Our spring adventure in the Rockies could not have been completed without a stop at Comumbia Icefields.
It is a dangerous territory I wade in. As my wonderful wife, Kasia, blogs here, and reads my posts. She's also a photographer. This arrangement has a lot of pluses, like being able to bounce ideas off each other, or being able to just go shoot northern lights, at the spur of the moment at 2 am in the morning.
Spring in the Rockies can bring an unexpected weather. We left sunny Edmonton and were greeted with rain and snow when we approached the mountains. I don't complain when that happens, mostly, because the heavy sky adds to the moodiness of pictures and makes the view much more interesting than when skies are blue.
Early morning. Hordes of mosquitoes, tall wet grass, and me, frolicking with my Fuji X-Pro1 camera and a Fuji 10-24mm lens, trying to get a good angle on a beautiful Alberta sunrise. I stopped on the highway near the back of Villeneuve airport, trying the catch the Boing 737 parked there in the middle of a canola field. I really like the juxtaposition of a big passenger jet just sitting there in a farmer's field.
When I heard that there was a walkabout being organized in Calgary, I quickly jumped on the occasion. Not everyday you get to meet The Fuji Guys in person.
When is a wide angle too wide
There are times when in landscape photography, a wide angle lens is just simply too wide. When the sky has nothing to offer, but it's color, and when the ground has nothing to offer either. It's not easy sometimes to photograph the mood of a landscape, when the sky is blue, and the ground is flat and feature less. Yet there is a certain mood in the air, like that morning on the beach. There was a mist coming from the ocean, and hanging low on the beach, but the sky was featureless and I had to work hard to find something interesting on the ground.
This is a perfect time, when the big zooms come out to play in landscape photography. This is a perfect time to focus on something far away, instead of up close, and that's what I did. The mist coming out of the ocean, created this incredible mood. The people walking along the beach became ghosts, appearing and disappearing. With a long zoom, you can capture a beautiful mood, and add a completely genuine human element to the landscape. Here are some shots from that beautiful morning. Enjoy!
Long Beach... Here we come!
After a full day of traveling from Vancouver, we finally managed to get across to Vancouver Island. Personally I though the trip across the island to the west coast is going to be relatively short and smooth. I was wrong. The nice smooth highways turned, narrow and winding very quickly, and that slowed us down considerably. It would be a great place for some wonderful landscape photography, unfortunately the roads being so narrow, there was hardly any place to pull over. This is the time where you soak up the landscape and store it, not on a digital memory card, but a biological memory card in your mind. It's not easy, being presented with really spectacular British Columbia landscapes, and not being able to capture it with our cameras. We also had our destination, and a search for a place to stay to consider, and the day was coming to an end.
After a long and tiring drive across Vancouver Island, we have finally arrived at the west coast, and started searching for a place to stay. Almost immediately we found a small bed & breakfast that was quite reasonably priced and very nice. Still had some a couple of hours, before the sun went down into the ocean, so we drove around looking for a good spot for a beach landscape photography :) . Windy, sand blowing, and a little cold, the beach was far from what we expected. I dared not the change lenses on the camera, and even though I didn't, I still ended up with a whole bunch of sensor spots on the Sony cameras. Fuji X-Pro 1, faired a lot better. No spots, even though it was blasted with beach sand just as bad as the Sony NEX cameras. Interesting. Here is what I managed to capture during the last hours of that long day. Enjoy!
Traveling British Columbia - Landscape Photography
Driving close to the coast for a sunset spot, proved to be quite difficult. We have made a couple of bad decisions and ended up in many private driveways, with no access to the shore. We thought at the start that by the ferry terminal we should find some part of a beach that we can photograph the sunset. Not so.
After close to 2 hours of driving back and forth, we finally managed to find a tiny little beach, that wasn't marked private. Problem was we still had plenty of time before we can try out landscape photography skills on a local sunset. So we found a spot and waited, and waited, and waited. During that wait, Kasia read books and I observed people around me. I tried to photograph them, but our location did not give us a lot of chances. Here is what I came up with that day. Enjoy!
