he scurried down the embankment and ran back into the woods – this was the only shot that wasn’t overly blurry.

Big Bear Along the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

Bear Along the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

Roadside Waterfall on the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

The Icefields Parkway is the road leading from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park and is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Consistently rated as one of the top drives by travel magazines it is an amazing 180 mile long stretch of pristine mountain scenery.

Roadside Waterfall on the Icefield Parkway (Banff National Park)

Roadside Waterfall on the Icefields Parkway (Banff National Park)

I was up there on Sunday before my client meeting on Monday and drove to about the halfway point (one day I’ll get up to Jasper but this trip was too quick) and along the way I got out and took a fair amount of pictures. It was a rainy day so I knew that getting pictures of mountains with dramatic clouds was going to be a challenge so I was looking primarily for scenes where I could focus on water instead of the clouds – such as waterfalls and rivers – where the (relatively) long exposures allowed mid-day would allow me to still get decent images. About twenty miles into the drive (starting from the southern end – Lake Louise/Banff) I came across a mossy waterfall on the eastern side of the road. Since it was so cloudy the light was even throughout and I was able to keep the shutter open a half of second without using any filters. The water was flowing quickly enough that it became nice, dramatic and fairy tale like. It’s no secret that taking pictures of water is one of my favorite things.

Foggy Morning over Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park)

I’m off to Banff on Sunday for a very quick trip through the Canadian Rockies. I’ll only be there for about twelve hours since I have a meeting on Monday afternoon but I just couldn’t imagine going to Calgary without making the drive up to the mountains. It’s only a ninety minute drive from downtown and believe me the scenery is so worth it.

A good place for sunrise pictures is Two Jack Lake as the sun hits the mountain perfectly in the morning. On this morning there was a decent sunrise but about ten minutes later fog started to roll in and I took this and a couple of other shots. Ultimately, the fog got so thick the mountain disappeared from view.

Foggy Morning over Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park)

Foggy Morning over Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park)

The weather actually looks pretty good on Sunday afternoon – highs in the 80s and sunny throughout most of the day. If everything travel wise goes well I’ll get to spend a few hours taking pictures since sunset this time of year is around 10:15 PM. The bad news (or good since my meeting is at 10:30 AM Monday) is that sunrise comes early also at around 5:30 AM so I won’t get much sleep but I’ll sleep on the flight home.