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Spirit Island is one of the most photographed and iconic locations in the Canadian Rockies. It sits at the end of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park about 14 km from the boat landing at the other end of the lake. The Stoney Nakoda First Nation believe the mountains surrounding the island are physical representations of their ancestors. Technically it’s an island only for a small portion of the year in spring when the lake’s water level is high from snow melt. For the rest of the year, it is connected to the shore by a narrow stretch of wetland. You can get here by canoe, but it’s an eight hour round trip, so most folks take one of the tour boats plying the lake throughout the day. We visited in late July and took one of the last tours of the day to Spirit Island. In late afternoon, the sun illuminates the mountains behind the island and sidelights the conifers on it.
At the time, the boat only docked nearby for 15-20 minutes, so we had to scramble to get our images. You can shoot from high on the slope of the shore or near the water level, which was where I preferred the composition. I read that there is now a late afternoon cruise that caters to photographers and spends an hour at Spirit Island. I wish we had had that option.
Because the lighting was nearly ideal, the only adjustment the image needed was a gradient filter in Lightroom to adjust the luminosity of the sky.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor