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Ultimate Photographer’s Reference For the Canadian Rockies

March 16, 2011

Back in 2005, a small, softcover book was published by a bloke named Darwin Wiggett — someone who had become one of the preeminent Canadian landscape photographers. (You know, as one does after a couple of decades of persistent dedication to producing stunning and expressive imagery.) The book was called “How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies”, and it become a much sought-after hit amongst photographers over the next few years. The book’s pocketable format was designed to be easily taken along in the field, and indeed it was indispensable as a guide for where and when to go to get great photographs. Many locations were illustrated and described across Kananaskis Country, and the Rocky Mountain parks — Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park, Yoho National Park, and Jasper National Park. Anyone who had a copy typically swore by it, and if they lost the copy they typically just plain swore. Unfortunately, the original publisher got in trouble and folded; this meant the book was no longer available.

Ah, but all was not lost! A new, improved project was in the works. Starting this week, photographers from around the world who plan to visit the inspiring Canadian Rockies now also can enjoy what may be the ultimate photographic resource with which to make their plans — How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies. The name is the same, but this is a brand new resource. Darwin has taken his 25+ years of deep experience with camera in hand and launched the first two entries in a new series of e-books: The Icefields Parkway and The Icefields Parkway, Winter Edition. These e-books will be joined by additional titles covering other regions, and all will be found at the new web site.

I was fortunate to review the first two e-books and I can honestly say that as useful as the original paper book was, this e-book series is even better and more useful. To start with, the e-books are packed with more locations and more descriptions. For example, by my count the original book covered just over 20 locations along the Icefields Parkway. The new e-book edition of The Icefields Parkway covers 35 locations alone, and is matched by its companion winter edition which provides in-depth winter season coverage, something not discussed in remotely the same depth by the paper edition. If you haven’t photographed in the Rocky Mountains in the winter before, it can be daunting. The Icefields Parkway, Winter Edition provides a new level of insight for the visitor during what I personally feel is the quintessential photography season in the mountains.

There’s more. The web site itself will host a number of blog-style content updates covering locations, equipment and techniques; several examples are already online. In the e-book content, there is some new information such as GPS coordinates for all locations, as well as driving distances to the locations from both the south or north approaches along the parkway, as found in the original paper book. This information, combined with often detailed descriptions of location approach and ideal times of day, allows for effective planning. The multiple electronic formats supplied (PDF, ePub and Mobi) are readable on just about any laptop, tablet, PDA, smartphone or e-book reader. Finally, to add icing to the cake, the e-books are illustrated with a fabulous, updated array of Darwin’s world-class photographs, each one annotated with shooting notes. If you need any inspiration on what to do with a camera while visiting the Canadian Rockies, look no further!

The first two e-books in this new series have me chomping at the bit to get back into the mountains with my camera, and also rubbing my hands with anticipation for the following entries in the series. My advice? Get over to the web site and get your copies of The Icefields Parkway and The Icefields Parkway, Winter Edition. Then grab your camera and use some combination of planes, trains or automobiles to visit one of best landscape photography locations on planet Earth. With the resources of Darwin Wiggett’s How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies to help you plan a solid core of the trip, you’ll come away with great additions to your portfolio!

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