Posted by: kerryl29 | January 5, 2015

The Canadian Rockies Day 10 – Sunrise Mountain Views, Larch in Snow, Nordegg and Whirlpool Point

Snow fell overnight–an inch or two at lower elevations–on the night of Day 9 and into the morning of Day 10.  It was roughly 25 degrees (F) as we headed out in the pre-dawn darkness.  Our destination was a rock outcropping high above Abraham Lake, not far to the northeast of the lodge on Highway 11.

The cold felt worse as we waited because, as the ambient light rose, the prospects for a good sunrise were bleak.  The good news was that the fresh coating of snow–clearly more than just a couple of inches at the higher elevations–really looked good on the surrounding mountains.  The bad news?  It appeared that heavy cloud cover to the southeast was going to make sunrise a washout.  But just when I was about to give up on anything noteworthy, color began to appear in the sky.  Before long it became obvious that this was going to be fine sunrise indeed.  There was just enough wind to be an annoyance, but I made sure that I was getting a sufficient shutter speed to keep the copious foliage sharp.

Abraham Lake at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

At some point, while this was happening, I remembered the old photographer’s aphorism about remembering to look behind you.  So I cast a glance over my shoulder in the direction of Elliot Peak.  The sun was hitting the mountaintop and I very quickly changed positions and recomposed.

Abraham Lake and Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake and Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake and Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake and Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

After shooting the wide scene, I leveraged the two-camera strategy that I described in my last post, to capture the peak portrait that you see immediately below.

Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

The scene was still highly photographable, even after the sun had been up for awhile.

Abraham Lake and Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abraham Lake and Elliot Peak at Sunrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I ultimately turned my attention to the north, in the general direction of Mt. Abraham.  I started by using the highway itself as a leading line.

Highway 11, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Highway 11, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Then I went back to the telephoto, to pick out details of Mt. Abraham itself, which was bathed in low-hanging clouds and a foggy mist, and the large aspen grove fronting the mountainside, which was erupting in color as the rising sun’s rays struck the foliage.

Aspens and Mt. Abraham, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Aspens and Mt. Abraham, David Thompson Country, Alberta

The upper reaches of Mt. Abraham’s Peak reflected the merger of sun and fog.

Mt. Abraham Details, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mt. Abraham Details, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I felt that a black and white treatment helped bring out some of the textures of the cracks in the mountain’s rocky face.

Mt. Abraham Details Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mt. Abraham Details Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

When we were finished at this location, we continued up the road to the east, but stopped again at a marshy area that was surrounded by conifers that were covered with new-fallen snow.  A bit more snow was on the ground here than had fallen at the lodge–probably 2-4 inches.

Composing shots in this area was a bit of a different experience than the mountain-peak inspired images of the previous location, but this kind of thing is right up my alley.  I often find myself facing similar pattern-driven subject matter back in the American Midwest.  Still, I found myself challenged by the combination of subject and light, which was becoming harsher as a function of the now mostly clear skies.

Snow-Covered Conifers, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Snow-Covered Conifers, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Snow-Covered Conifers Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Snow-Covered Conifers Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Snow-Covered Conifers, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Snow-Covered Conifers, David Thompson Country, Alberta

From here, we moved on to the east again, stopping this time at another boggy area that included the first larches I’d seen since my time at Banff National Park, most notably at Saddleback Pass and a day earlier on the Opabin Plateau at Yoho National Park.  This was a very different setting for larch than the high elevation subjects I’d seen earlier in the trip, and made for some very different image making opportunities.  The setting was reminiscent of Cottonwood Slough in Jasper National Park, along the Pyramid Lake Road.  But there were no larches in the Cottonwood Slough area.  (The yellow trees in the background of the following image set are larches.)

Marshland Larches, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Marshland Larches, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Of course, there hadn’t been any snow when I was at Cottonwood Slough either.  Here, the white stuff made for a nice, complementary accent.

