Kim Dunstan on New aquintences and old m… Carrie B on A new dimension
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A recent trip to some new local waters.
Recently I was fortunate enough to talk some friends into making the 4.5 hour drive to a lake I fished quite often when I lived not far from the beautiful wilderness that is Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. Being late October when we made the trip I wasnt sure what to expect for weather. As anyone knows that time of year in the mountains can be cold at best. In previous years fishing at this lake I knew it could be quite good if all the pieces stayed in place and even if the fishing wasnt any good, just getting out into this area is reward enough.
Holding off until almost the last possible moment to make any commitment to the trip we booked our hotel at the Lobstick Hotel in the town of Jasper. This is an old hotel with some charm, a well fuelled furnace for those cool nights and a decent buffet breakfast to satisfy anyone’s appetite. To make the most of our trip we headed for Jasper on Friday evening taking the scenic highway 93 from Banff to Jasper. I had only travelled that highway on a whim during the middle of winter and was quite excited to see all it offers when everything is not frozen and covered in snow. If you have ever been here I am sure you can remember the beauty of th majestic mountain peaks and the most vivid teal colour of the lakes surrounded by pine and spruce forrests. To those who have never been, make a point of travelling this highway, it is well worth the time and the $20 toll. My only regret to this part of the trip was not stopping to take some photos, however with the amount of wildlife known to be in the area and our short daylight hours in the fall, I wanted to get as many miles as possible in therear view mirror before night fall.
A federal fishing license is required to fish in any of the national parks and unfortunately they do not offer this online. So after a quick breakfast at the hotel we grabbed a cup of coffee and waited on the door step of the local sports store to grab our license. A few moments later we were on our way to the lake, with hopes of being first to the best water. Medicine Lake is a very unique lake as it has a constant supply if water from the Maligne River and several creeks, but there is no river exiting the lake. However there are several drain holes at the north end which do drain water underground. During the spring run off the lake fills up and looks like many other high altitude lakes in the area. But by late September, the Maligne River does not supply enough water to keep it full and its waterlevel begins to drop until it really takes on the appearance of a river. To the fly fisherman this is great as it allows the chance to fish for some of the hardest fighting rainbows in Alberta the same way we fish any of the well known rivers in Alberta. Access to the lake is not easy and for those who prefer to park and fish are best to strike this one of their list or start hitting the treadmill much in advance. There is two ways to get to the fishable water and both require a considerable expenditure of energy. One is to hike the west shore from the parking lot at the north end and walk/crawl over and around the boulder field to a walkable path along the shore about midway up the lake. The other is to park at one of the pull outs on the east side and scramble down the steep bank and the trudge across the mud bottom about 600m to the river channel. This is not ordinary mud, it is slippery and sticky, you begin to sink in it the second you place your foot on it causing virtualy every step to be a strugle to lift your foot for the next step. But once your there the rewards can be nothing short of memorable.
Fish range in size from 2 – 5 lbs and since I began fishing it several years ago the size class has increased significantly. Brook trout can also be caught but luckily are out numbered by the rainbow’s. It is completely possible to catch several fish over 20″ from the same stretch of “river” in the course of a days fishing. Small nymphs and blood worms seem to be the most effective and if the sun warms things up dry fly hatches can be productive to the middle of October. As the water is extremely clear, wind is an important factor to help conceal your presence on the banks. In calm conditions the fish will spook quite easily and will be suspicious of your fly immediately and can be seen sliding left or right to avoid temptation. On this trip I was not as successful as I have experienced previously and managed to sting a few fish but had trouble keeping the hook in their mouths. Two others in our group had successful days catching close to a dozen healthy sized rainbows that I am sure will keep them coming back for more.
A couple important things to note about fishing here. As I mentioned earlier you require a National Park fishing license, it is fly fishing only and no lead can be used on your line or fly. A well executed google search will yield a complete list of regulations for the area and it is highly recommended. We are already planning a return trip for next year, after all I am looking to reinstate my good record on this lake and make some mkre memories with this beautiful piece of water.
So it appears I am really bad at this blog thing as I haven’t kept my goal of one post per week. All I can say is life gets busy and sometimes things fall to the side. I have been wanting to write this post for a while now as it was one of my first shoots where I actually did my research, took notes and applied it to the best of my current ability. I am certainly no expert and my point of view on photography will likely best serve other beginers to encourage them to get out and experiment or to see exactly what not to do!
