A Three Sisters Experience

The Three Sisters

April 11, 2017

A week or so ago, when going up to Canmore for brunch with my son, I saw beautiful lighting from the morning sun on the Three Sisters mountains.  We hadn’t gotten to Canmore yet and I was hungry, so we pressed on to the restaurant.  When we came back later to check out the view I saw earlier, the light had changed enough to ruin what I had previsualised.

The next morning dawned just as clear, so I headed out early from Cochrane on my own and got to the right place near Canmore.  My plan was to climb up a hill ahead of me to get clear of the disarray of trees, buildings, and power lines along the bottom of the valley.  I loaded up the camera gear that I needed, put my heavy tripod over my shoulder, and started the climb.

From below, the route I picked looked like a normal hill, but it wasn’t.  I started off at a good pace then found myself faced with a steep climb on a hillside covered in loose gravel and a thicket of leafless bushes to navigate.  With my heart pounding far too fast for my own good and my knees scuffed from almost falling on my face several times, I stopped and looked back toward the other side of the valley to see whether I had a clear view or not.  I waited for a moment and thought, now with a little more intelligence than macho strength.  What on earth am I doing—this isn’t a race?

I took a few moments to catch my breath, scanned the view, thought more about the image in front of me, then started up the hill again, but much slower.  That was better.  I finally got to a height where I could see the view I wanted, set up the tripod and did my photographer thing.  The result, after quite a bit of post processing, is the image above.


I expected this image to do a lot more for me, artistic-wise, than it has.  Oh it is well prepared with lovely tones and acceptable composition, but it is merely iconic when looking at it artistically.  It is hard to do otherwise when photographing one of the most common scenes in our nearby Rocky Mountains.  I will go back to the same exasperating hill when the weather is not so nice and see what I can make of it.  Bad weather makes for some of the best photographs.  There is an image to be made there, but so far it escapes me.