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One of the hikes we did during our family camping trip in July 2021 was Marble Canyon to the Paint Pots. Having never seen the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park, I didn’t know what to expect. From my research, it looked like it would be a fun family hike with the possibility of some wild colours that could make for a compelling abstract photograph. The Paint Pots are iron-rich springs that stain the surrounding a vibrant ochre colour. Ochre is an orange clay that indigenous people and this particular area is sacred to the Ktunaxa people as they used these ochre beds to make red ochre paint.
The springs themselves fill small pools that are the actual “Paint Pots”. The colour contrast of the rich orange ochre and green/aqua water is striking. This year, because of high temperatures and a fast snow/glacier melt, the pools were draining to a stream that flooded the ochre beds below. As we hiked through a soggy trail through the ochre bed, I began to notice that a few of the smaller pools in the ochre beds had accumulated natural oils. Having never seen this in nature, I had to create a photograph of the phenomenon.
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