Sunday, January 18, 2015

Return to Banff, Part 2

My family camped in Banff, Alberta in July 2013. In part 1 I described a successful early morning of railfanning in Banff and at Morant's Curve. Here I complete the tale, still at Morant's Curve near Lake Louise.

After the three CP trains rolled by, there was a lull for about an hour. During that time I walked up to the small parking lot near Morant's Curve to look at the interpretive display.

At 08:18 CP 9724 started around the curve.

You can see that the sun has finally reached the track!

Here's the video:

That was exciting... but I decided it was time to head back to Banff to try to catch the Rocky Mountaineer. On my way there, I saw a bear up the hill from highway 1A. I took a couple of really long shots before continuing on.

Once I rejoined the Trans-Canada Highway, I spotted a westbound CP freight waayyy in the distance. I stopped at a scenic viewpoint and took a couple of photos of CP 8877 West.

I arrived at the station in Banff to find a large crowd of people waiting for their train. At a few thousand dollars per person, there was a lot of money spent on the Rocky Mountaineer!

They came to a stop and the passengers started boarding. It didn't take very long for everyone to get on board.

This is my favourite photo of the Rocky Mountaineer in Banff.

I like the "swoop" theme they have on their train now. Contrast that with the red-white-blue scheme they had in 2010:
Note that 8012 was the second unit in 2010, and it was the leader on the Rocky Mountaineer in 2013.

I didn't hang around to see them leave as I wanted to catch them "on the road". I took this near head-on photo and headed west.

In 2010 I had waited at Banff for the train to leave, and ended up sprinting to get a shot of the Rocky on the road. I wanted a bit more time to set up so I left before the train. I drove to Muleshoe on the 1A and parked at the scenic outlook, and headed down toward the track with my cameras and tripod.

I set up the tripod and put the Canon S3 on top, then fired a few test shots with my T1i. Given that the sun was off to the left but ahead of me, the lighting was tricky. I ended up using an exposure bias of -1.3 stops to keep the sky from blowing out. It's always a good idea, if you have time, to fire off a test shot or two and see how it looks and check the histogram to ensure it's not over- or under-exposed.

The Rocky Mountaineer rolled along and I captured this photo - exactly what I was looking for.

Compare that to 2010's photo, taken with a different camera, fog, and not as much preparation, but in the same location.

The Rocky Mountaineer was going at a good clip, as shown by the video:

Those domes look very comfortable!

That was the last train I saw in Banff. We did go up the gondolas to Sulphur Mountain, always a fun trip.

Here's a few random landscape photos to show you just how beautiful Banff is.
Cascade Ponds

Lake Louise
Moraine Lake
I can't wait to go back... maybe in 2016.

See also:


Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Funny thing Steve, I have never been to Morant's curve. I've passed it a million times for sure. Maybe it's time for me stop on by.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Take the 1A between Banff and Lake Louise and you can't miss it - just a few kilometres east of Lake Louise. Just watch out for the elk! ;)