Aloft: Canadian Rockies Aerial Photography

Aloft: Canadian Rockies Aerial Photography
By Paul Zizka

Published by Rocky Mountain Books 2021

There are photographic books on the Canadian Rockies worthy of a few scans and there are superb books on the Canadian Rockies—such is Aloft. The title and subtitle offer the curious the visual nature of this bounty of a book. The photographs are, indeed, taken from above the Rockies and the photographer is very much aloft, the “Introduction” by Zizka worthy of a reflective read (as are his visual gifts).

The photographs taken reflect all the seasons in the Canadian Rockies and track the varied faces and forms of the Rockies in a sort of ordered journey, Rundle Range and Three Sisters near Canmore taking the lead and initial bow, Mount Assiniboine area stepping on stage to strut its sheer beauty. Then, it’s to Banff, Lake Minnewanka, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Louis and Mount Norquay ski hill bounties not to miss. The photographic journey turns northward to Castle Mountain, Sunshine Meadows (summer and winter on display), Bourgeau Lake, Shadow Lake, Storm Mountain and Shadow Lake Lodge next on the Rocky Mountain and Taylor Lake aloft tour. It was inevitable, of course, on the photographic overview of the Rockies that Lake Louise and Moraine Lake would be next to visit, their expansive and epic like grandeur worthy of multiple meditative moments. Those who have lingered and trekked in the area are amply rewarded by photographs of Eiffel Lake, Sentinel Pass, Lake Agnes (tea hut ever present), Temple, Victoria-Lefroy and Louise Ski Hill, of course. Lake Louise freezes in the winter and the shoveled Lake near Chateau is cleared and turned into rinks to skate on (many pleasant memories of skating on Louise in winter). Zizka has eloquently captured the golden beauty of the alpine larches in the early autumn, Abbot Hut above the higher tea hut suitable for many a night stay (such tales to be told from Abbot Hut). The photographic pilgrimage continues to the ever charming Lake O’Hara region with its rich and layered history, Yoho, many trails done there and Takakkaw Falls a place not to miss (many a night spent sleeping at the base of it). The turn is then made, ever aloft, to Kootenay National Park, the Icefields Parkway the journey ever northward from an aerial perspective, Bow Lake highlighted (treks taken from there worth the doing as is kayaking on the lake), Peyto Lake frontstaged (the starting point for the Wapta Traverse).

The aerial overview maintains a northwards flight, Saskatchewan and Athabasca Glaciers illuminated, crevasses noted and Mount Athabasca (climb worth the effort) duly noted, tourist trips part of the photographic package. Jasper National Park, rightly so, comes into attractive and compelling hue, Fortress Lake, Hooker Icefield and Chisel Peak but tasters and teasers. But, to Jasper and Edith Cavell, Fairmont, Chevron and Ramparts, Tonquin Valley and Amethyst Lakes photographs not to miss (nor, in the Rockies, treks not to miss). Humber Provincial Park is given its prominent places as is Mount Alberta and the ever attractive Maligne Lake, Mt. Robson and Berg Lake next on the agenda as Jasper is left behind.

There is much more that could be said about this photographic and aerial overview of the Canadian Rockies, but for those who have done many of the trips in the area, skated, skied, trekked, hiked and climbed many of the peaks, Aloft is a memory massager and reminder of the vast, compelling, immense and perennial appeal of the Canadian Rockies. Aloft is certainly worth the purchase and the photographs, descriptions and vividness of the tour a journey not to miss.

“Aloft: Canadian Rockies Aerial Photography” by Paul Zizka. Rocky Mountain Books, 2021; 224 Pages; Retail Hardcover $45.00; ISBN: 9781771603973

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