The Kananaskis Nordic Spa

The Kananaskis Nordic Spa, a brand new (and very welcome!) addition to the Kananaskis Village opened its doors couple of weeks ago.  Set to open in stages, the first stage of the spa includes a series of outdoor heated, and one chilled, pools, as well as eucalyptus infused saunas and cedar steam rooms.

29260947_10215759577812145_933460173408698368_o

Sleek and modern, this new build looks like it belongs on the landscape and it is almost impossible to believe that it popped up over the last months. I recently had the opportunity to test out the spa, and I wanted to share photos and a bit of narrative from my incredibly relaxing night there.

The spa is nestled in behind the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, accessible by an elevated board walk. Once inside, warm woods and warm accents help to set the mood the second you walk through the door. I love the logo for the spa; it is simple and sleek, yet suits the setting.

More than just a spa; the K Nordic spa also offers a licensed restaurant with luxurious couch seating (even a patio for summer!) as well as an adorable boutique, stocked with a great selection of Lululemon and an assortment of Canada tartan accessories for you to recreate the spa feeling at home after you leave.

29244785_10215759584812320_1636035072626786304_n29249133_10215759585332333_6804035019355455488_n29216948_10215759584532313_8915893034621599744_n

Upon check in, guests are given a robe and slippers, as well as a waterproof fob bracelet that electronically lets you into a locker.

The change rooms were some of the most luxurious I have ever seen in a fitness or wellness facility; in the ladies there was an entire room with counters and hair stations to ensure you leave the spa looking as great as you feel.

29214713_10215759584772319_3311234521801687040_n29243953_10215759584292307_2888477639566163968_n29213897_10215759583892297_4631983389623189504_n29197312_10215759576332108_5039822287071608832_n

Once through the change rooms, outside you go! The gathering pool, a two leveled warm water pool, awaits. This large pool is the perfect way to start or end your spa experience (or do like me, and go a couple of times 😉 )

29249251_10215759576012100_3874599270279544832_n29261120_10215759579052176_3030969493212889088_n

My favourite pool by far was the hot pool; it once again has two levels, but a much cozier and more intimate feel. Bonus: has a waterfall.

29197229_10215759581172229_8263176881734418432_n29249235_10215759576932123_7518041721356156928_n

You’ll notice the glowing red lights over the robe hooks? Those are heated robe shelters to ensure your walk between pools is cozy even in the winter.

29257807_10215759574772069_8639248556089147392_n

This fire pit was a wonderful addition to the spa; there are few scents more relaxing than a camp fire, and the muskoka chairs and hanging fire pit make it both medieval and sleekly modern.

29214832_10215759581452236_5651181216318095360_n

This is the pool I was only brave enough to go in once. Very briefly. The cold pool. But it is a part of the process, so you need to try it 😉

29216816_10215759582332258_7516059482279903232_n

Cedar sauna and coming soon, heated hammocks!

29214391_10215759578572164_5335590421022113792_n

Can’t say that I have ever sat by a camp fire in a bathrobe, but I loved it.

Not pictured, due to adverse camera conditions, are the eucalyptus steam rooms. There are two of them located in one cabin, both rooms spacious enough for large groups. Sleek dark tiles, mixed with cedar make for an incredibly aromatic experience. I also loved that there was a self-filling bucket of cool water with which you can douse yourself when you get too warm in the steam room.

My night spent at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa was exactly what I had needed to cap off an incredibly busy and physically strenuous week. It was such a relaxing environment, with great amenities. The staff were warm and welcoming and the entire facility was spotless. I will definitely be back very soon. I am also excited for the upcoming phases of the spa which will include massage treatment rooms, yoga/fitness studios and much more.

Have you visited yet? Let me know what you thought!

 

Advertisements

Kananaskis Area Photography Contest

I was incredibly excited to place first in the Kananaskis area photo contest, hosted by the Kananaskis Improvement District.

On top of the usual prizes, the winner of this years contest is to have their photo printed, framed and hung in the brand new Kananaskis Emergency Services Centre (aka my firehall.) KESC is to begin construction this summer and be finished some time in 2018. I am so excited to have a piece of my work hanging in the new hall. The firehall has been my second home since the moment I joined the department and I’m excited to feel like part of me will stay there even after I move (not that I have plans to move right now, just as an eventuality).

