Into the Mountains 1/1250 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250
Mountains have long inspired an incredible sense of awe in me. These structures of unimaginable expanse and scale, even with countless highways and hiking routes laid through them, remain largely unexplored and far beyond our control. My fascination with them has only grown since I got into landscape photography. Capturing their pristine beauty can prove challenging, with ideal locations hard to get to and the mood of the day ever so difficult to predict. But the adventure of seeking out some of these extraordinary places, making your way out there time and time again, and testing your skill and luck at capturing the incredible and often elusive landscapes to share with the world is worth the challenge.
So, shortly after my twenty-seventh birthday I decided there is no time like the present to get out to experience one of the most iconic mountain ranges in the world - the Rocky Mountains. This is after coming to the realization that I've spent most of my life living in relatively close proximity (a 4-hour airplane ride) to this Canadian gem.
About to embark on my first ever solo adventure, I was equally nervous and excited. With reactions ranging from "that sounds amazing" to "what nonsense" and often complemented by "don't get eaten by a bear", I had truly mixed emotions. Deep down though I was confident I would not regret my decision. Within days my list of places to see was pages long, with drives totalling thousands of kilometres mapped out. It became overwhelming to say the least, so I narrowed my scope down to a few favourites. Not only would this allow me to avoid sleeping in the car in the middle of nowhere, rather than returning to my place of accommodation at night, it would also give me the opportunity to revisit some of these places. This way I could really explore some of the areas I'll be seeing for the first time, fully immersing myself in the new environment. Multiple visits would also allow me to experiment with different angles and lighting conditions, to soak in the new landscapes and capture them in a way that will thoroughly echo the beauty of the Rockies.
With international travel to the country still restricted, resulting in a much reduced influx of tourists to this ever so popular destination, it was the perfect time to travel across Canada. After weeks of research and days of preparation, it was finally time to board. The airport was far from busy on that early Sunday morning, at least not nearly like we were used to before the pandemic. But it wasn't quiet either: the building was full of excitement, with perhaps a splash of anxiety; many of us would've been travelling for the first time in nearly two years.
After some time in the air and a bumpy descent into a gloomy Calgary, I wasted no time picking up the car and getting on the road into the mountains. The first hour on the highway felt no different than any past road trip - I was still in my own county after all. But after a brief McDonalds lunch stop (I was so eager to get there I couldn't bring myself to waste time on a real meal) and a few twists and turns of the Trans-Canada Highway, I was finally in the Rocky Mountains. This is when everything around me changed. I have entered an entirely new environment - a part of the continent remarkably different from anything I was used to.
More on this adventure in a future post...
Head in the Clouds
1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO 400