Hello everyone! Darwin and I are very excited to announce a new ‘Special Places’ eBook series here on oopoomoo. As many of you know, we have a deep fondness for our dwindling natural spaces here in Alberta, and a particular love for the Kootenay Plains region near Nordegg. Tucked up against the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Kootenay Plains is an example of the rare Montane ecotype that is critical to all kinds of flora and fauna. Many of our tours and workshops are held here in part because of its incredible diversity of scenery but also because the region is relatively free of the increasing commercialization (despite public protest) that we are now seeing in our national parks.
Unfortunately, that lack of development is not from governmental design but a side effect of neglect. The region is becoming increasingly popular with outdoor enthusiasts, campers and also photographers which means more pressure on this fragile landscape. Some of the problems faced by the Kootenay Plains include pressure for more Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails or illegal touring, increased random camping from visitors not trained in Leave No Trace principles and increased pressure by industry for access to the resources in the area.
Here’s where the oopoomoo community comes in! We thought long and hard whether to keep this place ‘to ourselves’ as much as possible or share some of its secrets with the world. We decided to share because dialogue and engagement are two underlying principles of oopoomoo. You see, we think photographers are uniquely placed to be stewards of the land, visiting rare and endangered places like the Kootenay Plains and returning with stunning pictures and a deeper appreciation of these kinds of natural spaces. And we believe photographers can do this without destroying the very place they come to visit.
So we are proud to publish the first in a series of eBooks devoted to helping photographers learn about natural places that are every inch worth visiting yet may be facing pressure for development or destruction from overuse. The Kootenay Plains & Abraham Lake Winter Edition dishes up our favourite spots for winter photography and is loaded with the kind of tips you would expect to find from our popular How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies series: tips on time of day to type of flora or fauna you may find in a given location are throughout the book. We’ve also thrown in informational sidebars on some of the unique cultural and ecological features of the area; there is something here for every photographer! Finally, we’ve included some of the key areas that need special protection from overuse. Please follow our guidelines and refrain from further damaging these sensitive locations.
One more thing…Abraham Lake is the stunning, man-made reservoir responsible for the now infamous ‘bubble’ shots you may have seen here and there on the internet. While the ice features of the lake are astounding, the lake can be very dangerous all year-round. Abraham Lake does not act like a ‘normal’ lake. It is a man-made creation for hydroelectric power and its surface levels change dramatically. Never forget that high winds, variable ice conditions and river currents through the lake make photography a dangerous proposition. When we visit the lake on our tours, we are very careful of ice conditions and advise participants of unsafe areas. At some level though, you are responsible for your own safety. If you are not knowledgeable of the area and how to read ice, we recommend you photograph from the shore. There is so much more to the Kootenay Plains than ice bubbles, so don’t limit your creativity!
We hope that this eBook enriches your photographic visit to the area. With enough photographers appreciating this special region, perhaps we will be able to ensure its preservation as a park for future generations.