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A landscape photograph of the moon setting beside Mount Chephren in Banff National Park

Lurking in the Night – 2024

After a few years of chasing different wide-angle scenes that included the moon in the Canadian Rockies, I needed to ensure I tried to capture another one in 2024. After some digital scouting, I found that the moon position would cooperate with a shot of one of my favourite peaks, Mt. Chephren in Banff National Park. We arranged our trip dates around this date and hoped the weather would cooperate. 

The entire trip was full of low cloud cover and scattered flurries. While there were moments when light broke through, I wasn’t sure the moon would have the strength to do anything dramatic early that morning. The forecast looked iffy, and after a 3:30 AM wake-up call, we began the drive north to our location. The drive was not encouraging. We rarely saw the light of the nearly full moon, and, at times, heavy flurries reduced visibility to almost zero. I had nearly given up all hope as we drove past an invisible Bow Lake, veiled in snow and low clouds. The only thing that kept me going was the memory of last year’s epic conditions at Tangle Ridge. I knew that to get a dramatic image, these types of conditions needed to be endured.

When we arrived at the location, Hunter decided to catch up on some sleep instead and it took most of my willpower to suit up in my winter gear, waders, and snowshoes and not join him by staying in the vehicle, catching some extra sleep, and waiting for sunrise instead. I wandered down the creek alone in the dark, crossed the raging creek, and got to the spot I had shot before. I could barely see the mountain behind a layer of snow and clouds, so I lined up my shot as best I could and waited. Out of nowhere, the moon decided to play ball and broke through the clouds. For a moment, the dark landscape around me lit up while the mountain loomed darkly. It was an incredibly eerie scene, reminding me of a giant lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on its victim. My skin crawled with goosebumps as I enjoyed this moment at the base of the dominant figure lurking in the dark. The goosebumps weren’t from the cold.

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