• Our tent.
  • Boy; these old eyes almost missed it.What a wonderful spot, you've managed to set up so your camp folds into the landscape. - goobersmyn

Morning at Og Lake Campsite

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License this image on marcshandro. com

Mount Assiniboine Park is generally quite a busy destination for backcountry enthusiasts, but in the shoulder season you can luck out and have this kind of a camp spot almost to yourself. See our tent? September is a great time of year to hike into the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies -- the air is fresh and clear and the fall colors can be spectacular.

Six of our seven days had mornings like this which are wonderful, but reduce the chance for resplendent morning sunrise colors and alpenglow. There's at least a small streak of an interesting cloud gracing the top of Mount Magog. The bushes around the tent are Bog Birch which are on their way to turning a deep red.

Tech Details:
Nikon D300
18-200mm lens @ 44mm (VR turned off)
Circular polarizing filter
Singh Ray 3-stop hard GND
1/2 sec @ f8
ISO 250
Velbon Sherpa Pro CF 640 tripod
Really Right Stuff ball head BH-55
RAW file processed with Adobe Lightroom

The tripod/head combo (without the center pole) weighs 2.71 kgs (5 lbs 12 oz) which is a bit heavy to lug around on a 7-day trip. I recently decided to get the GND filter and am happy with the results. HDR is time consuming and takes time to do well, and if you have a breeze in the foreground moving vegetation around, you're pretty much out of luck for a sharp image. When you're on the move and need to cover a lot of ground in a day, some techniques like HDR and even getting out the tripod takes too much time to set up for every shot, so I've borrowed/developed some shortcuts while on the move. I generally don't use the filter holder for the GND, but instead just hold the filter in front of the camera with my left hand (I saw Art Wolfe do this briefly on one of his shows). Fingerprints on the lower part of the 4x6 filter never get in front of the lens anyway. I've also developed a couple of methods of stability when I feel I don't have time to dawdle with my tripod (but I will get out the tripod for exceptional discoveries). First is to set a higher ISO which depends on the situation, but is generally 400-500 ISO. For low shots I'll sit cross legged on the ground with both elbows resting on my knees and calm my breathing. The good noise capability of the D300 combined with a VR lens generally yields good results. For a higher vantage point, I've been able to use both of my hiking poles still attached to my wrists and firmly pushing into the ground. This controls vertical and sideways shake and my body becomes the third leg of the "tripod". By keeping the straps around my wrists, I'm still able to hold the GND in front of the lens with my left hand. It takes a bit of practice, but is still much faster than taking the tripod off the pack. I've been pleasantly surprised by the results using this method in pretty low light. I keep the camera and filter in a simple compressible waist-pack that I turn around and have in the front. It has a big enough compartment to hold the camera with attached lens (and extended lens hood), so I can get access to the camera very easily and quickly without taking off a heavy pack. It's all a balance of having and feeling the adventure or hike or backpack and making time for the photography.

The larger view is always better... B l a c k M a g i c or as a Slideshow

jimgoldstein, b_g_moore, and 376 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. RahulBworld 60 months ago | reply

    Unreal photo !! Love it !

  2. Excalibur67 58 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called La passion de la Nature, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  3. hellen.888 56 months ago | reply

    Excellent shot !
    Beautiful morning at campsite. I love this.

  4. hornbost 55 months ago | reply

    I look to your picture and i snug as a bug in a rug!

    ...thanks for this amazing picture, i put it to my favorites!!!

    Please look at my pictures and tell me when you like them.
    From an awesome photographer like you i would like to
    read something about my work!

    regards from Germany


  5. www.niccolobonfadini.com 54 months ago | reply

    isnt it dangerous because of the bears to camp there?

  6. Marc Shandro 53 months ago | reply

    It's only dangerous if you're afraid. ;-) Seriously though, you should be "bear-aware": clean campsite, make noise when hiking, be alert to diggings and scat, and carry bear spray.

  7. beningh 53 months ago | reply

    Great work
    Visto en All beautiful shots and many more.
    Todas las cosas son hermosas a los ojos


  8. saden*** 51 months ago | reply

    Gran composición!!

  9. Alin Balanean 48 months ago | reply

    Simply awesome and breathtaking shot! superb processing.

  10. DMac 5D Mark II 43 months ago | reply

    Terrific landscape. Thanks for the info in the caption as well.

  11. Chris Ntardis ΦΩΤΟgraphy 43 months ago | reply

    Very well captured, a great image!

  12. Jensje 42 months ago | reply

    This looks surreal! Very nice photo :D
    Like the colours and contrast in it.
    Thanks for sharing

  13. Kevin Machtelinckx 42 months ago | reply

    Such perfect lighting. that GND worked wonders...

    Just curious: why did you choose a hard GND over a soft? Also, your tech notes state that VR was off. Why'd you choose to go this route?

    Thanks Marc, your photography is an inspiration.

  14. Marc Shandro 42 months ago | reply

    Hey Kevin,

    Simple: The hard GND is the only one I have. :) I've found that I can even up the hard line exposure in scenes with rugged horizons (like this one) by using the paint brush tool in Lightroom -- essentially old-fashioned dodging and burning. I suppose I could have also blended multiple exposures and done away with the GND. Or... HDR.

    As for VR off... always turn of VR when using the tripod, unless you're getting wind vibrations. There's a chance you'll get slight motor movement in the lens even though it's solidly mounted.

    Thanks for the comment!

  15. StephAnna :-) 20 months ago | reply

    This shot is absolutely gorgeous, Marc. We are Swiss and used to the sight of the Matterhorn; it's amazing how similar Mount Assiniboine looks like our famous peak.
    We are visiting the Canadian Rockies in a few days and we would be happy to see this wonderful place. How far is the hike to the campground?

  16. Marc Shandro 20 months ago | reply

    it's a very long one day hike along Bryant creek, or a two-day trip (60kms) via Sunshine Meadows (very beautiful). Many people choose to helicopter in and do day hike s from the lodge or campground. Thanks for the kind comments!

  17. Guiller471 3 months ago | reply

    Awesome photography!!

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