Jasper National Park in Alberta is definitely one of my favorite weekend locations. It’s relatively close to home in just a little over three hours by car, and while accommodations throughout the busy tourist season can get pricey, my preference of my tent and a campfire makes for an affordable photographic trip. I set forth a couple of weeks ago for my first camping/photo venture of the year with hopes of big morning light and the warm hues of an evening setting sun.
Heavily overcast mornings removed any hopes of stunning morning colors in the sky at sunrise and having set no particular plans for locations, I found myself, much like a cat attracted to shiny objects, stopping at every pond, slough, creek, river and pools of water that caught my eye. Just off the highway, this little reflecting pool beamed out at me as the mid morning clouds began to disperse.
Throughout the years Parks Canada has always done their best at preventing forest fires in Jasper but research has resulted in a better understanding of forest ecology. Fires are now viewed as a rejuvenation process rather than one of destruction and it is common for parks management teams to use controlled “prescribed burns” in order to reduce the risk of wildfires. While introducing nutrients to the land and improving ecosystem life and wildlife habitat, these burns also reduce the spread of the dreaded mountain pine beetle which can have devastating effects on our pine forests.
While I am uncertain if a wildfire or a prescribed burn is the result, the burned trees gives this full frame image a different perspective to forest life. I took a high key approach to exposing this image. Minor adjustments in lightroom and a quick touch with tonal contrast in Nik was all that was required to produce the final results of the above images.
As always, I can never resist an opportunity for an impressionistic blur!
Climbing back up a bank after scouting a potential pool for photographic possibilities, I learned from a fellow parks visitor that not long before I headed down to the pool, a black bear and her two cubs were spotted in the area. I also learned that he had waited to make sure I returned safely from this brief hike without the misfortune of being chased out or even worse, becoming lunch for an angry mother bear and her cubs! A big thanks to John Giannakos for watching my back! We began to chat and I learned that John was into bear education and conservation along with also being a fantastic bear photographer and a Nikon shooter as well! We both share the same philosophies when it comes to photographing wildlife in the parks. In essence, we don’t chase after the bears or any wildlife for that matter and we both like to have a low impact such that the wildlife is not disturbed or stressed by our presence. So another big thanks to John for sharing his “ secrets” on photographing bears in the park. I didn’t get too many bear images on this trip but boy oh boy do I wish I had that 600mm John was sporting! :mrgreen:
After chatting with John I was really pumped and spent the rest of the weekend trying to spot bears and other wildlife. While not too many photo opportunities were encountered, any time spent in the Rocky Mountains of Jasper National Park far outweighs a great day at our day jobs! Please feel free to click on an image to view larger size.
Resting Elk: Nikon D3s, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 , ISO 800, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, handheld
Until next time…