Justin Grimm's picture

From the Mists

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but as a landscape photographer I have created a "bucket list" of rare shots I dream of capturing. This is not a list of specific exotic locations I wish to shoot though. Instead, it is a list of rare combinations of light, weather conditions, and natural formations that I am constantly on the lookout for. This misty hoar frost scene taken from the beautiful Bow Lake of the Canadian Rockies is the first time I've managed to witness one of these very specific combination of elements. Because of that, it is probably my favourite image I've ever captured.

Many things needed to come together for conditions like this to occur, and if you are lucky they may happen for a few days, or most likely only hours over the course of a year. An extremely cold weather front pushed it's way through the mountains early this winter season, before the lakes had managed to freeze over. If this cold front brought snow, the incredibly detailed and fragile hoar frost would have been hidden. If the lake had been frozen over, the mist from the open warmer water would not have added the much needed humidity in the air needed for the frost to form. Without a break of the clouds and fog, the light wouldn't have hit the peak or foreground. If I wasn't out at an epic mountainous location, well then this wouldn't be one of my bucket list shots! A lot of things needed to happen, you get the picture.

What made this morning even sweeter is that it was spent with two of the most talented photographers and friends I know, Erin Babnik and Ted Gore, on the last day of their short trip up to my Canadian stomping grounds. Being from the warmer areas of the US, and not having the extra layer of natural back-bacon insulation on their bodies, meant they were a tad bit colder then I was on this -25/-30 celsius morning. Even with my shoulder dipped in ice water, my snow-pants crusted with a layer of ice, and my damn toe warmers failing to heat up, I was distracted enough to barely even notice anything outside of my viewfinder. I shot and composed images continuously for the 3 hours we spent out here, and managed to capture this fleeting moment when the peak stood out from the heavy mists.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and that I could accurately convey this magical combination of conditions through my image. Thanks for looking!

14MM · f/8 · ISO 100
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Awesome image and great composition! Great cool photo, love the multiple levels hiding and leading up to the mountain

Man, your portfolio is simply mindblowing and this is one of my faves from it!