The Banff National Park through my son’s eyes

Banff in the Bow Valley - © Kian Martin-3389

Kian and I spent a great day in the Banff National Park last week.  We met my parents, his grandparents, in Banff and divided the day between the Gondola that runs up Sulphur Mountain and the Lake Minnewanka boat cruise.  It was a lot of fun touring with my son and my parents.  Here is a recap – I have used Kian’s photographs to illustrate the day.

Golden-mantled ground squirrel on the run- © Kian Martin-3499

When we got started, Kian asked me if he could use one of my cameras.  The answer was, and always is, yes.  We then spent big chunks of the day photographing away.  This was one of the first times where he has really wanted to spend time doing it and I was happy to join him.

Golden-mantled ground squirrel on the run- © Kian Martin-3445

From the top of the gondola, we walked up to Sanson’s Peak and found Golden-mantled ground squirrels all around plus a couple of Hoary marmots on the rocks.  Kian picked out these creatures and angled for good spots to shoot them (with a camera).

Golden-mantled ground squirrel on the run- © Kian Martin-3485

Golden-mantled ground squirrel on the run- © Kian Martin-3486

Golden-mantled ground squirrel on Sanson's Peak - © Kian Martin-3497

On the water, we covered the length of the lake and Kian made some very nice landscape images along the way.  Coming back, he started experimenting with the reflection of his camera in the window against the scenery beyond.  These were some of my favourites from his set.  When droplets settled on the glass towards the end of the trip, he turned his attention to them framed with the mountains.  Those joined my list of favourites too – great vision and creativity.

Minnewanka's emerald waters - © Kian Martin 2016 -3503

The east end of Lake Minnewanka - © Kian Martin-3555

Photographing Lake Minnewanka - © Kian Martin-3558

Photographing Minnewanka - © Kian Martin-3560

Photographing the mountains from Minnewanka - © Kian Martin-3577

The next day, we spent a couple of hours post processing his work.  It was fantastic!  I love the way he sees things and creates images.  I’m a one trick pony and didn’t do much more than photographing through the day.  Kian however was also the safety model for the flotation device, shared ecological knowledge about the forest along the lake and took a turn piloting the boat.

Kian in the photobooth - © Christopher Martin-3518

Piloting Minnewanka - © Christopher Martin-3569

After the boat ride, my parents headed back to Cochrane and Kian and I waded in the water for a bit – right up until our legs went numb!  We then went down the Johnson Lake road to see if the Buffalo berries were ripe and drawing in any bears.  They were and they did!  We saw a Black bear and a Grizzly.

Johnson Lake Black bear - © Kian Martin-3598

After all of that excitement, we headed for home.  Dusk came quickly and we decided to pull off of the Trans-Canada Highway and drive up the Sibbald Creek Trail to find a spot to photograph the sunset for a few minutes.  We found a small lake close to the road and this was Kian’s final picture from a great day.  An absolutely wonderful landscape image and one we both agreed was among his best (so far).

Sunset from the Sibbald Creek Trail - © Kian Martin-3641

He is a competent young man intent on trying out new things – I am exceptionally happy for him about the person he is choosing to become.  And, I am very proud of him.


14 responses

  1. wildchild47

    Amazing how the world and perspectives change in the hands and through the eyes of a child. Clearly your son is exploring and engaging in a way that is truly as unique as him. Not only does he already have a well developed sense of framing and composition etc. but the ability to see “layers” and be intrigued and fascinated enough to follow through and trust the instincts is awesome. What a wonderful experience to have shared with your family and son!

    August 31, 2016 at 4:53 pm

  2. As well you should be! Wonderful that you got to share such experiences. And its really great that he likes photography, too. I enjoyed your joint efforts!—I recently also posted about bears and berries at Banff.:) What an experience seeing them up pretty close….!

    August 31, 2016 at 12:29 am

  3. Tonya LeMoine

    Looks like an amazing adventure you guys had. Kian’s pictures are awesome. He is following in his dad’s footsteps for sure. Way to go Kian !!!!

    August 30, 2016 at 10:43 pm

  4. Pingback: The Banff National Park through my son’s eyes – Mensch und Kultur

  5. Nice work, Klan!

    August 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm

  6. He did a beautiful job here!!!

    August 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm

  7. Truly captured the Beauty of Banff 🙂

    August 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

    • He did – I’m sure he will appreciate your kind words Morgan!

      August 30, 2016 at 10:42 am

      • I was there in 1986 so it was nice to see it again 🙂 thank you!

        August 30, 2016 at 10:44 am

  8. He is so young and the photos are great.

    August 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

  9. What an awesome education your giving your son, and NOT just photography but nature too.
    My husband and I will be going on vacation in bear country in September so I was wondering if you take a bear repellent when you go deep in the woods? I notice you photograph bears a lot too. Or, do you use a method to not disturb the bear, besides avoiding them, haha.

    August 30, 2016 at 8:40 am

    • Hi – thank you for commenting. I carry bear spray with me when I’m hiking. I try not to disturb bears I come across by backtracking, avoiding making any signs of aggression, etc. Surprising a bear can make them defensive so making noise (singing, talking, etc.) while walking along is a good plan as well. For the majority of people, bears are best encountered by watching them through the windows of your vehicle. If you encounter one out on the trails, respect for the animals, preparedness for how to react, what their body language and the noises they make MAY be telling you and familiarity on how and when to use bear spray are essential in my mind. Again, very generally, if you see them but they don’t see you, leave the area to the bear and carry on in a different direction. There are good resources on the National Park websites and other nature focused sites which provide better advice – this is only a high level summary. I hope you enjoy your time in the woods – for me it is always time well spent.



      August 30, 2016 at 10:41 am

      • Wow, I’ve always tried to be quiet in the woods. Great advice, and makes good sense. We’ll be in northern Minnesota, so only black bears, vs. you & the grizzlies. Oh, a further comment on your son’s photos, the one with the reflection. It’s a subtle, lovely self-portrait AND grand landscape. And he’s only nine.

        August 30, 2016 at 11:06 am

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