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Thread: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    I have visited Banff/Jasper/Yoho NPs twice before with digital cameras (no film camera) and I will visit those places again early this September with a large format camera.

    Questions:
    1. Can I see color leaves (fall foliage) in early September? My search told me it might be able too.
    2. Which large format camera, 4x5 (Tachihara), 5x7 (Deardorff), 8x10 (Deardorff)? I think 11x14 is out of the question for hiking.
    3. Which lenses should I bring, 75mm, 90mm, 150mm and 210mm for 4x5?
    4. Black/white or color, or both?
    5. What was your experience of shooting large format when you visited those areas?
    6. Are there a lot of bears those days in these parks? What lens should I use to get a good photo of bears?
    6. I like to hear your stories with your large format gears when you visited those parks.

    Thank you in advance!
    David

  2. #2
    Ray Van Nes
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    Mar 2011
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    Calgary, AB Canada
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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    Hello David. Many questions. I live in Calgary and have covered these mountains in one form or another since the early 70's.

    1. You will see yellow leaves around this time but most of the deciduous trees are in the front ranges and foothills. Kananaskis Country which is as big a Banff is where you will find these. The majority of the trees in the national parks are coniferous so no yellow with the exception of the larch trees which live around 6000 ft. The optimal time for them is mid to late September.

    2. Which camera depends on your fitness level because some of the best views are up. The parks have broad valleys so which are not all that exciting. So I would recommend the 4x5 as you will be able to go more places. I have on occasion hauled a 5 x7 Dearforff up the Iceline trail in Yoho.

    3. Longer lenses in my opinion as many things are at a distance. Remember those broad valleys? In an around Lake Louise you may be able to use shorter lenses.

    4. I only do black and white so I am biased. The main colour is yellow beside gray and green.

    5. Not certain what you are looking for here. Avoid where tourist hang out as they are just annoying and get in the way. Especially avoid the lakeshore in front of the Chateau Lake Louise - crowd scenes all the time. The top of Mt. St. Pirans , much less crowded although the last time I was up there I bumped to Hans Berkhout trying out his new Chamonix. Such view points are wonderful but wind can be an issue.

    6. There bears, but one rarely sees them. The parks generally frown on fraternization with the bears. Also avoid male elk at this time as it is rutting season and they have a temper.

    Cheers
    Ray

  3. #3

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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    Hi, Ray: Thank you so much for your valuable information. I think the 4x5 camera is better too and I can carry it easily. The longest lens for 4x5 I have is Fujinon-T 400mm and very heavy, I might carry a 300mm/F8 Congo lens. I plan to shoot BW films and will bring a box of color film too. David

  4. #4
    Ray Van Nes
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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    Hello David. I would still bring the 400mm. It is not that heavy. I have hauled mine up a number of places and it would be great when shooting from the road.
    Regards
    Ray

  5. #5

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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    Ray: Thanks! I will. David

  6. #6

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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    Ever though of visiting Waterton Lakes National Park? When you are in the Southern Alberta area, let me know. I can make it to Southern Kananaskis fairly easily. I live in Lethbridge.

  7. #7
    Foamer
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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    I've just returned from a trip there, and have been up a couple of times before. Some thoughts.

    Some of the leaves I saw around Jasper were just so slightly beginning to turn already as of 8/20. Based on that I would guess peak would be 2-3 weeks away.

    Camera gear. Unless you are in shape for hiking at 7,000 to 9,000 ft., My experience is lighter is better. If using LF I would take my Chamonix 045n. It was very windy on my Glacier NP to Edmonton AB route on some days, and I think that could create problems for larger cameras. Lenses: of your list, 75/150/210. I only shoot b&w film any more, and that worked well on some days. The only film camera I brought was a 1937 Voigtlander Bessa 6x9, and I got some nice moody shots of Waterton Lake with it. (wind blowing so hard I had to lay on the ground to shoot.) For fall, I would also want color film and a POLARIZER. I would rather forget a lens than forget a polarizer there. There are bears but like Ray suggests, they aren't behind every tree waiting to ambush you. Wife & I did carry bear spray on trails that didn't have a lot of traffic but never saw a bear, not even tracks. Park officials do encourage you travel in groups of four, and in some places (Banff) that seemed to be enforced somewhat. I would bring some spray (and read the instructions before you see a bear, LOL.) There's also been a wolf pack that was creating trouble earlier (even more rare.) I was up there for over two weeks and didn't see a single LF photographer. I came across two other guys shooting film; one a Leica shooter on a hike, and another had a 4x4 TLR (Premo Jr., 127 film!) All in all we enjoyed the waterfalls, glaciers, mountain views the most. I brought a macro lens for my Nikon and discovered a love for photo'ing fungus and lichen/moss. There is something for everyone there. Final advice on camera gear: pack light as less is more. I always have a small survival kit on backwoods hikes--Swiss Army knife, lighter, small drinking water filter, whistle, compass, small tarp & cord. Bring clothing along with you for any likely conditions, good boots and socks are a key. As you would anywhere, pay close attention to weather reports, check several times a day, and keep an eye on the sky and wind direction while you are out.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  8. #8

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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    This thread is timely, My wife and I are having our honeymoon there from Sept 29 for a couple weeks. She has agreed to let me take the 4x5 and even spring for a box of velvia to go with the B&W. I'll be taking a nagaoka, 150 xenar, Rodenstock 210 5.6 and a Nikon 300 f9.

  9. #9

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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    When in the Banff towns it drop in the Sax and Willox gallery, Tom Willox is a large format photographer who primarily shot in Waterton and Banff.

    If you are looking for a change from landscapes stop at Bankhead which is in the eastern portion of Banff NP for concrete ruins of a mining town

  10. #10

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    Re: Visit Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs in early September

    Thanks! Did not plan to go to Waterton, maybe in future.

    Quote Originally Posted by thesilverfox View Post
    Ever though of visiting Waterton Lakes National Park? When you are in the Southern Alberta area, let me know. I can make it to Southern Kananaskis fairly easily. I live in Lethbridge.

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