September Serenity Blog Circle - Finding Serenity in the Outdoors

“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.” Katrina Meyer

My husband and I recently were lucky enough to spend two nights at the rustic Moraine Lake Lodge.

No TV or cellular service and limited Wifi. Just fresh air, nature, good books and a wood burning fireplace! It all adds up to serenity for me.

We arrived early the first day and left the crowds of Moraine Lake for an easy hike up to Consolation Lakes.

There is nothing like the fresh smell of the forest - I wish I could bottle that up.

Consolation Lakes

The backside of Mt. Babel

We stopped by a lovely little stream just off path, on the way back down.

Amazing filtered light and foliage in the forest

The next day we headed off for another hike to Sentinel Pass through Larch Valley. Sometimes these hikes can be slightly physically difficult, but the reward is always so worth it!

Larch Valley

Larch Valley looking to Pinnacle Mountain

Heading up to Sentinel Pass!

The view at the top, looking west into Paradise Valley - Sentinel trail continues down there!

The view looking back they way we came. The Valley of Ten Peaks and Minnestima Lakes in the foreground.

After returning from our hike, the weather turned so we lit the fireplace and relaxed with our books until we fell asleep! A guilt free nap with the sound of rain and thunder. Nothing more serene than listening to the sound of rain on the roof.

Part of the reason for the afternoon nap was the previous late night shooting the Milky Way!

The last morning we were there the weather was still unsettled but it made for amazing clouds hanging on the peaks.

Serenity is canoeing on a mountain lake.

I will always find peace and calm while spending time in the outdoors.

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue our circle to to see what has brought my friends serenity this month.

Next in the circle is Nancy Armstrong, Kansas City Fine Art Photographer

Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month!

Thanks for being here.

March Serenity Blog Circle - Finding Serenity in Nature

As I logged in to write this blog post, I saw that my last one was from January and I had written how we’d had a mild winter and I’d been getting outside as much as I could. Well, that was January, then February hit us like a freight train! February seemed to be a miserable weather month all over North America. Here in my part of the world, we had ridiculously cold temperatures for the entire month, we set records with how long it lasted. I was lucky enough to escape to California for the Click Away conference for 5 days, but even California was having unseasonably cool and wet weather in February.

So, while I had been getting lots of time outside before February, during February I barely left the house. Part of the reason for that was that I had bunion surgery mid month, but my timing with the weather couldn’t have been better - I simply hibernated for a couple weeks! Because of this, I didn’t go out in search of serenity, but I went back into my archives of unedited images and remembered times of serenity from warmer seasons.

As I worked on this image, I remembered how I felt sitting in this beautiful spot and it made me realize how calming just being in nature is. Have you heard of Forest Bathing? It originated as a Japanese practice, but the main premise is simply that spending time in nature, using all your senses to take in the sounds, smells and sights is beneficial to your health. And apparently, it is scientifically proven to improve blood pressure, boost mood, decrease inflammation amongst many other things. I totally believe in this premise - who doesn’t feel better after spending a little time listening to the birds around you, putting your feet on the green grass, smelling the refreshing scent of pine trees and watching the clouds float by in the sky? I know I do.

My daughter and I stopped at this location on the way home from the mountains of Banff National Park last year. It’s a short walk in to the river and when you get there you are greeted with this iconic view of the Three Sisters (the three peaks) reflecting in the slow meandering water. As we sat there we listened to the bird song, the sounds of the water and admired the view. THEN we heard the bugle of an elk from across the river and shortly after a female and her young one walked across the stream off in the distance.

Click on the image for a larger view.

I think this is why I love landscape photography so much. There is definite serenity to be found even when good photography isn’t!

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue our circle to to see what has brought my friends serenity this month.

Next in the circle is Jillian Baudry, Photographer in the South of France. Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

Viewpoints ~~ The Mountain Parks in My Backyard

Hi and welcome to my first post to the Viewpoints blog circle.  I am so honored to be part of this circle with such talented women. 

I live only a couple of hours away from Banff National Park, but seldom have the opportunity to visit.   People travel from all over the world to visit our beautiful mountains and lakes, but as residents we do take them for granted.   I decided to book a hotel room for a night and head out to shoot some places I've been wanting to go to.  So last week I hopped in my car and headed west! I couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather, it was warm and the fall colors in the mountains were spectacular.  The only thing that would have made it better was some clouds for interest in the sky, but in the 2 days I was out there, not a cloud was seen, just the big blue Alberta sky. 

My first stop was Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, just over the Alberta/British Columbia border. 

Cilantro at Emerald Lake Lodge

Cilantro at Emerald Lake Lodge

Paddle a canoe on Emerald Lake

Paddle a canoe on Emerald Lake

Then it was down the hill to Natural Bridge.

Kicking Horse River at Natural Bridge, Yoho NP

Kicking Horse River at Natural Bridge, Yoho NP

Next stop, the majestic Moraine Lake.  This was my first visit to the peaks and lake that used to grace our $20 bill.  Needless to say, it took my breath away and I want to go back, soon!

View from atop the rock pile

View from atop the rock pile

The next morning I was up bright and early for the sunrise at Lake Louise.  I was on the lake shore by 7 am, scouted out my location and waited for the sun to start shining on the peaks above Victoria Glacier.  By 7:30 the tourist buses arrived and the shoreline was full of people to watch the sun come up with me!

The Lake Louise boathouse at dawn

The Lake Louise boathouse at dawn

Here comes the sun, lighting up the peaks above Victoria glacier

Here comes the sun, lighting up the peaks above Victoria glacier

The yellow larches on the mountainside

The yellow larches on the mountainside

The teal blue waters of Lake Louise

The teal blue waters of Lake Louise

I headed home, taking the Bow Valley Parkway, which I've never travelled before this.  It was a beautiful drive, full of bold fall colors and amazing meadows and mountains.  My last stop was at Johnston Canyon to hike in to the waterfalls. 

Off the standard trail, away from the crowds, is this little quiet spot. 

Off the standard trail, away from the crowds, is this little quiet spot. 

Thank you so much for being here.  Please continue on to the other blogs to see what their views looked like this month! Next in line is Donna! http://www.bukaldersphotography.com/...