Posts

Moraine Lake Lodge in Banff National Park

Moraine Lake Lodge, situated in a valley of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park is a perfect getaway for that special occasion. It is the only lodge located within the immediate vicinity of Moraine Lake, offering great amenities for everyone. In the photo below, you can see Moraine Lake Lodge to the right, nestled within the trees.

Nikon D800, 2.0 sec., f/16, ISO 100, 14mm

Nikon D800, 2.0 sec., f/16, ISO 100, 14mm

My two-night stay at Moraine Lake Lodge almost never happened, but thanks to the exceptionally warm weather Alberta was having this Spring season, the snow had melted quicker, allowing the lodge to open its doors to its guests earlier than usual. We stayed here in early June where the weather was almost summer-like and similarly, when some hiking trails opened early as well.

The lodge wants to offer its guests “an oasis of calm,” allowing them to relax and destress from the busy everyday lives they lead. In doing so, the lodge has no television or telephones within their rooms. That was fine with me; when you come to Moraine Lake, you’re not here to watch TV—you’d best be out hiking and enjoying nature at her finest. Their one “concession” was to install wifi access. However this connection was hard to connect to, even from our room, which was closer to the main lobby area.

Our room in the Wenkchemna Wing (Room 22), had everything we needed, and even included a welcome champagne with a personal note written beside it. The queen-sized bed was comfortable and there was plenty of room in the sitting area by the fireplace.

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 14mm

The bathroom was clean, spacious, included plenty of plush towels, and included great bath products from Aveda.

Nikon D800, 1/4 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/4 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 14mm

Wait, did someone say fireplace? Yes. As a matter of fact, each room in the lodge comes with its own fireplace to warm you up. It makes things that much more romantic and inviting, especially after you come back from that delicious dinner in the dining room.

Nikon D800, 1/5 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 20mm

Nikon D800, 1/5 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 20mm

And on the other side is a neat little shelving unit complete with coffee maker, wine glasses, an umbrella, and more.

Nikon D800, 1/3 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/3 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 24mm

Just beyond the fireplace, the balcony offers another great place to sit and relax in. The view can’t be beat as you are literally just metres away from Moraine Lake.

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 14mm

The view from our balcony was fantastic. You can see the canoes for rent to the right, and the jade-coloured Moraine Lake just meters away. The walkway you see here is part of the path that leads you all the way to the far end of Moraine Lake. It’s a great little trail that will take you about 25-30min. one way.

Nikon D800, 1/60sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/60sec., f/9.0, ISO 400, 24mm

Amenities

Guests at Moraine Lake Lodge get complimentary access to the rental canoes. Moreover, you are allowed to take them out before and after the general public is allowed to rent them, giving you a chance to canoe out in the open water by yourself. Unfortunately for us, it was still a little too cold to canoe out in the open waters so we had to pass on this opportunity.

Everyday they offer their guests an afternoon tea with complimentary tea and pastries in their games and reading area. Some days it’s just nice to sit and relax on the sofa with that big fireplace roaring next to you.

If hiking is more to your liking, there are a couple trails nearby that give you spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains and Moraine Lake. The staff here at the lodge enjoy hiking just as much as we do. So depending on the schedule, they will offer complimentary hiking guides at one of the trails here at Moraine Lake, like the one below (Consolation Lake hike).

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/10, ISO 100, 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/10, ISO 100, 70mm

It was nice to see our waitress for one evening be our hiking guide the next day. She led our group through the Consolation Lakes hike, which brings you to some beautiful streams and mountain scenery. At the time, this trail was restricted to group hikes of four or more people due to bear activity within the vicinity. Fortunately our group was much larger, so we were able to enjoy this hike. Had we come here by ourselves, we wouldn’t have been able to hike through this trail. Our guide was very knowledgable, telling us stories of the wilderness and explaining to us facts about the area.

Fine Dining at Moraine Lake Lodge

Just like the hiking and scenery here, the dinner at Moraine Lake Lodge did not disappoint. We dined here for two nights, and each night the menu was different and executed just right.

The rack of lamb I had here was one of the best—if not the best—rack of lamb I have tasted. The meat was so tender, not gamey at all, and had the perfect taste to it. The portions were quite generous as well.

The only complaint I would have of the dining room experience would be the actual dining room itself. It was quite cold whenever we came in here. Even though the fire place was lit, the heat did not do much for people sitting on the other side of the room. Further, being by the windows also did not help getting warm either. Whatever the case may be, we found the temperature to be slightly on the cool side, which at times made the overall experience a little less fine dining.

