Banff, Canada, 2012

A couple of friends of mine wound up staying up in Canada for a while this year and graciously offered tohost me. While that in and of itself is a reason to go somewhere, they happened to be staying right on the edge of Banff National Park in Canada! I've wanted to go there for years. The last time I tried I did not have proper title for the Prowler so couldn't go north of Glacier. Finally, the time had come, and I wasn't goin gto pass it up even if just for a weekend./p>

My friends were wonderful and great hosts and, while not backpackers, still not adverse for a little "adventure". Day hiking is wonderful and Banff is really spread out. Thankfully we were close enough to the park boundary that we experienced a wonderful array of what Banff has to offer.

The first day we went out to Lake Louise. When I told my mother that I was going to Canada, she remembered being here back in the 60s. She took a snowcat and got to walk right up on one of the glaciers. I think I was both there in a different time of year and also missed the glaciers. What a wonderful color the water is there on the lake! We did a hike up to a tea house and beyond to where we could see the crevasses in the glaciers. According to my friend, just 40 years ago that glacier reached all the way to the lake itself. But now, having lost 70 percent of its mass, it's a hike just to get into its base. We went in 10 miles and over 1200 feet to find it. Amazing that something that my mother could touch is just utterly gone, 10 miles of ice, just gone. Too soon it may be gone forever. Even diminished, today it is still a land of great beauty. I just am sad I am too late to see these icefields in their glory.

With tired legs after unexpected climbs, the next day we went to the town of Banff. We hiked some of the trails to the base of the Bow River Falls and some wooded soft trails to get a sense of the alpine woods. I just love how the sun erratically filters through pines and sidelights the forest floor. Of course, expecting the iconic, I also finally saw geese! Well, they were generic geese, not Canadian geese, at least not the ones I knew of. But well they were geese, and I was in Canada, so it was something. There was a mountee in a Jeep, but no moose, and no bears, so at least I can chalk up the geese!

Looking for a mild vertical and having seen the falls, it just seemed natural to go see where that whole thing began. So it was up to Bow Lake and the headwaters of the Bow River. Along the way the winds died down. The entire lake turned into a mirror, reflecting all the sculpted mountains and skies from below. Up to the stairs, the ridges, and beyond up to the falls, each ridge revealing a new twist on the alpine landscape. Banff is where the Rockies meet the Sierras. Gorgeous land, and a great place to spend time with wonderful friends. What more could one want!

The Photographs

Another trip, another learning experience for a purely digital system. I must admit, the time not having spend scanning slides is growing on me. However, I still miss Kodachrome. Just when I had finally learned how to expose it, it was gone. Still, the a900 has let me preserve a bunch of my lenses and has introduced me to new ones as well. Having previously been using primes only, quality zoom lenses are very nice. The variability really helps in getting a composition that is "just right" instead of switching lenses all the time. Still I wonder if what I'm doing is "true". In the end, I am cocky enough to think my photography is creation of art. Perhaps only interesting to a few, but still I consider it an art to take an overwhelming experience of being in the beauty of the land and creating an image that conveys but a fraction of that transcendence.

Sony a900, 24-70 zoom, 70 - 300 zoom.

Click "Next" in the upper right to begin.

I also brought along the Lytro camera my sister gave me. I think I'm getting a lot better at composition and got one of my favorite compositions yet. To view click here.