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bob burns Photography

Canada 2010

Photography by Bob Burns Design by Dan Burns Published by

bob burns Photography


Canada Photography

Sea to Sky Highway links Vancouver to Whistler

Words and pictures can only give an impression of a beauty that defies description...


Kamloops Lake

bob burns Photography

When my wife and I first heard John Denver singing Rocky Mountain High, in the early 70s, we were not only inspired to keep in touch with his work and enjoy his poetic lyrics about the mountains, the eagles and the peace and tranquillity of the Rockies, but we vowed to visit there one day to experience for ourselves the beauty, the impressive nature and the stunning scenery that inspired him. So it was, that in 1996, we made our first trip and drove through the magnificent mountains of the Canadian Rockies and down into the States. The Rockies are one of the most grandiose and awe inspiring mountain ranges in the world with their magnificent fabled peaks reaching high into the sky. Their beauty is legendary with impressive scenery, vast wildernesses and a stunning range of wildlife. Though only 80 miles wide, they bring you into contact with uniquely different and distinct landscapes each with their own physical characteristics and climates, resulting in a wide diversity of vegetation and wildlife. The Canadian Rockies boast deep valleys with large emerald green, turquoise, black and even milk-blue lakes, lush forests, extensive glaciers and granite spires. Generous amounts of rain and snow create exquisite and mighty waterfalls cascading down rugged mountains, through moss draped forests to the swirling rivers below. Since our first encounter, we have been fortunate to revisit on eight occasions and have explored a vast area stretching from Phoenix, Arizona in the south all the way up to British Columbia in the north. The images in this book are a small selection from the thousands that I took during our month long adventure to the Canadian Rockies in June 2010.


The route I planned started in Vancouver on 1st June, where I picked up a brand new Lincoln MKX and embarked on a 3,000 mile drive. Taking the scenic “Sea to Sky” Highway, we headed for a stay in Whistler Village for a while, before moving to Alpine Meadows at Clearwater and onto Wells Gray Park. After a few nights, we made our way to Jasper Alberta, staying for 5 days before travelling along the impressive Icefields Parkway to Banff. After exploring that region for the best part of a week we took a southerly route down to Waterton on the border with the USA. The return trip to Vancouver took us through Cranbrook, Penticton, Harrison Hot Springs before we boarded the ferry across to Vancouver Island to spend a few days in Victoria, its capital. We flew home from Vancouver – a wonderful city with towering buildings, impressive mountains, beaches, parks, walks and outstanding beauty. To say I feel at home there is an understatement. I feel totally at one and at ease. When coping with the stresses and strains of everyday life, especially when I was working, I could escape and transport myself with my photographic images to the calm serenity and beauty that is the Rockies. I trust that you will enjoy the images I have selected. Bob Burns

Kamloops Lake



Tobiano Golf Course seen through museum window.

‘Paint Pots’ The iron saturated clay at the Ochre Beds was created from sediments deposited on the bottom of an ancient glacial lake. Kutenai tribes baked the clay and mixed it with animal fat or fish grease to use as body paint in rituals.


Shannon Falls in the rain

Banff in the rain

At the beginning of our holiday the weather was very unsettled. The rivers were deep and swollen and the waterfalls were raging, deafening torrents. Spectacular to see … but not so good for photography. Early in our journey, I dubbed the Rockies our “If only holiday”. “If only it would stop raining.” “If only the clouds would leave the mountain tops alone.” “If only the sun would come out.” Fortunately, the weather changed for the better and I was able to capture over 2,000 images.



Barn Swallow

The Barn Swallow had built a nest in the eaves of a log cabin. It was too fast for me to photograph in flight and often, frustratingly, perched itself on the top of the roof. The strong backlight did not enhance the beauty of this magnificent bird. However, I noticed that occasionally it would land on the top of a vivid blue mooring post. I spent considerable time inching my way close to the post in the hope it would alight again. Fortunately it returned and I captured this image, only for the moment to be lost when a group of people arrived and constantly walked around the quayside.

“Take your moments when you can!”

The Hummingbirds were regular visitors to a nectar feeder outside the boathouse at the idyllic Alpine Meadows near Clearwater, where we stayed for several days. They are silent fliers and swooped constantly around our heads. This shot, however, was taken through the restaurant’s window, as I wanted the clear blue sky as a backcloth, with no distractions. I took many images, but this is my favourite featuring three hummingbirds.


Lake Hallamore at Alpine Meadow near Wells Gray Park


Lake Hallamore


The boat house and Lake Hallamore

First settlers arrived at Hallamore Lake in 1929 and set about farming and trapping. It was not until 2000 that the area was dramatically changed with the construction of contemporary log homes and chalets creating the resort of Alpine Meadows. This site is stunningly beautiful and so peaceful … an ideal “get away from it all” location, where holidaymakers can relax in comfort and style. The air is fresh and clean, and is scented with pine, spruce, wildflowers and berries. Set in the North Thompson Valley in central British Columbia, it is close to Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is renowned for hiking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, river rafting and wildlife viewing. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Alpine Meadows Resort at Clearwater. We cannot speak too highly of the managers, the staff and their service. We had the whole site to ourselves, staying in a large, log cabin with excellent facilities and outstanding views. We will return again! 023

These images were captured at 7am with a wonderfully atmospheric morning mist gliding down from the mountains, through the forests and over the lake.


