View Full Version : Jasper / Banff Late July

Scott Rosenberg
21-Jun-2004, 05:12
just your standard where and when type question...

i'll be heading to jasper for the last week of july and was hoping to get a few suggestions on where to shoot and the best time of day to be there. i'm not really interested in wildlife, i'm more going to shoot the rugged landscape of the canadian rockies. i'll be staying in a hotel in jasper and will have access to a car. i am more than willing to drive a couple of hundred miles or more to get to really nice spots, so feel free to make suggestions not in my immediate vicinity.

a few questions:

- i'll be bringing along my 4x5 outfit and 3 lenses (110, 150, 240)... should i also pack a 300?

- my film of choice is velvia 50, however, with all the bright open spaces, would 100vs be a better choice?

- what are some of the better locations to shoot in... are they better in the morning or evening?

- which books should i check out for information and inspiration before the trip?

thanks so much, as i've never before been to canada, any information at all about the area would be appreciated.


Bill Brant
21-Jun-2004, 06:04
Scott --

In case you're not aware of them, there is a small, active business for photo guides to specific locations. PhotoSecrets is one that I'm aware of, but they also carry publications that others have created. Some of the publications include travel tips along with the ususal listing of locations/time of day, etc. Also some publications I've seen have technical recommendations: lens, film , filters, etc. Sounds pretty close to what you're looking for.

Checking the PhotoSecrets website, it looks like three volumes are available:

Canadian Rockies $13.95 Canadian Rockies - Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise $8.50 A Guide to Photographing the Canadian Landscape $29.95

Here's a link to them: https://www.keysecure.com/photosecrets.com/guides.secure.html#canada

None of these books are -- or could be -- the final word on photographing something as grand as Banff. However, they are useful tools for approaching an unfamiliar location.

Good luck! I wish I were going with you!

-- Bill

21-Jun-2004, 06:46
There are really too many options to list. However, I'll point out a few:

1. Lake O'Hara - this is just over the border into British Columbia, just under an hour from Banff. You'll have to call ahead for a reservation, and be prepared for a difficult time getting one. They only allow a small number of people into the lake each day - two school bus loads. You can walk in, but it's about a 17km hike. Definitely worth the trip. Check out lakeohara.com.

2. Lake Louise. World Famous. There's the odd good photograph there.

3. Moraine Lake. Another famous lake, but not as famous as Lake Louise. About 20 minutes of Lake Louise.

4. Highway 93 North. 'Nuff said. Well, maybe not :-) This is the highway that takes you to Jasper from the Trans-Canada Highway. You're basically driving down a valley with towering mountains on either side of you. It's more impressive in the winter due to the snow, but it's still wonderful in the summer. There are various places you can stop along the way - the Athabasca Glacier (they have tours onto the glacier), Panther Falls, and many, many other hikes. There's also the Crowfoot Glacier, along with about 8576 other glaciers along the highway. It ain't called the Glacier Park highway for nothin!

5. Tangle Falls - a wonderful waterfall just north of the Athabasca Glacier. Pretty busy during the middle of the day (bus tours), but nobody but the dedicated make the short (fairly easy) hike up to the falls. It's only about 50-60 feet up to the falls, with a simple scramble up over some rocks. Make the effort, there's some nice small stuff up there.

6. Johnston's Canyon, just past Banff. Heavily used, so maybe not so good for LF photography. There are nice shots to be had, however. Early morning is best before the sun get's over the canyon walls.

7. There's also K-Country, or Kananaskis Country. This is about 30 minutes from Banff, towards Calgary. Lots of interesting stuff in there. Again, better in the winter, but still good during the summer. Many, Many hikes.

8. Spray Lakes Trail - back road from K-Country to Canmore, which is between Calgary and Banff. Tons of hikes there as well.

9. Since you're staying in Jasper, Maligne Canyon should be a stop on your travels.

You should look me up when you get into the area. I'm from Calgary, and am always looking for an excuse to get out and photograph :-)

Also check out www.banfflakelouise.com

Lastly, regarding lens choices, I would most certainly bring a 300mm lens. The mountains, while impressive, are a fair ways from the highway. Without a longer lens, they will be much smaller than the deserve to be. I have a 400mm, which works very well.

Have fun!

Kirk Gittings
21-Jun-2004, 12:00
I just want to express my wish that you have a great trip. I went to the University of Calgary for photo graduate school and loved the Banff/Jasper area. It was so long ago that I hesitate to make suggestions, but I envy you!

21-Jun-2004, 12:11

You've certainly picked one GRAND location for your first visit to Canada! Of course, there are a lot of great locations in Canada but this is a very beautiful place.

You should head off to the library and pick up a book called, "The Canadian Rockies" by Craig Richard. It's a gorgeous B&W paperback book that contains some great images in it. It contains both summer and winter scenes. I believe he used strictly LF for the images.

Vermillion Lakes is also a very photographic spot... water in the foreground and grand mountains in the back... gotta love that!

Enjoy the visit... I think you'll be wanting to go back again and again and again after your first visit. There are SO many places to photograph.

BTW... don't forget the mosquito repellent!


21-Jun-2004, 12:20
One more thing... You might want to take more than just Velvia with you on the trip because it gets pretty contrasty out there during this time of the year. However, in the early morning or late afternoon it'll be fine.

As for the 300mm... I agree with Ken in that the mountains will look too small without a long lens if you shoot from the side of the highways.

Good luck

Merg Ross
21-Jun-2004, 12:32
Hi Scott- Ken has given you plenty of good tips. Peyto Lake, about 190km south of Jasper is worth a look. You will find plenty to photograph along the entire route on Highway 93 between Jasper and Lake Louise. Taking a long lens is good advice also. Have a grand trip!

Patrick Ingram
22-Jun-2004, 02:35
You might consider getting a room in Banff for a night or two. The drive from Jasper to Banff is actually quite long, and if you get stuck behind a camper on the one-lane highway you're going to spend half a day just getting to somewhere like Lake Louise. The other option might be just to stick with the Jasper area.

I'm going to lake O'Hara myself in about ten days, and I'm told it's lovely, but when I booked the spot back in April they were already filling up.

Scott Rosenberg
28-Jun-2004, 12:18
well everyone, using your inputs combined with some other readings, i think i've got a pretty neat itinerary put together. thanks so much for the great inputs!