There was a wonderful feature on the Yosemite blog which talks about the concept of going way too fast through National Parks (and life in general), and I thought of my experience while taking this photo. If you have a few minutes, check it out. It's a good reminder to slow down.
There's a reason Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are two of the most visited spots in Banff--they're otherworldly. And despite millions of people photographing them, there's always a new mood to catch, a different set of clouds, a new patch of mist... some new way to appreciate the deep unrelenting beauty of these places.
I learn a lot about people while sitting for long periods of time and taking pictures. There were over 100 people standing on the deck on top of the rocks here in the foreground, all taking pictures of each other in front of the lake. A few minutes later as the temperature dropped a few degrees and the clouds rolled in, I was alone. For a long time. Everyone missed the deep silvery gray of the clouds blowing over the glacier, the lake turning a deep turquoise as the light shifted, the intense quiet and faint sound of distant avalanches.
The average tourist must have spent a grand total of five minutes or less in front of the lake. Five minutes or less. Long enough to take a look, comment on how strange the water color is, maybe say something about it being pretty, take a few snapshots, and turn away to head back to the parking lot. On to the next pretty thing. It's Edward Abbey's "Industrial Tourism" concept at its best. It made my heart hurt. I spent most of the last year craving these lakes, aching to be able to spend long minutes at their shores. If I could bottle the joy I feel in those moments, I could never feel unhappy again.
So I'm proud to be a member of a minority of travelers who do their best to absorb a place, for better or for worse. It can involve a lot of mud and wet clothing, a lot of shivering and sweating, but I can't think of a better way to live.
~6-minute exposure - 9-stop ND400 filter - Hoya Moose Polarizer - 10mm