Jasper National Park - Windermere Studios

Jasper. Our last stop on a remarkable, epic photography road trip. By the time we got to Jasper, I think we were feeling like we'd taken enough photos. Or close to enough. And Daryl certainly felt like he'd seen enough mountains reflected in lakes. Ana tried to capture more details and abstract shots. I mostly left the kit in the car. After all, Jasper is almost my back yard. Jasper is near and dear to my heart, based on numerous trips to visit friends in years gone by. We love Jasper for it's authenticity and lack of commercialization. Jasper is like our home away from home. I can visit anytime. Right? Reality is I don't visit often enough.

And Jasper did not disappoint.  Jasper amazed us with some of the most stunning, unusual and colorful sunsets of the trip. We arrived late afternoon, set up camp and went into town for dinner. Pyramid Mountain, a quick drive from town, was our sunset subject. We decided to set up on the shore of Patricia Lake looking toward the Trident Ridge. It's a pretty impressive scene at any time of day, actually. 

But this particular evening, the clouds lined up and lit up with the light from the setting sun in a nearly perfect, symmetrical arrangement. There was no choice in my mind but to center the horizon.

The following morning was totally socked in by cloud, I think. Or at least that will be my story, as I stayed cozily tucked in my sleeping bag rather than getting up at the butt crack of dawn to go shoot. We visited Mount Edith Cavell, Angel Glacier and Tonquin Valley in the morning, spent time in town that afternoon and then drove to Maligne Lake in the late afternoon. Perhaps one signal that I'd had enough landscape images are that my photos started to include people. Even scruffy, unshaved people. 

Medicine Lake was our sunset spot this evening. We pulled up about 6:30 or so, not quite sure of when the sun would hit the granite peaks. We'd become fairly accustomed to having our evening meal prepped for us at our sunset location, but this night was particularly fun as there was a busload of Italian tourists at the look out when Daryl was cooking. They'd have gladly had a meal with us! And who wouldn't choose to dine with this as their view. 


Medicine Lake is a beautiful and magical spot. It actually drains via an undiscovered underground river, so the water level varies greatly thoughout the year and over the length of the lake. Our sweet light started off really mellow and unremarkable. Pretty in it's simplicity?

Ana and I couldn't see each other as we sat waiting for great light. The clouds were moving fast enough to provide some interest, but it just didn't feel like the sky was going to do anything dramatic for us. Still it was a lovely, warm, and peaceful evening and so we sat patiently and waited. And our patience was rewarded with the most remarkable light I've ever seen. Totally unexpected, and so short lived that had we not been set up we would have missed it. As the sun passed between peaks behind us it cast the most spectacular golden glow onto the shore of Medicine Lake. Ana and I started yelling at each other "Do you see that? Can you believe that?".

We sat at Medicine Lake until well after dark, watching the clouds, taking long exposures, wondering if there might be more. 

Last morning of the trip, final sunrise. Pyramid Mountain from the island on Pyramid Lake.

I had the most delightful, zen like time there. Alone and in silence, but for the calls of the loons and a coyote. I watched a loon catch a fish large enough to see clearly from the shore. I acknowledged to myself, there and then, that that was one of the true joys that photography has given to me: a reason to go out and take delight in the quiet, peaceful beauty of this world. 


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