Vermilion Shores

This image was made last night at Vermilion Lakes, near Banff.

Vermilion Shores, Banff National Park

With the editing work from recent trips as well as my involvement in a time-lapse project, I have had to largely put still photography on hold for a little while. Last night, for the first time in quite some time, I went out with the sole purpose to photograph stills. I went out to the lakes wanting to put together an image that I’d had in mind for quite a while. The clouds and wind had something different in mind, so I gave up on my original vision but still came home with a few images I liked and that for me will always hold a story.

I went directly to the second lake, where I knew open pools of water would provide good opportunities for reflections of the night sky. I quickly fell in love again with still landscape photography. The wind and clouds came and went and a fair amount of waiting was involved. No problem for me really. One thing I have learned from time-lapse work is how to be patient. As is common for me at Vermilion Lakes in the winter, I eventually punched through the ice trying to find a composition that was eye-pleasing. If you have ever spent time IN the water at that location, you know that the bottom is not exactly “photographer-friendly”. After I was done extracting myself and my tripod from the muck, I crawled back onto the thin ice and eventually to the shore.

I returned later with tall rubber boots, ready to face the swamp again. Wearing those I was able to move around in the mud and access more composition options. There I was, standing in the swamp under the stars, quite happy with my situation. I found my spot and proceeded to shoot several 30 second exposures, enough such exposures that when it was time to move out of the water again, my boots had become part of the lake bottom, water had started invading my boots and I knew I was probably not going anywhere anytime soon. After considerable efforts I managed to free my feet from the thick ooze. A few minutes later I arrived home a mess, to my wife’s chagrin.

Well, I no longer smell like Shrek and I like a few of the shots. As is often the case I may like the story behind them even better.

Settings: f/4.0, 30 seconds, ISO 1600, 17.0mm on Canon EF 17-40mmf/4L USM, Canon 5D Mk II body.

This image is available as a print – just get in touch.