My favorite part of this photo is the tension. You can feel the impending crash of the water on the rocks — two parts interacting in a violent and beautiful way.
Taken at Panther Falls, Banff.
Often in landscapes I try to get all the details visible – lots of contrast, but with the blacks never going totally black and the whites never getting so bright they lose detail. Sometimes though, it pays to blow out the highlights. This is one of those things that’s irreversible in an image, and can look bad, so you have to be sure about it. But when it works it can add a mood to a photo that won’t be there otherwise. This is something I’ve seen done in lomo photography, wedding photography and some fashion photography for a long time, but I’ve never really tried it for landscapes. Curtis Round, another photographer who I’ve often had the pleasure of shooting with, has inspired me over the last few years. He often does this kind of thing in his wedding and engagement shoots, and it looks great.
After being blown around on Abraham Lake, I was looking forward to getting out of the wind. I was also interested in seeing Mistaya Canyon and Panther Falls in the winter, and both are fairly close. I had a cold but filling breakfast in the car and drove to Mistaya Canyon. I was really looking forward to it, but as I drove up the snowbank blocked my view out of the passenger window. This 4 foot deep snow dampened my enthusiasm a bit, and I was really enjoying the music, so I decided to go see if Panther Falls looked more accessible.
This may have been a mistake. Panther Falls did look much more accessible, but as I walked down the hill I started to have my doubts. I sunk down to my waist at the bottom of the hill, but I was determined. I decided to press on. It was an arduous process, but I made my way to the middle of the falls with no trail to follow. In summer, this would be a 5 minute walk, but I think it took me 45 minutes. I realized once I got there that the bottom would have been more interesting, but I was already pretty tired. So I relaxed on the ice by the falls, had a couple of energy bars, and then started the trek back up to the top.
Once I finally got to the top, I was tired of deep snow. And I was still tired of being blown over. So I drove leisurely back to Abraham Lake, enjoying the mule deer, whitetail deer, and elk. The burnt area from my previous post is also in this stretch. This time, instead of going to the center of the lake, I stopped right at the west end at Preacher’s Point. This turned out to be a great decision. Lots of interesting ice here and beautiful weather. I spent the afternoon puttering about on the ice, thoroughly enjoying myself and taking lots of photos.
Late in the afternoon I returned to the car, had some scrumptious chili, and emptied my memory card to my laptop. After another few small stops here and there along the lake, I headed home through winter rain.
I found this cute columbian ground squirrel in Sunshine Meadows in Banff National Park. They’re super tame in the parks, which is cool for taking pictures, but a little disturbing too. I think it was looking for a handout.
You can’t see it very well in this picture, but this guy has some serious claws. I’ll just happily continue assuming they’re for digging.