Banff at Its Winter Best Featured

When the temperatures drop, the mountain environment transforms and gains new character – one that is especially appealing to me as a photographer. Mountains draped in white, sun bursting through fog on freezing cold mornings, a monochrome landscape… it all adds up to some spectacular photo potential!

Here is just a selection of my favourite images from Banff National Park in wintertime. And if you’re looking for the best places to shoot during the winter, I’ve compiled some of my top locations in my ebook: Paul Zizka’s Guide to Photography in the Canadian Rockies (Banff to Lake Louise), which also includes a downloadable checklist of gear for outdoor photography.

1.

Hoar frost at Vermilion Lakes. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Hoar frost at Vermilion Lakes. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

2.

Banff's Pedestrian Bridge. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Banff’s Pedestrian Bridge. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

3.

Skating on Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Skating on Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

4.

Bow Falls. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Bow Falls. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

5.

Johnson Lake. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
6.

Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.
7.

Mt. Ishbel. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Mt. Ishbel. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

8.

Ice climbing at Johnston Canyon. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ice climbing at Johnston Canyon. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

‘The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered’ wins Mountain Image at Banff Mountain Book Competition Featured

I am extremely proud to announce that my second coffee-table style book of photography, The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered, has won this year’s category for Mountain Image at the Banff Mountain Book Competition.

crr with laurel

From 2018 Book Competition Juror, Ian Welsted:

“Paul Zizka has produced an absolutely breathtaking collection of images of the Canadian Rockies.  People from the world over visit the Rockies to take in these views; Zizka captures them at their most magnificent.  Initially recognized for his aurora night photos this collection revisits the area with new themes. The result is a visual masterpiece.”

Thank you to publishers Rocky Mountain Books for backing this project! Congrats to all the nominees and winners! You can view all of the winners here!

Looking for a copy? You can find locations for purchasing or order a signed copy of the book in the online store.

 

 

 

Paul Zizka’s Guide to Photography in the Canadian Rockies (Banff to Lake Louise Edition) Featured

I have spent the better part of the past 15 years exploring the Canadian Rockies. This has amounted to countless days and nights seeing what’s around the bend, bushwhacking, walking up creeks, and following my nose. Originally, I didn’t explore with the purpose of sharing information. I simply enjoyed being curious in the mountains. Most of the time, the camera stayed in the bag, until I finally bought my first DSLR in 2007.

Over the years, I pulled the camera out more often, and eventually launched into photography as a profession. I also gathered a great deal of information, and thought it would be a shame not to make that information available to others so that they can enjoy and photograph some of those special places. After all, I find it immensely rewarding whenever I get to play a small part in getting people out exploring and connecting with their creative side.

So, after many months of work, I’m excited to announce this ebook:

Paul Zizka’s Guide to Photography in the Canadian Rockies

Banff to Lake Louise Edition

PZP_Promo Images_Rectangle10

Maximize your time and shoot like a local! In this 130-page opinionated guide, seasoned Rockies photographer Paul Zizka gives the inside scoop on 60+ locations between Banff and Lake Louise. Discover his top picks for subjects that are photogenic, inspiring and filled with creative potential.

Order Now Button

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 (four season) 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.

© All contents copyright Paul Zizka and Meghan J. Ward, 2018.

10 Best Backcountry Stays in the Canadian Rockies Featured

I’m all for wilderness, camping and nights spent in the fresh air, under a sea of stars. But, let’s be honest, I also love homecooked meals over a wood stove, a cozy bed and hard walls that keep out the wind and rain better than any tent could.

When you can combine the two, you get the most amazing experience, and thanks to some incredible lodging in the region, we have many options to choose from in the Canadian Rockies. When I’m lugging extra photo gear, not having to pack the tent and cooking supplies is an added bonus.

Here are some of my personal favourites, in no particular order:

Read more

Spring Print Sale! Featured

 

Spice up your walls with the help of our biggest print sale to date! Save 20% on custom prints and small-format prints in our online store using the code SPRINGSALE20 at checkout. Ends May 15th!

SMALL FORMAT (Curated gallery of 12 x 18)

CUSTOM PRINTS (Various Sizes, Formats)

Prints are perfect for office, home, cottage and gifts, and come signed by Paul Zizka. Not finding what you need? Simply send us an email at inquiries@zizka.ca.

 

Upcoming Workshop: The Art of Editing Featured

The Art of Editing, with Paul Zizka

May 26, 2018 – 8am to 5pm

Max 25 participants
Venue: Banff Park Lodge, Lynx Salon

Includes one-year complimentary access to the OFFBEAT Community (value $125)

REGISTER HERE

Editing images is an underrated part of the creative process in photography. For many photographers, it can be the limiting factor to stronger images (whether they are aware of it or not). Good processing skills can often make the difference between a great image and an exceptional one.

AOE Cover Photo EB copy

In this introduction to post-processing, Paul will discuss the importance of editing, and the tools and procedures he feels are most useful to photographers (pulling primarily from his personal toolkit). Topics include:

Read more

10 Years, 10 Photos: Adventures in the Canadian Rockies Featured

Like many mountain dwellers here in the Canadian Rockies, I had my share of “seasons” working summer or winter jobs in various locations in Banff National Park before I finally put down some roots. My first, more permanent, move to Banff was in 2008. The town has provided the ultimate base for exploring for 10 years now.

Here are 10 highlights of one decade of adventure photography in the heart of the Canadian Rockies!