Long exposure photography has long enticed me like many photogs. This was my first attempt after getting what I could for neutral density (ND) filters from my local shop. I was hoping to be able to get a 10 stop filter to maximize or lengthen my shutter speed, but instead I was only able to get my hands on a 2 and 3 stop filter which I figured with my circular polarizer would give me approximately 6 stops with all three stacked. I had been scoping out a few places in my city where a long exposure would work well but really wanted to ensure there was white water in it. Fortunately I have a fairly large river flowing near by so I had a few places to pick from.
Because I was limited to 6 stops I planned my shoot for early morning when the light was low and would give me extra time to leave the shutter open. Being a place I was fairly familiar with, I had a fair idea already of how I wanted to compose the image. The area had lots of potential for movement with several wide white water sections of river and a train bridge that I only hoped to be able to have a moving train at the same time. After setting up my tripod in the dark and attaching my camera I waited for some daylight to start. Using live view I framed my shot and used the zoom to look at the detail on the buildings to get everything tack sharp. Once the sun started giving me some workable light I placed the camera in auto mode to see what it reccomended for shutter speed. I then attached my two ND filters and polarizer to the lense. I decided to use the 18-55mm kit lense that came with my Nikon D5300 due to the small aperature ability that would help block light and let me slow down the shutter. With so many filters I was concerned with vignetting and sure enough I was right. I did manage to find a focal length that minimized this but is exactly why I wanted the 10 stop filter to remove this from the equation. Using an app I found for my phone that uses the reccomended shutter speed in auto mode and the number of filter stops used, I calculated (actually thd phone calculated) the shutter speed that would give me a properly exposed image with hopefully the right amount of motion blur.
Of course I was lucky enough to get a train going by but the light was not quite where I wanted it for the shot. But for one of my first long exposure shots I felt it turned out ok. The above image is a crop with no other editing to the file.
F22 Shutter 2.5″ Focal Length 55mm ISO 100
After another hour or so I was finally able to get some nice light to work with and capture the image I had planned, to bad another train didnt go by!
Changing camera angles I took this photo which I entered in my first weekly photo challenge on WordPress. It may be a little overdone in photoshop and some pro’s may scold me for that, but I figure I have to start somewhere and learn a workflow for the style of photos I want to take.
Overall my first attemp at long exposures were fun and seeing the results on the live view screen kept me experimenting to see just what I was able to do. Hopefully it wont be quite as long before my next entry. Thanks for reading!
My first entry in the weekly photo challenge A dreamy scene from the river loved and enjoyed by many.
Here I am, starting my first blog. What does an everyday person like me have to offer anyone out there that could possibly hold anyone’s attention? Aside from the obvious fact of documenting my experiences and opinions, in the great search for more I am hoping that by putting pen to paper I can chanel my thoughts and provide clarity on what it is I am really after in life. Also for my family, those who are close and those that are far away. With three beautiful daughters who are now old enough to start asking questions about their relatives, I hope to leave a trail of information so they can find who they are and where they came from. For those far away, I offer this as a way to know me a little more despite the large distance between us. For others that may read this I can offer nothing more than a a glimpse into my life as a family man, a professional and an outdoor enthusiasts. Please if I do manage to hold your attention, your feedback is welcome.
So who am I? That very question is tricky for me as I feel that much like beauty, the answer lies in the eye of the beholder. My single greatest accomplishment in life to date are my children. Together with my partner in life Lori, we are fortunate to have three healthy, intelligent and beautiful daughters. Halleigh, Ainsley and Natalie are my true pride and joy. If I accomplish nothing else in life I hope that I can teach them how to be happy and successful in whatever it is they decide to do in life. In my work life, I currently hold a position as a health and safety manager for a successful family company who grew their roots in Alberta and are now branching out to other parts of Canada and the southern USA. I wont care to discuss much about my work life as I have always tried to keep this life separate from the other parts of my life. Work life and home life have their own challenges and stressors, mixing the two is a recipe for disaster in my opinion, so enough said for now. Fishing and particularly flyfishing has been a large part of my life for about the last 12 years. I have always maintained if it bites it fights but I have always treasured fishing for trout. Likely for the same reasons as scores of other fly fisherman, but for me their (sometimes) eagerness to take a fly and their fighting spirit after doing so are what keeps me chasing them. The beautiful silver and magenta hues of a rainbow, or the vermiculations and spotted skin of the bookies, bulls and lakers, are all worth taking note of after bringing a fine specimen to hand. Recently, and I think it is a logical shift from fishing and being in the outdoors I have started to devlelop my skill as a photographer. With the purchase of my first SLR camera, I find myself especially drawn to capturing images of landscapes and late night culture found in the heart of the city. This will be a major part of this blog going forward as it will be the element that brings my writting to life and lets you see the images that move and inspire me to be exactly who I am.