Updated: Apr 20, 2022
Why a Wonder: Every winter, methane bubbles rising from the lake bottom get trapped in the ice forming on the lake. The bubbles form otherworldly shapes, making them a perfect foreground for near-far landscape photography.
Where: Abraham Lake is just outside of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The closest large town is Rocky Mountain House.
When: From mid-December to the end of January are the best times to visit. The ice might still be good in February or even March depending on the weather, but warmer temperatures can bring slushy conditions and unsafe ice. You want to make sure that the ice is thick enough to safely explore (at least four inches of thickness is recommended for safe walking).
Photography: Abraham Lake can be a cold and windy place in winter. The ice is best to photograph when it is clear of snow. Typically, when it does snow on the lake ice, the wind blows it off within a few days. Winter weather in the Canadian Rockies is often overcast, so if you want to get a stunning sunrise or sunset, plan on making several trips to the lake. Wide-angle lenses allow you to capture interesting frozen bubble foregrounds juxtaposed against the stunning surrounding mountain scenery. Get low and close to the bubbles for the most dramatic perspectives. Wear ice cleats or crampons to avoid slipping on the ice.
Learn more: For a good overview of the experience of visiting Abraham Lake in winter and suggestions for nearby lodging and how best to get there, check out this article.
© Ian Plant
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