Pro Photographer Mike Grandmaison’s 5 Canadian Rockies Tips

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010

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Today, is providing you with some miscellaneous tips for vacationing in the Canadian Rockies offered by professional photographer Mike Grandmaison.

A Mike Grandmaison photo capturing an amazing fall day in the Canadian Rockies.

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. He’s been photographing in and around the Canadian R0ckies since the late 1970s.

This is pretty much the point of our Rockies Insider Guides, to take people with deep knowledge of the Canadian Rockies and pass it along to our readers, so they can get the most out of their vacations in Banff, Canmore and Jasper, Alberta.

1. Get up early: Grandmaison mentioned several times that, if you want to see some of the best wildlife, and get some of the best lighting for photography, get to the park just before sunrise. “My favorite memories of the area are the early sunrises,” he told “There’s a tranquility. You get that wonderful light, and you experience the vastness of these mountains.”

2. Coffee: If you follow Grandmaison’s advice and get up early, you’re going to need a good cup. He says that when he picks up coffee before dawn, he usually hits Second Cup in Banff and Bear’s Paw Bakery in Jasper.

3. Boots: According to Grandmaison, he most dangerous moments in the Canadian Rockies haven’t been caused by grizzlies or moose, but by nearly slipping into a river, waterfall or over a cliff. If you check it out, falling is actually one of the biggest causes of injuries and worse in National Parks. So, he says, “More and more now I tend to wear a good hiking boot rather than running shoes.” If you plan on hitting the backcountry, you’ll want to do the same.

4. Come Prepared: Every Rockies Insider we’ve interviewed so far has mentioned this: The weather in the Canadian Rockies is often unpredictable. Grandmaison says he always packs extra clothes and matches, along with compass. In his car, he said he keeps a sleeping bag and candles, just in case.

5. Be informed. One of Grandmaison’s biggest tips was: “It never hurts to do some research.” Get some background on the Rockies (like you’re doing now) and get more out of your vacation. In that spirit, click here to read more of our Rockies Insiders stories.

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