1. Frozen Kingdom

Mountaineering in Mt. Robson Provincial Park

Frozen Kingdom, by Paul Zizka Photography

2. Into the Blue

Booming Ice Chasm, Crowsnest Pass

Into the Blue, by Paul Zizka Photography

3. A Skier’s Dream

Ski touring at Lake O’Hara, Yoho National Park

A Skier's Dream, by Paul Zizka Photography

→ Check out my Resources for Photographing the Canadian Rockies

4. Galactic Glide

Paddling on Goat Pond, Kananaskis

Galactic Glide, by Paul Zizka Photography

5. Sunrise Splash

Kayaking at Bow Lake, Banff National Park

Sunrise Splash, by Paul Zizka Photography

6. Frozen Labyrinth

Robson Glacier, Mt. Robson Provincial Park

Frozen Labyrinth, by Paul Zizka Photography

7. Ridge Ramble

Robson/Resplendent Ridge, Mt. Robson Provincial Park

Ridge Ramble, by Paul Zizka Photography

8. Prisoner

Ice climbing at Panther Falls, Banff National Park

Prisoner, by Paul Zizka Photography

 

9. In the Eye of the Aurora

Ice climbing, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park

In The Eye of the Aurora, by Paul Zizka Photography

10. Winter Drifter

SUP at Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park

Winter Drifter, by Paul Zizka Photography

→ Check out my Resources for Photographing the Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered (Book Trailer) Featured

 

For nearly a decade, Paul Zizka has dedicated himself to exploring the seldom-visited corners of the Canadian Rockies and producing the most original and innovative photographs he can muster. As a photographer and adventurer, he is drawn to the extraordinary. His body of work is the result of both countless nights spent outdoors and demanding ascents of the Rockies’ highest peaks.

The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered provides a freshly curated selection featuring 200 of Zizka’s best mountain photography and elevates the Canadian Rockies to new, unimaginable heights.

Find a copy at in our online store.

DETAILS:
Photographs by Paul Zizka
ISBN 9781771602310
10 x 10 inches
240 pages
hardcover
$50.00 (CAD)
Published by Rocky Mountain Books

Iconic Rockies Winter Photo Tour 2019 Featured

DATES: January 18-22, 2019
INSTRUCTORS: PAUL ZIZKA + WAYNE SIMPSON

Spend four luxurious nights in the majestic Canadian Rockies! Make the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise your ultimate winter base camp while you capture the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and fine-tune your skills under the guidance of experienced photographers on this once-in-a-lifetime photography tour.
Read more

10 Favourite Places to Shoot the Northern Lights Featured

I’ll admit it: the northern lights are intoxicating. For many years I’ve been drawn to cold, northerly destinations, both as a photographer and an adventurer. And beyond the desolate beauty and landscapes of these locations, whether it’s Greenland or Canada’s northern territories, it’s icing on the cake that they also provide us with the best opportunities to shoot the aurora borealis.

Here are my top 10 favourite locations around the globe to shoot the northern lights, in no particular order of preference:

1. Alaska

In a nutshell: Perfect latitude, fantastic scenery to pair up with lights. Cloud cover can be an issue.

When to go: October to March.

Denali National Park, Alaska, USA. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

2. Canadian Prairies

In a nutshell: Nice low horizon, easy access. You need a decent show.

When to go: Year-round.

Canadian Prairies. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

3. Canadian Rockies

In a nutshell: Some of the most incredible skylines to pair with lights. Great displays are rare. High horizons make it more challenging to shoot.

When to go: Year-round.

Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

→ Check out these Resources for Shooting the Canadian Rockies.

4. Greenland

In a nutshell: Zero light pollution, mind-blowing scenery. More difficult/expensive to access. Strong displays frequent.

When to go: September to April.

Greenland. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

→ You’ll also find my Aurora Watching Web Resources here.

5. Iceland

In a nutshell: Easier, cheaper access. Weather can be an issue. Good latitude, great landscapes. More people.

When to go: September to April.

Iceland. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

6. Labrador

In a nutshell: Super dark skies, very wild. Access can be difficult. Some incredible skylines.

When to go: September to April.

Torngat Mountains National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

7. Norway

In a nutshell: Good latitude. Stunning landscapes. Weather can be an issue.

When to go: September to April.

Norway. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

8. Nunavut

In a nutshell: Very little light pollution, incredible scenery. Lower temperatures to deal with. More difficult/expensive to access. Strong displays frequent.

When to go: September to April.

Nunavut. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

9. Northwest Territories

In a nutshell: Very little light pollution, low horizons, surprisingly great access. Strong displays very frequent.

When to go: September to April.

Join OFFBEAT in Yellowknife, September 2018, for our next Nights of Wonder workshop!

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

10. Yukon

In a nutshell: Very little light pollution, fairly easy/inexpensive access. Great latitude for aurora.

When to go: September to April.

Yukon. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

→ Check out my Aurora Watching Web Resources

10 Favourite Spots for Shooting the Northern Lights, by Paul Zizka Photography

Trailer Release: In the Starlight Featured

A few years ago, French filmmaker Mathieu Le Lay reached out to me with the idea for a film. Little did we know that the journey to capture footage would take us to the top of Mt. Whitehorn here in the Canadian Rockies, twice to the remote glaciers and fjords of Greenland and to the desert dunes of Namibia. I’m thrilled to finally be able to share the trailer of the film, which premieres on Ushuaïa TV this month. Follow In the Starlight on Facebook for updates on more screenings!

 

Read more

Top 10 Images of 2017 Featured

Happy 2018!

It’s become a bit of a tradition: this time of year I like to review photographic highlights of my past year. So, please allow me to share 10 favourite images from the past 12 months! Enjoy! 

Note: All of these images are available at limited-edition fine-art prints! You’ll find some info here and please contact us if you’re interested. 

