Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada by John Pedersen

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Picture Story

A small group of us headed up north to the Canadian Rockies in the middle of winter 2019 to photograph the amazing Rocky Mountains in Banff NP and elsewhere. Being the middle of winter, we knew that most of the tourists would be gone which was great, it also meant that access to some of the photogenic areas might be restricted or challenging to get to.

We based ourselves in Lake Louise which is right at the start of the Icefield Parkway. Every day we travelled the parkway marveling at the incredible mountains sprouting up right next to the road as well and the multiple lakes along the way. Weather is always unpredictable during winter in the mountains, however on this day, we enjoyed sunshine with occasional clouds overhead.

We passed by Bow Lake numerous times on our way to Abraham Lake and other more notable areas, however on this day this scene spoke to us. The stillness of the frozen lake with the rugged mountains leading up to the sky created a striking composition. We found a safe place to park along the highway and unloaded our gear.

My goal was to get down to the water level and have the vast expanse as a foreground element in the shot. The stark white of the frozen lake contrasted with the dark trees created two very strong elements in the image. I climbed over the barrier and started to slog my way downhill toward the lake. I immediately sank in the deep snow almost up to my waist! I continued stamping out footsteps and pushing the snow aside until I got to the lakeside. I stamped out a working area to set up my tripod and began to compose the image. Besides the striking mountain, what I also was keyed in on was the way it sloped down leading towards the mountains in the background. So I made that my composition.

After about 30 minutes we decided that we had enough and climbed back up to the cars to warm up. In reviewing the images later, I shot this in both color and monochrome and even with the amazingly blue sky, I preferred the classic look of monochrome and the way one is focused on the details of the image, not the color.

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