Alberta 2022 - Jasper

Peyto Lake

On the drive up to Jasper, we made several stops to enjoy and photograph the scenery.  Our first stop was at Peyto Lake, a glacial lake that has an amazing green color.  We hiked into the overlook where the attached photos were taken.  As Kathy says, it was a "huffy, puffy" hike. It was steep and long, but well worth the effort.

Peyto Lake

Two Happy Campers.


Sunwapta Falls

Our next stop was Sunwapta Falls.  This area of Canada has many fantastic waterfalls and Sumwata is one of the best.  We had some nice clouds in a vivid blue sky and mountains in the background, what's not to like?

Sunwapta Falls.

A lone pine guards the falls.

Athabasca Falls

We visited two falls on this trip, the second one was Athabasca Falls.  It is a little bit wider than Sunwapta but equally as nice.  The hike we took brought us around the falls, so I was able to photograph both sides.  I like some of the slow shutter speed images that create a nice flow to the water. 

Athabasca Falls.

Shadows and flowing water.

Maligne Lake

Our drive up to Jasper occurred on Sunday and included the stops above.  On Monday, we enjoyed a boat tour of Maligne Lake.  Brian and Kristin did a great job of scheduling at least one major activity a day, usually involving a hike and local scenery.   This day's adventure was not a hike, but still lots of fun.  It was nice to have a day that was relaxed and included some downtime.

Maligne Lake.

The boat dock.

Maligne Canyon

Our final full day in Jasper included a drive to Maligne Canyon.   The canyon was beautiful and a very nice hike.   It was a hot day and the crowds were large, but we loved it.  

The Maligne Canyou.

Kathy gets photobombed!

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

We stayed at the lodge in Jasper which was a switch from Banff and Lake Louise.  The units were more like rustic cabins dotted around the south side of the lake.  Very cozy and comfortable and a nice relaxed place to stay.  The lodge was located about ten miles outside Jasper, so we were able to eat at several interesting local restaurants as well as the lodge's dining areas.  In Jasper, we eat at the Fiddle River and Evil Dave's Grill.  Both were excellent and I just love the names.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

A great antique car.

Relaxing seating on the edge of the lake.

Brian and Kristin at dinner.


The Columbia Icefield

On our last day, we drove down to Lake Louise to spend our last night in Alberta.  On the way, we stopped at the Columbia Icefield for a glacial experience.  It was chilly and cool.  We took a large vehicle up to the ice field and hiked around for a bit.  It was a bit dicey walking on the ice without cleats, but we survived without any falls.  The people-watching was great.   We also visited the skywalk overlook for a heart-thumping experience.  It is built out of the side of the mountain and has clear glass walkways so you can look down into the canyon (similar to the one in the Grand Canyon, but probably not as exciting).  

Columbia Icefield vehicle.

Columbia Glacier.

Great people watching.

The skywalk.

The view below.


This trip was one of the best we have taken.  This is in large part due to sharing it with Brian and Kristin and it was our first major outing since Covid hit.  I would love to revisit this area in the fall and possibly the winter.  We loved the scenery, the Canadian people, and the hiking.  Thanks, kids for a great trip!!

As always, I have more pictures of the Jasper portion of the trip out on Google Photos.  Here is a link to the images: Jasper Google Photos

Alberta 2022 - Lake Louise

 Johnston Canyon

One of our daily hikes near Lake Louise was the Johnston Canyon trail.  This trail is near Lake Louise but is an easy drive from Banff, which is how we accessed the hike.  The scenery was over the top, as were the crowds!  The hike was flat and easy and well worth the effort.   The falls have a nice view through the tunnel (cave) at the end of the trail; the crowd was too large so we passed on that view.

The line for the tunnel view.


Moraine Lake

This lake was probably the most beautiful lake we visited; however, they were all fantastic.  The hike to the viewpoint was a bit challenging, so Kathy passed on it.  She was still able to do some hiking and found her own views.   

The kids dressed for the weather!

A proud dad and his son.

Lake Louise

We stayed one night at the Fairmont - Lake Louise.  It is a beautiful spot.  We enjoyed the area after the crowds left in the evening.  All the places we visited had fantastic flowers and Lake Louise was no exception.

The view from our room.

The lake in the evening.  We loved the flowers.

Nice light that evening.