Marshland Larches Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Marshland Larches Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Marshland Larches, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Marshland Larches, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Our next stop was the old coal mining town of Nordegg.  Although mining came to a halt for good in 1955, many remnants of the industry remain in place.  We took a short hike down an abandoned railroad track, terminating near an old trestle.  There was plenty of snow along the route, but it was mid-afternoon at this point and the light was pretty harsh.  I played around with the area around the bridge a bit, obtaining images including the one you see below.

Nordegg Railroad Bridge, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Nordegg Railroad Bridge, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mostly, though, I struggled to find images that I found compelling.  The return hike was a different matter, however.  As I was heading back, my attention was focused on intimate scenes along the railroad track that were in open shade.

Abandoned Railroad Track Black & White, Nordegg, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abandoned Railroad Track Black & White, Nordegg, David Thompson Country, Alberta

With the snowy accents everywhere, these scenes were naturally devoid of color, so I converted several of them to black and white.

Abandoned Railroad Track Black & White, Nordegg, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Abandoned Railroad Track Black & White, Nordegg, David Thompson Country, Alberta

One of the things I look for when I shoot in snowy settings is a sign of color–the contrast between bright color and the otherwise monochromatic landscape is palpable.  I don’t often find such subjects in most of the wintery venues that I typically shoot.  In this instance, however, almost all the way back to the point where the hike began, I spotted freshly fallen aspen leaves, still golden yellow, on the surface of the snow.  The leaves were in open shade, but I’d have been prepared to cast a shadow over them with my body had it been necessary to do so to render them in even light.  This image has become one of my favorite intimates of the entire trip.

Aspen Leaves in Snow, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Aspen Leaves in Snow, David Thompson Country, Alberta

When we were finished at Nordegg, we returned in the direction of the lodge, put paused several times along the way.  The first was when we caught a glimpse of a truly unique sight:  calm waters in Lake Abraham.  The area around the lake is notoriously windy, making reflections a truly rare occurrence.  But we were treated to such an anomaly and stopped to take advantage of this unusual opportunity.

Mt. Michener from Abraham Lake, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mt. Michener from Abraham Lake, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mt. Michener from Abraham Lake, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mt. Michener from Abraham Lake, David Thompson Country, Alberta

At another late afternoon stop along Highway 11, I paused from shooting aspen stands alongside the road and noticed the omnipresent Elliot Peak while glancing down the road toward the southwest.  About 1000 feet ahead of my position the road curved sharply to the right, buttressing an overlook, of sorts, across a long valley toward Elliot Peak.

When the opportunity arises, I like to use the illusion of compression produced by telephoto lenses to create a sense of depth in images.  This doesn’t happen all that often, but I thought I saw the potential for such an instance here, so I pulled out my telephoto rig and took a long look.  I liked what I saw.

Low-hanging clouds were cutting across the mountain, but leaving the peak itself visible, and trees perched near the bend in the road served as a foreground, of sorts.  The mountain itself took on a looming presence when viewed at roughly 200 mm, an essence that was entirely missing when viewing the scene using a wide angle or normal lens.

Elliot Peak from Highway 11, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Elliot Peak from Highway 11, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I played around with a couple of slightly different compositions.

Elliot Peak from Highway 11, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Elliot Peak from Highway 11, David Thompson Country, Alberta

After returning to the lodge late in the afternoon, we headed west on Highway 11 to Whirlpool Point, overlooking the Saskatchewan River, for sunset.  As had been the case the previous night, sunset itself was a bit of a disappointment, but I still found plenty of subject matter to shoot.  I began by photographing the serendipitous moonrise.

Whirlpool Point Moonrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Whirlpool Point Moonrise, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I then wandered down a steep sand dune to the shore of the river itself.  Here, I found myself captivated by reflected light in the river, much as I had been on Day 6 in Jasper at the Maligne River  and then again on Day 8 at the Athabasca River.

Saskatchewan River Abstract, Whirlpool Point, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Saskatchewan River Abstract, Whirlpool Point, David Thompson Country, Alberta

After climbing atop the dune again, I did catch the slight bit of color amidst the few clouds in the western sky as the sun set.