1. “Defeated”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

I was fortunate to join One Ocean Expeditions for 6 weeks in Antarctica in early 2017, and as you can imagine I took a LOT of photographs. This is definitely not among the flashy ones, and it’s not even one of the popular ones either. But I think part of growing as a photographer means having the confidence to put out there what got you going creatively, what pushed you, as opposed to sharing images you know will be an online hit.

This scene was special to me the second I set eyes on it. Our ship, the Vavilov, had reached its southernmost point and as sea ice stretched along the horizon we were forced to turn around. Before we did, the captain rested the ship against the edge of the ice for a few minutes. This lone penguin stood out among the ice-filled scene and the minimalism of the scene was too good to pass up. I ran over to my berth to retrieve the long lens and camera and proceeded to take over 200 shots of these two simple elements: the penguin and the ice edge. This was my favourite one of the lot. When I originally posted this someone commented that it looked like the penguin was falling off a black cliff. I’ve seen it now and I can’t unsee it! 🙂 It’s become one of those illusionary images!

→ Click here for more Antarctica work. 

2. “Eruption”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

No doubt the highlight of the nights this past year in Banff National Park was the big aurora display of May 27-28. It was the most spectacular dance we’d seen in many years in our area.

I started off the night shooting climbing under the aurora, and since the show went on all night, I had time to visit 4 or 5 locations throughout the night. I happened to be at Vermilion Lakes at the peak of the display. At around 2 AM the sky lit up just as it sometimes does at the much higher latitudes. Absolutely incredible.

Click here for a few more of my aurora favourites from the Canadian Rockies.

3. “Labrador Magic”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

How does one even begin to describe the Torngat Mountains of northern Labrador? Here’s a feeble attempt:

Antarctica-like isolation. A healthy population of majestic polar bears, who coexist with black bears. Turquoise glacial lakes. The most rugged mountains in eastern Canada outside of Baffin Island. Behemoth, arched icebergs freshly arrived from Greenland. Archaeological wonders and an incredibly rich history. Abandoned, eerie missions. Thriving marine life. Never-ending fjords and some of the highest sea cliffs in the world.

Not that we needed it to make the trip memorable, but we also watched the aurora dance above noctilucent clouds one night. Unforgettable. Super thankful to be able to go back to that area with several fellow photographers I now call friends as part of our OFFBEAT workshop.

Click here for more images from the Torngat Mountains National Park. 

4. “One vs Ten”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Alone with the Ten Peaks. Every year I make the trip to Moraine Lake after the road closes. I went in three times this past winter, and each time offered a quiet, meditative experience amongst one of the most recognizable skylines on Earth.

I wasn’t actually alone that night, as Mathieu Le Lay accompanied me to shoot for an upcoming film of his. It was a cold but gorgeous night at the lake, with the moon just about to rise and the clouds racing overhead. I went partway up the Rockpile for an elevated view in this self-portrait. Then I arrived back home in Banff 30 minutes before the little one woke up to take over from the sitters! 

5. “Namibian Curves”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

I made this image during a November trip to Namibia, and it ended up being one of the most popular prints of 2017. Here’s the story…

We were on our Chronicles of Namibia workshop, wrapping up a wonderful evening of shooting in the Sossusvlei area. On the drive back to camp, this most simple composition caught my eye. For about 10 seconds I wrestled with the idea of briefly stopping to photograph it but also knew our group really had to get back.

The opportunity being too good to pass up I announced: “Sorry guys, two minute stop. Just have to.” As I pulled over, I realized the last vehicle in our caravan, just behind us, was also stopping. No doubt someone in there had seen the same thing out of their window.

Indeed, Aaron Cherman (@abcherman) had. Both he and Jon Handforth Photography got different compositions of this stunning scene. We made it back through the gate with just a few minutes to spare but it was well worth it: probably my favourite image from my time in Namibia.

I’m so looking forward to heading back there next November. Our trip is selling out quickly – just a few spots left now. Check out the details here if interested: http://bit.ly/2pCUHg0

6. “Crescent Climber”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Regardless of the whole photography aspect, one big story of 2017 (in North America anyways) was the total solar eclipse of August 21.

This shot was a real last-minute adventure. I love summer in the Canadian Rockies too much to go anywhere else at that time of year, so I never considered heading South to witness totality. However, the night prior to the event, it crossed my mind that even just the partial eclipse that we would see at out latitude could make for a rare photo opportunity.

I reached out to my friend Mike Stuart, a Canmore-based mountain guide who runs Canadian Alpine Guides, and asked if he’d be willing to be part of an eclipse shoot. He kindly agreed and I started looking at potential locations. At eclipse time, the Moon was quite high in the sky so I needed something steep to line things up properly. Ha Ling Peak in Canmore seemed ideal: near-vertical, with the perfect orientation, and easy access to both the base and the top.

The morning of, I used PhotoPills to get a good idea of where the moon and sun would show up, and was in constant contact with Mike on the radio as he wandered up to the ridge and rappelled down the north side. After a few hectic minutes of running around through the forest along the base of the mountains, and constantly repositioning Mike, we ended up with a few decent images. I liked the clean look of this one and Mike’s size relative to the Moon/Sun. I was concerned about the clouds but they really helped control the amount of light coming in, so ended up being a blessing.

7. “Greenlandic Dream”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

I’m addicted to Greenland. After three trips there, it has become my favourite place in the world (perhaps other than my home). The island just defies description. “Epic” seems weak.

The latest trip there was for the sole purpose of shooting for In the Starlight, which comes out in a few weeks. I shot this image on a very special night. Mother Nature aligned the most spectacular skies possible (a G4 geomagnetic storm, the most significant one this year) with the most jagged skyline possible. And we were ready for it, perched high across the Tasermiut fjord. I still have hundreds of photos from that September night I haven’t looked at!

