Jewels of Jasper
by Wijk Photography
I have called Jasper National Park home for two years now. The next seventeen photos were taken in that time frame. A collection of images through which I show my appreciation for my backyard. These are my Jewels of Jasper.
A silky stream of water makes it way down the giant steps of Tangle Falls. Jasper National Park has its fair share of waterfalls and this one might be my favourite. It can be found right along the Icefields Parkway and is almost too easy to be reached. The way the waterfall starts wide up top and funnels down into a small stream makes for plenty of options for composition. I choose for a portrait shaped photograph to capture how Tangle Creek flows down the rock face.
Every year I visit the Tonquin Valley in late summer. The wide spread valley starts to show the first signs of fall with coloured leaves and grass. I set up camp at Amethyst Lake campground and call it home for the next two nights. I wander through the valley as long as my legs can carry me. In the morning I head out to capture the serenity and quietness of the Tonquin Valley. A calm pond in the middle of the valley is surrounded by big boulders overgrown with grass. I decide to wait along the shore until the sun reaches over the mountains and illuminates my foreground interest with golden light. Surrounded by the tranquility of the valley I sip of my warm coffee and watch how the valley slowly awakens in the first rays of the morning sun.
Blue Hour Peaks
A November sunrise over Jasper National Park creates a slow changing palette of blue hues. This particular morning it was cold and calm in the valley. I find that the blue tones reflect that mood perfectly.
The cold morning on September 21st 2015 creates a blanket of fog over Pyramid Lake. Fall has officially started and in Jasper National Park that means that Mother Nature will put up quiet a show. The air gets cooler, the days shorter and leaves turn colour. It is an incredible time of the year for photography. I headed up to Pyramid Lake and was treated on a natural smoke machine. The fog made for an eerie atmosphere that I wanted to capture. After a few different locations I stumbled upon this spot near Pyramid Island. The fragile flora on the shoreline balances out the heavy fog in the background. The leaves of the smaller vegetation have already started to turn colour. Fall is well on its way.
The Angel Glacier flows down the north face of Mt. Edith Cavell. The ice formation has the shape of an angel with its wings spread out. Hence its name. World wide glaciers are melting rapidly and so is Angel Glacier. It is not to be expected to maintain its distinctive appearance for much longer and the glacier will eventually completely disappear from the face of Mt. Edith Cavell.
Charlton & Unwin
Clearly visible on the southwestern shore two snow-capped peaks rise up over Maligne Lake. Mount Charlton and Mount Unwin stand tall as a blanket of thin clouds drags over them. I stood in awe as the sky rapidly changed from pink and purple tones to vibrant orange hues. It felt like the clouds had been painted across the sky and were lit on fire. Maligne Lake is one of my favourite locations to witness a sunrise in Jasper National Park.
The Steaming Throne
It was late afternoon when the clouds slowly disappeared above us. We ate our last bit of food along the rocky banks of the Astoria River as we regained warmth in September sunlight. I had waken up early that day to catch the sunrise. And to my surprise 25 centimetres of fresh snow had fallen overnight. The valley was completely sucked into the clouds, not a single peak was visible. No sunrise today. I decided to go back to bed for some more sleep. We had spend the night in the Wates-Gibson Hut, 19 kilometres deep in the Tonquin Valley. We were not prepared for these winter conditions. The hike home was going to be tough. By the time we crossed the Astoria River, we were mere kilometres away from our vehicle. A feeling of relief came over us as we listened to the soothing sound of the river. Throne Mountain steaming away in the distance. Today we had completed one of the mentally toughest hikes of my life and we are almost home!
The Reflecting Range
Calm summer days often deliver fantastic conditions in the morning. The earth awakens early in the day - this image was taken around 6 AM. A still pond along Highway 16 provides a mirror-like reflection of Chetamon - , Esplanade - and Gargoyle Mountain in a golden glow from the slowly rising sun. I listen to the birds chirping their morning song and I notice a few bighorn sheep behind me on the rock face. Although I am only meters away from the highway I feel the presence of Mother Nature and the abundance of wildlife of Jasper National Park.
