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A night photograph of Moraine Lake, Alberta in Banff National Park. the milky way reflects in the pristine blue waters

Moraine at Night – 2018

Living about 8 hours from the Canadian Rockies, means I try to get out to a different area of them and do some hiking and camping. Near the end of a famil trip in August 2018 the moon decided to cooperate and stay out of the sky for most of the night so I did some research on a potential night location. Bow Lake or the iconic Moraine Lake (I honestly had no idea how I had not seen a flood of night images from this spot. I was soon to find out why). I would have preferred the lesser known Bow simply because I can’t see how photographing Moraine would help me improve my photography, having been to this location 3 times before, not to mention that with the thousands of visitors this place gets daily makes finding a unique composition impossible. My deciding factor though was bears. Being alone I didn’t fancy my luck far away from the safety of my locked vehicle and I knew if I perched myself a-top the rock pile for the classic Moraine shot I would feel safe all night.

I headed out for blue hour and hiked in as the last light was fading on the horizon. It is an odd thing, to have a place as iconic as Moraine to yourself during peak tourist season but that’s exactly what I got to experience for the first hour as I waited for the stars to come out. And bonus, there wasn’t a breathe of wind making the reflections vibrant. That was the end of my positive experience unfortunately. No sooner did midnight roll around and I started my milky way exposures, did a group of tourists roll up to get their shots of Moraine at night. After all 6 blinding me with their torches they muttered something in a language I did not understand and 5 headed down the pile to park themselves in front of my set up tracker. It was quite frustrating trying to expose star photos between headlamp in the sky selfies and torches shot directly into my lens element all while they yelled back and forth to the one that stayed up top. Speaking no English of course there was nothing I could do about it except cross my fingers and hope that I could get clean exposures. It took 2 hours but I finally got my 12 images of the sky. As I finished up my sky thankfully they had had enough of the selfie game and left me alone and I was able to track a couple of reflection shots. I am thankful that I was able to photograph all of my foreground before anyone arrived, there was so much light being thrown around I couldn’t have got a clean version otherwise.

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