As usual, I have posted more images on Google Photos at this link:

Lake Louise Photos

If you missed my first blog, you can find it at:

Alberta 2022 - Banff

Banff Photos

I'll be posting one more blog in this series that will cover our stay in Jasper.  It should be out in the next two weeks.  Thanks for reading the blog and viewing the images, I appreciate it.

Mike (aka Don) Nadreau

Alberta 2022 - Banff

Well folks, we finally jumped back on the horse and returned to international travel.  In early August we flew to Calgary, Canada for a trip to Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper in Alberta Canada.  We were joined by our son and his wife (Brian and Kristin) who made the arrangements and drove us old folks around the parks.  Travel, with Covid still active, is interesting.  Although not required to test we were subject to random testing in Calgary if selected.  If we had been selected and tested positive, we would have been forced to quarantine for 10 days in Canada - that would have been a fun trip!  Fortunately, none of us were selected to test so we were good to go.  Everyone did fine but me.  I tested positive for Covid two days after we returned.  I quarantined at home for 10 days and am now back to normal.  The Dr. gave me Paxlovid and as a result, my symptoms were mild (coughing and lack of energy).  Kathy managed to avoid getting infected which is a blessing.

The first part of our journey was in Banff national park.  We stayed at the Fairmont in Banff, the nicest hotel we have ever stayed at.  Costs to travel at this point are astronomical, both air and hotels, plus the food is high as well.  If you haven't traveled lately, you're in for a shock.  

We spent four nights in Banff and started our vacation with a gondola ride to the top of  Sulfur Mountain.  The views of Banff and the surrounding area are spectacular.  As an alternative to the Gondola ride, you can hike up and back or one way if you so choose.  

The Sulfur Mountain Gondola

Banff, Alberta Canada

Kathy and I got photo-bombed by Kristin!

We spent a day driving over to Yoho National Park in British Columbia.  On the way, we stopped at the overlook for the "spiral tunnels".  This is an engineering marvel that converted a dangerous 4.5 % grade in Kicking Horse pass to a 2.2% grade via the use of two spiral tunnels.  If you are interested, here is a link to more information on the tunnels: Spiral Tunnels - Canada.  You can also Google spiral tunnels in Canada for more pictures and sites.

Spiral Tunnels graphic

In Yoho National Park we hiked to Takkakaw Falls, an easy hike with some incredible views.  

Takkakaw Falls

From our hotel in Banff, we took a nice hike down to the Bow Falls on the Bow River.  

The Bow River

The Bow River falls

Banff was fun. We had a great room at the Fairmont with nice views of the mountains and the Bow River.  We had some great meals, including a Swiss dinner (including fondue) at the Waldhaus restaurant which is associated with the Fairmont hotel.

Swiss dining at the Waldhaus

I have set up a photo album on Google Photos at this link: Alberta - Banff.  The album contains about 30 images, including photos of the hotel and the views from our room - you don't want to miss them.

The above link takes you to the album.  Click on the first image which will enlarge on your screen.  There are forward and backward arrows to navigate through the album.  If you wish to see information about the image, click on the "I" circle at the top right and the info. bar will open on the right next to each image.  If you want to remove the info bar, click the x at the top left of the bar.  

I'm working on two more blogs for this trip.  One about Lake Louise and another about Jasper National Park.  They should be out in the next couple of weeks.


Needles in Arms

 The week of Feb. 1, 2021, began on a positive note for my sweetie, Kathy, and me.  Kathy had a scheduled first covid vaccination at Region's Hospital in St. Paul, MN.  This was through our healthcare provider, Health Partners.  The process was slick and she was in and out within 45 minutes (30 minutes of which she had to sit to determine if she had any reactions - she didn't).  I dropped her off and went to McDonald's where I  read my book in the car.  Kathy got the vaccination because she is over 75 years old.  I didn't get one because I'm 74 (bummer).  Several days later and Kathy had no reactions to the vaccine and is scheduled for her second injection in several weeks.

