Lakes and Peaks of the Canadian Rockies – September 2012

By David Halgrimson

Continuing with my many workshops with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes, this would be my 18th experience. I am posting this out of order to show the possibilities available this coming September as AHPS presents “Photograph the Canadian Rockies”.

Two other guides and I arrived in Calgary the day before the workshop. We needed the time to prepare by getting the vans we would be driving, and picking up provisions, snacks, and water we would be bringing for our participants during our daily excursions.

We met with our workshop participants in Calgary, loaded up the vans and headed to Banff where we would be staying for the night. Once arriving in Banff we planned to ride the Banff Gondola to the Sulphur Mountain summit. While looking out over Bow Valley and Banff we enjoyed lunch and meeting new friends with whom we would be spending the next week.

The view from Sulphur Mountain

For our sunset shoot, we headed to Vermilion Lakes not far outside of Banff. Rundle Mountain rises beyond the lake to create great reflections on the water, with clouds and a setting sun adding to the picturesque end of a grand day.

Reflections of Rundle Mountain

On our second day, we headed to Jasper with stops along the way for some great photo ops.

We stopped at Waterfowl Lake with Mount Chephren rising on the other side. The water was a beautiful aqua which is caused by sediments or rock flour seen on most glacial lakes. Rock flour is very light and suspends in the water and when sunlight hits the water, the spectacular blue/aqua color is created.

We also stopped at Tangle Creek Falls, Athabasca Falls, and Medicine Lake. The scenery in all these locations was spectacular.

Mt. Chephren and Waterfowl Lake
Tangle Creek Falls
Athabasca River
Athabasca River
Athabasca Falls

Our third day took us to Medicine Lake, Maligne Lake for a boat ride to Spirit Island, the Athabasca River, Sunwapta Falls and back to Medicine Lake. It is hard to describe and even more difficult to capture the beauty of these places.

Rocks like prehistoric monsters lay in wait in the waters of Medicine Lake at sunset.

Maligne Lake tour boat
Spirit Island on Maligne Lake
From Spirit Island on Maligne Lake
Medicine Lake
Athabasca River
Sunwapta Falls

For day four, our plan was to spend the day at the Columbia Ice Fields and Athabasca Glacier followed by a visit to Peyto Lake. We rode an Ice Explorer vehicle up to the glacier. These monsters are more than 12 feet high, 42 feet long, 12 feet wide and weigh in at 55,000 pounds. They move very slowly up steep grades carrying up to 54 people. This was also the day we changed our lodging to Lake Louise where we stayed for two days.

Ice Explorer – look closely to the left on the road, those tiny things are Ice Explorers
The road over the glacier
The road leading up to the glacier
Peyto Lake

The fifth day, more beautiful country was seen and photographed while we stopped at Moraine and Hebert Lakes for an easy day of photography along the shores. People were out, critters were out and beauty was all around.

Canoes on Lake Moraine
Lake Moraine
Along Herbert Lake
Lake Louise
Boat House on Lake Louise
Very large canoes on Lake Louise

The final day of our workshop we spent time overlooking Lake Louise and then headed back to Banff for our final night stay. We capped off our day at Vermilion Lakes for another spectacular sunset.

Our final sunset over Vermilion Lakes

I can’t express enough how great this workshop was and the beautiful country we traveled through for six days. It was my hope and fortunately my good fortune to join this workshop once again in 2018. In a few weeks I will post my experiences from that workshop, so stay tuned.

If this blog has piqued your interest, please check out Photographing the Canadian Rockies coming this September. I promise it will be an experience you will cherish and never forget.

David Halgrimson is a Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes