Lake Minnewanka Canada Photography Magazine Extra Hot Spot

Lake Minnewanka, Canada Photography – Big Horn Sheep

 

The Canadian Rockies mountain system comprises the southeastern part of this system, laying between the Interior Plains of Alberta and Northeastern British Columbia on the east to the Rocky Mountain Trench of BC on the west. The southern end borders Idaho and Montana of the USA. In geographic terms, the boundary is at the Canada/US border, but in geological terms, it might be considered to be at Marias Pass in northern Montana. The northern end is at the Liard River in northern British Columbia.

The Canadian Rockies have numerous high peaks and ranges, such as Mount Robson (Sometimes called Mount Bella) (3,954 m (12,972 ft)) and Mount Columbia (3,747 m (12,293 ft)). The Canadian Rockies are composed of shale and limestone. Much of the range is protected by national and provincial parks, several of which collectively comprise a World Heritage Site.

Lake Minnewanka home to many big horn sheep is a glacial lake located in the eastern area of Banff National Park in Canada, about five kilometers (3.1 miles) northeast of the Banff townsite. The lake is 28 km (17 mi) long and 142 m (466 ft) deep, making it the longest lake in the mountain parks of the Canadian Rockies (the result of a power dam at the west end).[1]

The lake is fed by the Cascade River, flowing east of Cascade Mountain, and runs south through Stewart Canyon as it empties into the western end of the lake. Numerous streams were flowing down from Mount Inglismaldie, Mount Girouard and Mount Peechee on the south side of the lake also feed the lake.

Aboriginal people long inhabited areas around Lake Minnewanka, as early as 10,000 years ago, according to stone tools and a Clovis point spearhead discovered by archaeologists. The area is rich in animal life (e.g. elk, mule deer, mountain sheep, bears) and the easy availability of rock in the mountainous terrain was key to fashioning weapons for hunting.

The western end of the lake can be reached by following Lake Minnewanka road from the Trans-Canada Highway. Boat tours are available near the parking lot. A hiking and mountain biking trail runs along the northern shore of the lake, passing Stewart Canyon and six backcountry campsites. Mount Aylmer which at 3,162 m (10,374 ft) is the highest mountain in this area of the park, is located a few kilometers north of the lake.

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Photography Information

Lens: Generally this area is a wide angle lens location but have your zoom lens handy in case you see some wildlife.

Gear:  To get started, bring your tripod and your circular polarizing filter. The CPL will make your puffy white clouds burst and deepen the blue sky color around them.  It will also take the glare off the water and replace it with the reflection. Bring your tripod too.  If there is not enough light when you are shooting, you will want to use it to get the depth of field, (higher F-stop). Don’t forget your ND filter in case of you want to shoot moving waters.

Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release, wide angle and zoom lens.

Camera Settings

Aperture Priority – It is generally used to get your depth of field (control how much is in focus from your subject back). You will want to do some shots at a hyperfocal distance. That means your subject to infinity is in focus. Most formulas of hyperfocal distance, which are very complicated, lead you back to f8, f11 or f13. If your shutter speed drops to 1/30th sec. Or lower you will need to put your camera on a tripod. The higher the f-number, the less light that will come in and your shutter speed will drop to let more light in.

When doing certain shots such as flowers, you might want the opposite effect. That is when your subject is in complete focus, and the background is totally blurred called the bokeh effect. You will use your lowest F-number such as 2.8, or 3.5. Go as low as your particular lens will allow.

Shutter Priority – If you have moving subjects such as the birds flying by you want to shoot in shutter priority to be sure they come out clear. When people are walking through shoot at 1/250th sec. and adjust your ISO accordingly. If people or animals are running by, increase your shutter speed to about 1/500th sec. and if it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as 1/1000th to 1/1200 sec. to get the birds crystal clear as they fly by here.