My photograph that won was taken in May of 2016, during the most incredible northern lights show that I have ever seen. It was a 10 second exposure of a show that had me enthralled for hours.

This is my winning photo (you need to see it in high res, not compressed like wordpress makes it, to really love it). This has not been photoshopped in any way shape or form, this is what the sky looked like that night.

19452948_1526827550712709_4495152130826714048_o

Lots of amazing photos were entered into the contest, and I’d like to share the runner ups:

Third-2017

Shoutout to my fire captain, CPT Corriveau for placing third with this beauty. Check him out on Instagram for more gorgeous shots: @martin.corriveau

 

Second-Ernest-Botham-768x825

Second Place: Ernest Botham took this gorgeous elk portrait.

Peoples-Choice-Graeme-Rydl

And this one, the People’s Choice, was taken by another firefighter, Mr Graeme Rydl.

Winter at Lake Louise

15894331_10211741346078863_1974805463283532724_nLake Louise is an icon of beauty in the Canadian Rockies; however, most people only know it for its turquoise waters of summer. What about the other 6 months of the year? Lake Louise is actually a winter paradise for people who love being outside in the cold. Here are my favorite things to do outside at Lake Louise in the winter:

Ice Skating

14029_10205924586943520_2012326421930150152_n

10273657_10205924590583611_1615214933484312362_nOn the lake, there is a hockey rink cleared for playing shinny, as well as a large cleared ice surface for families. Just prior to the Banff Ice Magic Festival every January, a large ice castle is built on Lake Louise, in the center of the family ice surface. In years past, there has even been a throne in the heart of the castle, allowing everyone to be King or Queen of Lake Louise, even if only for a minute. Don’t have your own skates? Not a problem! Ice skate rentals are available in the Chateau. Click here for more details on rentals. Pro tip: bundle up, it’s usually quite windy on the lake.532960_10205924589943595_3971908337049268020_n

XC Skiing

15965954_10211741364279318_6684802578801199510_nI have wanted to XC ski at Lake Louise for as long as I’ve known there was a trail to ski. I finally got to check that item off my bucket list last week. I skied a couple laps of the lake and with it being my first real xc ski of the season, I was feeling pretty good. I didn’t fall, my technique was solid and I was in a good rhythm. It was a pretty chilly day, sitting around -20 with the wind chill. I have never had my eyelashes freeze before. I should try to pass it off as the latest winter look 😉

15940769_10211741347638902_2925364440871494129_n

15966051_10211741350358970_3789058929670861280_nThe XC ski trail on Lake Louise starts at the boathouse and is flat groomed and trackset all the way to the waterfall at the far end. I skied through powder so I could come back on the other side of the lake and to do it as a loop instead of a linear trail.Parts of the trail were severely mashed due to snowshoers and people walking on it, but the vast majority of the trail was in great shape.

The frozen waterfall at the end of the lake is definitely worth getting to and then hiking up to the base of.

15894507_10211741346598876_6184345844013680889_n

Snowshoeing

If you’re not big into xc skiing or skating, then give snowshoeing a shot! There is a snowshoe trail that cuts across Lake Louise, as well as many kms of other trails around the lake and surrounding area. Always make sure to check that you are not going into avalanche terrain; check the reports and know what areas are safe. It’s pretty amazing to be able to snowshoe out into the middle of the lake, and to look back at the Chateau: the opposite of what most people see when visiting.

15941288_10211741361319244_5096397295049922304_n

Other winter delights:

10410712_10205924594223702_4465359955072810482_nGo during the Ice Festival and look at magical ice carvings, have a drink at the outdoor ice bar, take a sleigh ride around the lake or enjoy a bonfire hosted by the Lake Louise staff.

My absolute favorite winter activity at Lake Louise is stargazing. The stars are always fantastic (as long as its clear) and you can set up a long exposure and skate around while you wait, or better yet, play with lights through a long exposure!

 

 

13734974_1162855450443256_373073216086495877_o

 

You know it’s cold when…

… There are sundogs outside!

So what is a sundog? It’s this:

dsc_0752

That beautiful circular rainbow around the sun is known as sundog and is caused by ice particles floating in the air, reflecting light (same process as a rainbow, just much colder). The ice crystals act like a prism, bending the light that passes through them and giving the appearance of a rainbow.