The Dining Room at Moraine Lake Lodge

The Dining Room at Moraine Lake Lodge

Conclusion

Whatever the case may be, Moraine Lake Lodge is an exceptional place to stay, and one that I would recommend if you have the budget for it, as all of this does not come cheap. If you think about it though, don’t you deserve to pamper yourself a little now and then? We made sure to stay at more economical places during the first part of our trip so that we could end our trip with a bang by relaxing and enjoying the comforts of this luxurious lodge. The view and surrounding nature can’t be beat. And with dishes like the above being served on a changing daily menu, it really is a great place for a cozy getaway for two.

And for photographers, you can’t beat just walking down a few steps for a sunrise and/or sunset photoshoot at one of the most iconic places in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

For more information on Moraine Lake Lodge, head over to their website: http://morainelake.com.

Combining food and photography always makes for a good time!

I’m very fortunate to live in a city where food plays an important part in our society. Every year there are no shortages of food-related festivals, especially during the warmer months of the year. This year, I’ve been tasked to take photos for The Stop’s Night Market fundraising event, which promises to be even more delicious than previous years!

The Stop's Night Market

The Stop’s Night Market

The event raises funds for The Stop’s community food programs, and brings together local chefs, designers, and foodies in one location over two nights. The designers are housed with the responsibility for creating one-of-a-kind food carts that the chefs will use to create and serve their own inventions on. It’s a great concept and one that I’m very excited to be a part of this year.

Corndog from Delica's Kitchen

Corndog from Delica’s Kitchen

Last night saw a huge crowd at a new venue for the event, a huge expanse in front of an abandoned building over in the west end of the city. With 35 custom-made carts and chefs’ creations, it was a feast for both the eyes and our bellies.

The crowd as the sun set.

The crowd as the sun set.

As a festival photographer, I always try and make sure that the event is properly represented with my photography. Since this is a new venue for the Night Market, it was important for me to get overall shots to reflect the location and popularity of the event this year. Details of the carts, and of course the chefs’ creations, and the all important volunteers and sponsors round up my photography tasks.

It was a great first night and I look forward to returning to the second night tonight. See you there!

Why don’t you use a daypack?

Try travelling light. When you go on holidays you’ll be tempted to pack all of your gear to be able to capture any scenario that comes your way. It’s fine if you have shoulders of steel but let’s face it, not everyone is blessed with Clark Kent’s physique.

Nikon D200, 1/80 sec., f/5.0, ISO 100, 20mm

Nikon D200, 1/80 sec., f/5.0, ISO 100, 20mm

While I still do pack most of my gear for the holidays, I try and not take everything with me on my day trips. I’ve soon come to realize that I would like to travel light throughout the day, and keep my neck and shoulders free from all that weight. If you bring a daypack with you, try and bring only the gear that you think you may use for that outing only. This will save you from having to carry all the gear that you have packed.

The added benefit to this method is that it will also teach you to think ahead and allow you to practice taking photos with that particular gear. It’s a great way to mix things up and further enhance your creativity with the gear that you bring. I often find that it makes you think differently as you find more creative ways to work with what you have.

The next day, you’ll be able to change your gear combination for a whole new experience.

Try it out the next time you travel and you’ll save a bundle on your massage fees for your neck and shoulders!

What does this photo have to do with daypacks? Pack light, like I did with this meal!

Diner en Blanc Toronto 2012

The inaugural Diner en Blanc Toronto saw nearly 1400 guests dressed in white, make their presence on the grounds of The Historic Fort York. Guests brought their own food (or, alternatively catered by Gourmet Cuisine), plates and utensils, white table and chairs, all the while cleaning up after themselves at the end of the evening. It was truly a unique experience to see for yourself, and one that had not been yet seen before here in the city.

It was unfortunate that the evening started wet, but by the time the sparklers came out, the rain had subsided and people were enjoying the evening to its fullest.

As a photographer, it was a great photo taking opportunity. In fact, the overcast clouds and rain were welcome as it made for some dramatic scenery.

A group of my friends participated as guests for the event, and they were kind enough to donate some food for me as I was busy with my camera and tripod throughout the entire evening. Thank you kindly for the tasty dinner!

Some of these photos are seen on Toronto Life’s website.

View photos from Renée’s experienceJennifer’s experience, and Zeekid’s experience.

More information on the event is located here.

Cherry yogurt popsicles


It’s summertime, and what better way to cool off those warm, humid days than to treat yourself with everyone’s favourite frozen treat. Popsicles are great, whether they are homemade or bought. And they’re even better when you find yourself confronted with several varieties that just tempt you for your time in the kitchen.
Read more