Whirlpool Point Sunset, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Whirlpool Point Sunset, David Thompson Country, Alberta

I picked out some details one one of the mountainsides that had been freshly covered by the previous evening’s snow.

Mountain Details Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Mountain Details Black & White, David Thompson Country, Alberta

And I put a wrap on the day’s shooting as the blue hour set in.

The Blue Hour from Whirlpool Point, David Thompson Country, Alberta

The Blue Hour from Whirlpool Point, David Thompson Country, Alberta

Another day filled with marvelous photographic opportunities had come to an end.  The following day would, if anything, be even better.

Next:  The Canadian Rockies –  Day 11:  Waterfowl Lakes, Bow Lake, Consolation Lakes Trail and Paradise Creek

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Responses

  1. Great picture of the Rockies , My Nephew who is a photographer and edits films would love this scene , he loves the great outdoors and has taken some great pictures of the Aurora in Sweden and Norway they are really fantastic. I’m sure he will like this one.

    • Thanks very much!

  2. Reblogged this on xstntl_Elegance and commented:
    some things are wonderful enough to take a little tension out of shoulders….

  3. It’s remarkable how often the advice to turn around to look behind you provides an unexpected surprise or two. It certainly paid a very worthwhile dividend for you in this instance. These are wonderful photos, as always.

    • Thanks, Tom.

      Yeah, particularly in (but not limited to) places where there are open views in multiple directions, this principle should be followed religiously.

  4. Fabulous!!!

  5. Che meraviglia, favoloso!!!

  6. I don’t know how the next day could be better, these rate as some of the finest landscape photos I have ever seen. Your entire trip has been filled with them in fact.

    • Thanks very, very much for the kind words.

      It was a great trip, with more inspiring stimuli than I’ve ever seen anywhere else and I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some truly beautiful places over the years.

  7. Great images – Great work as usual, Kerry.

    • Thanks very much–much appreciated!

  8. Wauw, stunning. Well written and the pictures are breathtaking

    • Thanks very much!

  9. Reblogged this on becomingwildman and commented:
    Why Canada, this is why.

  10. Reblogged this on l i g h t w r i t e r s.

  11. Awesome… reminds me of a Thomas Kinkade painting..

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment–much appreciated.

  12. Wow great Post lots of shots and description. I haven’t been down to Nordegg in 35 years but used to work just to the northeast of the old town site, is there anything there anymore?

    • Thanks.

      Re Nordegg, yes, much of the original town site and mine buildings are still there. Check this link:

      http://www.ghosttowns.com/canada/alberta/nordegg.html

      • Very nice I will have to wait until morning to read but the photos bring me back there.

        Are you an Albertan as I am too?

        Hubert

        Hubertsbest@wordpress.com

        Thank you.

        • Happy to help–glad you found the link worthwhile.

          Re “am I an Albertan,” no. I’m in the U.S., splitting my time between the Chicago and Indianapolis areas. The trip I’m chronicling on this blog was my first to Alberta, but if I have anything to say about it it won’t be my last. 🙂

        • Right on come back soon 🙂

        • i borrowed one of your Photos for my wallpaper

          Great job with the photos Kerry

        • Thanks for the kind words about my photography.

          Re the “borrowing”…I don’t want to be a pain, but technically you’re violating my copyright (as spelled out near the top of the blog’s home page:

          “All images and text are copyright © Kerry Mark Leibowitz, all rights reserved.”

          Now, I’m sure you meant no harm–if you did, you certainly wouldn’t have told me what you did–and I can’t imagine that this is the first time that someone has done this, but it’s a good opportunity to remind everyone who reads this blog that the work presented here–images and text–doesn’t reside in the public domain. Enforcement is clearly problematic so we’re essentially on the honor system here, but all of this material is my intellectual property–both legally and ethically–and I do respectfully ask that everyone honors my copyright.

          My thanks to everyone who reads my blog for their consideration on this matter.

        • lol no problem Kerry. I’m of the exact opposite heart

          As Jesus said freely give as you have freely received, So I invite any and everyone to copy paste repost and spread world wide every word every photo every heart felt idea and expression on my blog or from my lips.

