I was looking through my photography portfolio the other day and noticed the image above. I realized this is the oldest photo I have in my photography portfolio (over 7 years). Now, it’s not the oldest photo I have, but it’s the oldest photo in my port that has stood this long. I always ask myself why. The photo is taken in Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. Chances are you’ve seen it before on an operating system screen saver or technology device or ad. It’s one of the prettiest places that I’ve ever seen. The water is really that color. The blue-green of the lake is due to glacial rock flour, which is what causes the water to turn that color. It was such a gorgeous place to be, and I have some emotional investment in the photo, so I wonder if that’s why it stays around in my port so long.

Photo Details
• Camera: Nikon D200
• Lens: Nikon 12-24mm
• Tripod: I have no idea
• Ballhead: I have no idea 🙂
• Aperture: f/16
• Shutter Speed: 1/10
• ISO: 200

The Location
My trip to Banff was in June. It’s an amazing place but it’s really hard on a photographer because of the sunrise/sunset times. I don’t mind getting up early, but sunrise is like super early there. I think the sun rose around 5:20am that morning. What’s really crazy is you’ll be driving to your sunrise location at 4am and you’ll even start seeing color in the sky so you could feasibly be shooting by 4:15-4:30am and get some great twilight shots. It was also colder than I thought. Seeing as we’re almost in full summer mode in FL in June, I’m thinking how cold can it really be. Well I found out. The morning we took this it was snowing when we got there. And we were socked in under the clouds for a while thinking we weren’t going to get a good sunrise.

Banff Moraine Lake

But then that moment every outdoor photographer loves came. The clouds opened up, the wind died down so the lake was still, and the sun came through shining that beautiful early morning color on the peaks in front of us. It was surreal. The weather was changing so quickly that part of you just wanted to stand there in awe at the light show we saw. But the photographer part pushed it’s way forward and I started clicking away.

(Click to see it larger)
Banff Moraine Lake

HDR When There Was No HDR
This is also my first HDR-like photo. Now, it’s not merged in HDR software, but it’s one of the first times I used exposure bracketing on my camera. Funny side story here… I was with a group of people and one of them was this guy Barney Streit. Now, you have to keep in mind when this was. This was WAY before the HDR craze. You NEVER walked up to an outdoor photographer and heard “click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click” (all in rapid succession over 2 seconds). Today that’s all you hear when you’re near some one taking photos on a tripod outdoors. But 6-7 years ago, that’s all you heard from Barney. He was the only one in our group doing it. We even nick-named him “9-shot-Barney” (yeah, very creative I know!) 🙂 We made many friendly jokes at his expense and nobody could figure out what he was doing. As it turned out, Barney was a pioneer 😉 He’s actually become a very good friend of mine over the years (and has always been a very good photographer), and I’ve taken several photo excursions with him since.

Anyway, I digress. The light was changing so much when I took this photo, I’m glad I did use exposure bracketing. The raw conversions in Photoshop weren’t as good back then, so you couldn’t pull as much detail out of the shadows and highlights like you can today. Luckily we had a few minutes before the good light happened, and 9-shot-Barney showed me how to bracket. So the two of us stood there firing off photos like we were shooting a football game 🙂 I ended up with one good exposure for the sky and one good one for all of the trees and foreground area.

What I Learned?
I learned that Barney was a pioneer… a visionary… I mean he was not only bracketing at the time but he was using Photomatix to merge HDR images. It was like witchcraft to me. I chose to blend my exposures by hand with layers in Photoshop. But within a year of seeing Barney’s HDR witchcraft, I created my first HDR DVD training title. Who knew?! 🙂

A Question For You
So this leaves a question for you. What’s the oldest photo in your active portfolio? I don’t mean, the oldest photo you have that you still like today. I mean, you actually have an online portfolio and this photo is in it (or would be if you don’t have a port online right now).

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good one!


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