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Tranquil Louise

I'm not sure what the first thing that comes to mind is for most people when they hear the word "Banff", but for me, that thing is Lake Louise.  Pretty much everyone who's been to Lake Louise talks about the beautiful scenery and its pristine water, so I was quite excited to finally make the trip there.  I had wanted to hit it up before sunrise to get all the colours, but alas, I slept in, and we didn't get there until 8ish. 

It was already quite busy when we got there, so I quickly ran from the parking lot to the first vantage point I saw and snapped a quick picture. 

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You can tell it's a bit hazy in the distance, and that's mainly due to the forest fire that struck the region just before I got there.  Not the worst picture in the world, but it wasn't quite doing it for me.  I wanted to get a wider shot, and I also noticed some rocks in the foreground that I thought would add some interest, so I switched my lens to Nikon's landscape workhouse, the 14-24mm, and took another shot.

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I was much happier with the composition of this picture.  I'll talk about composition more in a future blog, but in general, it's rare that the first picture you take will be the the killer shot of the bunch.  If you see something you like, take a picture - the great thing about digital is once you have your SD/CF/XQD card, memory is free, so shoot away!  Once you've taken your shot though, think about ways you can improve it - can you move to a better location, use a different lens, or change your angle?  Sometimes a tiny perspective change can make a big difference, and in this case, I really liked how the rocks added to the image, and the wider vista overall as well.  The tones are already pretty good in this image, but as you may have already guessed, being the HDR lover I am, I took a bunch of shots to create the final HDR photograph, "Tranquil Louise"

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I pondered about the scene some more, and thought a panorama of the scene might make for an excellent picture.  I've talked about panoramas in the past, and they can be a bit time consuming, but I didn't want to regret not putting the work in to take one when I got back to Toronto, so I set up my equipment and fired away.

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The wider vista is nice as it allows you to fully get the peaks of the mountains on the left and right sides, but there's something about the composition that just didn't do it for me.  I hated losing the rocks, and I didn't feel as if getting the full vista added much to the composition - I actually preferred (and still prefer) the intimacy that Tranquil Louise has.  Either way, I'm still glad I took the time to create the panorama - at the very worst, it served as practice for me, and I still got a decent picture out of it to boot =)

Of course, no visit to Lake Louise would be complete without the requisite selfie (Nolan and Sylvia had abandoned me to go on a small hike).  I could have done it with my iPhone, but two things stopped me from doing so - 1) If I have my SLR on me, I'll always try and do it with the SLR, and 2) I might be a photographer, but I am absolutely horrid at taking selfies with a phone.  How horrid?  You're familiar with Donald Trump, right?  Think about how well Trump and Hispanics get along - that's just about equivalent to how iPhone selfies and I get along.  Yes, I'm that terrible at them - for some reason, I just can't hold the phone properly, and at the right angle, like ever.  Luckily cameras are sophisticated enough these days that you can put a timer on, run into the scene while the camera counts down, and have time to smile before the camera captures the image.  And clearly I didn't learn my lesson from he previous day - I'm still in my flip flops - luckily for me they were more than enough to conquer the non-hiking vantage point that Lake Louise had to offer =P

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