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An intimate landscape photograph of the ice at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park

Icy Breath – 2020

In 2019, I hiked into Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park and was awe-struck with incredible ice that resulted from many waterfalls in the canyon. However, I didn’t capture an image that I was thrilled with during that time. Fast-forward to January of 2020 and I decided to head into the canyon again. The main difference between this year and the year previous was snow accumulation. On my first trip in, there was little snow in the canyon. During this latest hike, there was much more snow, resulting in unique scenes of snow-covered ice. While this photo wouldn’t have been possible with those conditions, it made it more difficult to find something right away.

So, as we hiked further into the canyon, I grew more and more anxious that I might leave empty-handed. Johnston Canyon is already a difficult place to photograph, and when you throw in the snow (which makes the scenery more chaotic), it gets harder still. I was thankful when we reached the Upper Falls and, after exploring a bit with my telephoto lens, I found this scene. We waited until the sun began to set with hopes that we might get some red reflected light into the canyon, but it never quite materialized to the extent we had hoped. However, when I brought it into Photoshop a few weeks later, I found there was a slight red/pink hue and added luminance on the snow itself coming from above. It turns out we got the light we wanted and, with a little bit of post-processing, I was able to bring out the beautiful colours.

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