Medicine Lake The local natives believed that the lake possessed spirits because of the dramatically fluctuating water levels. Complex underground caverns and drainage systems can cause the lake to empty almost completely at times. Medicine Lake is a geological anomaly. It is actually not a lake but an area of the Maligne River which flows from Maligne Lake to the Athabasca River. Water backs up creating a lake and then suddenly disappears under ground. The lake is a fly fisherman’s paradise with rainbow and brook trout. Bald eagles and osprey soar in the skies, diving swiftly to spear the fish with their razor sharp talons. Wildlife is abundant in the area with grizzly bears, black bears, mule deer, caribou, moose, big horn sheep down to the very inquisitive chipmunks and ground squirrels.


Male Tiger Swallow Tail on manure

The red quartzite cliff faces of Pyramid Mountain shrouded in cloud 029

Athabasca River

Lake Annette at Jasper Park with Pyramid Mountain shrouded in cloud.


Lake Beauvert in Jasper


Whistlers Mountain Domain of strong winds, harsh sunlight, poor soils and brief summers. Minute alpine plants hug the ground. The mountain gained its name form the piercing whistle of the hoary marmot, which also hibernates for 9 months of the year.

Jasper Town in front of the Colin Mountain Range. Jasper is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies


Rosemary and I walking through the snow drift on top of Whistlers Mountain.


Storm racing towards Jasper

Medicine Lake


Maligne Lake, Jasper This lake is famous for the colour of its water, its magnificent peaks, three glaciers ‌ but most of all, for “Spirit Islandâ€?, one of the most photographed locations in the world. A ninety minute boat ride will take you there, but, regrettably for us, the weather had started to close in so we could not sail. I am sure there will be another opportunity to see the island in the future.


Athabasca Gorge


Pyramid Lake

Miette River


Lake Patricia


Athabasca Falls

The Athabasca Falls carry the greatest amount of water of any river in the Rocky Mountains. The 25m falls are an impressive sight from many viewing points as they cut through some of the hardest rock in the region. The falls are an impressive sight, not for their height but the sheer volume of water that forces its way over the gorge. Water relentlessly cascades over hard quartzite, carving away at the softer limestone of the gorge. The noise is deafening! Everything is so close and accessible from many vantage points. There are numerous viewing platforms and beautiful walking trails around the falls.


The violent torrent of water creating a thunderous roar and a breathtaking spray makes Athabasca a ‘must-visit’ place in all weathers.


We drove to Miette Hot Springs and en route saw this small stream of incredibly clear, turquoise water.


Athabasca River draining into Jasper Lake


We drove from Jasper on the Trans-Canadian Highway and took a right turn at Pocahontas heading for Fiddle Valley. These images are just a few of the many that I took of the beautiful, meandering Fiddle River, before reaching Miette Hot Springs. Unfortunately, not long after we arrived, I walked up the mountain pass only to get absolutely drenched during a torrential rain storm.


Miette River


Sunwapta Falls

Tangle Falls


Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) This road parallels the “Continental Divide” joining the National Parks of Banff and Jasper. This route is described as ‘one of the most spectacular and scenic journeys in the world’. The valley is flanked by 12 ice-fields and over 600 glaciers, cutting through avalanche country. Stretching 144 miles in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, this world-class journey offers access to a vast wilderness of pristine mountain lakes, ancient glaciers and broad sweeping valleys. This special route winds its way through two national parks, boasting a unique and irreplaceable landscape rich in history and a natural beauty, second to none! A walk or a coach journey onto the Columbia Icefield and glacier is a must. It is the largest accumulation of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle in the northern hemisphere and covers 216 square miles, reaching a depth of nearly a quarter of a mile. The Columbia Icefield is a true “hydrological apex”, as its meltwater feeds streams and rivers that pour into three oceans – the Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific and forms part of the extensive “Continental Divide”.



Safety-first on Athabasca Glacier – part of the Columbia Icefield, which is the largest south of the Arctic Circle.

Bow Lake is one of the highest lakes in the Canadian Rockies and was covered in ice even in June when we visited.


The Icefield Parkway can be driven in only a few hours, but to do so would not do it justice. Stop regularly and absorb its wonderful and varied, breathtaking views but take care, for the weather can change dramatically during the 144 mile drive.


Herbert Lake


Lake Louise – just over 1 mile above sea level. The lake is fed by glacial melt water and is often frozen from November to June. Fine particles of glacial sediment called ‘rock flour’ are suspended in the water and give the lake its blue and green colours.


A photographic highlight, the snow clad Wenkchemna Peaks tower closely over the vivid turquoise, crystal clear waters of Moraine Lake.

Moraine Lake In 1899, Walter Wilcox, the first ever visitor, said ‘No scene has given me an equal impression of inspired solitude and rugged grandeur’.


My most favourite viewing point in the entire world! I feel incredibly calm and peaceful when I sit amongst the rocks and cast my gaze slowly over the Valley of the Ten Peaks and the stunningly blue waters of Moraine lake. 077


Reflections of the mountains in the windows of Chateau Lake Louise


Rundle Mountain and Vermilion Lake 083


Lake Minnewanka





Sulphur Mountain 093


Abandoned home, alongside the Columbia River, on the road from Radium Hot Springs to Golden


Road to Golden


Waterton Lakes National Park


Voyage to Victoria


Steam Clock in downtown Vancouver

Native American carving


‘Our Blue Planet’








Black Bear


Mother and cub


Male Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep


Ground Squirrel

Grey Squirrel


Female Wapiti or Elk

Male Wapiti or Elk


Fighting Grizzlies


Cinnamon coloured black bear in the rain


These are only a few of the thousands of images that I took on our month long tour of the Canadian Rockies. Although we have been many times before, I am always surprised and amazed by the stunning scenery and breathtaking views. ... we will return again ... soon!

bob burns Photography

Canada 2010 by Bob Burns  

When my wife and I first heard John Denver singing Rocky Mountain High, in the early 70s, we were not only inspired to keep in touch with hi...

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