Memories of Wild Rose Country

It's a sunny July afternoon in Alberta and we're driving the Icefields Parkway, cutting through the beautifully rugged landscape of Alberta. We pull off at a parking area above Peyto Lake, and make our way along a narrow trail through the woods to a rocky outcropping, where we survey the expanse far below us. The sun is hitting the glacier-fed lake, that stands out like a shard of turquoise. A storm is rolling in over the mountains. It is just me and my love alone here in the wild. This is a highlight to a trip defined by highlights.

It has taken me more than a year to get to this post. In July 2014, my wife and I took a bit of a belated honeymoon, spending more than a week adventuring in Alberta and British Columbia. We quickly fell deeply in love with Canada. The rugged beauty of its landscape. Its friendly people. Its gorgeous late-night sunsets. And the food. Oh, the food. 

There is something inspiring and invigorating about going new, unseen places and seeing new beauty, sharing time with the one you love and coming home recharged and refreshed.

So settle in, there's a few photos ahead.

The trail through Johnston Canyon outside Banff is in itself a delight, laced with the heavy fragrance of fresh mountain air and pine trees, every turn in the trail presenting new vistas.

Then there is the matter of the upper falls in Johnston Canyon. Standing at the end of the catwalk, the cool, misty spray in your face is like shot of adrenaline.

When it comes to long summer days of driving mountain roads and exploring new places, it's crucial to start the day with the proper fuel, and the folks at Kicking Horse Coffee in Invermere, British Columbia, roast and serve fantastic coffee and baked goods. 

The water. Can we talk about the water in Alberta? Nothing really prepares you for seeing the glacial lakes of Alberta, shining bright like turquoise in the sun. Lake Louise is a splendid place to simply walk along the shore, soak in the summer sun, and breathe crisp mountain air. 

A hike up the mountain from Lake Louise is Lake Agnes. Beautiful in its own right, it also includes a tea house built in 1905, a great place to sip fresh, hot coffee and have a snack while enjoying the mountain views.

Whether you're heading up to Lake Agnes, or making your descent to head back to Lake Louise, Mirror Lake is a nice, calm stopping point to take a rest.

I might be biased, but the gorgeous views in Canada still pale in comparison to this beauty.

In addition to seeing Lake Louise up close, taking a ski lift ride up a mountainside inhabited by grizzly bears also provides a great view.

Was it just the thrill of the entire trip, or was this 9 p.m. pizza in Invermere really that delicious?

More than a year later, I still think longingly about this trip. Alberta is one of the most beautiful places I've spent time, where the handiwork of the Creator is on full and vibrant display. These are the kind of adventures that are so good for the mind, body, and soul. The time to explore new places and be rejuvenated is priceless. 

Signing off with a photo of my cutie wife in the trusty Nissan Versa that zipped us all over the place. 

The Immensity of It All

"The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself." — John Wesley Powell

It is difficult to adequately put into words the sense of awe one feels when seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. The mind feels prepared to be amazed, but nothing compares to seeing this ...grandeur, like a neverending matte painting on display. The feeling of absolute smallness in the midst of a great world, standing on a rocky outcropping as the storm clouds clear and the wind whips around you is enlivening.

A few weeks ago, I headed out to the desert with two good friends, to ramble around the desert and, most notably for me, see the Grand Canyon with my own eyes for the first time. The few hours we spent driving through the heart of thunderstorm and walking along the edge of the South Rim were an amazing taste of its beauty, and a much-needed, invigorating break from the day-to-day busyness of life.

The winter palace

This past weekend, I packed up the cameras and warm clothing and headed north, through rain and snow, to spend a weekend with two good friends in Yosemite National Park. About a foot of snow fell Friday night, and we woke Saturday to a sugar-coated valley. It was a great time of photographing, hiking and breathing pure, crisp mountain air. Here's an image of El Capitan. It doesn't do justice to El Cap's size, but it does capture a little bit of the moment. Want to see more? Click here and head over to my Flickr page.

what is a life?

i figured it was time to unveil a few more photos from my time in europe. i wound up with a lot of favorites, so it'll take me a little time to narrow down the absolute best, but here's some that i like. enjoy.

the best cup of turkish coffee i'd had in about five years!

the amazing cathedral of st. vitus in prague. the church took 600 years (!) to complete.

night falls on dresden, germany.

the ever-busy potsdamer platz in berlin.

the amazing square right across the street from the hilton berlin. an awesome place to sit, people watch and enjoy the sunset.

berlin's brandenburg gate

a chance moment at busy and bustling alexanderplatz in berlin.

a wonderful, enchanting rainy night walking the slippery cobblestone streets of prague.
that's it for now. expect more.
and expect lots more great images from my 30for30 shoots in july and august, very soon!