Shooting from the highway in the Canadian rockies: Part 1

How easy is it to photograph the mountain parks of Jasper and Banff?

Ridiculously easy! I’ve seen thousands of photographs from Canada’s two most famous mountain parks. Probably upwards of ninety-five percent of them were taken within a stones throw of the highway.

Secret spots? There aren’t any. While taking this photo during a winter sunrise, there must have been at least fifty vehicles that drove by me as I pointed my camera towards the sunrise.

This is the first of a series that I will be posting throughout the year. It is a road side guide to shooting in the National Parks of Banff, Jasper and the adjacent David Thomson country. There’s no need to throw money away on a photo guide when really, all you’re going to be doing is following them around in your vehicle. Having seen photos taken at these “workshops”, you won’t be missing much and saving a few hundred dollars along the way.

If you’re thinking that you need to be an outdoors man or wilderness expert to shoot landscapes in Jasper or Banff, stop worrying. All you need is a vehicle and a camera. With the sounds of cars and trucks only meters away from you, it’s pretty hard to get lost. There are a couple of dozen well known and well photographed areas between the towns of Banff and Jasper. It’s very easy to spot them as you drive along the modern, paved highway.

It’s not so much about location as about time of day that will make your landscapes special. Be up before the sun to catch the sunrise and be out shooting when the sun is about to set. The whole middle portion of the day is best left for other mountain activities like hiking, skiing or sightseeing.

The first location in the series is Talbot Lake in Jasper National Park. It’s located on the east side of the park along the Yellowhead Highway or Highway 16 as it’s also called. The highway follows the lake for it’s length. You can stop anywhere along to take photos. As with most landscapes, early morning or late evening are the best. Because you’ll be on the north shore, you’ll be shooting into the sun during mid day.

This area is usually without snow for most of the winter as it is either blown or melted away. Bring your skates. For most of the winter, the ice is smooth enough to skate on.

Talbot Lake

Shooting landscapes in the national parks? It’s a walk in the park.

Happy shooting,

Dan

 

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~ by Dan Jurak on February 20, 2011.

4 Responses to “Shooting from the highway in the Canadian rockies: Part 1”

  1. What an amazing shot. I love the colors and the starburst effect. What camera and lens did you use?

  2. @ mbelenpk, a 16-35 mm zoom and full frame body

  3. I have a lovely series of suppertime shots of this lake from last March. I’ve learned so much since then and a lot of it from you! Thanks, Dan, for the teaching and for sharing this stunning photo.

  4. Stunning shot!

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