What can I say about my first trip to Canada? I visited Alberta during fall, on an Instagram campaign run by the Canadian Tourism Commission.
Of course I knew that Canada would be beautiful, but nothing prepared me for my first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. Rising majestically from the ground, the mountains gave me reason to pause and exhale.
I had never seen anything more beautiful than the tree-lined road leading to the Rockies on our way out of Calgary.
I insisted our guide, and fellow photographer, Jeff Bartlett, stop so we could spend half an hour shooting this first sight, even after Jeff repeatedly told me that the view would get better. Of course, I didn’t believe him and had to pinch myself when his words came true.
Beauty upon beauty assaulted my eyes and not a day went by where I wasn’t able to capture a favourite photo. But to this day, my first images remain my favourite and when I’m asked how I captured such stunning photos, my answer is that the scenery was so beautiful you could use any camera to get these amazing photographs.
Canada simply is an incredibly beautiful country and I look forward to many more visits.
The words that come to my mind to describe Alberta are majestic, mystical, wild, spectacular, otherworldly, tranquil, vibrant and, best of all, untouched.
1-Majestic – First Glimpse of the Rocky Mountains
I don’t remember what road we were on but this was my first glimpse of snow on the faraway peaks. It was my first time seeing so many beautiful trees and I couldn’t have asked for fluffier clouds or a more strategically placed jet trail.
2-Mystical – Peyto Lake complete with rainbow
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came upon this mystical place. Like most photographers I’ll take a cloudy and moody day over clear skies any day. The grey clouds and surprise rainbow over Peyto Lake provided me with the opportunity to photograph some of my most “liked” images that I’ve ever posted on social media. I can’t imagine another place in the world instilling as much awe in me as this place did the first time I saw it.
3-Wild – Mountain Sheep in the Rocky Mountains
As if Alberta isn’t impressive enough with the sheer beauty of the landscapes, the province is also a Mecca for wildlife. We came across a pack of mountain sheep on our first day in the Rockies and this was the first shot I snapped.
I didn’t think I’d ever show it to anyone because the road is visible in the photo. Later, I realized that was exactly what I liked most about the scene.
One of the things I love about the region is you can experience the wilderness yet be so close to civilisation.
4-Spectacular – The road to the Athabasca Glacier
You don’t know what the word “spectacular” means until you’ve seen a view like this. This is the view from the car park of my hotel and to capture this image, all I had to do was point my camera at the scene and press the button.
The blue water, winding road and snow-capped mountain combined to create an image that is unforgettable.
5-Otherworldly – The Athabasca Glacier
When I say otherworldly I mean it. The Athabasca Glacier, just outside of Jasper, looks like nothing I’ve ever seen in the world. I knelt down in the coldest place I had ever experienced and photographed the Rocky Mountains scene in wonder.
The water that you see pooling near the corner of my shot is the sweetest and purest water that’s ever passed my lips and I didn’t even feel the cold.
6-Tranquil – Moraine Lake
Amongst all the jaw-dropping sights, I also experienced a view so tranquil I could peacefully shoot for hours. Every new angle was more beautiful than the last. Moraine Lake is a real photographer’s dream spot with the still waters creating beautiful reflections and the boat sheds providing a colourful and interesting foreground.
7-Vibrant – Athabasca Falls
What can I say about the colours of the Rocky Mountains?
The water is like nothing I had ever seen before and the mosses zinged with vibrant greens. The earth felt alive and I felt connected to nature. Believe it or not directly behind me was a gushing waterfall but I found myself so drawn to this scene that I ignored the obvious attraction.
8-Untouched – The Icefields Parkway
When I say “virtually untouched” I think of this photograph that I took on my way out of Jasper. The narrow stretch of road shows you the tiny impact man has had on this vast and incredible wilderness. You can see the tender touch of fall on the trees and a baby puff of cloud well below the height I was shooting from.
Since this trip I have had the pleasure of revisiting Alberta and the Rocky Mountains and experiencing many other destinations through my work but nothing will ever compete with the wonder of my first time in Alberta.
I was already addicted to travel before I visited this land but coming here has increased my desire to see as much of this beautiful world as possible and to recapture the feeling of my first trip to Alberta.
The writer was a guest of Travel Alberta
For more things to do in Canada see Best of Canada.