8. “The Fables Faroes”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

The Faroe Islands are incredibly photogenic and quickly climbing on many people’s top destination lists. It’ll be interesting to see how the Faroese handle the rapid rise in visitation.

One of the key features of the Faroes is they boast the highest sea cliffs in the world. The one shown here is not even one of the big ones, but to me it conveys the feel of the place. I also chose this image because it’s a more original take on the place than some of the other photos I gathered. There are a few iconic, obvious compositions in the Faroe Islands (I’ll post some in the comments) but there is still much to do photographically.

Very much looking forward to heading back in 2019 for another OFFBEAT workshop!

9. “A Tribute to Human Invention”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Six people zoom through the sky at 27,000 kilometres per hour as another human (almost) effortlessly climbs his way out of a glacial moulin. And in 2018 we now have the camera technology to capture scenes like this. Makes my head spin!

Big thanks to Takeshi and Amy for venturing into the Athabasca Glacier Icefalls with me that night. And thanks to the International Space Station for its impeccable timing!

10. “Under the Surface”

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

I know, another ice shot. What can I say? Ice has been at the centre of my photo journey for a few years now. I never tire of exploring and photographing ice in all its forms. It is a subject that keeps surprising.

This was taken on the Greenlandic icecap with an AquaTech underwater housing while shooting for In the Starlight. Finally, we had found the types of features we had been looking for. Those supraglacial lakes looked perhaps even better under the surface than from above.

Behind the Image: Emergence Featured

“Emergence.”

I took this black-and-white on a shooting marathon at Mount Assiniboine a few years ago. I only had two nights in the area and the conditions were so good I went without sleep to make the most of the opportunity. I went everything over those 48 hours: in thunderstorms, fresh snow, aurora borealis, inversions, fogbows, you name it. And it was late September, that time of year when the larches are glowing gold – arguably the best time of year for photography in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.

After a night shooting the northern lights and running around to try to find breaks in the cloud cover, I finally decided to return to the Naiset Huts to catch a nap since I could no longer escape the clouds. Just as I was about the enter the cabin (which was already nearly full of fast-asleep people), I spotted a few stars glowing above the mountains. No rest for the wicked! I realized the clouds were an inversion and that a sunrise at the Nub (a nearby spot which is the most photographed backcountry location in the Canadian Rockies) could offer great potential.

As I made my way past Assiniboine Lodge, I did a double-take when I caught a glimpse of the pyramid of Mount Assiniboine floating in the dawn sky, all lit up in alpenglow. It was an absolutely incredible sight. I was pretty determined to get up to the Nub, but felt the scene that was immediately available guaranteed an image more unique than anything I could hope for at the popular vantage point higher up.

I set up the tripod, pulled out the long lens, and took a few frames of this scene, as the clouds were constantly swirling. This was my favourite one. The fog below kept the base of the mountain quite dark, while the alpenglow lit up its higher sections. The dark blue sky above bookended the composition, and made it look like the “Matterhorn of the Rockies” was doing a levitation act.

Shot with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens, at ISO 400, 30 seconds, f/11. I often use this image in workshops as an example of the power of compressions and isolation of the long lens in landscape photography. I hope you like the image and the story!

This image is available as a custom, limited edition print.

Resources for Photographing the Canadian Rockies Featured

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. Read more

Journey to the White Continent Featured

Antarctica.

It always seemed so unattainable to me. But after two days at sea, and a year of anticipation, I was mesmerized when we first caught sight of a few rocks off Elephant Island through the thick fog – harbingers of our imminent arrival on the fabled White Continent. There is no wilder place on Earth, nowhere more remote, more inhospitable.

And as I found out over the six weeks following that moment in early January 2017, you’d be hard-pressed as a photographer to find another location on the planet that is more overwhelming. The photo opportunities just kept on coming, and I’ll never forget the sense of remoteness, the way life thrived on a whole other level, and the scale of the land down there. I’m thankful for One Ocean Expeditions for bringing me on board.

Read more

Introducing: Clouds-B-Gone Filters Featured

I’m proud to announce that I’ve teamed up with NiSi Filters to create a custom product for the astrophotographers out there: the Clouds-B-Gone filter! The cutting-edge optics of this filter cut through cloud cover and allow you to photograph what’s hidden beyond. You’ll never miss a display of aurora borealis or a meteor shower ever again!

Available in 67mm, 77mm, and 82mm diameters.

→ORDER YOURS TODAY!

MORE CUSTOM PAUL ZIZKA PRODUCTS:

At Paul Zizka Photography we aspire to bring you innovative products that will take your photography to the next level:

BUBBLE-O-MATIC

A behind-the-scenes from the now-famous Lake Minnewanka bubble shoots a few winters ago. This is how we did it.

And now you can do it, too! Introducing “Bubble-O-Matic”, a set of convenient, lightweight carpets that will allow you to take the methane bubbles with you wherever you go.

Also available in “Hoar Frost” and “Spreading Cracks” varieties.

Starts at $19.99 per square foot.

→ORDER YOURS TODAY!
 
 
 
 

INSTA-FLECTION

Having made the most of ice-free, reflective lakes throughout the summer, come November we struggle to find open water that will mirror those surreal skies. But, why wait until the spring to shoot reflected scenes when you can do it year-round?

Insta-flections are so simple to use: simply unroll the mirror-like mat across the iced up water body, and watch the magic happen. Available in the following sizes: 10 square feet, 100 square feet and 10 square miles.

→ORDER YOURS TODAY!
 
