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Rolf Hicker Photography
Animal * Nature * Travel Photography

Winter Wonderland Waterton Lakes National Park

First snow storm turns autumn into a winter wonderland in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta.

Fall Winter Scenery Landscape Mountains Reflections

Winter wonderland with fall colors and reflections during sunset in Waterton Lakes National Park

As mentioned in my previous two blogs (Okanagan vineyards I Road trip Kootenay)we were coming from a assignment in the Okanagan Valley, spent the night at Slocan Lake in Central Kootenay and continued our long journey towards the Canadian Rockies in southern Alberta.

Rocky Mountains Nature Winter Scenery Reflections Waterton Lakes National Park
If everything would have worked out as we planned it, we should have had a few days of autumn colors during our stay in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta but nature photography hardly ever works out as planned.

When we crossed into the Province of Alberta our biggest hopes for fall colors were gone very fast - we crawled along the Crowsnest Pass in a very heavy snow storm with accompanied us all the way into southern Alberta, through Pincher Creek into Waterton Lakes National Park. No sign left of falls colors, we found ourselves in the middle of winter wonderland and... we were not really prepared for it.

A cold winter snow storm hit Waterton Lakes National Park and turned the autumn landscape into first snow, winter wonderland. Of course we were disappointed, especially after we prepared us well for this trip to capture some great fall pictures and now we found ourselves in the middle of winter.

Disappointments is something I learnt to live with, being a professional travel photographer for over 20 years. I can't even count how often I travel for days to a certain destination just to find out that I'm fully depending on conditions I can't plan or control, no matter if I were to early/late for fall colors, wildlife didn't show up, mud slides blocked roads, volcanoes erupted or it was raining for weeks - I think I can say - we had it pretty much all, or at least a lot of it.

But our disappointment disappeared fast and we enjoyed walking in the fresh, first snow of the season.

Winter Wonderland Sunset Rays Mountain Scenery Alberta

Not that there was any hope at this stage that the snow storm may stops soon but we decided anyway to go out and check some of our favorite photo places in this very scenic landscape park. We had only an hour left till sunset when the weather slowly started to improve. We got excited about pictures of fresh snow and were getting the equipment ready, just in case that the light would come through the heavy storm clouds.

Well, to make it short, it did clear up for a little bit.

Fortunately we scouted enough to know exactly where we wanted to photograph. We started at Knight's Lake and photographed beautiful reflections of Mount Vimy and a herd of Elk crossing the lake (see my blog: Animal Elk Hidden In Winter Mountain Scenery).

The other shot I was trying to squeeze in was a shot with fresh snow and fall colors. I found the photo spot earlier when we came into the park and were very happy when the light improved and we got a unique sunset over the mountains. I love this shot as it combines autumn with winter with beautiful cloud reflections in the pond and colorful clouds above the mountains. Honestly I could not have imagined 2 hours earlier that I ever would get a "decent" shot at all. On the other side it was almost typical for us, we did not give up and stayed out till dark and it paid of with this perfect autumn, winter wonderland scenic shot (above), which I'm more then happy with.

Blogs in this series:
Vineyards Wineries & Pumpkins in Okanagan Valley British Columbia
Road trip from Okanagan via Monashee Provincial Park to Central Kootenay
Winter wonderland in Waterton lakes National Park, southern Alberta
Animal elk hidden in winter mountain scenery
Scenic winter landscape mountains waterfall & wildlife


Author: Rolf Hicker - 2010-11-04
last blog: Road Trip Okanagan Monashee Central Kootenay
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