5 Ways to improve your Canadian Rockies Photos with Mike Grandmaison

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

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If you’re planning on hitting the Canadian Rockies on your next vacation, it’s a safe bet you plan on snapping a photo or two. We’ve go the pro advice here for getting the best photographs out of your Canadian Rockies vacation with Mike Grandmaison.

A photo buy Mike Grandmaison of Banff's Castle Mountain.

Grandmaison’s has been getting his photographs published by the likes of National Geographic, Outdoor Photography Canada, Canadian Geographic and other renowned outlets. He has published 11 books, including his 2007 book of Canadian Rockies photos.

We feel pretty confident saying he knows what he’s doing when it comes to photography in the Canadian Rockies. Here are five ways Grandmaison recommends improving your photos of the Canadian Rockies.

1. Postcard Perfect Timing

According to Grandmaison, most of the postcard photos you see of Jasper and Banff National Parks top destinations, such as Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and Morraine Lake, are taken between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm.”If you look at all your post cards, it’s a cool light. You’ve got a blue sky, you don’t have any warmth on your landscape,” he says.

2. Filter for Best Results

Grandmaison recommends using a couple different, relatively inexpensive lenses, to get the best out of your photography of the Canadian Rockies. This includes using a polarizing filter and a neutral graduated filter. The polarizing filter, he says, is used “To take the glare away from the foliage and increase the contrast between clouds and blue sky.”
“A neutral graduated filter,” he says, “is darker at the top and progressively darker toward the bottom. It balances the light level better because your sky is usually brighter than your foreground.”

3. Stay Composed

Composition is one of the keys to good photography.

“Make sure that every part of your photograph has something interesting,” Grandmaison advises. He notes that a lot of people neglect the foreground. He recommends looking for interesting rocks, tree trunks, branches and lake shores to frame your photo and bring life to the foreground.

4. Dusk ’til Dawn

While high noon might be a great time to get great post card photos, Grandmaison says photographers, including himself, love to take photos early in the morning and later in the evening. The light during this time will be “warmer” containing more reds and oranges. You also have a better chance of seeing wildlife this time of day.

5. Get Guidance

You’ve got one or two weeks at best in the Canadian Rockies, guys like Grandmaison have spent a good part of their lives there. You’ll find many guides in Jasper National Park and Banff National Park who know where and when to find the wildlife, when to get the good photos, where to go, and how to keep you safe on your Canadian Rockies vacation. Use these services to get the most out of your time here.

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