The Fuji Cameras
As you can see we are still in the snow covered Rockies. I will get back to our Vancouver trip soon, once I finish editing all the photos. Silly me. Still winter, and still Fuji cameras. I've been talking about the camera I use quite a lot, but essentially does it really matter what camera you use. Not really. I've said it on my podcast Shutter Time with Sid and Mac numerous times. The camera does not matter. It's a tool, a brush if you will. It's what that camera sees, being pointed by the operator, that matters. I've used Canons, Sony, Fuji, and I still own most of that, but the pictures taken with Canons aren't any better than pictures I've taken with Fuji or Sony. They are just pictures. Moments in time, captured, and shared to show the beauty of this world.
A whole day frolicking in the mountains. What could be better. The light conditions were wonderful. There were low diffused clouds, high clouds, sun, and snow. Driving around and stopping every few minutes because new vistas opened up. Great times... really great times. Here are some examples of those vistas. Yes Alberta is simply put, gorgeous. Enjoy!
FujiFilm 14mm f2.8
When I finally got this lens, I had my doubts that it might not be wide enough for landscapes. I like to shoot landscapes at least at 17mm on full frame camera. and this 14mm translates to roughly 21mm, when factoring the crop of Fuji X cameras. I decided to give it a try. I was really impressed with the results. I think 21mm is wide enough for me, although I'm still looking forward to the new 10-24 f4 Fuji lens. Best of all, all this equipment is light, easily transportable, which makes shooting with it so much more fun.
It was a perfect day. The morning was beautiful and we found a few photographers already positioned at Vermillion lakes waiting for the sunrise. The weather conditions were quite perfect for a great sunrise shoot. After the sunrise, we traveled to Lake Louise. Another great iconic location for landscapes. A day of beautiful light, beautiful mountains, and great time shooting it all.
It's been a while since I have shared some of my shots taken during our summer travel on Vancouver Island ( you can check the last installment from that trip - record of our visit at Victoria’s Craigdarroch Castle in Beautiful British Columbia - Part 7). During our stay on the Island we have been lucky to spend an evening at Qualicum Beach, being guided by one of our photographic friends, who was kind enough to take us to his favorite part of the coast and, though, the tide was high and most of the beach was covered with water, we still had a chance to take a wonderful walk, admire the views and, of course, snap a few shots ;D. It is such a pleasure to watch the sun disappear behind the horizon, making the sky burn! Landscape photography can be so much fun!!! I miss those summer days.. I hope sharing these pictures will take your minds away from this long and cold winter. I took mine off, for sure. Enjoy! :D Kasia
I have shown you some of the pictures from our December trip to the Rockies in my post Beautiful Lake Louise. Today, I would like to share what I saw (along with landscapes, I could not help but take some close up shots, yet again..) when we took a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff. Such gorgeous winter views! It was relatively warm up there and the light was lovely. We were able to stay long enough to see the sunset and the night taking over the world. Unfortunately we had to get off the mountain (gondola closing time) in order to shoot Milky Way. Landscape photography is so easy when you have such wonderful vista to work with! :D So here it is, some more of winter beauty! Enjoy! Kasia
One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in Canadian Rockies is Lake Louise in Banff National Park. I am drawn to it over and over again regardless of the season. It is simply picturesque and one cannot blame me, really, for taking lots of pictures while I am there.. We have visited it again, during our December trip to the mountains. I have already shared some of the pictures from this trip in my post Solstice Sunrise in the Rockies and, with a great pleasure, I'd like to show you some more. Hope you find them pleasing. Winter really can be beautiful and since we are stuck with it here for months on end I'd rather concentrate on it's better aspects.. And if you can add to it a little bit of travel that's even better. Travel photography is a beautiful thing! ;D Have a wonderful weekend everybody! Kasia
I think it's time for some color, don't you? It's been so long since we've seen more than whites, blues, blacks and grays, so why not go back to late summer and beginning of fall, when all the world was covered in beautiful colors? It's seems to me that Mother Nature gives us this opportunity, every year, to soak it all up in preparation for a monochromatic season that lasts too long.. Today, I would like to share photos from two trips of ours that took place just as the seasons were changing.. Last day of summer, first day of fall. Two sunsets in rural Alberta. A little bit of landscape photography, a bit of rural architecture and nature and, of course, a macro shot (one cannot admire the world without looking close at things, don't you think?) and all of it full of beautiful colors, complements of Mother Nature. I am so very glad to have seen it all and have my memories recorded so that I can look at all this splendor when I'm feeling deprived of color. Hope it is as enjoyable to you as it is to me :D Kasia