Duration: 9 days (8 nights).
Max number of participants: 8 photographers
– Difficulty Level: Easy – Cold temperatures may be a factor for some
– Suitable for all levels of Photographers
– Spouses are Welcome
Canadian Rockies Photo Workshop
The Canadian Rockies are a wild and rugged landscape that can be explored year-round. However, winter photography in the Rockies offers a unique opportunity to shoot in locations that would otherwise be inaccessible the rest of the year. Join us as we photograph the underside of frozen waterfalls, descend into ice filled canyons, and walk on frozen lakes filled with jagged cracks and layers of methane bubbles. And don’t worry, you can still find some open water in the area, even on the coldest days in January. These special locations allow us to capture the reflections of some of the most beautiful mountains during sunset and sunrise. We are also far enough north to capture the aurora borealis if we are lucky!
Arrival in Calgary
Welcome to Calgary, commonly known as “Cow Town” due to the history of ranching in surrounding area. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is just a short car ride away from world class ski hills. Given its proximity to the mountains, it was host to the 1988 Winter Olympics. The city has grown rapidly over the past twenty years and is now the 4th largest in Canada with a population of 1.2 million. Despite its growing size, it still has a smaller town feel with friendly people and a casual style.
Feel free to arrive any time during the day and explore the sights of the city (https://www.visitcalgary.com/our-city). Once everyone has checked into the hotel, we will head out to dinner together, get to know one another, and learn about the adventures we will embark on!
Highlights: Ice bubbles at Abraham Lake
We begin our second day of our photo tour with an orientation breakfast before we drive to the town of Rocky Mountain House where will be lodging the next two nights. Upon arrival in Rocky Mountain House we will have lunch and then get our gear ready for our first sunset shoot on Abraham Lake. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks and is a well known recreational and camping area in the summer. However, the winter months are when Abraham Lake is truly spectacular, especially for photographers. The lake freezes over and methane gas from decomposed plant matter gets trapped below the ice surface, creating an unusual visual display of layers of frozen bubbles. In addition, the ice on the lake forms interesting jagged cracks, which combined with the bubbles, provides an unique foreground leading up to glorious mountain peaks. These formations are further enhanced during morning and evening light. We will have multiple opportunities to photograph the frozen lake at sunset and sunrise in two separate locations so we have time to scout the best bubbles and compositions. Note the reason why this location is known for its bubbles is due to the strong winds that keep the snow off the ice, allowing us to see the ice clearly.
During our second day at Abraham Lake we will have time to look for wildlife to photograph in the area and discuss focus stacking in a short workshop back at the hotel.
Highlights: Preacher’s Point and Tangle Peak
We will spend our final morning at Abraham lake photographing sunrise at Preacher’s Point. This spot is particularly known for the gnarly cracks of ice that form where the North Saskatchewan river meets the lake. Following sunrise, we will stop for an early lunch in Nordegg and then travel along the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper. The Icefields Parkway is lined with spectacular mountains including the beautiful Tangle Peak where we will set up for sunset. Following sunset, we will drive to Jasper for dinner and lodging.
Highlights: Maligne Canyon, Athabasca Falls, Tangle Peak
Here we get our one and only break from early morning sunrise shoots as we will explore the depths of Maligne Canyon following breakfast. In summer, this canyon rages with water from glacier run off. In winter, you can descend into the canyon and walk along the frozen floor to explore the unique formations of its walls. Here we will practice incorporating the human element into landscape, learn about creative compositions and demonstrating size and scale.
Following lunch, we will stop at the famous Athabasca Falls, and return to Tangle Peak for sunset. In the evening, we will drive to Lake Louise for dinner and lodging.
Highlights: Lake Louise, Natural Bridge, Emerald Lake
After shooting so much frozen water, you will be happy to learn that the next few days are full of locations with open water and opportunity for shots with glorious mountain reflections. At Lake Louise, our accommodation is a short 10 minute drive from our sunrise location. Following our morning shoot next to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise we will return to our hotel for our second classroom style workshop. Following lunch, we will drive to Yoho National Park where we will first explore the underside of a frozen waterfall, and then travel onto Emerald Lake for breathtaking views at sunset. We will return to our hotel in Lake Louise for dinner and lodging.
Highlights: Castle Mountain, Johnson Canyon, Vermillion Lake
On our way from Lake Louise to Jasper we will take in Castle Mountain for sunrise. Located on the river, this location offers us a chance to photograph the renowned mountain peaks that glow a golden hue at early morning light. We then move onto explore Johnson Canyon where we will hike 2.5 – 5 km (depending on how far you choose to go) to shoot a waterfall, a well-known rock formation, and perhaps some ice climbers! We will travel to Banff for lunch and a quick rest before shooting at nearby Vermillion Lake for sunset.
Highlights: Mt. Rundle, Wildlife, Three Sisters
While sunset is beautiful at Vermillion, you can’t beat the opportunity for a spectacular show at sunrise. We will shoot the outstanding Mt. Rundle from a second location at Vermillion lake and then explore nearby to see if we can spot any of the resident elk. Bring your telephoto lens in case we come across them! Following check out in Banff we will drive to the town of Canmore for lunch and then explore the banks of the river before our final sunset shoot of the famous Three Sisters. Following sunset, we will return to Calgary for a final dinner and lodging.
Please arrange your own airport transfer from your hotel to Calcary international Airport
Please note that travel through the Rockies in the winter can mean we encounter winter storms and temporary road closures so plans may need to be altered to accommodate safe and enjoyable travel. Our goal is to assure that you learn different photography techniques to capture nature at its absolute best while enjoying the spectacular views of the mountains.