Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The shallows of Medicine Lake

with 29 comments

An adjective often applied to Jasper National Park’s Medicine Lake is “disappearing.” That’s because in the fall, when there hasn’t been much meltwater flowing into the lake for a while, the water level goes down—even to the point that the lake disappears. The previous post showed you that when we reached the northern end of Medicine Lake on September 5th it still looked like a lake. As we continued south, the water kept dropping until we saw what seemed more like a broad, shallow river with lots of sandbars in it. You’re welcome to read more about this strange lake that isn’t always a lake.

If the craft of photography interests you, newly added point 29 in About My Techniques offers some insight into today’s picture. So does point 9.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 2, 2017 at 4:51 AM

29 Responses

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  1. A delightful abstract Steve. There is a lake near Canberra, Australia which often isn’t a lake. Lake George is an endorheic lake and rarely seen with water in it.


    November 2, 2017 at 6:54 AM

  2. What a beautiful abstraction. The little fringe of reeds or grasses in the distance seems just the right touch.

    When I visited the Cimarrón grasslands last fall, I searched and searched for some evidence of the Cimarrón River that was indicated on maps. All I could find was a line of cottonwoods. Eventually, a Ranger explained that the Cimarrón flows underground for much of the year, only emerging when rains have been plentiful.


    November 2, 2017 at 6:59 AM

    • First delightful and a few minutes later beautiful; I’ll take those descriptions. And speaking of taking, though I took other pictures of the shallow lake even more abstract, I decided to show this one with the narrow fringe at the top (but no surrey) to provide an orientation and keep the image ever so slightly a landscape. If I’d framed a smidgen higher the picture would have included a stretch of Maligne Lake Rd., which I happily managed to exclude.

      Like the Cimarrón River you described, the Maligne River also flows underground for part of its course. That underground section is where the water from Medicine Lake goes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2017 at 7:56 AM

  3. I’ll add wonderful to the adjectives to this abstract with a fringe on top. I love the color contrasts, and the movement and texture. And, of course, the fringe.


    November 2, 2017 at 8:00 AM

    • Thanks, Melissa, for adding a third positive -ful to the descriptions. I’m happy to see you agree that the twinge of fringe adds just the right tinge.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2017 at 8:19 AM

  4. Fantastic image, Steve. I love your composition to focus on the abstract lines and colors and still giving us a hint of the scene with the grasses in the background. An image that I stayed with.

    Jane Lurie

    November 2, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    • I appreciate your appreciating it, Jane. I’m glad to hear you stayed with it. I know you’d have stayed with the real thing, too, looking for ways to portray it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2017 at 1:26 PM

  5. Looks like some of the braided rivers here in New Zealand.

    Jenny Meadows

    November 3, 2017 at 3:59 PM

  6. Awesome abstract!!!


    November 3, 2017 at 7:41 PM

  7. Beautiful colours.


    November 4, 2017 at 4:12 AM

  8. It’s beautiful Steve .. and shot so well. This strange lake which isn’t always a lake.


    November 4, 2017 at 1:49 PM

  9. Glad to have seen this! We read about the phenomenon but in July the lake was still full.

    Anabel Marsh

    November 7, 2017 at 5:59 AM

    • You make the case for returning to scenic places at different times of the year. As much as I enjoyed the things I saw in Canada, I couldn’t help wishing I could also have seen them in a different light. Our timing for Medicine Lake was good because we got to see one part of it as a lake and another (shown here) well on its way to disappearing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2017 at 6:50 AM

      • Both our visits have been in July – 2007 for my 50th and this year, well do the math as they say! When my husband retires I hope to be able to travel more off season. There is no sign of this as yet.

        Anabel Marsh

        November 7, 2017 at 7:26 AM

        • My wife retired last year, and that has freed us up to take a bunch of trips: four so far since then. Even during her last years working, we still managed to squeeze out some trips using her accumulated vacation days. Good luck with your husband’s eventual retirement and the opportunities it will open up.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 7, 2017 at 7:37 AM

  10. I love the colours in this one.


    November 7, 2017 at 12:16 PM

    • Me too. It was the combination of colors and abstract forms that compelled me to stop and take pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2017 at 1:28 PM

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