I visited Banff with friends last January for some winter photography. For our first morning we scoured our various apps and data sources to pick a good spot for sunrise, eventually deciding to head to Canmore. On the way, we saw the light developing and made the audible to stop at Vermilion Lakes instead. I knew from previous visits that there would be open water for reflections at the 3rd Vermilion Lake and we went straight there. We were rewarded with the most intense sunrise color I have ever seen.
I liked this composition due to its simplicity. The mountains and their reflection take center stage, framed by the sunrise color and foreground ice. I processed the image in a way to emphasize the rays of light shining from behind the mountains and to make sure that the reflected color was visible on the ice. The foreground snow was very close to my camera, so I took several images to focus stack and ensure everything was sharp.
The sunrise color lasted long enough so I took advantage to try different compositions, including various vertical orientation frames and different foregrounds. At one point I managed to sink through the snow and foliage and fill my boot with the decaying muck in the lake. I don’t recommend it, especially in sub-zero temperatures.
Through it all, this remained my favorite picture from the trip and one of my favorites from 2018. The picture takes advantage of tracking the weather, having previous local knowledge and willing to change plans as conditions develop, as well as having a vision for the final image. I also learned to be more careful where I put my feet.