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An intimate landscape photograph of flooded aspen trees at Abraham Lake

Congregate – 2021

I don’t know how often it happens, but for the last two fall seasons (2020 and 2021), the shoreline of Abraham Lake floods, submerging these aspen trunks in the lake’s pristine blue water. Last fall, Adam Gibbs and Jeremy Jackson shared some incredible imagery of this phenomenon, and I knew that I needed to try and see this for myself. 

Fast forward to this fall; my Rockies fall photography was fast approaching. Work had been busy all summer, and I wasn’t even sure if I would get to go. But my wife knew that, mentally, I needed a photography getaway. She convinced me to book a camping spot in Banff with an old friend for a weekend trip to hike, camp, and do some landscape photography. 

We planned some great hikes, and I had a couple of sunset photography goals, but Abraham Lake was always in the back of my mind. I spent some time on social media in the days leading up to the trip, monitoring conditions at the lake. It was difficult to tell which photos were from this year and which were reposts from last year, but it seemed like at least part of the shoreline had flooded again. 

We took a chance on our first day there and took the two-hour trek up to Abraham Lake. As we approached the lake, we could tell from the highway that some flooding had occurred. As we got out of our parked car and began walking along the shoreline, it became quickly apparent that I was at the wrong part of the lake. There were flooded aspen trees, but they were behind a lot of brush and, without waders, there was no way I was going to get to them. Disappointed, we trekked back to the car. It dawned on me as we walked that we could explore further down. I had enjoyed photographing the aspen further down the shoreline during the winter and thought that, because the lake was lower in terms of elevation there, that we might get luckier. Because we had my friend’s car, we had to hike in, but as we explored the shoreline, it was quickly apparent that we were in the right spot, and I made a couple of my favourite photographs of the season. This one took a while to capture. I had to wait until there was just the right amount of cloud cover to create that soft directional light through the canopy.

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