Lake O’Hara: An Elusive Beauty

Sometimes, there are places that are just plain difficult to capture with a photograph.  For me, Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park is one of those places.  The cascading pools and delicate vegetation are other-worldly.  Photographers and hikers alike flock to the area in the fall when the larch are in yellow splendor.  I love to visit Lake O’Hara in summer or fall, but am usually disappointed with the images I come away with.  The images I made this past fall are nice, but they do not even touch the spirit of the place.

Anyone else have a similar place which remains an elusive photographic subject?


~ by Samantha on June 22, 2010.

9 Responses to “Lake O’Hara: An Elusive Beauty”

  1. Wow, Sam!!! Those are great images. If thoy don’t capture the spirit of the place, I can hardly wait until you get oue that does.

    For me, that place is Yosemite. There are so many great images that have been made there that it is difficult to capture the essences any better than has already been done. But it is a location that just screams “Take my picture!!!” Maybe one trip, I’ll actually get something that captures it for me, but until then, it is an awesome place to visit again and again.

    Your images have definitely placed Lake O’Hara on my bucket list.

  2. Ah, the photographic White Whale! Embarrassingly enough, I actually have too many of these to list, some in my own back yard. You just have to keep going back until you unlock the mystery and bond with the elements.
    For what it’s worth, these images are way beyond “nice”.


  3. Puleeze Sam, these are more than just “nice”, they are excellent. Of course, my fave is the second, the one with the big reflection… I like larches so much I planted one in my front yard.
    My bugbear location is an old homestead in a coulee north of Taber. None of my images taken there say as much as being there.

  4. I’m not trying to fish around for compliments, guys. These are nice images, but for me they fail to resonate. The place is so wonderful in the flesh that I’m always surprised when I return home with images that do not capture what I felt at the time. I should take the 4×5 up there….

  5. Sam, I alluded to this at the start of the recent tour. For me it’s the prairie. I love open, big sky country but so far mostly have not tackled it to my satisfaction, photographically. There are times when I’m out on the prairies & plains of Western Canada or the U.S., and see or experience something that gives me an impression I can only describe as “soaring”. I have some nice photos of these places, but so far I have few that approach the uplifting quality I’m trying to interpret.

    It’s more than just capturing an assemblage of sweeping open space, huge sky, towering thunderheads, rolling hills, and all the adjectives and visual elements that one can piece together in a nicely composed frame. I think this is something like what you’re getting at here, yes?

    I try not to over-intellectualize it, nor over-emotionalize it either. Images that don’t hit my 100% mark may be well enough liked by others, even salable. 🙂 That’s all fine, and I’m happy enough with that too. I think one thing that characterizes many artists, though, is that they are their own worst critics, and have a drive based on some challenging inner inspiration that isn’t apparent (and perhaps can’t even be explained) to others. I think it’s often very subjective and personal, probably just as much for the viewer as well! When it can be somehow tapped into and realized into an artistic endeavor, and that resonance is really humming, that’s when things can become exceptionally fulfilling.

    Like many “peak” experiences, it’s probably not surprising that those who think along these lines don’t hit this level all the time. Instead, if channeled constructively, I think it can fuel creative aspiration…

  6. Having said all that, I agree with the others that your set posted here definitely are beyond “nice”. But if they don’t speak to you in the way you’d like, that’s where the inner vision comes into play. It’s got 2 sides — maybe for some viewers these images would really capture the essence of the place in their experience & imagination. Don’t sell that possibility short.

    But also keep driving to find the expression that’s really going to capture the sense of wonder you experience. Who knows, perhaps you will never successfully capture it for certain places… maybe I won’t either with the prairies. But it’s a worthy goal. 🙂

  7. What?, I think you are much too hard on yourself. These are absolutely beautiful but your the artist and you know what you to accomplish. Me, I’m just happy to get a good shot wherever I am. However, there is one place that I can’t seem to capture well and it’s the view from my deck. Every now and then I see beautiful light beams piercing through the clouds or the purple hues of the skies etc and I still can’t capture what I feel too. None of my photos do it any justice at all.

  8. Sam, have you used your 4×5 much yet?
    One spot that’s been eluding me for years now is Mount Lorette ponds in Kananaskis. I’ve been there so many times and I still don’t have anything to show for it. I know there is potential there but I just can’t find it.
    For what it’s worth, your third photo really resonates with me. I love the foreground and the big sky.

  9. Sam, these photos are stunning. The literally make my breath catch in my throat and my eyes well up – you can totallly FEEL them. It’s incredible!

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