British Columbia and Alberta by Bus


By P. Dale Ware

Think it’s possible to be bored with the scenery in Canada? Well, it is because there’s so much of the same thing — trees, lakes and mountains around every turn in the road.

The country is beautiful, no doubt about it, but the redundancy of the landscape makes you scramble for visual variety – especially if you’re on a bus.

Recently, my wife, Pat, and my daughter, Wendy, and I traveled approximately 1700 miles on a bus tour through British Columbia and Alberta, including Vancouver, Jasper, Lac (Lake) Le Jeune, the Columbia Icefield, Banff, Kelowna, Victoria and Whistler. We didn’t want to drive, so we got an overview of these locations. Now, we can go back to specific areas and spend more time shooting.

We enjoyed most of our visits to places along the way, but we thought that Banff and Whistler were too over commercialized. Both of these areas reminded us a lot of Lake Tahoe without the casinos. Pat and I would go back to a lot of the places, but we’d definitely stay away from the tourist traps.

As I anticipated, my shooting on the trip was rushed, but I did manage to capture some fairly good images during restroom stops. The midday sun was very bright, so I remedied that somewhat with a polarizer and tried to include as little sky as possible.

The excursions were fun and on one of them I took a helicopter ride over Banff and the surrounding area. The ride was spectacular and the pictures were OK, but nothing extraordinary.

         

At Lac (Lake) Le Jeune and Victoria, I was able to get in some late evening sunset shooting. I used a graduated neutral density filter (3-stop) and was reasonably satisfied with my results. I was tempted to try taking two pictures of the same scene, metering for the sky and the ground separately, and match them up later in the computer, but I got lazy, I guess.

My Nikon D100 performed very well, and I had my first opportunity working with the zoom feature. It allowed me to edit between stops and cull out pics that I didn’t want. Also, by editing frequently, I was able to preserve space on my memory cards.

Speaking of cards, I took plenty of them (12) with me since my Image Bank hard drive didn’t work. Taking a lot of cards was a good idea and the 256mb size was just right. Since I shot everything in the raw format, each card allowed me space for 25 pictures. That was just fine.

I really amazed myself with how much I used a tripod, which was most of the time. I found that a light one with a ball head made shooting much easier. You could expand the tripod’s legs while walking to your shooting location and break it down very easily afterward. It was hard to shoot with it in high winds, but at other times it worked perfectly.

Overall, the Canada trip was very enjoyable. Even though I was on a bus, I satisfied my appetite for photography. I know I could have taken more time with shooting if I’d been in a car, but I believe I saw more places by taking the bus. I’d do it again, but not for awhile.

 

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