Jasper in July

Late in July I spent a couple of nights camping in Jasper. I had booked my campsite before the wildfires in BC really started sending smoke into Alberta, so I anticipated some clear weather for photography. I few days before I was set to depart, smoke drifted into Edmonton and pretty much obliterated the sky. So it was with some trepidation that I struck off for the National Park.

I stopped in Hinton for fuel. When I got out of my car, it hit me … the air didn’t smell like smoke and I could actually see the mountains. As I got closer to Jasper the air cleared even more. While there was still some smoke in the air, it was more like a bit of haze than heavy obliteration. It was enough that I knew shooting grand vistas probably wasn’t going to be very good, but perhaps smaller scenes would be possible.

The first evening I set off for the location I had planned for a sunset shoot. When I got there, visibility was such that the mountain that would have been the subject of my shot was totally obscured. So it was off to Plan B which involved a drive into Jasper townsite and out the other side. When I got to location B it was clear that a shot from there wouldn’t work either. By now I was somewhat winging it as I set off for a third potential location, with sunset fast approaching.

This time I got luckier. As I was scouting around an area I had shot from many times before, I came across a new vantage point that offered some definite compositions. I spent a couple of hours at this location, trying different compositions as the sun got lower and eventually disappeared behind the mountains. In the end I came up with two images that I quite like.

The next morning (actually more like the middle of the night) I was up and driving to a spot from which I had planned a sunrise shot. My hope was that, if I got there far enough in advance of sunrise, I might get some nice alpenglow on the tops of the mountains. Instead, I got heavy cloud and smoke pretty much obscuring the sun and the mountains. Off in the distance I could hear the rumble of thunder. Fortunately the storm passed to the south of me but I did get this shot of the storm as it approached.

While I quite like the shot, it was essentially the only decent one I got in the two to three hours I spent at this location hoping the conditions would improve. When it became clear that it would remain heavily overcast for most of the morning, I set off to find a picnic area where I could cook my breakfast (porridge!). Then it was off for a hike and my main photo excursion of the day … but that’s a story for my next post!

For more of my photography, check out my gallery at neilmillerphotography.com – or click the Gallery button above. While there, sign up for my quarterly newsletter that will update you with photos added to my gallery.

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