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Fall 2013 Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies

March 18, 2013

Once again it was a great privilege to have an awesome group of photographers join me and Madeleine & Alan Ernst of Aurum Lodge for a photo tour in the Canadian Rockies this past month. With members from Australia, Lethbridge Alberta, South Africa and Switzerland, our group was the most globe-spanning to date! That’s the great thing about a world class location like the Rockies — the landscape is a touch-stone that brings together an incredible diversity of people from all over the world. I hope I never grow blasé about the land of my chosen home, and always feel the same pleasure introducing it to other folks. As well as seeing it anew through their eyes and photographs!

Once again, the weather was warm… very unusually so, in fact. The first day I got into the area to start scouting, it was +29 C — unbelievable for mid-September! Water levels were ultra-high in all the rivers, streams, ponds and lakes from the amount of rain and continued snow-melt. Everything remained quite intensely green, with very little of the traditional “fall colour” one might hope for. Lots of moss, mushrooms and other similar vegetation could be encountered all over, and yet the wildlife were conspicuously absent in the heat. Initially, it really looked like nothing so much as the height of summer. The weather was starting to change, fortunately, which meant stormy / rainy conditions on a couple of days. We got a bit wet, but as the saying goes, “bad weather makes for good photography.” The landscape photographer has to be adaptable and take it all in stride, so we did. Between visiting a number of locations in David Thompson Country, spots up and down the Icefields Parkway and a day trip up to the amazing Lake O’Hara, we made about as much use of the light and conditions as it was physically possible to do.

As happened last year, this is an intensely busy time and I’m still cataloging my images from the tour, in between finalizing work on other projects I’ve got going. I hope to have some photo results soon; just look for posts here on the blog with the tag Fall 2013 Photo Tour. You can also see some favorite photo results from our group members:

Some of my own images from the tour:

If you’d like to experience fall in the Canadian Rockies next year, spending a few days with a group of like-minded photographers who will visit a mix of locations both iconic and off-the-beaten-path, check out the information on our Fall 2014 Photo Tour, coming soon.


Event: Fall 2013 Photo Tour at Aurum Lodge
Co-leaders: Royce Howland & Alan Ernst
Group size: 7 participants maximum, intermediate to advanced photography experience
Dates: September 14 – 19, 2013
Highlights: 6 days / 5 nights at Aurum Lodge & David Thompson Country
Travel on location: Car-pooling with the group
Fee: $1899 CDN including all accommodations & meals; not including travel to the lodge
Registration info: The photo tour event page at the Aurum Lodge web site
Contact: Royce Howland (royce at vividaspect dot com) or Alan Ernst (info at aurumlodge dot com)

Fall at Abraham Lake 2 // David Thompson Country

As I write this, we have yet to exit the winter season of 2012-13, but I’m already thinking forward to later events. Apropos of that, it’s time to announce the dates for my Fall 2013 photo tour in the Canadian Rockies! Once again this coming September, I’ll be taking a small group to locations in David Thompson Country and along the Icefields Parkway, a fantastic region in the Canadian Rockies. Last year’s Fall tour was sold out, and the group had an amazing time in the field that met or surpassed everyone’s expectations. While it’s true that with outdoor photography we have to be prepared to roll with any & all conditions, nevertheless this year’s tour promises to be a fantastic opportunity for photography in one of the most beautiful areas of the world.

Our main base will be Aurum Lodge. As I’ve written before, the lodge is ideally positioned, permitting us to maximize opportunities for autumn photography over our run of 5 nights and 6 days. We will cover locations along Highway 11, also known as the David Thompson Highway. This is in front range territory and includes Abraham Lake, pictured above. We’ll also reach into the main Rockies along the world-famous Icefields Parkway. On top of these day trips, in past years we’ve made special over-night trips to Jasper and Lake O’Hara, to take in additional locations. Further details about the itinerary for 2013 will be coming.

We call this a photo tour which means our primary goal is to provide field-intensive photography opportunities to participants. This isn’t an introductory workshop that emphasizes theory or classroom time, or basic photography techniques. Rather it’s about getting into the field during any & all usable light and making the most of it to build out a great portfolio of images. Having said that, we do provide hands-on “learning by doing” in the field, focused on what each participant’s needs may be. We expect everyone to be suitably equipped and to know the basics of using their gear, but we can cover instruction in equipment, technique, composition, processing, and other topics for anyone who’d like to pick up some extra approaches to highly productive field photography.

We will also provide site orientations as we hit each new or different type of location, because part of getting good photographs is always improving how to see and respond to the unique opportunities at each location based on the time, seasons and conditions. Photography subjects will include landscapes, wildlife and macro, among others. We’ll definitely photograph at iconic “big mountain” scenes, but also introduce the group to other locations rich in intimate compositions… scenes that are equally important to a full appreciation of the Canadian Rockies.

As on every tour, outside of any scheduled side-trip which may have a locked day plan, we otherwise don’t have a fixed itinerary each day. Instead we’ll be very dynamic in arranging where we go after considering weather, local conditions, and participant interests. Transportation to the photography locations will be based on car-pooling amongst the group. We avoid excessive road miles whenever possible, but time in the vehicles as well as our daily meals together are also great opportunities to chat with tour leaders and other group members about anything & everything photography! 🙂

If this kind of small-group, intensive field photography experience sounds like the ticket for you, please see the event page at the Aurum Lodge web site for information and registration details for the Fall 2013 Photo Tour. Also see the Vivid Aspect blog Workshops & Events page for information including links to past tour announcements and participant photo results. If you have any remaining questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me (royce at vividaspect dot com) or Alan Ernst at Aurum Lodge (info at aurumlodge dot com).

I hope you’ll join us in the field this Fall!

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