-- "One of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen."--
The year was 1899. A man walked up a valley to the top of a pile of rocks. He contemplated the scene that lay before him. He then uttered the statement quoted above. This man was Walter Wilcox who was helping to map out the area around Lake Louise. He later said of that first encounter with this amazing Rocky Mountain setting that it was the happiest half-hour of his life.
If Lake Louise is the most photographed lake in the Canadian Rockies then Moraine Lake has to be a close second. One can only imagine the thoughts that raced through the mind of Wilcox as he soaked in the beauty and grandeur of Moraine Lake, a name he attached to it because of the moraines left behind from the glacier at its far end.
Moraine Lake is often referred to as an "iconic" location by some photographers. Some of these speak in a negative fashion about ones who spend time photographing these areas. I have even seen some photographers apologize before they post an image of an"iconic" location on photography forums. I have never understood this. Sure these places are packed with tourists, are easy to get to and are photographed to death but I always come back to the fact that beauty is beauty. I have been to Moraine Lake many times, I have hiked numerous trails in the area. Every time I am there I hear people from all over world 'ooh and ahh' at the scenery, not unlike Walter Wilcox. If this is how people respond to the visual overload of this area then it deserves to be photographed, sketched, or painted many times over.
The image below is another take on Moraine Lake. I took it from the rock pile where the vast majority of photographs are taken from. My wife and I were there one evening this past summer waiting for the sunset to produce amazing colors in the sky. While there were some clouds that provided a nice sky, unfortunately the colors I was hoping for did not materialize. I took a few shots and decided that I would play around in post-processing to give an oft-photographed spot a unique feel. Below is the result.
So while I can't say, like Walter Wilcox, that it was the happiest half-hour of my life, I can say, like Walter Wilcox, that it is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. Don't forget to click on the picture.