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Thread: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

  1. #1
    dje's Avatar
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    Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    My wife and I are planning a trip to Canada next year in August or September and intend spending about a week in the Rockies (Jasper to Banff). I can't wait to have a crack at the photo opportunities this area offers but I would appreciate any advice on some of the best spots for this purpose. There are of course the well known ones such as Lake Louise, Morraine Lake and Emerald Lake but I'm hoping some of you with first hand experience of this area can help me pick some of the best spots, given that the time available won't be all that long. I guess what I'm particularly interested in are areas with good vantage points for photography and that don't involve long time consuming walks.

    Hoping you can help

    Cheers Dave

  2. #2
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Two suggestions:

    Bring along a telephoto lens to isolate specific areas and to compress distances.
    ..
    Definitely have polarizing filters for any lenses except UWA if you have one...

  3. #3
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Two suggestions:

    Bring along a telephoto lens to isolate specific areas and to compress distances.
    ..
    Definitely have polarizing filters for any lenses except UWA if you have one...
    Thanks Richard

    I have a basic EF 90-300mm lens but maybe this is the perfect justication to upgrade !! (You know, once in a lifetime opportunity etc)

    Cheers Dave

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    I assume you will be driving yourself? The mountain parks (Banff-Jasper-Yoho) are pretty well laid out for tourists and the quite often the most scenic spots are just off the road and there are multiple places to pullout. After the first weekend in September the traffic density will drop off so it can be very easy to just pull over onto the paved shoulder and set up to take a picture. Most people are pretty understanding and unless you stop in the middle of the road you will have no problem. Sometimes you will have to stop in the middle of the road to allow elk and bighorn sheep to cross ( you are expected to; they have the right of way)and no one will give you any grief if you elect to take some pictures in this event. Do try to pull over if you plan to spend more than a minute doing this.

    Feeding the animals is about the only big no no. The park rangers get pretty grim faced about this, mainly because it lures many animals to their deaths if they associate the road or humans with food. Also do not approach the animals, elk have been known to seriously injure and it should go without saying that bears are dangerous; a swat from a grizzly will ruin your day. if you are coming in late September, the elk will be in early rut and even less happy about being harassed.

    Do the drive from Banff to Jasper and plan to pull over a lot. Stop at all the designated sites and walk about on the short trails; Parks Canada has chosen some very good spots. Just north of Canmore and south of Lake Louise there is a side road you should take that will avoid the Trans Canada highway. The Trans Canada is 4 lanes of full throttle traffic with no pulling over, take the side road.

    Enjoy yourself; it will be great

  5. #5
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Thanks very much for the advice Trevor. We will be hiring a car and driving ourselves. I think I need to get some decent maps before planning much further !! And we willl enjoy it, I can't wait !!

    Cheers Dave

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    One more off the cuff piece of advice...

    When driving in the American West (Canada would be the same), I always have my longest lens attached to a body and relatively handy for a quick shot as I pull off the road. I have my camera on P-mode and have the ISO set at at least 400. This is to be able to catch animal shots very quickly in any light level. My wife will either have the camera on the seat next to her or I will have it in the back seat ready to grab. I don't keep it in a case because it would take too long to extricate and shoot.

    Even if you are traveling with one camera, usually the type of shots that require wider lenses (such as landscapes) do not need the quick response that wildlife require. You will have a lot more time to switch lenses to shoot a landscape than to shoot a moose or an elk when suddenly one appears around a bend.

    Believe me, you will hate yourself if you miss a picture of a cow moose and her calf crossing a busy road with traffic stpped like I once did!

  7. #7
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Dave: definitely wrangle the 300mm plus lens upgrade. Easy for me to say as it ain't my carcase on the line. Renting a lens in Vancouver is truly a regal pain so probably not a possibility.

    Send me a private message and I will be more than happy to give you more tips on places to go in Southern BC and some of the more off way (only mildly off the way not miles) sites to get good pictures so you can plan.

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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    One day I will make this trip, make sure you show some of your pics. Have a good trip

  9. #9
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Well, this is nice to see. Probably something useful for me in here as well. I am planning on doing a trip in July from Vancouver to Calgary. 15 days in all I think, so we'll be riding through some beautiful parts. Is that a part where you can give some advice about Trevor? In that case I'll send you a pm, just to get some ideas.
    I think the wife has a certain route in mind already, based on advice from some holiday agency over here in Holland, but it might be good to get more insights.

  10. #10
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Hi Dave! In addition to Richard's comments about having a long lens camera readily at hand is to have the camera in burst mode. You can always squeeze of a quick single shot and if you fire off two or three where you meant to shoot just one it's no big deal. BUT! If you happen upon a wildlife action scene, being able to grab 8 or 10 shots in rapid succession will greatly improve your chances of getting a spectacular shot.

  11. #11

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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Hi Dave, hope you have a great trip! I used to live just outside of the Jasper Park in a town Named "Hinton" As far as the parks go there is so much it all depends on how much time you have. Parks Canada have a lot of resources to check out, from guided day trips to classes on how to stay safe in the park, lets face it there are some critters best viewed through the telephoto lens. There are several dude ranches around Jasper which have guided horseback trips into the back country, that is if you want to get away from the tourist mainstream. Also the time of year must be considered , in the height of summer it can be very warm or depending on where you are you can be in a snow storm so bring at least one set of warm clothes. Here are some web sites for Parks Canada, http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/index.aspx , or , http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/contact.aspx . Hope you enjoy your trip!!

  12. #12
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Dave:

    I belong to another photo forum, and one of the photographers does extensive work in the Rockies (he is from Edmonton AB) and shoots there quite often.

    I'm familiar with the "standard" tourist spots, but Paul Skoczylas has exhibited many shots at locations that most people aren't even aware of.

    His blog site: http://paulsnaturephotos.blogspot.com/

    His contact is at the bottom of this page: http://www3.telus.net/avrsvr/paul.html

    I think he would be willing to help you out.

    Glenn

  13. #13
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Thanks everbody for your comments. You have been most helpful and I now have a lot more research to do !

    Cheers Dave

  14. #14
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    When traveling to a scenic location to take photographs I usually check to see if Robert Hitchman has written a guide for the area. http://www.photographamerica.com I checked and he has a newsletter covering the Canadian Rockies. Might be worth checking out.

  15. #15
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Photographic Opportunities Canadian Rockies

    Thanks John, I'll check it out.

    Cheers Dave

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