Monday, September 27, 2010

Banff and Jasper Trip, Part 4

Read Parts 1, 2 and 3 First.

    The second half, of the first day, in Jasper National Park I spent time at the Maligne Canyon, which is a short drive, 10 minutes from the city of Jasper. There are several ways that you can approach the Maligne Canyon, from below and hiking up, or starting at the top and walking down. I did have time restraints so I started from the top and worked my way down.
Second Bridge, Maligne Canyon
    The start of the walk into the Maligne Canyon is slightly sloped, but accessible to just about anyone. You can start from the second bridge and circle back via the first bridge or other way around. I started from the second bridge and came back via the first. Once you get past the second bridge you go down a steep path towards the third and fourth bridges. The slope isn't as steep between the third and fourth bridge, but still steep none the less. You have a good view of the Canyon almost all the way down to the fourth bridge, so there are lots of opportunities to take shots from different perspectives.
Maligne Canyon, between the second and third bridges
    As you get deeper into the canyon there are more trees and fewer viewing areas. You don't have worry about falling into the canyon at any point though, because there is a chain link fence that runs all the way along the trail, separating you from the sheer cliffs. One thing that is tricky is getting good light. The best times to visit for photographic purposes would be early in the morning or in the evening. During the summer the days are long, due to how far north Jasper is, but during the winter the daylight hours are rather short. During my first visit, the light was good in some places, but not in others. It took some exposure compensation and some post processing to get the exposure just right. In some cases the light was just to harsh and I couldn't the shots I wanted on the first visit.

Maligne Canyon, Forth Bridge
    Once you arrived down at the fourth bridge there is a lot of trees around the canyon, making the light dim, even on a bright day, as a result I had to bump up my ISO in order to get decent shutter speeds (over 1/60s). If there were less people around that might not have mattered, but the idea of setting up my tripod in the canyon wasn't high on my list of things to do, due to the slopes and the amount of visitors. If you were to go early or late enough in the day that might not be a problem though. When I was there again the next day there were fewer people.

Once I finished shooting at the lower bridge I had to hike back up the canyon to the first bridge, were there is sizable waterfall. I found that most people don't even go over the first bridge, and so they miss this waterfall. The water falls from the upper cliffs of the Maligne river, into the deep canyon that cuts it's way through the rock.

Maligne Canyon, First Bridge, Upper Falls
The Maligne River cuts through the upper canyon towards the falls.
    I'll post about what I did during the next day later this week.