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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 Lake at Night – 2018

Living about 8 hours from the Canadian Rockies (and Moraine Lake), means I try to get out to a different area of them and do some hiking and camping. Near the end of a family 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 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 twilight 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 breath 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 and did a group of other tourists roll up to get their shots of Moraine at night. After all 6 blinded me with their torches, they muttered something in a different language and 5 of them headed down the pile to park themselves in front of my running star tracker. It was quite frustrating trying to expose star photos between headlamp 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 12 clean 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 get a couple of clean reflection shots as well. 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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