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Three Sisters peaks at sunrise in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

Three Peaks

1/60 sec, f/8, ISO 250

Living in central Canada, far from the Rocky Mountains in the west, I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent so much time in these mountains - possibly the most beautiful part of Canada. The Canadian Rockies are particularly gorgeous during the fall season, with changing leaves adding a vibrant splash of colour to the already incredible landscape.

These are some of my favourite photographs taken in and around Banff National Park in Alberta, during my fourth trip to the Rocky Mountains - my first visit here in the fall. Considering the relatively limited time I had here, I tried to make the most of every location.

The first image (above) is of the Three Sisters peaks, as seen from Canmore - a quaint little town just a short drive from Banff. This amazing spot, once something of a hidden gem, has recently become quite popular with visitors. After a short walk through the forest near the edge of town, a beautiful vista opens up, exposing the majestic peaks. I showed up before sunrise and captured this image as the first light illuminated the Three Sisters and gave the colourful trees in the foreground a beautiful warm glow.

Peyto Lake on a beautiful clear sky day in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Midday Bliss

1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 80

Peyto Lake is another well known location, and possibly one of the most photographed lakes in the Canadian Rockies. It was a clear blue sky day and the midday light brought out the most gorgeous turquoise colour in the glacial water. Despite being one of the most visited locations in the area, you can find yourself alone just a few steps away from the main viewpoint and discover countless unique perspectives of this beautiful lake and the surrounding scenery. I also find it somewhat fascinating that during this season of change many areas remain completely green, thanks to the abundance of pine forests in the mountains, giving them a wholly summer feel despite the cooler autumn weather.

Mount Burgess in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

Summer Feeling

1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 125

This midday shot of Mount Burgess was entirely unplanned. I spotted this composition while canoeing on Emerald Lake on a beautiful sunny day - warm enough to feel like summer. I was drawn in by the evergreen forest on the mountain slopes, and the texture of this iconic peak, typically photographed as a backdrop to the famous Emerald Lake Lodge. The sunlight was coming in at just the right angle, adding dimension and definition to the rock, and the mixed blue sky made for a perfect background.

Three Sisters peaks at dawn, with Jupiter shining in the sky overhead, in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

Magic at Dawn

30 sec, f/8, ISO 400

Now, back to one of my favourite locations - the Three Sisters. It so happened that the week we were in the Rockies, Jupiter was to be extra close to Earth. I had spotted the planet in the sky on the previous night as we drove back to our place of lodging from a day out in Banff. I had forgotten all about it until, on this morning in Canmore, the clouds parted just enough to expose the extra bright speck which was Jupiter, sitting above the three peaks to the left. It was a perfectly calm morning, so much so that even with a half minute exposure the pond reflected the Three Sisters like a mirror, and there was not an inch of movement in the trees.

Golden larches on the shore of Lake Agnes in the Canadian Rockies.

Coast of Gold

1/40 sec, f/11, ISO 500

You never know what you're going to get in the mountains on a given day. The abundance of colours and often rapidly changing weather conditions, especially at higher altitudes, present a truly unique experience every time. This coast full of yellow larch trees is at the shore of Lake Agnes, tucked away in the mountains, a few kilometres above the famous Lake Louise. It was windy and overcast that morning as we started our hike up but, a few minutes after arriving at the mountain lake, the wind settled and the clouds parted slightly. Sunlight poured into the valley and illuminated the beautiful golden larches on the mountain slopes.

First snow on the peaks across Herbert Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

First Snow

1/10 sec, f/7.1, ISO 64

Herbert Lake is a lesser known one on the Icefields Parkway, a little ways north of Lake Louise. It had rained the previous night and, with the temperature just above zero Celsius, we watched snow slowly build up on the surrounding peaks. I decided to drive out to the lake the next morning to get a first glimpse of the mountains here after the snowfall. As the sun rose, highlighting the texture of the rocks, a reflection materialized on the water surface, and the low lying mist created a beautiful separation between the two. The deep green of the pine trees complemented the orange glow on the peaks. It was a truly glorious morning and, unlike at the nearby Lake Louise, there was not a single person around.

Misty fall morning at Quarry Lake in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

Quarry Lake

1/60 sec, f/11, ISO 320

On our last morning in the Rockies, before heading to the airport, we decided to stop by this beautiful lake in Canmore. It was full of mist, initially blocking view of the trees and mountain peaks on the opposite shore. As day broke, the mist cleared somewhat, with the yellow foliage and Ha Ling Peak taking on a beautiful glow. It was the perfect send-off!


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