Resources for Photographing the Canadian Rockies

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.

Mt. Rundle. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.


For my opinionated guide on 60+ locations between Banff and Lake Louise, check out Paul Zizka’s Guide to Photography in the Canadian Rockies

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Special Features

* 60+ locations organized into regions:
1. In and Around Banff Town
2. Lake Minnewanka
3. Bow Valley Parkway
4. Banff to Lake Louise via HWY1
5. Lake Louise and Area
* Year-round content with season-specific info for each location.
* All major day hikes between the Town of Banff and Lake Louise.
* The best spots to shoot aurora borealis, wildflowers and fall colours.
* Easy-to-use symbols to guide you through each location, as well as access to online map.
* Listing of resources, recommended books and apps for photographers.
* Printable Gear Checklist for Outdoor Photography.
* Suggested itineraries for 1 or 3 days in summer and winter.

For more e-books about photographing the Canadian Rockies, look no further than oopoomoo, the brainchild of photography educators Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou.


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.

Some locations in the Canadian Rockies are obscure, require good fitness and navigational skills. If you’re really keen to venture off the beaten track, I highly recommend you invest some time in finessing these skills. Coleman Lake, backcountry of Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka.


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.

Photo Apps

Weather/Sky Apps

  • 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.

Mt. Robson/BC Parks

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

The Banff Centre

Sulphur Mountain Gondola

Sunshine Village (Banff)


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.


Aurora watching at Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka.