Wildflower season is almost upon us here in the Rockies…and actually, it already is upon is in the valley bottoms, as a wide variety of flowers have already appeared, even paintbrush and some of the other late species.
But the true wildflower photography season for Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks is just around the corner at the end of July and the start of August. Looks like it may be a good year for flowers, though it’s often hard to tell until the final weeks of July.
For those of you that want easy access to some spectacular wildflowers that allow easy photography, try Sunshine Meadows on the border of Banff National Park and Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park. This is easily the best, most varied, and most accessible wildflower display in the entire Canadian Rockies. You’ll find carpets of fleabane, aster, paintbrush, and more in a beautiful setting high atop a mountain plateau on the BC-Alberta border. White Mountain Adventures runs daily shuttle buses up there and provides some excellent guided hiking opportunities as well, though you can also go off and hike on your own.
For the more adventurous, there are a host of areas in Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay that offer great backcountry flower photography. In Banff, try Healy Pass, the Skoki Lakes area, Panorama Ridge, Helen Lake, or North Molar Pass for some beautiful wildlflowers. In Jasper, the Mt Edith Cavell meadows and the Tonquin Valley provide ample photographic opportunities. And in Yoho and Kootenay, try parts of the Lake O’Hara region or the Rockwall Trail.
If you don’t have a macro lens for your flower shots, try picking up a Kenko extension tube, which allows you to focus your regular lenses a lot more closely than you can normally. I regularly use these instead of macro lenses because of the space and weight you save in your backpack.
Good luck and happy shooting!