These don’t just appear because of the cold, but are usually visible when the sun is low on the horizon on very cold days.

dsc_0747

Jasper and The Icefields Parkway

Last week, a very good friend from Ontario came out to visit. I have been friends with Bri since I was 16 and I was super excited to have her come out and visit me here in Kananaskis. This was Bri’s second trip out to the mountains, so we had kind of narrowed down where we wanted to visit. As you saw in a previous post, we went out to the Lussier hot springs near Invermere, BC but we also took a couple days and went up to Jasper. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, and all the lakes are still open (pretty weird for this time of year) which made for some awesome photos. Here are some of the highlights of our time in Jasper:

15055797_10211160798805544_2973008677707319981_n15055827_10211160801965623_9218717107513025448_n15056371_10211160814685941_5216195146447491976_n15056453_10211160820006074_870529867126451587_n15073332_10211160794085426_4839417281807873478_n15073574_10211160791325357_1623601968243237191_n15078715_10211160821406109_3278396295576983390_n15078906_10211160816085976_6679787874805612788_n15085651_10211160820206079_6878976964161821424_n15085696_10211160816925997_1886022027254886012_n15094495_10211160817926022_4267044032546001326_n15095619_10211160823566163_2305540375233577162_n15095707_10211160817166003_566669098100224748_n15055650_10211160812645890_9117340834333980248_n15036254_10211160823126152_1478215386309149171_n15032864_10211160800605589_6336822102926399249_n15027550_10211160814885946_52872036748477034_n15027370_10211160810605839_63104759585607712_n14993444_10211160805685716_5240497746286999629_n14993382_10211160822246130_6456817457931041790_n14963218_10211160797085501_5629836796933055005_n

How To Photograph Ghosts

So in the past, I have written several pieces on different photographic ‘how tos’ and I plan on making more of a habit of it. To kick off this series, I figured I should start with something fun. And seasonal. So here we go:

How To Photograph Ghosts

Or rather, a ‘ghost.’ Because I am not promising that by reading this, you are going to be able to go out and find a ghost who is willing to pose for you. But I am here to make it look like you did…

Lets take a quick look at the history of ghost photos:

slide_260530_1707183_free

william_hope_hoax

So these photos are clearly old and appear to contain ghosts. And while there wasn’t photoshop back in the day, there were still frugal people.

Are you wondering what the heck I am talking about? Well before the days of films, photographs used to be taken on glass slides. But if a photographer used a slide and didn’t like the final photo, they would wash the slide and re-use it, to save money. However, sometimes the slides weren’t washed all that well, so they would end up with a ghost like figure in the new photo.

Now obviously in this day & age, you don’t really see people photographing on slides…ever. So how can we replicate this effect? The answer is actually quite easily! While it is obviously possible to make double exposure photos with any number of photo editing program, it is also very much possible to make them in camera. And making them in camera is WAY more fun.

What you need:

  • A DSLR camera, or a camera in which you can manually adjust all the settings.
  • Tripod
  • A piece of thick, dark paper or cardboard
  • A remote for your camera (although it is possible to do without)
  • A light (any kind will do; off camera flash, flashlight or even phone light in a pinch)
  • A ‘ghostly’ figure. Friends and family work quite nicely

Now for this to work best, and for best creepy effect, I suggest doing it at night, maybe add in some flickering candles.

So while it is possible to do this with a wide range of camera settings, what you decided to set your camera on will depend on what look you are going for. You will need to experiment with aperture and ISO while shooting on Bulb mode for shutter. Regardless of what you set your camera to aperature/ISO wise, the principle is the same:

  1. Set up your tripod with your camera looking at the scene you want to photograph. A static scene is best, since you want the only moving object to be your subject.
  2. With your camera set to ‘bulb’, you are going to trigger the shutter, with your subject outside of the frame.
  3. Do not end the shot, but take the piece of cardboard/dark paper and cover the camera lens (gently! Don’t move the camera) and get your subject into position in the frame.
  4. Now remove the piece of paper, letting the camera capture your subject before triggering the shutter to close.

cmm_5769

Experiment with how long you let the shutter stay open, and try doing shorter bursts with your subject in frame, to see how ghostly, or how solid, you can make them appear. If you find that they are always appearing too dark in the frame, then briefly shine a light on them while you are photographing them.

Get creative with this, play around! Get your subject to dress up, or wear ghoulish make up. Try different sorts of settings and see what kind of photos you can create. Its easy to see why this kind of photo shoot can be so much fun; way more fun than sitting at your computer and mashing two photos together in photoshop.

