Over the course of the winter, I made a couple of long day trips, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the day.
In January, my travels took me to Abraham Lake in central Alberta. Stretching 33 km along the David Thompson Highway in Clearwater County, the lake is actually a reservoir formed by the Big Horn Dam on the North Saskatchewan River. In the winter it is a well known destination to view ice bubbles. The bubbles are formed by methane gas, escaping from trees and vegetation that were covered when the area originally flooded with the construction of the dam. The bubbles get trapped in the ice as the lake freezes in early winter. Frequent strong winds keep the lake relatively clear of snow and make the bubbles visible for most of the winter.
I left home in the wee hours of the morning, hoping to get a decent sunrise shot at the lake. Unfortunately, the morning was heavily overcast with the tops of the mountains somewhat obscured by cloud. Still, I did manage to get a few decent photos, so the day was certainly not lost.
My second “big” day trip was to Jasper National Park in February. It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny winter’s day. I stopped along the highway to take an early morning shot of the mountains. Then it was off to various locations within the Park, including Pyramid Lake, Athabasca River, Medicine Lake and along the Maligne River. Late in the day, as I left the Park, I again stopped along the highway to shoot the mountains in the late-afternoon light.
As these trips show, particularly my day at Abraham Lake, you can never guarantee in advance what conditions you will have on any particular day. What you can do, though, is make the best of the conditions that present themselves.