The Red Range
The De Smet Range lights up in bright red light on an early morning in June. The range includes four peaks; Mt. Cumnock, Mt. Bistre, Mt. Greenock and the highest peak Roche de Smet. Named after the Belgian missionary Pierre-Jean de Smet, who had worked with the indigenous native people of Western Canada in the 1840's.
A bed of frost flowers covers the surface of Patricia Lake. These flowers are a rare phenomenon and only appear with specific weather conditions. Frost flowers are formed on thin ice when the atmosphere is much colder than the underlying ice. Typically a temperature difference of 15°C between the ice surface and the atmosphere is required. Although it looks like these crystals are clinging to some type of vegetation, they actually grow on their own along small cracks in ice.
The Ramparts is a mountain range in the backcountry of Jasper National Park. This thousand meter high wall of quartzite rock with ten rugged peaks forms the western boundary of the Tonquin Valley. Every morning the sun slowly rises up over the surrounding mountains and puts the Ramparts in the spotlight. The intimidating peaks are bathing in warm morning light while it is still dark and cold in the valley. I used a small pond along Amethyst Lake to capture the contrast between the alpine and the valley floor. The pond reflects the highlighted peaks while being surrounded by dark, cold boulders.
The Milky Way rises up over Patricia Lake and the peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Its billions of stars form a path through the night sky. In 2011 the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada officially designated Jasper National Park as a Dark Sky Preserve. These areas are committed to protect and preserve the night sky and to reduce or eliminate light pollution in all its forms. Minimal light pollution means that the stars and planets are clearly visible in the dark skies - even with the naked eye.
Colours of the Night
The aurora borealis, or northern lights, were named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas by Galileo in 1619. The aurora is a natural light display caused when parts of atoms lose their energy in the upper atmosphere. I had seen the aurora borealis before but never with such intensity. As I was shooting the Milky Way I saw how behind me curtains of colourful light pillars filled the sky. I turned my camera around and used the treetops as foreground interest. There I sat still and watched how the aurora borealis danced above me.
On a cold morning in December I ventured out to Medicine Lake. I was hoping to catch some pink and purple winter skies. These colours never appeared. Disappointed I decided to head back towards the car, then the stream of water caught my attention. It functions as a great leading line to the horizon. I set up my camera gear and waited for the sun to rise up further. Hoping for some interesting light. As the sun reached over the peaks it briefly enlightened the clouds in golden tones. The warm, vibrant hues contradict with the Canadian winter cold.
The calm waters of Annette Lake reflect a colourful sunrise over Jasper National Park. I had planned this shot early in the summer, but it took me until October to get the image I had in mind. Just in time before the lakes start to freeze over. This is one of my favourite photographs of 2015.
Christie in the Cold
The Icefields Parkway is a scenic stretch of asphalt that connects Jasper National Park to Banff National Park. The road parallels the Continental Divide, traversing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This location can be found mere meters away from the highway. The Athabasca River meanders through rocks and snow. Mount Christie stands tall across the valley and catches the first rays of golden sunlight. It is cold this morning, with temperatures plummeting to a low of -24 ºC. Winter has arrived and the landscape will be in its grip until spring arrives again in 2017.
Mt. Edith Cavell is arguably the jewel of Jasper National Park. Its 3.363 meters of quartzite stone rises up high above the Athabasca River Valley and is clearly visible from the town of Jasper. Two glaciers can be found clinging onto the mountain and its meadows are home to a rare selection of alpine wildflowers. Streams of glacier water meet further down the valley in Cavell Lake. On this calm summer morning the turquoise waters of the lake provide a vivid reflection. Slowly the sun rises up over the mountains and puts Mt. Edith Cavell in shining light. As a jewel should be.
Thank you. For more of my work: www.wijkphotography.com. #stellerstories #stellercanada #jaspernationalpark #landscape #photography #wijkphotography