I want to share a short photo essay with you with some images from a recent sunrise hike in the Bow Valley. My favourite result from this adventure was a time-lapse of the inversion in the valley. I had been keeping an eye on the weather and conditions, hoping that there would be a morning where I had time to hike and could get an inversion.

Landscape photographers are often looking for perfect or specific conditions to shoot a particular scene. The photographer may want those brilliant pinks and yellows that can happen at sunrise or sunset. With just the right amount of cloud in the sky, of course. These conditions are not always easy to get, especially in the Canadian Rockies. The front range area of the Bow Valley can also get high winds. Sometimes conditions can change quickly. The most important piece of advice I can give is to take chances and keep going out. Not only does practicing help maintain and increase your skills, but it forces you to keep seeing scenes, to get creative with whatever conditions you get. Sometimes those questionable weather days can give you the most stunning results.

I started my hike under a starry sky – not what the forecast predicted. But, I was awake and ready to go, so up I went, yelling heavy metal lyrics to alert any wildlife that a crazy photographer was coming through. As I kept gaining elevation, I could see high clouds starting to roll across the sky. Once out of the tree line, it was just light enough that I could see the valley was full of clouds.

I decided to set up a time-lapse and let it run for almost an hour to capture the clouds rolling in the valley like ocean waves.

While the time-lapse ran, I used my second camera to capture stills and another short time-lapse as well. There were only minutes of bright pink that hit Mount Lougheed. I was quick to catch some frames with my 70-200mm. I love using this lens for landscape work (it used to be one of my concert workhorses). Throughout the rest of the morning, I mainly used the longer focal lengths to capture the dissipating clouds as sunlight played across them.

Please enjoy these photos that take you through the morning. I hope you can experience a bit of what I felt.

Mount Lougheed and Wind Tower in the Bow Valley at Blue hour
Inversion in the Bow Valley snowy Mountains with red clouds at sunrise
Yellow sunlight framing a snow covered mountain at sunrise in the Bow Valley
Pink clouds at Sunrise with Alpen Glow on Mount Lougheed
Warm sunlight hitting snowy peak in Kananaskisk
Morning light on the tops of cloud inversion with a snowy peak in the Bow Valley
Sunlight hitting the top of cloud inversion
Sunbeam hitting the top of a cloud inversion in Kananaskis
Warm sunlight hitting wispy cloud inversion
Sun lit clouds drifting over a snowy mountain ridge
Iridescent cloud drifting over trees
Rainbow coloured cloud drifting over snowy trees on a mountain side
Mount Lougheed surround by sunlit inversion and clouds in the Canadian Rockies
Morning light hitting Rimwall in Kananaskis with dramatic clouds
Snow covered blocky ridge with dramatic clouds