 

PORT-A-GROUNDS

We’ve all been there: conditions are perfect, except you can’t find a foreground to make the shot a winner. Well, search for that foreground no more and order one of our portable, inflatable foregrounds!

Boulders available in limestone and granite.

→ORDER YOURS TODAY!

Iconic Rockies Photo Tour 2017 Featured

DATES: OCTOBER 1-6, 2017
INSTRUCTORS: PAUL ZIZKA + WAYNE SIMPSON

Spend five luxurious nights in the majestic Canadian Rockies! Make the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise your ultimate base camp while you capture the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and fine-tune your skills under the guidance of experienced photographers on this once-in-a-lifetime photography workshop. Read more

Paul Zizka Photography: Top 16 of 2016 Featured

As a photographer, I love to take some time each December to review what was created over the last year. I know I’ve taken a few images that are compelling to me if I can look at them and re-live my year through them. So, please allow me to share 16 images that are special to me, as well as the stories behind them. These are not necessarily images that others liked or that made a killing on social media, but they’re shots that got me fired up creatively. Enjoy!

Click on any image to enlarge and start the slideshow.

Journey Through the Torngat Mountains Featured

The Torngats.

The name alone evokes a sense of mystery. Tucked into one of the most remote parts of Canada lies one of the last frontiers for landscape photographers and explorers alike: the Torngat Mountains. The area is an incredibly wild mix that fires up the imagination: Norway-like fjords, glacier remnants (and the associated turquoise lakes), a healthy polar bear population, jagged icebergs freshly arrived from Greenland, aurora-filled skies, cultural treasures, archeological gems, rich marine life, and some of the highest, most rugged peaks in all of Eastern Canada.

“Forgotten World” Of all the images I have posted from the Torngat Mountains National Park, this aerial view of the Southwest Arm is probably the one that is most representative of what the place is like. Part Norway, part Canadian Rockies, part Nunavut, yet unlike anywhere else I have gone before. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Best of all, all that incredible wilderness is now protected through the national parks system, and it is accessible to the adventurous-minded via the recently-established Torngats Base Camp. Read more

Photographer’s Review: Why Manfrotto Tripods Stand The Test of Time Featured

The Rockies can be tough on a photographer, not to mention on the gear needed to capture incredible landscapes and skylines. Cold, wind, dark nights and snow up to your knees can be merciless, especially without solid equipment to help get the job done well.

As a nature photographer who has ventured around the globe, confidence in my gear is crucial. I need to know that my tripod will not underperform, fall apart or inhibit me in any way as I head into the backcountry for days on end.

Enter Manfrotto. A company I’ve come to rely on over many years for several reasons. Here’s why:

1. Durability

I’ve shot in salt water in French Polynesia, on glaciers during the winter in the Canadian Rockies, and in desert-like landscapes in the Yukon. These harsh conditions allow for no compromise when it comes to the quality and durability of my equipment. Plus, I’m not the kind of photographer that’s easy on gear or has the time to stick to the maintenance schedule. When I come back from a trip, I can toss my Manfrotto tripod in the car or the corner of the office and not pick it up again until I head back out.

The salty seas of French Polynesia made for a good test for the Manfrotto tripod. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

The salty seas of French Polynesia made for a good test for the Manfrotto tripod. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

2. Reliability

I often shoot in spots that are far from the road, which can mean several days from a gear shop or any kind of product support. Weight is a concern during these trips, so bringing a backup is not an option. I need peace of mind that my one tripod will last over several days, through extreme humidity, landscapes submerged in water, dusty, silty environments and the bitter cold of Northern Canada. I’ve had little issues with Manfrotto in places like these.

Textures in sand, Kluane, Yukon Territory. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Textures in sand, Kluane, Yukon Territory. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

3. Ease of Use

Timing is everything when you’re shooting adventure photography. You don’t have time to fight with your gear – you need it to be on your team and to make your job easier. And no one wants to take their mitts off when it’s -40 degrees Celsius.

Manfrotto’s ease of use allows me to operate my tripod while shooting auroras during dark winter nights. My gloves get to stay on, and I can easily switch on my headlamp to see and adjust the height and angle of tripod legs while rotating the ball head to achieve the composition I’m after.

Shooting in colder conditions in Greenland. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Shooting in colder conditions in Greenland. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

4. Versatility & Range

With just one piece of Manfrotto gear, I can work in a variety of environments. I take a lighter weight version with me into in the field and a heavier duty version for the extreme places. But every photographer is different. Chances are they’ve got a tripod that closely suits what you do as a photographer; all you have to do is ask them.

Manfrotto and I are in it for the long haul. Bring on the arctic temps, star-lit skies and long exposure.

Curious what I use?

MT055CXPRO4 legs with the MHXPRO-BHQ2 ballhead (heavy duty setup).

190 Carbon Fibre 4-Section camera tripod (lighter setup)

Here’s the list of all my gear. 

Paul Zizka Photography is proudly sponsored by Manfrotto. However, this article was posted without any review or input from Manfrotto.

Classic Canadian Rockies Calendar (2017) Now Available! Featured

I’m excited to announce that you can now PRE-ORDER the 2017 Classic Canadian Rockies Calendar, by Paul Zizka!

We’ll be printing these in the coming weeks, and by putting in a pre-order you can guarantee to get your hands on one (or however many you choose to order!).

 

→ Order yours here

2017 Classic Canadian Rockies Calendar by Paul Zizka

Details:

Enjoy the best the Canadian Rockies have to offer through a collection of Paul Zizka’s classic photographs from this spectacular region. This large-format (11″ x 13″), 12-month calendar features a dramatic and varied array of Rockies landscape images – from aurora-filled skies to fiery sunsets, snow-capped peaks and jaw-dropping mountain vistas. 

