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As a Niagara Wedding Photographer, I had dreamed of doing an epic Banff Alberta engagement session. Especially at Moraine Lake. My dream finally came true when my cousin Nick asked me to be his photographer for his Alberta Wedding in September 2019.
Shortly after that, my other cousin Shonnica, who also lives in Alberta, announced her engagement. I was super excited when she also asked me to document her 2020 Wedding! So exciting! So I used the opportunity of coming out to Alberta for Nick’s wedding to get in an epic Banff Alberta engagement session with Shonnica and Ian!
We had planned our Banff Alberta engagement session with destination #1 as Moraine Lake. A location that I’ve seen so many beautiful photos from, it was a dream spot for me. What we really wanted, was to get some romantic photos of the two of them in a canoe at the lake. The only way we could bring in the canoes that she had rented was by snagging on-site parking. If we didn’t, then we could not bring them with us. We were trying to save money and time by bringing our own. The canoes they have onsite for the tourist are hella expensive and the lines get outrageous. In order to do that we needed to be onsite incredibly early.
My hubby Chris was with me which made the trip that much more memorable. He’s really good at getting up early, whereas me not so much. He woke my grumpy bum up at the 3 am as we had to be on the road by 4 am. We met Shonnica and Ian at a truck stop and away we went. It was a 2-hour drive into the park to Moraine Lake from Calgary where we were staying.
Unfortunately, even with getting up at stupid o’clock, we were still too late to get parking on-site. People had been lining up since around the time we left. That’s how popular this place is. Even in the off-season. So we left the canoes behind and took a bus from the overflow parking into Moraine Lake. A little disappointed but we were still so excited to be on our way.
Watching the sun come up from behind the Banff Alberta mountains on our bus drive in only furthered my giddiness! It was so stunning and I was in awe of nature’s power and beauty. Being from Southern Ontario, getting to see sleeping giant mountains always makes me feel like I’m in an adventure movie.
Once we got to Moraine we started shooting right away. Everywhere I turned I was in awe. The biggest issue we had was we were definitely not alone. The place was buzzing in the early hours of the day. So I had to work with limited spaces to get the best shots without people messing it up. I also had to do a lot of editing to take people out of some of these photos. The best part of our time there was watching the colour of the lake intensify as the sun came up. I’m so grateful that I got to see its truest stunning turquoise.
Shonnica and Ian came perfectly dressed for the excursion. I just LOVE how their outfit colours coordinate so well with the serene backdrop of Moraine Lake. They are such a beautiful and loving couple and with little direction from me, their posing just came so naturally. They absolutely nailed it! Scroll down for all the gorgeous engagement photos!
Moraine Lake was not our only stop on the Banff Alberta list. This was a rare opportunity and we wanted to make the most of it. Shonnica makes THE BEST SNACKS and she made us all kinds of goodies for the travels. I brought my walkie talkies so we could communicate in our vehicles as we drove to all the spots. We decided to try our luck with the canoes at Emerald Lake in Banff. However, we couldn’t even get a parking spot so we decided to move on.
Our next spot was at the beautiful Natural Bridge in Banff Alberta. The roaring of the rapids surrounding this natural rock bridge was both overwhelming and stunning. Shonnica was so brave heading into this area in her thin dress with the freezing mist. She even happily got into the glacier water without complaint! What a champ! The sun was super bright and highly reflective off the rocks which made it a challenge to get the images that I wanted here but we managed to get a couple of great ones.
After that, we took a stroll to Takakkaw Falls, it was beautiful and picture-perfect but Shonnica and Ian needed a break from photos and just wanted to enjoy the hike with us. It was really nice and a must-see spot if you are traveling Banff Alberta.
Our final destination was Johnston Canyon in Banff Alberta! Another special and beautiful place but it too was filled with tourists. We hiked to where Shonnica wanted to show us a beautiful hidden cave where a monster glacier waterfalls rush into the canyon. You can stand right next to it, the thunderous rumbling was so intense, we could only stay in for a few moments.
We decided that after many hours of hiking and driving that we were all a little spent and ready to call it quits for the day. I grabbed a few more quick shots of the happy couple and we sadly said our good-byes.
Chris and I were now off to our next destination as we were taking the week to drive through the Rockies to Vancouver. I was sad to say good-bye to my sweet cousin who I’ve only gotten to spend a handful of times with over our lives. That day meant so much to me.
As I write this I am a bit sad as I’ll not be able to document her wedding this year as planned. COVID-19 has changed her wedding plans and with travel uncertainty, it’s not looking like it will happen. Either way, I’m happy to have had this time with her and to meet her awesome, soon to be husband Ian. Our adventures together that day will forever be in my heart and captured in these photos!