Landscape Photography Moose Meadows on the Banff Bow Valley Parkway – Location Profile
Landscape photography on the Banff Bow Valley Parkway Moose Meadows is simply amazing. The parkway has a high concentration of world class landscape photography locations. Other more popular ones, such as the Lake Louise shoreline, are easily found, however, I wanted to mention Landscape Photography on the Banff Bow Valley Parkway Moose Meadows because this roadside location has an amazingly low profile given the diverse landscape and wildlife photography options it presents.
Moose Meadows is located on the popular Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise. I often mention to other landscape photographers that this location is beautiful in almost any weather at any time of year. There is a pullout right across the road from the meadows so you can safely park your vehicle as you take your time exploring the area on foot with your tripod in hand. And, if you’re on one of my photography tours we’ll likely visit here because it’s a good spot to pull over and let a van full of photographers get out and organize their gear before descending on the location. As the name suggests, you may believe that it can be a good place to see moose, and other wildlife such as elk, deer or wolves, but, honestly, there are better places in the park to see wildlife. I visit the best locations to see wildlife around Banff when hosting my private and organized group wildlife photography tours. You can read more about my private full and half day wildlife photography tours here.
Another good quality about Moose meadows is that it tends to be a good location to shoot when the weather is bad and it usually has OK light for photography during the harsh light of mid-day. This location is best a few hours after the sun comes up and a few hours before the sun sets. This quality makes is a good stop after shooting the sunrise somewhere else, or before heading off to shoot the sunset. Also, it is especially good to photograph here when the weather is poor. The colours in the meadows seem to glow when the vegetation is wet, there is valley fog or during heavy snowfalls. The meadow forms diminishing layers as the distance from your camera position increases. This can produce beautiful photographs in poor visibility. Wildlife photography in the swirling snow or fog can be beautiful in the surrounding meadows as well.
The colour here can be surprisingly sweet. The branches of the bushes in Moose Meadows tend to reflect a surprisingly large amount of red light, especially when wet, while the trees and the sky reflect green and blue light. The colours in the foreground, red, middle ground, green, and background sky, blue, combine to form a beautiful combination of the primary colours in the natural landscape, red, green and blue. This combination of colours in the landscape, along with the calming flow of compositional picture elements, is probably why this location works so well when building a compositionally balanced photograph. Much of the source of this harmony can be explained by studying and gaining an understanding of colour theory.
I should mention that the Bow Valley Parkway has a seasonal nightly closure on a small portion of it. Click the preceding link for details about the closure. Moose Meadows is NOT in the area closed during the Spring and early summer, however, the southern access to the meadows from Banff is closed each night between 8pm and 8am between March 1st and June 26th each year. You can still access the meadows from the north by exiting the TransCanada highway at the Castle Junction exit and then travel south on the Bow Valley Parkway (the 1a highway) back towards Banff. The closed section of the road is important to wildlife early in the season before the snow melts up high. Bears tend to feed in the valley bottom along the road and cars park within a few meters of them to view them up close safely inside of their vehicles. The bears tolerate this but will saunter off into the woods when the car traffic becomes to much for them and return about a half an hour or more later after everybody has left. The disruption of their feeding by tourists and photographers, like us, during this critical time early in the season has caused Parks Canada to partially close the road. This is why early morning at Moose Meadows can only be access from the north during this nightly closure in the Spring/early Summer.
I hope you get to enjoy Landscape Photography on the Banff Bow Valley Parkway Moose Meadows in the future and I’d be happy to take you there personally. I’d like me to pass on this and some of the other detailed knowledge I know about landscape photography on the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff and at other locations in the area.