Choose from one or a bundle of two calendars! Optional add-on to have the calendar signed by the photographer himself.

Size 11″ x 13″

Shipping/duties and taxes extra. Ships worldwide.

You can place an order in our online store here!

Climbing and Photographing the Ten Peaks Featured

This summer, I climbed the tenth and final summit of the famous “Ten Peaks” that tower over Moraine Lake. I didn’t originally set out to climb all of them, but after I completed the first few it grew into a side project to climb the rest and photograph from their summits. The resulting photos from this journey have recently been featured on Crowfoot Media in an interview with Kyla Jacobs!

Excerpt:

From the summit of Mt. Bowlen, with Moraine Lake far below. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

From the summit of Mt. Bowlen, with Moraine Lake far below. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

KJ/ Did you originally set out with the goal of climbing the Ten Peaks?

PZ/ Not at all. A few years ago I had the opportunity to stay in the Neil Colgan Hut, Canada’s highest permanent structure between Mounts Little and Bowlen. This was a chance to climb some of the peaks that I’d been photographing for some time, but from one thousand meters higher. It was the perfect occasion to shoot in the opposite direction, down onto Moraine Lake.

After this first trip, climbing the remaining peaks to photograph from their summits became a side project that took seven years to complete, the last peak being Wenkchemna, which I climbed this past July.

KJ/ Which was your most memorable climb in the Ten Peaks?

PZ/ Deltaform Mountain (Peak 8). I climbed with a friend, the conditions were spot on and I was able to head home having captured several images I liked.

On this particular climb, we spent the night at one of the most stunning bivy sites I’ve ever experienced. Perched up between Peaks 8 and 9 on a crystal clear night, the auroras came out. After looking at these peaks from below for quite some time, it was memorable, to say the least.

KJ/ Which peak was the most challenging?

[…]

CONTINUE READING on CrowfootMedia.com → Ten Peaks, Seven Years, Countless Steps: Q+A with Paul Zizka

 

Fairmont Photo Workshop in Banff and Lake Louise with Paul Zizka Featured

DATES: OCTOBER 2-7, 2016
INSTRUCTORS: PAUL ZIZKA + WAYNE SIMPSON

Spend five luxurious nights in the majestic Canadian Rockies! Make the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise your ultimate base camp while you capture the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and fine-tune your skills under the guidance of experienced photographers on this once-in-a-lifetime photography workshop.

Catered towards intermediate and advanced photographers, here’s your chance to explore the Rockies’ most iconic locations and hidden gems with award-winning landscape photographers Paul Zizka and Wayne Simpson. This workshop will bring you new confidence in many aspects of photography – including composition and techniques you can use in the field and in post-processing – and will help you maximize everything your mountain subjects have to offer.

Photo by Paul Zizka.

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

• Five (5) nights accommodation in a Fairmont room for up to 2 adults
• Two (2) nights at Fairmont Banff Springs and Three (3) nights at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
• All photography sessions with Paul Zizka and Wayne Simpson
• All meals listed in the schedule, plus early morning coffee (or hot beverage of your choice) and snacks on  the bus
• Please advise us of any dietary preferences at the time of booking
• All transportation between hotels and to shooting locations on a comfortable 24 seat tour bus
• Simply arrive in Banff on October 2nd and you won’t have to drive again until we return to Banff on October 7th. If you bring a vehicle, parking is included in Banff for the week.
• Snacks, pillows and other comforts always available
• Hotel History Tours, Canoe Rentals and Guided Hike listed in the schedule
• All taxes, gratuities, service charges and regular wifi
• Incidentals are not covered in the package

Paul Zizka Workshop Itinerary and Information 

RATES:

There is only space for 15 photography participants, so you will have plenty of opportunities for one-on-one instruction from Paul Zizka and Wayne Simpson. There are a few spots available for spouses/friends that would like to join the package, but not participate in the photography sessions.
• $3,279 for a single photographer in a room
• $4,259 total for two people sharing one room (one bed) and only one participating in photography sessions
• $5,129 total for two photography participants sharing one room/bed (no two bed room options available)

Rates are available for a limited number of guests wishing to join the group but not partake in the photo sessions – first requested, first reserved. Upgraded room accommodations are available for additional rates (no two bed room options available).

To reserve this package or inquire for more details, contact Davina Bernard. Due to the limited spaces, online bookings will not be available. Davina.Bernard@Fairmont.com or 403-522-1638.

A 50% deposit is required at time of reservation with the remainder due 3 weeks before the start of the package (September 12, 2016). Refunds will only be available if the event is completely sold out and another participant registers for the open spot. Package will be cancelled if registration is less than eight people. Participation waivers are required to be signed upon package reservation.

20% Off Summer Print Sale Featured

We’re stoked that summer is finally here, and to celebrate we’re offering 20% off limited edition prints by Paul Zizka! If you have had your eye on any prints, this is a good opportunity to make an order.

Simply use the promo code SUMMER20PZP when you order before July 31, 2016!

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

You can use this promo code in two places:

  1. Shop on our small format print boutique (all prints are 12 x 18)l
  2. Order a custom print! You choose the image, size, and format!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at inquiries@zizka.ca.

Thanks, and happy summer!

Paul

Behind the Image: Glowing Home Featured

Glowing Home - SUP at Two Jack Lake, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Glowing Home – SUP at Two Jack Lake, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Here is another example of combining two cool things to hopefully get something cooler than the sum of its parts.