You can also apply this principle to non creepy shoots. Ever wanted to try cloning?

1923426_7030565308_5432_n

Self Portrait x3 by M. Corriveau

Want to make it look like the ‘orbs’ that paranormal activity shows seem to see all over? Try playing with light instead of a living subject.

10358877_10204674809899875_8711681809316684469_n

This photo was actually an accident on my part…

There is no wrong way to do this as long as you are getting the desired effect. Its also a great way to get to know your camera settings and what you can do with them. Share your best ‘ghost’ photos with me over on my Facebook page! 

Good luck!

– Chels

Banff Film Fest Premiere: Drawing Home

The Banff Mountain Film fest is very much a who’s who of Mountain culture, which is why I feel incredibly special that I have received a personal invite to the World Premiere of a movie called Drawing Home. This movie was filmed primarily in the Banff area and shows off classic Banff and Lake Louise views.  I am super excited to get to be one of the first to see this movie! Do you want to join me at the premiere? Swing by facebook page and enter to win tickets!

drawing-home-posterSynopsis

(Source)

Boston in the 1920s.  A young East Coast debutante is dating the most eligible bachelor in the world, John D. Rockefeller III.  Her future seems set: a dream life in the upper echelons of society.  But when she least expects it, she meets a young painter from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Their worlds are polar opposites, and as their attraction turns their lives upside down, they soon face a universal question: Can you find “home” in another person? Inspired by a true story.

Starring JUAN RIEDINGER (narcos), golden globe and emmy nominee KATE MULGREW (orange is the new black, star trek voyager), emmy winner and golden globe nominee PETER STRAUSS (state of the union; rich man, poor man), TORRANCE COOMBS (reign, the tudors), KRISTIN GRIFFITH (king of the hill, the europeans, interiors), CHRISTIAN CAMPBELL as well as golden globe winner RUTGER HAUER (true blood, batman begins, blade runner) and WALLACE SHAWN (gossip girl, toy story, the princess bride), and introducing JULIE LYNN MORTENSEN as catharine robb whyte. academy award and grammy nominee JUDY COLLINS sings the original theme song “Stars in My Eyes.”

DRAWING HOME will celebrate its world premiere on November 2 at the 2016 Banff Mountain Festival in Canada and its U.S. premiere on November 10 at the 2016 St. Louis International Film Fest.

Paddling the Kan

At 4:38 today I got a text from my buddy Travis: ‘Heading down to the Kan if you’re in the area shooting.’

These were magic words to me; I had been trying to decide what to do with my evening (I’m trying to avoid having time to catch up on laundry 😉 ) so this was the perfect distraction.

I headed up to Canoe Meadows, knowing that Travis and the friends he was paddling with, Emily and Jodi, would be putting in upstream at the Widow Maker and making their way down the Kananaskis River towards Canoe Meadows. I grabbed my camera gear and hiked up the side of the river, nestling in among some boulders on the riverside to wait.

I didn’t have to wait too long before I saw the colourful canoes coming around the riverbend.

Canoes? I can hear you saying ‘But Chelsea, those look a lot like kayaks.’ and you would be right. These are known as C1’s. If you havent seen one before, they look an awful lot like a kayak, but the paddler kneels in a saddle inside and uses a single bladed paddle, making these very much canoes.

I had a lot of fun shooting the three friends on the Kananaskis River, these are some of my favourite photos from this evening:

14642016_10210907457232163_8743935977204979599_n14642195_10210907450071984_8144089113478336985_n14642517_10210907415711125_8089269270021811263_n14657296_10210907410190987_2787660091730147901_n14666068_10210907459392217_8106162976765319059_n14666158_10210907416511145_6276441879102086431_n14671248_10210907414551096_433901916717865750_n14690958_10210907411271014_8215298484674876465_n14720523_10210907451312015_2496417708393708923_n14721498_10210907459232213_1225953269116309516_n14721579_10210907447391917_1501508178882523871_n14731349_10210907416951156_6135912493309570516_n14720363_10210907447551921_4236827127736433609_n

Photographic challenges:

I was losing light quickly while shooting. Shooting fast moving subjects when you want super sharp photos can be incredbly challenging. I shot most of this in manual, continually adjusting my ISO to the dying light, and keeping the shutter speed fast enough to freeze frame images.