Tag Archives: Jasper National Park

Blue waters of the Canadian Rockies

Windblown water of Lake Alma, Banff

If you’ve ever experienced the vivid blue waters of the lakes and rivers of the Canadian Rockies, you know how stunning they can be, particularly on bright sunny days.  It’s not the clear blue sky itself that creates the colour, nor is it the fanciful tale that it comes from the colourful tail of the Peacock.

So how does this colour form?  It occurs as a result of what’s called ‘rock flour’, a powdery substance created in the glaciers which feed the mountain lakes and streams.  Rocks trapped in the glaciers grind against each other, forming the flour.  Glacier meltwater washes it into the Lakes and streams resulting in the vivid blue and stunning turquoise colour.

Athabasca Falls/River, Jasper National Park

Moraine Lake and Valley of the Ten Peaks, Banff National Park

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The ‘Rule Breaker’

When this female moose ran by on a foggy fall morning, in Jasper National Park, I fired off a quick shot.   When I checked my settings, I was instantly disappointed.  Shutter speed was only 1/25 not nearly fast enough to freeze motion, the histogram showed blown highlights and I only managed a single frame.  We went about our morning exploring the shoreline of Maligne Lake, and getting a few interesting images.  When I returned home and viewed this on a large monitor, it began to grow on me.  It seems that when I shot this image I was fortunate to have panned along with the moose, creating a decent motion blurred effect and the head was still relatively sharp.  A skill I don’t often employ, something a Formula 1 race car photographer would be particularly good at.

As a professional photographer, who submits images to stock agencies, it’s very easy to get fixated on the technically perfect image.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t understand as much as possible about the technical aspects of photography, but to me photography is more a craft than anything else.  Part technical and part artistic, of course the latter is always subjective, and you will never stop learning the details.  Many great photographers push the limits, or ‘break the rules’ to produce some awe-inspiring images.  Many won’t tell you how many of their images are absolute failures.  I have had my fair share, that’s for sure, but on this one I got lucky.