I must admit I was a bit jealous (can you believe anyone would be envious of someone getting a shot?).  That changed on Wednesday morning when I received an email informing me I had won a slot in the Minnesota State vaccination lottery!!  I set-up a Thursday morning appointment for 10:30 am at the Minneapolis Convention Center, a huge place that covers several blocks in downtown Minneapolis.  We were told to arrive no sooner than 15 minutes before our appointment, no problem.  I left home a little earlier than I intended because we got about 3 inches of snow the night before and the roads were a little slippery.   I slid into the parking ramp with plenty of time to make the 15-minute window.  At the main entrance, I had to prove I had an appointment (I showed my email) and was directed across the atrium and to the left.  We were given a second mask to wear (I was already double-masked, but had to wear the one they gave me as well so I was triple masked.  Well, here was where the fun began!  I turned the corner to the left and saw a long line stretching halfway down the length of the center.  When I got to the end of the line and qued-up, it was apparent I would be here for a bit.  I snapped a few photos with my cellphone to give you an idea of the line.

Near the end of the line.

Ala Disney, they snaked us into another large room to keep the line long!

Once out of the Disney detour, the line resumed in the main hall.

Headed back to the entrance.

We must be close, we finally turned the corner.

Back to the main entrance, where we started

Looks like we are close.

I'm in!!

My savior Sarah!

The 15-minute reaction wait area.

Because this was the first day of the new process and location, there were folks from the local TV station (KARE 11).  As you can tell from the photo I took of my TV, my boots made the nightly news!!  I'm selling the image in an 8X10 glossy if you're interested ($25 or $50 if you wanted it signed).  I must have at least a thousand requests already, so hurry or they will be gone!!

My legs and boots on TV.

As you can see, Kathy and I are on two different routes for the vaccinations.  Her's was much smoother and quicker.  I was in line for over an hour and, according to Google Fit, covered a half-mile getting in and out.  Also, her vaccine is from Pfizer and mine was Moderna.  In fairness, my process had a much larger group.  The process can be improved, but it is inherently challenging due to the number of injections given.  There is hope folks, stay safe and wear your fricking masks!!  

Comet Neowise 2020

Crex Meadows

Since Covid-19 hit, I haven't done much photography and what little I did was around the homestead.  Well, we have been blessed with a spectacular event this year as Comet Neowise has passed us in the night sky.  I love night photography and Neowise has provided me with the excuse/impetus to get off my butt and do some photography.  It is also giving me a push to get back to producing my blogs.

To be honest, I haven't had much ambition for this stuff lately.  Well, it is time to pull things together and get back in the game (every blog needs several cliches so there are a few in this one).  I decided to take a trip to one of my favorite locations, Crex Meadows in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.  I picked a night when clear skies were forecast and I tossed my gear into the Subaru (the deer death machine - two so far, one at Crex).  I took a complete set of lenses to capture the comet in a landscape and a close-up.    

I arrived at Crex in the afternoon and had my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner.  I scouted most of the old spots in an attempt to find some nice foregrounds.  I like trees in my night shots and found several with the correct orientation to capture the comet in the sky with the trees as frames.  As darkness approached, I drove up to the highest spot at Crex, which is an overlook where you have 360-degree views.  The comet was forecast to be in the north-west area of the sky, just below the "Big Dipper".  I first caught it with binoculars just after the sunset.  I set-up the camera and got a "record" shot with the sunset glow on the horizon.

It was not yet visible with the eye, but the camera does a nice job of capturing the light.

I moved from here to my chosen location and set-up for some more interesting shots.  As the night progressed, you could see Neowise with the naked eye, but again the camera sees it much better.  Also, binoculars work well.  

Neowise shot with a wide-angle lens.

A little wider shot.

Neowise shot with a telephoto lens.

Twin Cities

I ventured out on two more nights in an attempt to catch the comet in an urban environment.  One night I saw Neowise and the camera captured it, but not very well. Downtown Minneapolis looked good with the evening lights, so I shot an image of the skyline that I rather like (sometimes you just need to go with the flow). 

Neowise is faint in the upper quarter of this image.  Too much light pollution for a good image.

Downtown Minneapolis from Lake of the Isle (no comet here).

For my third attempt (second in the urban environment), I tried the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.  This was a complete failure that I happily share with you.  The lights from downtown are just too bright to get any shot of the comet (it is there, but not visible).  I did get a nice shot of one of the bridges with a great light display.

If you spot Neowise, let me know.

Great light display.
All in all, it was fun getting out to shoot.  If we stay under control for the virus, I'll do it again.  In fact, there are some very good meteor showers in August, so I might take a trip to shoot them.  I usually do these outings with my photo buddy John, but with the virus, it is tough to do.  Maybe soon!  Stay well, wash your hands and wear your masks and we may just make it through this.