Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Banff and Jasper Trip, Part 7: Athabasca Falls

During my last entry on my Banff and Jasper trip I talked about Mt.Edith Cavell, which has to be among my favorite locations in Jasper National Park. This time I'm going to talk about Athabasca Falls, which is another lovely location. The falls are about 15-20 minutes south of Jasper Alberta along the Icefields Highway. You can also access the falls from Mt.Edith Cavell by staying on highway 93A, but the road between those two locations is rough.
One of the best aspects of shooting Athabasca Falls is the number of shooting angles. You can shoot from so many different perspectives that you have to think about what kind of photo you want. The walk way around the falls, which crosses the Athabasca River with a bridge, gives you the ability to shoot it from every angel accept from behind.

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta

Another thing you have to consider when picking your perspective is the time of day. The image above was taken in the morning, while another similar shot that I took in the afternoon the day before was for less interesting. Timing is everything when shooting at this location, not just due to the quality of light, but also to avoid getting hundreds of tourists in your photos! Arriving before 10AM or after 5PM local time is almost a must if you want to get photos without people in them.

Another issue to think about when shooting at a location like Athabasca Falls is what you want to capture. The lens you use can make a big difference in perspective, but what it really bowels down to is what you find interesting. What makes a scene like Athabasca Falls so interesting? It isn't just the water that attracts people to this location, the surrounding beauty can make or break a place like this. In the first photo in today's post I was trying to capture the feeling of being near a glacier fed waterfall, and the crispness of the cool September morning in the mountains. So what story does this image tell? It could be the story of a glacier fed waterfall, or just part of the story of my journey through Jasper National Park. After all half the story of any photograph you see is the photographer who took it and why. In some ways that sums up all travel photography, the journey of a person and what they saw and wanted to share.

A River Ran Through It

Down and Out