          May He bless you today amen 🙂

        • It was a nice photo now its trash a sad conversion.

          I wouldn’t expect that everyone read yours or everyone else’s disclaimer to copyright or whatever on a public page maybe I am the only one who is willing to freely share but I doubt it

          Hubert

        • I don’t want to belabor this, but I do think it’s worth fleshing out the point. My friend Andy Richards wrote at some length on this subject a few months ago and he made the point so cogently that I’ll link his post:

          https://lightcentric.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/that-time-of-the-year-a-september-rant/

          But here’s a brief excerpt that really gets to the heart of the matter, from my point of view:

          “…I don’t even really have any philosophical problem with allowing others to showcase my work on their site in that manner (attribution and a link to the artist’s site). But I do have a philosophical problem with not asking.”

          There seems to be a tendency to treat intellectual property as both substantively and theoretically different from physical property, and that’s really not the case. You may very well be perfectly fine with my borrowing (say) your snow shovel, but you’d probably prefer that I ask before taking it and using it. It is, after all, yours.

          That’s really all I’m doing here–requesting that, if someone wants to use something that’s mine, they request permission first. I’ve given it a great deal of thought I don’t that’s an unreasonable position to take.

          So, to wrap this up, if there’s an image of mine that you like enough to want to use for wallpaper, that’s very flattering. Let me know which one; I may even be able to provide you with a version that will suit your needs better than something that’s no more than 640 pixels on the long side. 🙂

        • lol sheech are you a scholar Kerry?

          I really like you already!

          I have and have had no intention of show casing your work on my Site what so ever. That said I have 117 posts of my own with a few of my own rants no need to look at your friends IMHO

          A lot of folks on Word press love it when there work is reposted, I have never done that. I post youtube video’s on occasion “Not for my own benefit,or gain in any way but strictly as information,or in order to Bless someones heart, and sometimes i borrow photos from the public domain to emphasize a point I am trying to convey with my poems or other Blog post topics.

          My Goodness I’m sure you would be a lot of fun to be around you seem so precise and to the point. Ya have to be something special.

          Kerry please visit my Blog-site and get to know me by my work. You take nice photos I have a few too.

          May God thoroughly bless your heart this year
          Y/T Hubert

          Hubertsbest@wordpress.com

        • Hi Hubert. Just FYI, the link to your blog leads to a 404 error page; basically, the URL that you have in place is a dead link. You might want to check it and edit it so that it properly links to your blog; it’ll make it possible for others to check it out.

        • Thank Kerry Im not sure what al that means But try this one.

          Hubertsbest@wordpress.com

        • oh boy your right I don’t know what to do about it

          Im not all that computer literate

        • https://hubertsbest.wordpress.com

          maybe this one?

        • Yup, that’s the correct link!

        • Hey , God Bless you Kerry, thanks for following me I’m thinkin your pretty special

        • 🙂

  13. Reblogged this on Santa's Reindeer and commented:
    Lovely pics…

  14. […] some point in the afternoon of Day 10, Royce mentioned to me that on the following day we were probably going to head southwest, to the […]

  15. Stunning vistas, fall is a spectacular time of year with colours, textures, reflections. Hard to drive very far without seeing another awe-inspiring sight.

    • Thanks…and, agreed. One of my takeaway impressions from my time in the region was that image-making opportunities were almost literally everywhere.

  16. […] I continued south to Saskatchewan River Crossing, reaching the junction with Highway 11.  I headed east from there, out of Banff National Park and into the Bighorn Wilderness–David Thompson Country.  This was the locus of activity for the photo tour I joined the previous year.  That experience had provided me more than a bit of insight to this area, particularly the Kootenay Plains, which had captivated me.  I had always planned to return to this location while on this trip and the evening of Day 9 was my opportunity.  Before making my way to the Plains, about 20 miles down Highway 11 from the Crossing, I stopped at Whirlpool Point–a spot we’d visited on the tour. […]


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