Despite visiting the Canadian Rockies on several occasions, we have never had a chance to drive south along the Cowboy Trail, highway #22. This time, however, we took this scenic drive and what a photographic treat it was!
Driving south in the foothills, on our right the giant peaks of the Canadian Rockies rise from the plains. Beautiful clumps of trees and rolling grassy hills mixed with farmland create a spectacular sight.
Make sure you take this route early in the morning, preferably starting at sunrise because the early sun illuminates the peaks in a beautiful series. Kasia and I were pretty lucky since we encountered stormy weather: thunderstorms, rain, sun and rainbows – we had it all – all day long. It allowed us to shoot long into the midday hours.
As you approach the US border, you reach Waterton Park. While it is less popular and less well known than Banff National Park, it is one of the most spectacular parks we have ever visited. Make sure to cross to the US side, where most of the park’s attractions are located.
Gear Notes: As usual we were equipped with the Fuji X-T1, the XF 14mm F2.8, XF 56mm F1.2 and Fuji X100S. It was enough to cover 99% of our needs. The X-T1’s viewfinder made a huge difference offering a wide clear view. Even when you are in such an extraordinary location, one should avoid “snapping fever” and focus on composition and light. It is much better to take just a few images, working hard on them before you press the shutter button. This approach pays off later.
The B&W photos were mildly processed using NIK Silver Pro – our favourite B&W software. The colour photos are mixed: some JPEGs come straight from the camera, some are Lightroom 5 processed. We noticed that the latest variants of Lightroom do a much better job with the X-Trans files, especially files from the X-T1 (not so much with the X100S files). Of course, this is based on our observations, not backed up by any testing. For those who print large and scrutinize their files under the loop, the Iridient Developer (ID) is still the best choice, especially now, when ID offers Fuji film simulations.
2014 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.