Continuing through dawn at one of the Vermilion Lakes

When I arrived at the second Vermilion Lake and scrambled down to the shoreline I was alone and in darkness.  Once I turned off my headlamp my eyes adjusted and a thin line brightening to the east.  Mount Rundle stood resolutely across the water and I started to make out clouds as they slid toward the horizon.


The image above was a 25 second exposure on f/10 and ISO 800 taken at 7:25 AM.  I used that to get a feel for how the scene looked as it was still too dark to make out much of the details and color in the sky with my eyes alone.

I didn’t mind the grass but I chose to focus on the sky and its reflection so a few steps to the right and setting up closer to the waterline was the next step.  The clouds in the image above made a great frame around Rundle and the pre-sunrise colors intensified considerably by the time that I made this photograph at 7:35 AM.

The pre-dawn light’s color faded out before 8 AM.  The lull before the fire came into the sky did not last long and I soon caught the first hints of pink catching in the clouds.  The photograph of Tunnel Mountain, Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain above was taken at 8:10 using a 2 second exposure on f/16 at ISO 50.  The light soon caught the clouds hanging low above the mountains in the image below (8:13 AM; 0.8 seconds; f/16; ISO 50).  From there the reds and oranges started to splash across the sky above the Bow Valley.

By 8:16, the pinks had been driven off completely.  Now the trick was to hold the really bright circle of sky left of Mount Rundle (in the centre of the image below – 0.6 seconds; f/16; ISO 50)).  I was exposing off of that circle so that the highlights weren’t completely blown knowing that the RAW file captured by my camera would hold detail in the shadows elsewhere which I could recover in post.

I played with the focal length of several images during the exposure.  This created streaks in the photograph which served as interesting leading lines into the sunrise and Mount Rundle.  I shared my favourite one of these on the weekend (here) and below is another that I really liked as well.  This one has more brightness in the foreground so it has a different feel for me (8:20; 0.5 seconds; f/16; ISO 50).


By 8:20, the fire was waning and only golds and oranges outlined the silhouette of the mountains.  The photograph below being one of the last from my shoot (8:22; 0.3 seconds; f/16; ISO 50).

I jumped into a last frame just before the sun came over Rundle’s flank.   I had wanted to catch a sunstar as it crested the mountain but the clouds got in the middle as can happen.  That exposure was taken at 8:50 AM with a 4 second exposure (f/16 and ISO 100) using a heavy neutral density filter to get the extended shutter speed.  A beautiful morning in one of those places I love returning to again and again.  It’s rare that it doesn’t share a new look, or a few of them, with me each time.



22 responses

  1. I like seeing the progression of the sunrise, all are beautiful, and that one with the sun rays exploding into streaks is incredible. Nice shots.

    November 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

  2. Hi i would like to as you if you would follow my blog and his pictures are very beautiful I am in awe so upload more pictures and leave everyone in awe.

    October 28, 2017 at 8:49 am

  3. hi i would like to ask if you could follow my post oh and the pictures are very beautiful have never seen this kind of sites keep it up and post more pictures that can leave everyone in awe

    October 28, 2017 at 8:46 am

  4. These are absolutely beautiful! Do you sell prints of your photos?

    October 28, 2017 at 8:26 am

  5. Spectacular, and breathtaking – there’s no better show on earth then Mother Nature – looking forward to seeing more of your work – peace out –

    October 27, 2017 at 1:27 pm

  6. I love your favourite one. It’s fantastic!

    October 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

  7. Pingback: Night-sitting in Banff | Christopher Martin Photography

  8. Michael Fox

    You’ve come a long way since your first digital camera bought in the camera market in Taiwan.

    Great work Chris!

    October 24, 2017 at 6:28 am

    • Thanks Mike. If I remember it was a pretty good deal on those as you bought one too. A lot of good times with you on Formosa. Looking forward to our next meet up – wherever in the world that happens.

      October 27, 2017 at 6:35 am

  9. Really a deep color landscape.

    October 24, 2017 at 12:10 am

  10. Anonymous

    Absolutely beautiful.
    You are just proving how great you are.
    Thanks for pursuing your passion.
    A very proud Dad.Love

    October 23, 2017 at 10:08 pm

  11. Stunning area, beautiful.

    October 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm

  12. Reblogged this on clawingmywayin.

    October 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

  13. All I can say is wow! I wish I experienced this when I was there a few months ago.

    October 23, 2017 at 10:10 am

  14. I’ll have to go out to watch the sunrise from Vermillion one day. I’m always tucked up in bed at that time. One this I really enjoyed while away from Banff for a couple of months in the Summer was the incredible sunsets and sunrises I saw. Still, they don’t compare to being in he mountains.

    October 23, 2017 at 8:36 am

  15. These photos are spectacular. I am in awe of the beauty you have captured!!

    October 23, 2017 at 7:53 am

    • Thank you Dorinda. It really is a truly beautiful place to enjoy and explore.

      October 27, 2017 at 6:37 am

      • You’re welcome! Thanks, again, for sharing your wonderful photos!

        October 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

  16. Incredibly Beautiful 🙂

    October 23, 2017 at 7:44 am

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