Lake Louise – ice castles and early mornings

The ice castle at Lake Louise - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Lake Louise is a favourite place for my wife and I to visit in the Banff National Park.  This weekend, with my parents taking care of the kids for a night, we went up and stayed on the lake’s eastern shore at the Chateau.  The view across the ice up to the Victoria Glacier and the surrounding peaks was hidden by nightfall by the time we arrived so I was anxious for the morning to come.  As it turned out, I may have slept right through sunrise, if Bobbi hadn’t looked outside just after 7 and woken me up.  The black of night had given way to the dark shades of blue ahead of the dawn.  I looked outside and then raced out of the door a few minutes later.

A window to dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Winter at Lake Louise is magical.  The Fairmont had an ice carving competition earlier this year and the sculptures fanned out between the hotel and the lake.  At night, they are lit up as is the patriotic castle that is in the middle of the skating rink cleared out on the lake ice.

A view through the maple leaf archway - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Ice climbing with the sun - 2013 © Christopher Martin

An ice castle is made every winter by the Chateau’s chefs from large blocks of ice. Nearby is a hockey rink and the trailhead for ski trails along the northern shoreline. Through the evening and again during the day, as it turned out, these drew many visitors who walked, skated and skied around.  However at the time I went down to the lake, in the early but quickly brightening morning, there were only a few other people around.

Early morning shinny at Lake Louise - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Two people were playing around with hockey sticks and a puck while a couple of other photographers were roaming across the ice.  And there was one gentleman out skating laps around the castle – I was glad he wore a red coat.

Alpen skate - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Once the sunlight hit the peaks, the dark sky disappeared and the cold, clear dawn of a beautiful morning took hold.  It was wonderful to be out on the lake and I had a lot of fun working with the details in the castle and the spectacular landscape surrounding it.

A window to first light on Victoria Glacier - 2013 © Christopher Martin

When the sun was rising out of the forest east of the lake, the warm light on the ice blocks provided another opportunity to play a bit longer before I headed in for breakfast with my dear, and patient, wife.

Framing the sun - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Lake Louise landscape - 2013 © Christopher Martin

11 responses

  1. Suzanne

    How beautiful.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm

  2. Wow ! How beautiful they are !

    March 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

  3. victoriaaphotography

    Stunning images. What a beautiful place to visit (& take photos).

    February 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm

  4. Ena

    Awdsome pictures Chris !!

    February 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm

  5. wow, amazing shots, especially love those last-sun-on-the-mountains-through-the castle (2nd, 3d and last!) shots!
    Greetings, Ron

    February 12, 2013 at 4:47 am

  6. You went through a lot a trouble to build the castle then take those great shots:)

    February 11, 2013 at 11:50 pm

  7. Nice scenes and angles through the window – and the hockey rink nestled in the mountains – you can’t get any more Canadian than that. I have skied and skated on the rink at the lodge which was all great fun. I am sure that you and Bobbi had a great weekend together.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm

  8. Awesome!!! Wonderful shots!!!

    February 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

  9. No matter how many times I visit the lake I never tire of its ever-changing vistas. You have captured some magical moments.

    February 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  10. Val

    That’s amazing!

    February 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm

  11. Beautiful photos. It gives me a whole new perspective. I’ve been to Lake Louise in the autumn but not in the winter. It looks a lot different in winter. 🙂

    February 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm

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