I wanted to take a “fall” trip to Banff and Kananaskis for a number of shoots that I planned to do. Well the trip was more like a winter trip than fall and I never got any of the shots that I went for. I did manage to get chased away from an area that I wanted to shoot by a warden, something about no camping and well I did fall asleep while I was waiting for the snow flurries to stop falling – which they never did all night!!!! Still had a great time. I can tell you that some of the back roads in southern Alberta are not fit for driving this time of year. Some MAJOR ruts and challenges!
I went to Claresholm and decided to head west over the Skyline trail to highway 22. With a wet road it was a challenge to actually make it up the hill. When I got to the top it was not that great of a view with the low clouds and the photo opportunities were not there. I love this road but it seems like I never get there in the summer and when I am there the weather is usually bad. From there I decided to head up to the Bar U ranch as seeing the snow fall in the valley below gave me the idea to get an early winter picture with fresh snow and some leaves at the ranch.
As much as it was snowing in other areas the ranch was clear, nice leaves but no snow – so no pictures. Then I headed to Kananaskis to the Highwood Pass. I love the Pass and a light snow makes it looks amazing!! Well it had a nice light dusting of snow BUT lots of people, the little parking lot at the summit was packed. So I continued my journey to Canmore on the the Smith Dorrien Spray Trail . I cannot say enough about how much you should avoid this road!!! IT IS SOOOO BUMPY it is not funny!! Sad as it could be an amazing drive if it was graded regularly!!
From Canmore I drove to Banff with the hope of a couple night shoots but no go. Did have a good nights sleep after I got chased away from the Hoodoos. My first day was not one to remember from the picture standpoint but I did get to see a lot of amazing scenery.
The second day was a lot better for pictures. Starting in Lake Louise I traveled back on the Bow Valley Parkway towards Banff and stopped at Morant’s Curve. Again the light and the colors were nice but nothing amazing. I love the Bow Valley Parkway and had a great drive back that was worth the trip in itself. No pictures but the early fall drive in the mountains was great!!
Kananaskis here I come
Once I left Banff and made it back to Kananaskis Country the snow really started to come down and made me REALLY glad to have the van for all the amenities. Stopping to explore was fun but it was even more fun returning to a warm van. At Highwood pass the snow plows were out clearing snow but that did not keep the people away, by 9 am the parking lot was full. A quick stop and some pictures and it was on the road towards Longview.
I was once again headed to the Bar U for pictures but also for lunch as the restaurant there is GREAT!!! Part way down the hill into Longview I could not resist the Bighorn Sheep and I had to stop for some pictures. After a few hundred pictures it was on to the Bar U. With all the snow falling up higher and around Longview there was NOTHING again at the Bar U, not a snowflake anyplace. Oh well, not to waste the stop I did get my lunch and was very glad to sit in a warm visitor center and watch the mountains while I had my burger.
So where is fall????
After lunch I made a couple more quick stops to check out the views and it was back home. Overall there were not a lot of photo opportunities, the low cloud made many of the pictures that I wanted look flat . I did get some great pictures but once again it was things that I did not expect.
A couple things that I noticed from this trip, first it was cold. If you have not packed some emergency supplies in your vehicle it is time to do so. Second with as cold as it was not a lot of migrating birds were around. The ponds and lakes were actually empty considering what time of year it is. I am hoping that fall will come back now so we all can enjoy the changing of the seasons. If it does come back I want to make another trip to Banff before winter but I will have to see.