Jasper

Oh, how I’ve been warned… Jasper National Park a.k.a. Mosquito Country. 288 km north of Banff is Jasper, the town in the centre of our next stop, Jasper National Park, where we stayed for three days before making our way over to Vancouver and then back into the US.

Driving into Jasper, we followed the Icefield Parkway – probably one of the most scenic drives in the entire world. Jagged peaks, cliffs, wild forests and stunning glaciers line the road left and right. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be shooting any of those. We did, however, receive plenty of tips on what to photograph once up in Jasper from all the photographers we met during our time in Banff (Thanks Aaron, Tiffany & Jeff!).

This view greeted me on myfirst morning in Jasper, while on my way to Athabasca Falls.

This view greeted me on myfirst morning in Jasper, while on my way to Athabasca Falls.

The gorge just below the Athabasca Falls is loud, wild and beautiful (and mosquito infested).

The gorge just below the Athabasca Falls is loud, wild and beautiful (and mosquito infested).

On our first evening, we decided to go location scouting at the two iconic waterfalls, Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls. Both extremely impressive, thunderous roars of icy water, carving its way through the rock. We got a good idea of when and how to shoot them and headed back to camp. Since the sun doesn’t set until 10 pm up here, we were in bed pretty late, considering I was planning on getting up at 4.20 am the following morning.

Get up I did, and found a suitable spot for sunrise within my first 20 minutes of driving. I was glad there wasn’t any traffic this early, otherwise this shot would have been incredibly reckless and irresponsible to get. As was, however, it was fairly safe. I then headed over to Athabasca Falls to quickly grab the image I had envisioned the evening before, before boiling up some water for some tea in the parking lot. A quick trip into the town of Jasper got me the road permits that we’d need over the next two days.

As I arrived back at camp, Derek started to stir in his tent, and wouldn’t you believe it – CLOUDS. Within the hour, the sky was completely overcast, allowing us a break from the clear skies we’ve been having so far. Amazed by the sight, we crossed our fingers they’d last until sunset… They stayed as we explored Mt Edith Cavell, and as we made our way to Pyramid Lake, all hell broke loose.

Storm clouds, wind, rain, yellows, purples, blues, oranges, what else could we possibly wish for? Oh right: a rainbow. What we got was worth the wait (remember, 3 weeks without clouds at sunrise or sunset to this point…)!

The rainbow stayed for a few fleeting minutes only, hardly giving me the chance to capture it.

The rainbow stayed for a few fleeting minutes only, hardly giving me the chance to capture it.

Sadly, the clouds left as quickly as they’d appeared on the following day and we were back to blue skies. We used the time to relax a little, hang out at Maligne Lake, and head to Sunwapta Falls in the evening. We did not get there, however, as an awfully cute bear by the side of the road caught our full attention. Not getting to the falls was a small price to pay to witness the wild animal foraging for some weeds and roots about 2-3 meters away from our car.

A black bear munching away at some dandelions by the side of the road.

A black bear munching away at some dandelions by the side of the road.

Getting up at 4 am on the last morning did not really pay off, as once again, there were no usable clouds in my frame at Sunwapta Falls: pink clouds to the left of me, orange to the right, yellow behind me, and boring greyish / blueish ones right where I’d needed the colour to be. Oh well, I had my highlight of Jasper at Pyramid Lake with the storm, and I’m not complaining too much.

To sum up, Jasper was a little underwhelming, in my opinion. This might be an effect of how amazing I thought Banff was, so anything not quite up to par would seem “meh…” in comparison. Good thing we have 2 driving days coming up on our way to Olympic National Park, back in the US, to settle and unwind a little, before heading back into camping & photography!

Until then,
David