Mount Rundle

Back in September I looked out before the sunrise and saw what was coming, a bright sunrise. Grabbed what I needed and headed out. Found a location next to the river, the water was calm, I was ready and waited for the sunrise. For several minutes it kept getting brighter and brighter and I kept busy taking pictures. Once done, it was time to go to work.

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Cascade Mountain

In the morning we did not get bright sunrise, too many clouds in the sky put a stop to that. But not long after the warm light started to come through. The snow from yesterday and the light snow from last night added to the winter feel of the morning. And even with cold nights there were some fall colours to remind us we are middle of the fall season. All added to the beautiful morning.

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Mountains and Rocks

I have done several long hikes this season, once the legs are in shape its hard to stop, each day off I want to get out. Long gone the days when I wanted to summit peaks, it’s about the passes now, providing better opportunities for photography. A few weeks back it was time to do Molar Pass, or was it going to be North Molar Pass or perhaps both. When hiking with friends, its at group pace. But if I’m hiking on my own, then I go as fast I can. Only stopping along the way to take pictures, food breaks are reward, only received when I cover a certain distance. As I got to the junction for the two passes, I decided to head north, it was longer and if I felt good on my way back I may cover Molar Pass as well. About 10 kms into the hike, I had left the trees behind and was walking through a beautiful high alpine meadow full of flowers. Missed the prime time for the wildflowers by about a week, still, it was not too bad. With ten-minute break, I headed up to the North Molar Pass. The pass is known for its heavy winds, they were there with cold and received few snowflakes on the way up and on the way down.

 

At 2590 meters above sea level, it was a cold morning on the North Molar Pass, I layered up and headed back down. Legs were doing well, it looked good for Molar Pass. As I was getting close to the junction point for the two passes, met a familiar face who was heading for camping and climbing in the back country. Soon after I reached the junction point, with no stopping, I was ascending to Molar Pass. Less flowers on this route, but more pika and marmots could be seen and heard. Got up to the pass and then went a little further to reach the high point. On the way back, I saw the picture I wanted to take as I kept count of pika and marmots in my head. With the clouds, the light was great during early afternoon. Found rock garden surrounded by grass and flowers, with the peaks in the distance, I got my picture for that day. Drank some water and headed to the trail head, second food break was going to be few kms from the end on a rock next to small water falls. It was a great day.

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Ottertail Range

Anyone who hikes in the mountains is fully aware of switchbacks and to get to Burgess Pass in Yoho NP, 52 switchbacks needed to be covered over 7.5km.  That was the route from near the Trans-Canada Highway. There was an easier way to get there, but not as fun. The goal was to get to the pass and then hop over to Yoho Pass.  The weather for that morning was the clouds would be moving out and the blue sky moving in. But, the weather forecast in the mountains does not always goes as planned. The rain kept company most of the hike to the pass, with a few small breaks. It was light rain, so the waterproof jacket stayed in the pack. Only breaks along the way to the pass was to take pictures when the light would peak through. One such moment was the view of the Ottertail Range, partially covered with clouds and lit up by the morning light. In the valley below the freight train was heading east, leaving Fields B.C. Its views like this why hiking is a great.

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Castle Mtn

During the winter there are more or at least different options when trying to take pictures of the same mountain in the morning and the evening. The sunlight is coming from a different angle, thus different part of the mountain lights up first thing in the morning and same when the sun is setting. During the summer the open water may decide where I can go and not go to get the picture. But with colder temperatures, being careful, I can easily walk over the frozen water to gain different opportunities. In this case picture of Castle Mtn in the middle of winter.

