Nature Break in Canmore

People sure make different choices when it comes to vacations. Budget and family circumstances influence the nature and distance of any travel. Interests lead to holidays focused on shopping, museums, bright lights, awesome food, beaches, history, all-inclusive, cruising, outdoor adventure, photography or some other pursuit.

Our family vacations tend to one extreme or the other; we go big or stay home. For this spring vacation, we opted to unwind with a nature break in Canmore. Icy trail conditions  weren’t conducive to relaxing walks, but we pulled on our Kahtoola NANOspikes and headed out everyday regardless of the weather.


One outcome of our choice to decompress? A single sunrise photowalk…


It was cloudy or overcast almost every day. While clouds generally add interest to landscape photographs, it’s helpful to think a little differently if the sky is grey and flat.

One option is to take advantage of nature’s softbox by choosing subjects that photograph better without the distraction of the highlights and shadows that result from sunny skies. The upper waterfalls on Three Sisters Creek is located in a deep, narrow valley where light conditions are usually difficult, so that was our destination on one grey day.


Other days, we couldn’t resist the lure of the big landscape, so had to think about minimizing the amount of sky, emphasizing the foreground and/or including a pop of colour in our compositions.


Intimate naturescapes also work well on overcast days.


When I spotted an old cable spool a few meters off the trail one morning, I opted to create a mini photo essay that included some close-ups.

Another themed set of photos accumulated over several days.


Mother Nature came through with a couple of blue sky days, including one morning after overnight sleet and snow left everything dusted in fresh white – from mountain tops to valley bottom.

Most evenings we succumbed to the temptation of a soak in the hot tub followed by TV time. But I headed out one evening for the express purpose of using the Live Composite exposure option on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. It’s an Olympus-patented variation on long exposure photography that takes a base exposure and then adds new light information to the image over time. Thanks to the Olympus Image Share app, I could use my phone to trigger the exposure, monitor how the light trails were developing and then end the exposure when I was satisfied. I also took single exposures from the same location.


All-in-all, we enjoyed observing the back and forth between winter and spring that happens at this time of year in this part of the world. And we’re looking forward our next chance to get out and about in Canmore, when we’ll be on the look out for signs of that spring has arrived.

What’s your ideal spring vacation? Leave a comment to let us know.

4 thoughts on “Nature Break in Canmore

    1. I like those two groups of photos a lot, too. I should get out in the early mornings/at night more often, but I’m just not that dedicated to photography!

  1. Mandy

    Usually this time of year, it is enjoying great alpine skiing after the crowds have gone, but this spring it was time for a “go big” vacation in advance of my “big” birthday. This is our first visit to Loreto on Mexico’s Baja peninsula where the Sea of Cortez was called the “world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau. We are going to come back next year because we missed the friendly grey whales that come right up to your boat to be petted by 2 days! I had to settle for a dolphin swimming by within 6 feet of my kayak and several leaping manta rays that put on a show for about 20 min. Also enjoyed fab snorkelling and boating to secluded beaches. Direct flight from Calgary is less than 3.5 hours. Oh…… and some great geocaching!

    1. Sounds like an awesome way to celebrate your “big” birthday. We’ve been on a couple of whale watching excursions, but didn’t get that close to the whales. Once was in Victoria (mainly Orcas) and the other time was in New Zealand, which was an amazing experience. It’s always great when you find a reasonable, direct-flight destination that you love because it makes spur-of-the-moment vacations a lot easier to plan.

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