Last minute trip - chasing light in Banff.

January 22, 2017

I kind of wrote a lot for this post, and I really don’t know how well of a writer I am. If you would like the general gist of everything and skip the all the little details, just read the last bit ;)

Today I had last minute plans to go adventure and shoot photos in Banff. However, last last minute, those plans fell through. About 1 p.m. rolls around and I decided that I will bite the bullet and venture out by myself to shoot photos, a bit a video, and begin a vlog - more on that later.

I packed my camera gear, fuelled up, and was on my way. The weather in Calgary at the time was very cloudy, and beginning to get a bit foggy. The further west I drove, the foggier it got! I was initially hoping for some sunnier weather in thoughts of a nice mountain sunset. So, with all of the fog, I began to get excited about the moody photos I’d be able to get instead. Parts of the highway were so foggy, I could barely see the ditches. Out of nowhere, approximately 5 minutes from the Highway 40 Kananaskis exit, I emerge from this wall of fog and appear into this sunny, cloudless paradise! At that point, I couldn’t decide if I was happy or disappointed since I just got over the fact that there may not be a sunset, and that I should just get stoked on the moody vibes.

Continuing on, I followed the Trans Canada for a smooth drive and arrival at Cascade Ponds. This is literally the first little turn off once exited for Lake Minnewanka. I figured I would shoot the sunset at either Two Jack Lake or Lake Minnewanka, but I still had time so I took a few minutes to check out some other locations. Cascade Ponds was alright. The sun was high so the light wasn’t too great, but the park had some cool little bridges.

After wandering around the ponds for a bit, I drove a bit further up the road to Johnson Lake. Another location I have not yet been to. With the sun still high in the sky, I wandered out on the lake, shooting a bit of video here and there to learn some about film making and vlogging. I knew I wouldn’t be shooting sunset there so I decided I should go about trying to find the location to shoot while I still had time.

I quickly drove up the road to Two Jack Lake. I haven’t really explored this location before. I have driven past it to and from Lake Minnewanka, but I have never stopped. Walking down the hill I was already beginning to see the potential at this spot. As the sun was on its descent, I shot some more photos and vlog footage. I noted a spot with two red chairs that would look good to shoot a time-lapse/sunset at as I took off to shoot a bit a Lake Minnewanka. 

At Lake Minnewanka, the lower light from the sun was lighting the mountains just right. It was absolutely gorgeous. I got my photos and video there and quickly decided I would rather shoot back at Two Jack Lake. Sunset was at 5:13 p.m. and it was 4:49 at the time. I ran back to the car and raced back to the other location. While I was walking down the hill to the two red chairs I noted, there was a group of 3 walking towards it coming from the opposite direction from me. There were all giving me the look like they were going to claim it and I could tell as they sped up their pace to get there before I would. Sure enough, and unfortunately for me, the take the spot with their selfie sticks and light up some cigarettes. Nice.

I walk past the group and down the hill a bit and set up a bit of a different shot. Worked well enough for me and besides, this place is here for everyone to enjoy, so I can’t complain too much. I shot a quick time lapse and then the group of smokers finally leave. I thought it was too late, but I moved spots anyways and managed to get the time-lapse I was sort of wanting.

Despite my frozen toes, I sat in one of the chairs and enjoyed every moment of it, taking it all in. I thought to myself how valuable moments like this are. The fresh mountain air, the peacefulness of the outdoors, the stunning views. I closed my eyes and I could hear the soft, yet crispy sounds of the frozen lake cracking beneath the surface. I also thought to myself how amazing it feels to chase the golden light just to get the right look for the photo.

Photos taken January 22, 2017

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