Each week I get emails or messages from fellow photographers asking where they should photograph in Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies. Others ask me where to go hiking or scrambling so that they can get off the beaten track. I love getting these questions and seeing people’s enthusiasm for shooting these beautiful mountain landscapes.
Considering that each person’s physical fitness differs, as well as his or her comfort level in mountain terrain, I’m not too comfortable directing people to specific locations. And while a glance at my own photos will give you some clues as to my favourite locations, I thought I’d compile a list of resources that will help you photograph the Canadian Rockies – books, websites and apps you can leaf through for yourself to identify your next photo sweet spots.
BOOKS ABOUT HIKING, SCRAMBLING & MOUNTAINEERING
Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson
The definitive and comprehensive Canadian Rockies hiking guide book.
Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, by Graeme Pole
An experienced hiker/author compiles his list of classic hikes in the Rockies.
Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, by Alan Kane
The best resource for beginner to advanced scrambles in the Canadian Rockies.
11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies, by Bill Corbett
All the big peaks of the Rockies in one comprehensive guidebook.
E-BOOKS: PHOTOGRAPHING THE ROCKIES
For one of the most comprehensive sources of e-books about photographing the Canadian Rockies, you should look no further than oopoomoo, the brainchild of photography educators Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou. Titles include:
- How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies
- Banff National Park
- Jasper National ParkThe Icefields Parkway
- The Icefields Parkway (+ Winter and Wildlife Editions)
- Kootenay Plains and Abraham Lake
- Yoho National Park
APPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY + TRACKING WEATHER AND SKIES
I’ve been an iPhone user for years, and rely on a number of apps to help me make the most of my photos and “read the skies” in the Canadian Rockies.
- PhotoPills: Sort of a Swiss Army knife for photographers and great for planning shoots precisely.
- The Photographer’s Ephemeris: Another great photo planning app.
- SpotWx: precise, thorough weather info.
- StarWalk: A stargazing app, great for identification of constellations and celestial features.
- ClearDarkSky: for cloud cover
It’s easy to overlook this one, but webcams give you an instant look at conditions from higher elevations and in distant areas.
AURORA WATCHING WEB RESOURCES
Perhaps the biggest question of all is where people can shoot the auroras in the Canadian Rockies. Thanks to our dark skies, you have a good chance of seeing them if they’re out, so long as there is no cloud cover.
One of the best resources for tracking them in Alberta is the Facebook group called Alberta Aurora Chasers. You can request to join here: AlbertaAuroraChasers.
I have also compiled my personal favourites in another blog post. You’ll need to learn to read the data, but you’ll find the full collection in Aurora Watching Web Resources.