Manual Mode – To do your long exposure running, milky water shots you will have to use a tripod.  All of your settings will vary depending on the lighting and what neutral density filter you have. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. Aperture is  f22. Your shutter speed will vary depending on the light. Take some test shots to decide on your shutter speed after you put your neutral density filter on. (It’s like sunglasses for your camera to stop light from coming in). Use your live view mode to focus to lock the mirror up and avoid any camera movement. Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer to also prevent camera movement. Voila. You now have your milky water exposure. You want at least a 2-second exposure for running water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. Go to our store to buy your ND filter. I have a 3.0 for super long exposure in the sunshine.

Read more on our Photography Techniques Page

If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you can buy one here.

 

Photography Magazine Extra Pam Goodyer

Canadian Rockies National Parks and Area Information:

Passes – You must have a pass to visit the parks. You can purchase when you get there or before you go.  Here is the link to the different types of passes.

Seasonal Closures and Restrictions – Be sure to read this before you go.

Lake Minnewanka is home to several herds of big horn sheep. You can almost always find them somewhere around the lake. If you stay at Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, the lake is less than 10 minutes from the hotel.

Most animals are more active in the early morning hours and at dusk. Look for the deer, elk, and bighorn sheep in the middle of the day here too.

Photography Magazine Extra Pam Goodyer
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Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

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Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

Hotel Information:

Our Favorite Canadian Rockies Resort – Banff Rocky Mountain Resort – 1029 Banff Avenue, Banff –  (800) 563-8764 in Canada/USA | +1(403)762-5531 Local  –  The Banff Rocky Mountain Resort is the perfect rocky mountain getaway for any traveler. They feature suites and condo style accommodation in Banff National Park. Stay with them and enjoy the comforts of home and more. This picturesque location has a dining room, a deli, tennis courts, health facilities, swimming pool, squash courts, and conference facilities. Take your vacation at Banff and live the mountain lifestyle.

Click here to go to their website.

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 Restaurants:

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 Camping:

Lake Louise Campground: Address: Located 1.3 km east of the Village of Lake Louise on Fairview Road.Lake Louise, AB

Phone: 1-877-737-3783 – Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/camping/lltrailer.aspx

Located just minutes from the Village of Lake Louise, this year-round campground is perfect for anyone needing space for larger units and/or people wanting power without full hook-ups. It is close to local attractions and offers mountain views, year-round camping and access to hiking and biking trails. Evening interpretive programs are offered during the summer season.

Sites: All 187 campsites have picnic tables and electrical hook-ups. Some sites have fireboxes. Electrical-only sites (15 and 30 AMPS) can accommodate RVs up to 15 metres (50 feet) in length. A maximum of 6 people and 2 vehicles are permitted on each site. All vehicles must be parked on the gravel area of the campsite. All soft-sided camping units must stay in the enclosed electric fence in the Lake Louise Tent Campground.

Services: The campground has flush toilets, showers, and hot and cold running water. There is a sani-dump.

Regulations: There is a liquor and fire ban in effect from 2300 – 0700 every day and a complete alcohol ban on long weekends.  Check-out time is 1100. The maximum stay is 14 days.

Fees: $32.30 per site per night with no fire and $41.10 per site per night with a fire. Wood is provided. Payment is with cash, traveller’s cheques, debit, MasterCard, Visa, or American Express. Reservations are accepted.

For more information about Banff National Park, please visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/fra/pn-np/ab/banff.aspx

Castle Mountain Campground:  On the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy. 1A) 33 km west of Banff and 31 km east of Lake Louise. Banff National Park, AB

Sites: All 43 campsites have picnic tables and fireboxes and are suitable for tents or small RVs up to 7 meters (24 feet) in length. A maximum of 6 people and two vehicles are permitted on each site. All tents and vehicles must be set up or parked on the gravel area of the campsite. Camping is on a first come, first serve basis.

Services: The campground has flush toilets, hot and cold running water, picnic shelters and food lockers. There is a sani-dump at Johnston Canyon Campground. Gas and basic groceries are available at the Castle Mountain Chalets.

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