Whenever I go someplace new, I am like most people – I need to capture the “iconic” shot. Whether it be the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the trip is not captured unless there is at least one photo of that classic scene for which the area is known.

So it was with our trip to Banff National Park. The iconic photographer’s scene is that of sunrise over the Vermillion Lakes looking towards Rundle Mountain.

Up until this point, most of our sunrise and sunset opportunities were quite limited by the 10,000 -12,000 foot mountains surrounding us. The golden hour, that hour just before sunset and just after sunrise, was not possible as the sunlight in most areas does not make its way into the valley until mid to late morning. Gone is the magic light.

Finally, in Banff, we had an open area to potentially capture the golden hour.  The weather cooperated and we were blessed with clouds, fog, golden light and even a bit of pink color for sunrise.

Mount Rundle Sunrise

Iconic shot of Mount Rundle at sunrise.

The air was crisp and scenery beautiful, but once the magic light faded from around Rundle Mountain, Jeff was eager to return to the hotel for warmth (it was about 35 degrees) and for breakfast. Another photographer who had been shooting along side of us, had long since packed up and left.

I hesitated. The stillness in the air and the reflections on the lake held me captive. I was waiting for the second act.

All of a sudden, the sunlight burst upon the marsh to our right setting it afire in gold light. Jeff dug out his camera and the two of us snapped away for another 10 minutes.

Early morning sun as it lights up the marsh.

Early morning sun as it lights up the marsh.

Once again, our experience shows that after shooting the “iconic” shot, turn and look around. You might just have the opportunity to shoot another amazing photo.

Happy shooting!