Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mt. Yamnuska - June 14th, 2012

On June 3rd, I'd hiked around Mt. Yamnuska with Conor. Since that time I wanted to go back and see if I could get some shots with some better light (ie, sunshine) so I booked Thursday afternoon off of work with the thought that I could be up on the mountain by 4:30 or 5:00pm if I left Calgary around 1:00pm.

As I was driving out the sky had a bit of drama in it. It was partially cloudy with scattered rain showers. Once in a while the sun poked through the clouds and lit up the ground. I was a bit nervous about climbing up the mountain because the weather could turn on me and I really didn't want to get caught in a torrential downpour and I was hiking solo. Given it was mid week and later afternoon, I didn't expect to see many people on the trail.

As it turned out I had pretty good weather on my trip. There were rain clouds dripping across the landscape but no rain fell on me. The sun peaked out and gave me the light I was looking for. Actually, I think the shots turned out better than if there was only plain blue sky. The dramatic clouds were a nice addition.

Mt. Yamnuska

When I was hiking on Fullerton last weekend, I'd been thinking about how I seem to return to the same places and when in those same places I take the same shots over and over again. This case was different because I primarily came out here to make the shot that you see above.

I was so determined, in fact, that I marched my butt straight up the hill without stopping (much). I passed by blossoming flowers, interesting insects, trembling trees, butterflies, squirrels, and descending hikers to the point where all of a sudden I couldn't breath anymore. Without Conor there to help pace me I found I was moving too quickly which led to lots of sweating and heavy breathing. It all kind of snuck up on me and I got tired fast. After pausing to catch my breath I continued at a slower pace and was noticeably fatigued but not to the point where I was incapacitated or anything. Proceeding at a normal pace I made my way up towards the view at the top.

Once I'd taken some time to collect some shots the decision was whether or not to continue around the mountain and descend the scree slopes or head back the way I came. I tentatively decided to go around the mountain but zigged when I should have zagged and ended up at a bit of a dead end. I would have had to backtrack a ways and try again.

At this point I chose to head back the way I'd come - primarily because I was a little bit nervous about being out there all alone. I'd passed a few hikers that were descending and I didn't think there were many more people around. I've only been round the west side twice now and I've been on the east side more than a dozen times. Familiarity won out.

With my direction set I wandered over and made some shots of this tree that lives on the edge of the cliff. I've shot it before, but not in this way ;-)

The Shoulder

The clouds above were moving around quite a bit and I waited for the sunlight to hit the shoulder of the mountain just right. In the middle of the frame you can see open areas in the trees with rock outcrops. This is part of the trail on the east shoulder of the mountain and where I'd be heading down.

A short time later I saw this scene in front of me.

In the light

I love how the light was hitting the trees in the front and the distance is in shadow. Normally I like to take a number of different shots of a scene to explore the composition a bit make sure I have the right focus and everything but the light quickly disappeared behind a cloud. I waited and waited for it to come back but I couldn't see that a break was coming eventually moved on.

I spent the next couple hours walking down the mountain feeling that sense of peace you sometimes get when your alone in the forest.

I often continue to develop and post pictures in the gallery. If I do you'll be able to find all the shots from today here

Thanks for looking.

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