My overall goal with my photography is to keep finding new (even if it’s just to me) locations, compositions and inspiration. However, I often find myself revisiting locations. When you return to a location, it is not very likely you are going to see yourself taking the exact same image. Unless that is what you are after of course.

One of the main reasons I revisit a location is because of the different conditions that may arise. These conditions may be different because of weather, wildfires, seasons, sun position throughout the day or even star positions throughout the night and year. Here’s an example of weather-induced condition changes and night sky differences from Abraham Lake.

Milky Way arc panorama over Mount Michener and a frozen Abraham Lake
March 13, 2018
Ice block lit up with a headlamp and Milky Way rising behind Mount Michener
March 14, 2019

Both trips were last minute decisions to try to catch a clear sky window. On March 13th, 2018 I shot a panorama using some of the patterns in the ice to balance the arc of the Milky Way. The ice on the lake was mostly clear of snow. This year’s shot from March 14th shows that snow almost wholly covers the lake. The other difference is the position of Jupiter. It looks like the Dark Horse has consumed the planet in the 2019 images.

Another reason I might consider revisiting locations, is because I just didn’t have enough time to get everything I wanted. Whether you are shooting a sunrise or at night, your time to create with specific light or positions of stars is limited. You have to work fast, or come back another time.

For Milky Way images and compositions, different times of year can give other options for compositions. In the spring the galaxy is around the SE position in the sky, and in the fall it is around the SW position. I have a post on how the Milky Way appears through (almost) all 12 months of the year. For some foreground options, the change in position may not work. A mountain may obscure the core for example. Other areas may work all year round.

The first time I visited Emerald Lake was in August of 2016. I had some amazing one of a kind conditions that night. A substantial amount of mist engulfed Emerald Lake Lodge and the lights piercing through it were spectacular. The mist was kind enough to stay low to the ground, and not obstruct my view of the Milky Way. I returned in May of 2017 while a G3 geomagnetic storm was happening. The aurora was so intense it was pulsing in the southern hemisphere, something we do not get to see that often around our latitude of 51 degrees N.

Lights from Emerald Lake Lodge pierce through low mist while Milky Way sets in the night sky.
Emerald Lake in August 2016
Aurora and Milky Way over Emerald Lake Lodge
Emerald Lake in May 2017

Vermillion lakes is an extremely popular spot for sunrise photography in Banff. So many people have photographed this location so many times. And yet I still enjoy trying to see what I can come up with or what the skies will yield on a particular morning or night.

Open water patches and fresh snow during early morning light at Vermillion Lakes
Early morning light at Vermillion Lakes, November 2015.
Milky Way rising above Mount Rundle during winter at Vermillion Lakes, Banff - Monika Deviat
Milky Way over Rundle, March 2018
Sun burst through Mount Rundle's ridge lighting up frozen plants with gold at Vermillion Lakes
Sparkling plants at Vermillion Lakes, October 2018

Here a few things you can think about when you are considering revisiting locations:

  • Do you have new compositions in mind?
  • Do you have new equipment to try out?
  • Have you learned any new photography techniques that you could use at a location you’ve already been to?
  • Is there a friend that you would introduce the location to? Their fresh eyes and enthusiasm can spark the same in you.
  • Do you want to get different weather/light conditions?
  • Will different seasons give you something new?

I have a variety of workshops and photography tours available throughout the Canadian rockies.