While Sunshine is most well-known for skiing, the summer gondola and shuttle bus service make Sunshine Meadows one of the most accessible alpine hiking areas in the Canadian Rockies from late June through late September. For some, its a starting point for backpacking adventures to Mt. Assiniboine or the Egypt/Pharoah Lakes area. For dayhikers like us, prime times to visit Sunshine Meadows are during peak wildflower season (usually towards the end of July) and peak larch viewing season (usually towards the end of September). Our most recent larch season visit was timed just about perfectly and reaffirmed that it’s well worth the effort to do at least one golden larch hike each fall.
We split our time between Calgary and Canmore, so the big decision I had to make was which one to showcase in this month’s post. I decided on Calgary for a few reasons: 1) we live here about three-quarters of the time; 2) I routinely showcase the mountain landscapes around Canmore in PBC posts, so it’s Calgary’s turn; and 3) Beakerhead comes to Calgary in September, so there are some pretty cool things to photograph here in YYC.
I haven’t done much black and white photography. But that changed thanks to this month’s photo blogging challenge. I switched my digital camera to monotone mode; that camera processee the jpg files in black and white while leaving me with full colour RAW files for blogging, tweeting, etc. The other result from changing the picture mode to monotone is that everything seen through the EVF and on the LCD screen is in black and white. That really helped me focus on shape, form, lines, patterns, textures and other sources of tonal contrast – elements of composition that become particularly important when colour isn’t part of the equation. The biggest thing I learned by doing this is that viewing a composition in black and white makes for stronger compositions; I think I’ll use this mode on a semi-regular basis.
This hike is a scenic powerhouse: four waterfalls, a turquoise mountain lake, a wildflower-filled amphitheatre and an amazing view of the Waputik Icefield (including Daly Glacier, source of Takakkaw Falls). It’s ample payback for the challenging 1150 meter elevation gain and total distance of just over 22 km. Allocate a full day to this hike and be sure to pack your camera!
The theme for this month’s photo blogging challenge is actually Photographer’s Choice. With our oldest son at university for spring semester and our youngest son away at SHAD for 27 days, this was our first time being empty nesters for longer than a few days at a stretch. We opted to enjoy much of our time being out and about, hiking, biking and exploring in Canmore, Banff and Kananaskis Country. The obvious choice for this month’s post was to showcase highlights from our empty nester trial period.