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Abraham Lake

Updated: Feb 2

Cochrane Camera Club’s photo safari: January 25, 2020


Abraham Lake--Central Alberta


One of the major winter attractions that is undiscovered by Travel Alberta and Alberta Tourism is found between Rocky Mountain House and Saskatchewan River Crossing in central Alberta: Abraham Lake.


What brings so many locals and tourists from far Away to this windswept reservoir?? It is more than the spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains—because this Reservoir somehow creates ‘totem pole’ stacks of methane bubbles from decomposing vegetation in the crystal clear ice! Millions of bubbles form intricate patterns in the ice, and massive annealled cracks form crazy patterns through them all! Photogenic? Oh, Yes!


Thirteen members of the Cochrane Camera Club assembled in Rocky Mountain House and caravaned out to Abraham Lake in the pre-dawn to catch the first photons of morning light illuminating an Alberta-blue sky over Mount Michener. We all chose a place on the ice with favorite collections of methane bubbles, and photographed this remarkable phenomena as well the the surrounding winter wonderland.


How did all this come to be? Well, an advance scouting group consisting of Dennis, our Photo-Outings coordinator, Tom, who was the driver, and Michael, our photo guru, drove up and way pointed the best places for the group to be next morning. We met up for dinner and drinks Friday night in Rocky and next morning we all left in the total darkness for the 90 minute drive to our first venue which had been way pointed the day before, since its location is unmarked and the trail down to the reservoir is considerably less than obvious.

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We were richly rewarded. The weather was chilly but not brutally cold as it was one week before. The ice was clear and thick and this year’s crop of bubbles in the ice was even better than last year!


We were not alone on the ice. A photographic group from Edmonton was there, as were several guided groups and some overseas tourists. Everyone was in awe of the unique natural art displays frozen into Abraham Lake!


Our gang shared the moments on the ice in the two locales that the scouting party had selected, as well as each person’s own special techniques for capturing the scene. Every make and kind of camera and setup was in play including two old Rolleiflexes and 120 film!





Afterwards, we caravaned to Crescent Falls, back towards Rocky, and photographed the solid ice falls and cliff-like gorge the river had created. Some of the more adventuresome members scaled a steep path with a rope hand-hold down into the gorge and were rewarded with photographs shooting up at the ice falls.


We all enjoyed the day. It was above Zero, the skies were very blue, and the venues were world-class. After Crescent falls, we all found our own way back to Cochrane at our own pace: some went for lunch in Nordegg, others back to Rocky. Several drove the Parkway highway back through Banff, enjoying the Rockies on a sunny winter day.


We thank Dennis Gowriluk for his organizational skills pulling this trip together. It went off smoothly and we all had alot of fun as well as coming back with incredible photographic images. We look forward to future photo safaris. We will be showing our best pictures at the next Camera Club meeting—and I am sure some of them will be printed and displayed at our next Sale & Exhibition in the fall!




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