Kyle Kotajarvi

Canada - Remembered

Canada - remembered


It has been nearly five months since my first Canadian experience.  Five months already.  Such an awkward amount of time - it feels so fresh, but also so far in the past.  My experience in Canada can be summed up in one word: incredible.  Honestly, Alberta and eastern British Columbia had such a significant impact on me in the short time I spent there that it kind of freaks me out.  Those six days in May left me feeling inspired, driven and hungry for more.  My heart was so, so full, and my eyes were opened to places I could never have imagined.  Leaving such a place was difficult, as expected.

As I returned to Seattle and began to cull through images, I began to feel this anxiety I’ve never felt before during editing.  After looking through thousands upon thousands of images, I realized that no photo could even come close to measuring up to the real-life experience.  While this was such an obvious conclusion to come to, it was also deeply saddening, and it left me feeling quite defeated.  While I initially posted a few images from my first few days on a blog post found here, I decided to set aside the rest of the images for the time being.  

Fast forward five months *insert dramatic pause* - I’ve decided to take a stab a blogging my favorite photos from this beautiful experience.  Enjoy! 


Captured on the drive from Banff up to Jasper on Icefields Parkway, this photo truly shows the expansive, dominant landscape of Alberta.  On this day, I took literally hundreds of road shots trying to give some perspective to the view, but nothing matched up to the depth of this photo to me.

Castle mountain, banff national park

This photo does one of two things for me.  First, I thing it's one of the few road shots I took that shows any semblance of perspective.  And second, it shows a road with lots of memories on it - Highway 1A.  Highway 1A, otherwise known as Bow Valley Parkway, runs parallel to the Trans-Canadian Highway between the towns of Banff and Lake Louise.  Almost every day I was in Banff I drove this road multiple times.  Some of the best views in the park can be experienced from this road, as well as plentiful wildlife.  From wolves, caribou and bears, I was lucky enough to see it all! 


Peyto Lake was one of the few spots in Banff that I had never heard of prior to visiting, so my first time stepping up to the way-too-accessible overlook was astonishing.  The surreal blue of the lake is created by a significant amount of glacial rock flour that's fed into the lake via Peyto Glacier above (out of frame).  I visited the overlook plenty of times during my trip, but it was the first visit that really stuck with me.  While the visibility wasn't incredible, the soft lighting and the low cloud ceiling added a hint of drama that I really appreciated.








Rainy days call for canyon walks - am I right? On my second full day in Alberta themountains were completely socked in with rain clouds,, so I decided it might be a good time to check out Johnston Canyon.  The two mile walk through the narrow canyon was absolutely gorgeous.  Ever wonder where Gatorade comes from? Yep, Johnston Creek *thumbs up*

I took a lot of long exposures of the multiple waterfalls within the gorge, but this one was by far my favorite. 



On my out of Alberta I decided to make a quick detour and stop at Herbert Lake, just north of Lake Louise.  While morning's golden light had already faded away, I was created by my first and last bluebird morning in Canada.  This photo gives me hope that next time I come back, it won't be nearly as moody.


Photographing Banff is like listening to Top 40 radio - there's a lot of good spots, but you see them so often that they become stale.  I think that was one of the most frustrating parts of Banff for me - it's so difficult to be original when it's been done over and over again.  While I'm happy to have a photograph I call my own of this place, I won't pretend for a minute that this is groundbreaking by any means.