Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

September 27, 2015 2 Comments

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

The Canadian Rockies. Breathtaking, majestic and humbling are a few words that come to mind when thinking about the adventure that my wife, Angel, and I took to Banff National Park.

Sunrise photoshoots, although often difficult to commit to from the comfort of your bed, are never a disappointment. Our headlights lit up the darkness as we navigated a winding road up to Moraine Lake. The air was still, peaceful and surprisingly chilly for August. We found our way to the top of the rock pile that overlooks this magnificent lake, set up our camera and waited for our moment.

As the sun slowly rose , it started to illuminate the rugged mountains that make up the Valley of the Ten Peaks, one by one they began to glow bright with the sun’s fiery rays. And within minutes, the glowing peaks all gave way to the fully risen morning sun.

The contrasting color that occurs from the silt (or rock flour) in the water and the burning sun makes this one of our favorite sunrise spots to date. Breathtaking, majestic and humbling.

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Surprise Sunrise

May 7, 2014 No Comments

Last month, Angel and I took full advantage of the free opening weekend in Yellowstone. The park is open year-round to snowmobilers and tours, but it isn’t until late April that they clear the roads from the entrance at West Yellowstone all the way to Old Faithful.

The best part about visiting early or late in the season is that you have far fewer tourists to dodge along the boardwalks. This trip was no exception – we had the park to ourselves one evening for a sunset shoot at the Fountain Paint Pots.

On the last morning of our trip, we awoke early for a sunrise shoot, as we had every morning. But this time, we decided we would “see what we could find” given that we hadn’t scouted out a location the night before (typically a very important part of a successful sunrise shoot). We found a spot as the sun approached the horizon, but it wasn’t quite what we envisioned, and we instead chose to park the car and enjoy the serenity.

Surprise Sunrise

It wasn’t until we began heading back that we caught the sunrise we hoped for. We were just south of Gibbon Falls, where nearby thermal activity and a crisp spring morning created a volumetric lighting effect as the already-risen sun pushed it’s way through the trees. It was a nice surprise and a great memory as we said goodbye to both Yellowstone and our extended stay in Montana.

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It’s not always Purple and Peaceful

November 8, 2013 4 Comments

Last month, Angel and I spent a few days in Grand Teton National Park to do some fall photography. Heading out, we had visions of the photos we wanted to come home with. I wanted to photograph the famous Moran barn. The iconic shot against the Teton range as they’re painted purple, moments before the sun touches the horizon in the East.

It's not always Purple and Peaceful

But it didn’t go that way. In fact, when we arrived, we experienced a 40 degree temperature drop as an Indian summer gave way to what would be the first snowstorm of the year. A front that lasted three days and kept the majestic peaks out of sight for nearly the entire time. But that certainly didn’t mean lost photography opportunities. We planted our tripod, pointed the camera at the barn and we waited. Other photographers arrived and left during that time. From point-and-shoot tourist to those carrying large tripods, legs extended and cameras attached, perched casually on their shoulder.

The wind was strong enough that we knew things could potentially change very quickly. And they did. For a few moments – surprisingly during a period when no other photographers had ‘stopped by’ – there was a dramatic break in the clouds. The sun pushed through, illuminating the barn and adding contrast to the looming weather. Within minutes, things changed again. By this time, it was already 10 degrees colder than it was when we claimed our spot and set up our tripod.

As we headed back to Jackson for an IPA at the Snake River Brewery, we reflected on our experience. It wasn’t the iconic peaceful and purplish shot we envisioned. In some ways, it was better. A reminder that it doesn’t always go as planned, and you have to make the best of what’s given to you.

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