USA Canada Diaries : Misty Banff


Thursday October 27 : 

Dawn from Vermillion lakes was a pure grey one in the rain. I didn’t think I had anything good from this first shoot, but it turns out I must have still been in a dream state from jetlag!

Vermillion Lakes with Mount Rundle lurking eerily

Vermillion Lakes with Mount Rundle lurking eerily

Rain which would persist for most of the day. That morning, after having to wake the kids from a deep sleep, we ventured out to gear them up for the upcoming cold and snow. An exercise that again cost us more than we expected since we had marked out clearance stores in California for this purpose that we had no time for. Pink snow jacket and pink overpants for Jaime (why on earth do they not make any other colour for girls???) and boots for both of the girls. They were now set for snow which was not very evident around the Banff township. After a scenic drive to ‘surprise corner’ we settle back for a quiet afternoon and headed back out at sunset for a shoot at Two Jack Lake.

Getting the kids kitted up in Banff

Getting the kids kitted up in Banff

A few things we noticed that day: There is no local term ‘alpine’ fuel, I was told it was all season fuel and looked the fool when asking for it !Many of the stores in Banff seemed to be manned by Asians, Phillipino in particular? Driving on the right hand side of the road needed a bit of adjusting, especially wiper controls and roundabouts.

Friday October 28

Another morning out and another grey one! This seemed to be a recurring theme. After yet another sleepless night of poor adjusting to new time zones, I headed out to Castle Mountain to see if I could get a reflection image. The mountain wasn’t even visible so I tried some car trails from where it was barely visible just outside Johnston Canyon (which was closed for trail upgrades) . Upon my return the kids were still sleeping and needed to be woken yet again. At this stage , we were wondering if they would sleep until 10am every day!

I drove up and down the Bow Valley Parkway which was deserted at this hour on a grey dawn

I drove up and down the Bow Valley Parkway which was deserted at this hour on a grey dawn

That morning we stocked up on Asian supplies (I know, we just strengthened a racial stereotype!) before taking a drive in inclement conditions up to the base of the Banff Gondola. The views could have been spectacular but we would never know since the cable car operators informed us that visibility up top was about as far as your own hand. We also visited the Bow Falls area and photographed some clearing light which is the best display of light we have seen this trip – no blazing sunsets or anything thus far!

Fairmont Hotel from Surprise Corner

Fairmont Hotel from Surprise Corner

After Jaime’s late afternoon nap, we went back to Vermillion Lakes where I entertained the kids while Marianne shot perhaps our most colourful sunset to date. During that entertainment session of jumping up and down jetties and making piles of rubble, Jaime needed to be stripped in the cold to do a wee and managed to wee on herself in full view of some serendipitous visitors….Ughh , the joys of young kids out and about! . Thereafter – more poor sleep as Dani Lefrancois warned me that in the clear night air, there was aurora visible from Banff itself!

Vermillion Lake with rare sunset colours

Vermillion Lake with rare sunset colours

Knowing I wouldn’t be sleeping much anyway, I headed to the local go-to spot where there were crowds of people already lined up tripod to tripod! When I went to the lake shore , there was a series of overly alpha male statements that just grated at me no end. Yelling about people’s car headlights – yep, that’s right, any new visitor was expected to somehow turn up driving in the dark??? The vitriol was disturbing me , so I left for a few other locations that were again fogged out before settling back at Minnewanka . Fortunately the auora display was actually good so at 130am I headed back for a little rest before another dawn sortee.

Panorama of the aurora from Lake Minnewanka

Panorama of the aurora from Lake Minnewanka

Saturday October 29

I think this dawn could have been pretty amazing had I been in the right spot. I was driving along Bow Valley Parkway and settled for a shoot at Muleshoe Lake which from the roadside, yielded some sweet reflections. There was another photographer Ron (from Canmore) who was there and definitely a great talking companion to distract me from the cold!  It turned out to be a reasonable shoot and by the time I headed back, Charlotte , for the first time was awake while Jaime still slept on. We rushed on out of Banff by 11am departure enroute to lake Louise where the weather promised to be colder and more snowy!

Muleshoe Lake, just off the Bow Valley Parkway

Muleshoe Lake, just off the Bow Valley Parkway

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Posted on December 13, 2016, in Canada, How we..., M&D Corner and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Excellent as always – when we did out ‘Rockies shoot it rained in the early afternoon so decided to have posh afternoon tea in the Springs hotel-not sure they took to kindly to half a dozen bloke traipsing in dressed for the high mountain passes with all the gear as well -we did look out of place among the gentile tea drinkers :). We took to the water in canoes….moral…..a tripod and a canoe do not mix! the rest of the week was clear and managed to do the higher passes and and an obscure plain of six glaciers teashop 🙂

  2. Dylan, you always come away as winner! Beautiful shots.

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