Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Kananaskis Range

with 27 comments

Mount Wintour

Three years ago today we spent time in the Kananaskis Range of the Canadian Rockies.

Opal Ridge, North Summit

Here are some of the majestic mountains we saw there. Thanks to Alberta Parks for identifying them.

Ribbon Peak

Lower Kananaskis Lake

Some happy aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) we saw along the way.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today:

  • Where do the highest mountains come from? I once asked. Then I learned that they come from out of the sea. The evidence is inscribed in their stone and in the walls of their summits. It is from the deepest that the highest must come to its height. — Friedrich NietzscheAlso Spracht Zarathustra (1883-91), Part III, Chapter 45. Translation by Graham Parkes, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2005) p. 132.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 11, 2020 at 4:54 AM

27 Responses

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  1. Pale stone, pale tree trunks, vivid images. I’m guessing that’s a whole lot of layers of limestone that got shoved up, very handsome patterns.

    Robert Parker

    September 11, 2020 at 6:29 AM

    • Until we were in the vicinity I’d never heard of the Kananaskis Range, and I suspect most other Americans aren’t aware of it, either. Because it sits a bit to the south of the main route from Calgary to Banff and the Icefields Parkway, fewer short-term tourists go to the Kananaskis Range, and that’s an advantage. I found plenty of layery mountains to photograph there, as you see.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2020 at 6:46 AM

  2. The perspective of your first two images reminds me of the traditional Chinese paintings I saw this morning in Christchurch. It’s good to be reminded from whence cometh the mountains.


    September 11, 2020 at 6:43 AM

    • This was half a year after we visited New Zealand, so we certainly got our dose of mountains in 2017. Your “whence cometh the mountains” remindeth me of this: “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2020 at 6:51 AM

      • Taking that quote on a literal level would make the mountains rather dull. You would be reduced to taking photos of humps and hillocks, and they would all be smooth.


        September 12, 2020 at 6:46 AM

        • I’m with you: give me real mountains rather than humps. And I surely wouldn’t want to come face to face with a hill ox on any hillocks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 12, 2020 at 7:51 AM

  3. Believe it or not my wife and I went swimming in this lake on Thanksgiving Day in the late 1960s. The water was chilly but the air was warm on this typical Indian summer day.

    Peter Klopp

    September 11, 2020 at 7:58 AM

    • If I’d known that when I was there, I’d have turned on my time machine and gone back to include you two in the picture. Even with Indian summer, I think I’d have found conditions too cold to take a swim. My wife, having grown up with the warm waters of the Philippines, certainly would have.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2020 at 8:06 AM

      • We never thought we would swim so high up in the mountains and at such a late season when snow would not be unusual in Calgary. We were actually unprepared for this astounding event and had to swim in our underwear. Haha! What a sight it was!

        Peter Klopp

        September 11, 2020 at 10:54 AM

        • A once-in-a-lifetime experience, from the sound of it, and happy memories all these years later.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 11, 2020 at 3:38 PM

    • By the way, were you just visiting there way back then, or had you already moved to Canada?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2020 at 8:07 AM

  4. It looks like an amazing and beautiful area.


    September 11, 2020 at 8:36 AM

    • Ever since visiting the Canadian Rockies, I’ve been telling people how scenic the region is, and that they should go to see it if they can.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2020 at 3:33 PM

  5. Wonderful pics

    Nancy Basinger

    September 11, 2020 at 12:36 PM

  6. Ribbon Peak is intriguing – like a mountain disguised as a tree.


    September 12, 2020 at 3:27 PM

    • Now that’s an original take: a mountain disguised as a tree.
      Earlier today I taught the words susurrus and susurration to two people.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2020 at 4:35 PM

  7. It’s hard to see how the trees in the first photo found a way to root themselves into the rock face. Obviously, there must be more soil there than is visible in the photo, but the effect is unusual, nonetheless. The lake view’s especially pleasant, and who doesn’t like a reminder of Ansel Adams? I’d never noticed that the scientific name of the tree reflects a common name: ‘quaking Aspen.’ I just read that the Onondagas are said to have called quaking aspen “nut-kie-e,” meaning ‘noisy leaf.’


    September 13, 2020 at 8:47 AM

    • You and I have both seen plants that seem to emerge straight out of rock. For me, those have usually been small plants, but I’ve occasionally seen trees that look that way. You can tell that I never got close to the trees in the first photograph, so I don’t know what the deal was. What got to me about the lake was the way the strong breeze created moving patterns on the surface of the water. I took a bunch of pictures to record those changing surfaces. The quaking aspen in indeed tremulous, and also, as the Onondagas perceived it, noisy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2020 at 8:58 AM

  8. Your first image is stuck in my mind and is now haunting me. I have the distinct impression of an open mouth, gasping desperately for breath. What an arresting landscape!


    September 20, 2020 at 4:05 AM

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