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Mount Rundle as seen across Two Jack Lake at sunrise in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta.

Candy Colours 1/100 sec, f/8, ISO 200

Dawn in the mountains is always special, especially in locations slightly off the beaten track where in the early hours you'll often find yourself alone, surrounded only by marvelous natural beauty. This is Two Jack Lake - a spot in Banff National Park which had quickly become a favourite of mine after a couple visits on my first trip to the Canadian Rockies.

It was early September, and the mornings here were chilly, with some lingering summer heat returning by midday. I made sure to start my morning early, getting out of bed a couple hours before sunrise to drive out through the forest to the shore of this quaint little lake. Mount Rundle can be seen from many locations across Banff, its distinct shape easy to recognize from any angle. It took me some effort and persistence to capture this mountain's lake reflection for the first time, but I have returned to it on several occasions since, and have been treated to some of my most memorable views in the Rocky Mountains. On this overcast morning, the scattered clouds let in just enough sunlight to turn the skies into an incredible mix of candy colours. With the occasional wind gust sending ripples across the lake, I waited around to catch a window of calm, getting a stunning reflection in the lake's mirror surface.

Another face of Mount Rundle, in the tranquil scene below, is at Vermillion Lakes on a calm overcast day this past September. The breeze was warm and light, the trees and grass still, and the surface of the calm water was disturbed only by the occasional passing duck.

Mount Rundle at Vermillion Lakes in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Tranquility 1/400 sec, f/10, ISO 250

Here is the same iconic mountain with the last rays of the day lighting up its jagged peak.

Mount Rundle at Vermillion Lakes in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Radiant Peak 10 sec, f/14, ISO 100

Later that same week, on another occasion at Two Jack Lake, the weather was less favourable. It was near zero degrees, with heavy winds sending ripples across the water, obscuring any would be reflection. Nonetheless, the sight at the break of dawn was incredibly rewarding as the surroundings began to brighten, turning the sky, mountain, and water to shades of blue, with dark silhouettes of trees against the beautiful backdrop.

Mount Rundle as seen across Two Jack Lake at dawn in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta.

Rundle at Dawn 30 sec, f/9, ISO 100


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