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Mount Chephren

To me it seems to occur during winter, when wherever I go into the mountains I see possible black and white images. I think for me it has to be the snow, with much of the surrounding covered with snow it lot easier to imagine the scene I want to take pictures of. And the chances are more likely I will take a picture in black and white if there are clouds in the sky. As well, most of my black and white are taken after sunrises but always before or after the sun has reached its highest point in the sky. There are no right or wrongs, it's just my preference for monochrome images. For this image it was about two hours after sunrise, I had crossed over the frozen lower Waterfowl Lake. While walking along the Mistaya River I walked into this picture. There was more than enough light to take the picture hand holding the camera. Trying few variations, this one was my favourite of Mount Chephren that morning. I then snowshoed along the river to the creek coming from Chephren Lake and then using it as a guide to get up to the lake to explore.

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Cascade Mountain

Each winter is different, it plays a role where, when and if I’ll get a certain picture. We received early snow in September and October, then there was a long pause before the next snow storm. It was slowly getting colder and my thought was there would be plenty of places to skate and for me places to take pictures on frozen lakes and rivers. But nature is never that easy to predict, the places I was hoping to take pictures at froze later than I hoped and were soon covered by snow. But for this location there was still an opportunity, I just had to wait. The winds coming around this bend of the river are strong, it was just a matter of time, as long as no large amount of snow fell. On my hikes I would check the area, on a recent visit I came across the methane ice bubbles I was waiting for. Much of the snow had blown off by the wind, except for few patches and the cross country ski tracks. For me it was enough for a picture, bubbles starting the pictures and the tracks taking the viewer’s eyes into the picture toward Cascade Mtn surrounded by clouds on a windy day.

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Morant's Curve

Few mornings back. I was out for a drive, fresh fallen snow was everywhere. When I left home, clouds covered the sky. But the further west I got , more of the sky was becoming visible. I headed for Morant’s Curve, providing a grand view and opportunity for a morning landscape picture.

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Castle Mtn

It was toward end the day, time to head over to take pictures of Castle Mtn. About a half hour or so was left before the light would be no longer be on Castle. Got to the river and started looking for the spot where the water was open and still. Found it, it was small, so I lowered my camera on the tripod and started getting ready. When the light was right. I started taking pictures.

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Mount Rundle

Many who see me regularly, will see a pack on my back, does not matter if I'm working or on my days off. Does not matter if it's a cold day middle of the winter or the warm day in the summer, there's a pack on my back. Does not matter if it's raining or minus 30, snowing and wind howling, there's a pack on my back. It does not snow contain my lunch or full of chocolates. It's easier to get around without a pack, it's an easier hike with less weight on my back. But not wanting to miss an opportunity when a moment comes and I need the camera. Few weeks back giving myself lot of time  to get to work, with the camera in the pack, I was able to stop and enjoy the sunrise and take pictures.

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Mount Rundle

We have been having some wonderful sunrises, I have been watching them along the Bow River and in this case from the Vermilion Lakes. Mount Rundle, one of the most photographed mountains in Banff National Park, centre of this photo. With the mild temperatures, the water is still wide open at the lakes, helping out with the reflection.

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Bow Valley

Just a couple of weeks ago the leaves belonging to Trembling Aspen and Balsam Poplar were starting to turn colour. Since then we had a few snow storms and several minus temperature nights, resulting in many of the leaves ending up on the ground.

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Quadra Mtn

From across the valley I watched the storm passing through the valley, bringing heavy winds, lightening and rain. Every now and then there would be opening in the sky and the light was let in. That's when I decided to take pictures and what of. I was looking from side to side and zooming in and out, trying to frame the picture I wanted to take. Finding the right combination of light and shadows. 

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93 South

I'm an early riser and even if I was not, I would be with all the beautiful things nature has shown me before most other two legged mammals wake up and get ready for a new day. Long time ago I made an important decision, not just get up early on my days off to go for a hike or take pictures of a sunrise. But to do it everyday so my mind and body gets used to it. I'm so used to it now, even if I try sleeping in, it's hard getting back to sleep with the mind wondering what I might be missing. Weeks before the wildfires started in Kootenay NP, I was heading in to do an early hike to locate birds. I was welcomed into the park from Banff with a beautiful sunrise, I made a quick stop side of the empty road and took few pictures before making my way to the trail head.

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