October 2015 – Autumn Veil Over Larch Valley
Trail to Sentinel Pass, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Sometimes, a lot of work goes into setting up just the perfect shot. I am currently working on an astrophotography composition I am envisioning at a unique location under a moonless sky here in West Virginia. I just received permission from the property owners the other day to shoot on their land and am waiting for the right weather conditions to give it my first attempt. A moonrise shot over a West Virginia snow-scape is also in the works.
But at other times, the conditions work out just right under the plans you already have. Such was the case with Autumn Veil Over Larch Valley.
For a much more detailed description of this most amazing hike that I took with my brothers on a family vacation to Alberta, my brother writes of it here on the StaddonFamily.com. But for here, I shall give my thoughts from the perspective of a photographer.
During the planning stages of this trip to the Canadian Rockies, I determined that Sentinel Pass was on the top of my list of places to go. However, I knew that because I was traveling with my family, a 7 mile round-trip hike was rather unrealistic. And yet, for the only afternoon that was remotely open for hiking, the Lord worked it out for my brothers and I to take the strenuous hike above the timberline while the rest of my family took an easier hike in the same general vicinity.
And hiking as a group turned out to be very much a blessing! Not only is it a more enjoyable experience to be hiking with other people, we discovered on the day of the hike that the trail was closed due to bear activity except for group of four or more!
As for the scenery, I don’t think it could have been at a better time of year: the last week of September is one of only two weeks out of the year that the fall colors are at their peak in the park. This, plus the fact that the hike was in the afternoon versus the middle of the day, are both reasons to rejoice from a landscape photographers perspective. I hadn’t planned for either of these.
And not to forget the little things, it turned out to be a very sunny and warm day for September making the hike both a pleasant and safe experience. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Thank you, Lord, for your many undeserved blessings!
The one shot I decided to use in the 2015 Lenspiration calendar from this hike was just one of many that I could have used. Here are the reasons why I like this shot best, and for the most part caused me to choose it for the calendar:
1. Well-Defined Subject – The trail in this picture is well defined. You notice it. It acts as a subject, suggesting forward movement and purpose in the scene. Beauty in and of itself is very seldom a purposeful subject.
2. Dynamic Light – The light isn’t not epic, but it’s restful. The long shadows are noticeable, and the side-lighting on the larches make their colors pop.
3. Purposeful Composition – The frame is full. The rocks on the left fill in an otherwise featureless foreground. The trail is off center and leads you into the heart of the picture.
4. A Counterpoint Subject – After moving down the trail, the observers eye rises to the sunlit glacier at the top of the mountain. The distinct shapes of the mountains make them picturesque, holding your eye for just long enough to make them want to go back down to the trail . . . which moves you back and up again.
5. Color Contrast – Orange and blue complement each other so well. With your back almost to the sun, it makes for very nice blue skies.
6. Hidden Peculiarity – Can you find the person hidden in this picture? Well, I guess a shadow is not technically a “person”. But why else would there be two perfectly parallel shadows stretching across the path? I think it’s neat that one of my brothers made it to the calendar!
You can buy one, two or just a few of the calendars in which this picture of the chapel was used for $10 each by going to the Staddonfamily Store. For 9 or more calendars, you can get free shipping plus quantity discounts as low as $5 each on the Lenspiration Store. Thank you for promoting a Christ-centered, creationist worldview in the world of photography!