Sunrise At Upper Kananaskis Lake
After 3 months of home renovation in the UK, and 14 days of isolation on my return to Canada, I was ready to get out of the house this morning. I awoke very early, 2 hours before my 05:30 alarm, immediately my head was chasing images around kananaskis. Is the Wedge Pond frozen over, could I go early and shoot some stars before sunrise, will sunrise be blocked out by low cloud, what is the temperature........
There was no point trying to get back to sleep, I was awake and mentally at least, ready to get moving. I think physically I would have rather stayed in bed a few hours more.
After making tea, grabbing my camera gear and heading out, I got a couple of kilometers up the highway before reaching for my tea and realising it was at home on the counter top, not a great start, but I had time to turn around and go back for it.
Finally I was underway, scooting along the almost empty TransCanada Highway toward exit 118 and highway 40 into the beauty of K Country. I stopped in at Barrier Lake, the stars overhead broke through crystal clear air, so much so that I could make out the Orion Nebula unaided, just a white haze with the human eye but welcome nonetheless.
It was -12 at the lake with wind so strong I didn't believe the tripod would stand it to make a shot of the stars, and to be honest I didn't fancy setting up in the freezing temperatures. It was enough to see the lake still liquid and my hopes rose for The Wedge Pond and it's wonderful sunrise reflection, but that wasn't to be. Stopping at Wedge Pond I found the surface frozen over with a covering of snow on top. It didn't matter too much because I have, for some time, been looking for an excuse to go to the Upper lake for sunrise.
I've never seen sunrise here but light direction always suggested that it should work. Online searches show very little, perhaps it's just too far for people to travel for sunrise. The heat in my vehicle was enough to convince me to get back in and travel further, besides I still had well over an hour to sunrise.
On arrival at my chosen point the wind howled across the water and brought with it every degree of cold from the -19 now reading in the cockpit. Even if the sunset was forthcoming there would be no reflection today, heavy waves and mist rising into the freezing air would see to that.
I sat in the truck waiting, engine running, heater on, looking for signs of light on the summits all around me. Generally sunrise can be seen on the summits well before the actual sunrise time, but not today. Today I suffered the agony of seeing the sky behind the summits light up red with no sign of light on the tops. I was worried for a while, but as you can see in the image below, I need not have been. Just a few minutes after 'official' sunrise the summits illuminated, slowly first with deep reds, then orange, and finally yellow, before the white light of day ended my session.
I never stopped the truck in all the time I was there, leaving the heater running and hopping in and out to keep warm. It was great to be out, even if it was so cold, and I learned something new about these wonderful mountains. The images from the session were nice, but I can get better with calm water and a slightly different location I already have one specific shot in mind that should be a stunner, until then you'll have to make do with the shot below.
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