I love to photograph people who are truly passionate about what they do. I don’t mind if my subjects are not the best in the world at what they’re doing. I just love documenting people doing what they enjoy most. (Although I gotta say – Sue, shown here, is pretty amazing at stand up paddleboarding!).

I’ve worked with Sue extensively on a SUP series over the last year or so. She has everything I look for in a model. She is dedicated to her craft. She is an overall awesome person. She knows what it takes to get good images and she is willing to stick it out and put herself through a lot to make an image happen.

The conversation eventually leading to this shot went something like:

Me: “Hey, Sue, you know that Milky Way shot we’ve been wanting to take? I think the conditions will be ideal tonight. The Milky Way will be in the right spot. They’re calling for very little wind. And we’re nearly guaranteed a clear night.”

Sue: “Perfect. I’m in. Meet you there after work. ” (typical Sue response)

Me: “There’s only one thing. The shot can’t happen until at least 3 AM because that’s when the galaxy shows up beside Mount Rundle.”

Sue: “No problem.”

Yeah, that’s how keen Sue is.

Read more

11 Dream Locations Photographers Should Know About Featured

Well before I started in photography I already had a passion for exploring lesser-known parts of the planet and remote landscapes. When I picked up the camera, it was only natural that I use photography to document some of my experiences in these kinds of destinations. As much as I believe that good photos can happen anywhere, even in the backyard, I feel fortunate to have spent time photographing those locations that have so much photo potential, yet generally fall off the radar. The world is full of these gems – the underdocumented, rarely visited or overlooked. While some places will remain that way for some time due to difficulty or costs of access, for others it may be only a matter of time before they become as popular as the current photo hot spots. There is much, much more to explore, but here are eleven locations that hold a special place for me and that remain largely obscure.

1. Greenland

Greenland, by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Greenland has off-the-charts natural beauty, remoteness and variety. Between the dramatic seascapes, icebergs, volcanic landscape, incredible night skies and biggest glaciers outside of Antarctica, you’ve got more than enough material to fill your memory card.

2. Vanuatu

Vanuatu, by Paul Zizka Photography.

Matavai Blue Hole,Vanuatu. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Vanuatu is another destination that offers a ton of variety: cultural opportunities, volcanoes, lush forests banyan trees, caves and incredible underwater photography.

3. Saba

Saba. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Saba. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Saba is a place like no other. If you think all Caribbean Islands are the same, think again. Here a rugged landscape combines with a unique ‘urban’ culture, where the exterior paint on homes is standardized island-wide, creating a surreal feeling. Throw in thick forest and lava floes and you’ll have a lot of fun exploring.

4. Niue

Niue. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Talava Arches, Niue. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Like Saba, Niue has a surreal feeling, mostly due to its isolation in the South Pacific and unique geology. Here you’ll find caves, arches, incredible coral formations, and some of the clearest water on the planet. Being a raised atoll, much of the geology of the island is exposed instead of under water.

5. Dominica

Dominica. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Emerald Pool, Dominica. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Here’s a Caribbean Island with a truly Jurassic feel. It is incredibly rugged compared to neighbours Guadalupe, Martinique and St. Martin/Maarten. Dominica is waterfall central with a lush rainforest and the only remaining Carib culture in the Caribbean.

6. Baffin Island, Nunavut

Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Nunavut. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

St. George Society Cliffs near Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Nunavut. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Baffin Island hosts some of the most rugged terrain on Planet Earth. Incredible fjords and towering peaks gather here to create a sense of vastness that is difficult to grasp. If you ever want to feel insignificant in a landscape, go to Baffin Island.

7. Ethiopia

Ethiopia, by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ethiopia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Beyond the caves and ancient churches, many people don’t know about the natural beuaty of Ethiopia. It has got one of the most varied landscapes on Earth, between desert, canyons, big lakes, volcanoes and mountains.

8. Maupiti, French Polynesia

Maupiti, French Polynesia, by Paul Zizka Photography.

Maupiti, French Polynesia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Maupiti has an edge-of-the-world feel, with more shades of blue and green than I have ever seen. Here a rugged peak of the central island contrasts strikingly with sandbars and lagoons. If you don’t want the crowds and development of Bora Bora, make the trip to Maupiti.

9. New Caledonia

New Caledonia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Baie du Santal, Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

New Caledonia has some of the most mesmerizing waters I have ever seen. It is a colourful nation to explore between the vibrant blue bays, red earth, and green vegetation. Here it’s easy to find your own little bay to photograph knowing that no one will show up for weeks.

10. Faroe Islands

Hiking on Vágar Faroe Islands. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Hiking on Vágar Faroe Islands. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Ruggedness, wild weather and various shades of green define these teeth jutting out of the middle of the North Atlantic – the Faroe Islands. With some of the largest sea cliffs on earth, this place is all about drama. When the weather breaks and you get the clear skies at night, you can also get the aurora borealis.

11. Anegada, British Virgin Islands

Anegada, British Virgin Islands. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Anegada, British Virgin Islands. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.

Like no other island I’ve ever seen, Anegada rests only 28 feet above sea level and is encircled by a perfect (and I mean perfect) white-sand beach. In the interior you’ll find salt lakes full of birds and flamingos. When you’re on Anegada it’s easy to forget that the rest of theworld exist. A great spot for minimalist beach shots and night skies (and if you’re a diver, some of the best shipwreck dives on the planet).

——————–

→ CreativeLive offers fantastic online photography courses, including The Fundamentals of Digital Photography with award-winning outdoor and travel photographer, John Greengo. Check out all of their photography courses, as well as photography for beginners.

 

Thoughts on Adventure, Over-Documentation and Disconnecting Featured

As someone who has been doing adventure photography for a few years now, one of the most significant trends I’ve seen is the increasing external pressure to document. Everything. Everywhere.

