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Smoke in the Valley

4,650 megapixel VAST photo
Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

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4,650 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo print of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park with smoke from a wildfire in the valley in the background; fine art landscape photograph created by Scott Dimond in Alberta, Canada

Smoke in the Valley

4,650 MEGAPIXEL VAST PHOTO
Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

It all started with a lightning strike. That is how the Kenow wildfire in Southeastern British Columbia came to be and that is how my need to get down to Waterton National Park (Alberta, Canada) became more urgent. I have a list of locations that I think will be particularly well suited as subjects for a VAST photo and of course, the decision is always where to go next.

Photographing all the images needed to assemble a VAST photo is a time consuming task that can take hours to shoot. There is always the high risk of sudden changes in the light falling on the scene that can completely ruin any possibility of producing an acceptable final image. Smoke is one element that can reduce the risk of such changes in lighting. So with the many wildfires burning in British Columbia, all of southern Alberta was covered with thick smoke for days and weeks at a time. It was these conditions the convinced me that now was the time to get down to Waterton National Park and create the VAST photo I had in my mind’s eye.

This image was actually produced on my second attempt. The day before, I had rose early and arrived on location well before sunrise to set up the special equipment I needed and to start the process. But about an hour into shooting, the wind came up and destroyed any possibility of pulling off a successful image. With a 500mm lens and relatively long exposure times, even a light breeze is enough to cause camera shake that ruins the shot. As the wind was blowing directly into the camera, wind shields were not an option and I had to pack it in.

The next morning, I repeated the process and had much better luck with there being very little wind. The valley was full of smoke and it looked very promising. As I started shooting in the faint light before sunrise, my first subject was the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel while it still had its lights on. I knew that they would be off by the time I finished shooting hours later. I then captured images of the lake and foreground leaving the mountains and sky to the end, with the hope that some early morning sunlight from the east would provide some color. In the end it all worked out well and I’m very happy with this exceptionally high resolution VAST photo.

As I was taking in all this beauty at Waterton and creating this photograph, I never dreamt that it was in anyway at risk. The Kenow fire in particular had shown no signs of moving east up the Akamina Valley and risking Waterton and I really had no understanding of how unpredictable and uncontrollable such fires can be. But that all changed because, sadly, in just a few days, the entire western slopes along the lake were ravaged by the wildlife. Fire departments did an exceptional job protecting the town site and the Prince of Wales Hotel but when it was all said and done, after destroying over 38,100 hectares, the fire was not considered under control until in early October.

It may take almost a century before the area returns to its pre-fire condition, so I’m immensely thankful I was able to capture this high resolution image of Waterton National Park in all its splendour when I did.

Date & TimeAugust 31, 2017:  5:00am
LocationWaterton National Park, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates49.068445, -113.900018
Focal Length500mm
Aperturef/16
Shutter Speed1/25
ISO400
Number of Exposures624

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Our photographic prints are created using a specialty, large-format fine art printer designed to produce archival, museum-grade prints. They are true "chromogenic" prints: light-sensitive paper exposed in a darkroom using state-of-the-art lasers to produce the sharpest possible image. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

Your print comes with two certificates of authenticity hand-signed by the artist and the printmaker: one that you will affix to the finished piece and one that remains standalone. Additionally, your print's provenance is tracked and verified using state-of-the-art digital blockchain encryption technology. Learn more.

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Acrylic glass display

Our acrylic glass displays are ready-to-hang works of art that contain one of our photographic prints sealed between flame-polished acrylic glass and an aluminum backing. A hidden mounting brace on the rear causes the display to gracefully "float" off the wall for a sleek, modern frameless look that complements nearly any decor style. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

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Purchase a rights-managed license to use this photo file. A license provides you with the full resolution digital image file and a permit to use it for a specific project. Use the form below to begin the licensing process or click here to learn more.

Total Pixels4,650,445,266
Horizontal Pixels109,086
Vertical Pixels42,631
Aspect Ratio2.56 : 1
File Size26,574 MB
Width @ 300ppi (perfect)30.3 feet
Height @ 300ppi11.84 feet
Width @ 150ppi (near-perfect)60.6 feet
Height @ 150ppi23.68 feet

Date & TimeAugust 31, 2017:  5:00am
LocationWaterton National Park, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates49.068445, -113.900018
Focal Length500mm
Aperturef/16
Shutter Speed1/25
ISO400
Number of Exposures624

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Photo id: 10314