Everything. Everywhere.

“You really need to start doing video.”

“Why aren’t you on (insert social media platform here)?”

“You should really do some more behind-the-scenes.”

“With this new device, you can update from way out in the backcountry.”

I appreciate it when an audience shows interest in whatever goes into the images, and the lifestyle that surrounds it. I can also appreciate the desire to see things documented; that’s what got me into photography in the first place.

So, why am I not doing all those things I could be doing?

Read more

Canadian Creatives: Our Favourite Images Featured

Just under a year ago I teamed up with fellow Canadian photographers, Dave Brosha and John Marriott, to launch Canadian Creatives, a collective that aims to celebrate creativity in Canadian photography, and that showcases the best images from across the country and across several genres.

The initiative first started out on Instagram, and has been quick to gather attention on there. Over the last few months, we added to our team of curators some of the most talented and versatile photographers in Canada: Joel Robison, Viktoria Haack, Wayne Simpson and Lanny & Erika Mann.

To kick off 2016, we thought we would create a joint blog showcasing an image by one of our fellow Canadian Creative curators. We were each randomly given a name and it was our task to choose a 2015 image from that person, and then say a few words about why we felt it was cutting-edge, compelling work.

Please take a moment to check out the Instagram and Canadian Creatives portfolio of each of my colleagues and don’t forget to tag your Instagram images with #CanadianCreatives for an opportunity to share your work with our growing community.

Joel Robison

 Image by Joel Robison  @joelrobison or Canadian Creatives Portfolio

Text by Erika Jensen-Mann of Two Mann Studios:

Lately, I’ve been spending a huge portion of my life researching creativity and the creative process. As a wedding photojournalist, I don’t feel like I “create” images. I photograph moments, as they unfold before my eyes. The only thing I have to “create” is the composition, and in some cases the lighting. Joel Robinson, on the other hand, is a true creative. He creates an image from start to finish, in every sense of the word. He creates the concept, the story, the props, the lighting, the execution, and something undefinable that I can’t quite put into words. Joel’s images have a dream-like quality that completely draws me in. In the image I selected he is sitting on top of the world (literally) casting a paper boat into the ocean. The interpretation of this image can go in so many different directions, depending on where you are with life. In my opinion, a true piece of art is defined by how it engages the viewer. A piece of art draws people in to think, not just about what they’re looking at, but about what it means. All of Joel’s images draw me in, in this manner. I have no idea why I selected this image as my favourite, probably because I’ve spent the year travelling the world with my family. Under different circumstances, I may have chosen a completely different image. That’s the beauty of Joel’s work.

Read more

Top 15 Images of 2015, by Paul Zizka Featured

2015 was one of the best years yet, with my travels taking me to some places on my bucket list, such as Arctic Bay, Nunavut, and Greenland (can you tell I like Northern destinations?). Additionally, I was treated to a successful ascent of Mt. Robson, family time in Belize, some spectacular sessions shooting the aurora borealis, and various adventures here in the Canadian Rockies.

It is difficult to summarize a whole year in just 15 images, but these were some of the ones that stuck out most for me or perhaps provide me with the strongest memories. Each image has a story unto itself (a story I offer each month in my newsletter). Here, I’ll tell you the story behind by far one of the most popular images of the year, as well as one from a skating trip I won’t soon forget! The Top 15 list follows below.

Read more

Photo Essay: An Ascent of Mt. Robson Featured

As a photographer, I’ve had a dynamic relationship with Mt. Robson. For my first summit attempt of the 3,954-metre peak in 2013, I was invited by Mike Stuart from Canadian Alpine Guides to document his climb with one of his long-term clients. That attempt ended at the base of the Kain Face, which never hardened enough to allow for safe climbing.

A shot from August 2013, when Mike Stuart, Randy Colwell and I were turned around by warm temperatures. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

A shot from August 2013, when Mike Stuart, Randy Colwell and I were turned around by warm temperatures. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Then in 2014, I worked with BC Parks to capture aerial footage of The King. I wasn’t there to climb the mountain, but the helicopter brought us so close to the summit ridge that I thought my dangling feet might touch down for a moment. The shoot gave me a new perspective on the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and it was one of the highlights of my career as a photographer.

Then, this year, the stars aligned for me to be back on Mt. Robson for another attempt at the summit. This time, I teamed up with BC Parks Ranger, Jesse Milner, who is an amazing and incredibly skilled mountaineering partner (that and it’s hard to find someone else more knowledgeable when it comes to Mt. Robson Provincial Park!).

Here are some images from our 2015 ascent of Mt. Robson, Resplendent and The Helmet.

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Summoning the Spirits: 10 Aurora Images from the Canadian Rockies Featured

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, are by far one the most majestic and awe-inspiring natural phenomena we can enjoy during our time on this Earth. Like spirits in the sky, they enchant and entrance us, keeping us up for hours on end as they move through the sky, disappearing and reappearing again with sudden and surprising new patterns.

Capturing them involves a combination of factors: keeping a keen eye on the data (you’ll find a list of Aurora Watching Web Resources here), being ready when the light show begins (even if it’s 3am…), and finding clear, dark skies to optimize your chances of seeing them. Luckily, here in the Canadian Rockies, we have very little light pollution, so when conditions are right, you’ve got a good chance of seeing them.

Here are ten of my favourite aurora images from the past year! For me, having people in the shots adds scale and a sense of wonder for these magical, sometimes eerie, lights in the sky.

Awestruck by the auroras at Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Awestruck by the auroras at Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ice climbing under the aurora borealis at the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

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