Photographer Spotlight II: Julian Bialowas

Spotlight II: Kananaskis, Canada

Julian Bialowas is a designer, photographer, and explorer.

A few weeks ago, he had the chance to return to his hometown in Canada. He kindly shares his trip report to the mountains and lakes with us, which he also posted on his exposure.

This photo spotlight is part II in a series by Julian Bialowas.

When I’m not behind the lens or the screen you can find me in the mountains.”

Back in June when Kyle and I planned this trip up to Canada we had settled on Northover Ridge to be the hike we would tackle. An unofficial 36km loop deep in the backcountry of Kananaskis that connects 2 official backcountry campsites to each other—by traversing a menacing ridge with only a faint boot beaten trail to guide the way.

We had originally planned to hike Northover Ridge in 2 days. Spending one night at one one of the backcountry campsites on either side of the ridge. However, I forgot to reserve a site in advance (whoops!) and everything booked up. So we were only left with the option of hiking the entirety of the loop in a day.

We were on the trailhead at Upper Kananaskis Lake at 6.45am, after eating our usual breakfast at camp: Apple, Muffin and Redbull.

Northover Ridge

About two hours in we were above the first headwall giving us views of Hidden Lake, and Upper K Lake in the distance.

The next headwall took us higher up (about 2000 ft from the trailhead) to Aster Lake. (The campsite we were supposed to be staying at.)

Now we were off-trail and left to find our own way across the alpine tarns from Aster Lake to the base of the ridge… which is how we ended up on top of the wrong mountain (again, whoops!) it did give a great view of what we were about to tackle however, so no regrets.

The ridge itself was hands down the best part of the hike. We were rained on for the majority of the approach and that rain turned to hail on the ridge. At times, the ridge was only a foot wide with insane drops on either side of you. To top it all off we were battered by strong winds coming out of the west that literally could have blown us right off the ridge. I’ve honestly never felt so alive.

The other side of the ridge revealed another equally impressive alpine meadow with Three Isle Lake sitting in the distance (our next goal) before having to descend another 14km back to the car.

13.5hrs and 36km later we were back at the car for a beautiful sunset over Upper K Lake with only a drive back to the city standing in our way of pizza and beers.

The next day was spent exploring downtown Calgary, then it was back to the Kananaskis to meet up with our friends Elyse Bouvier and Sherah to shoot the sunset over Elbow Falls.

Elbow Falls

This was Kyle’s last night in town, and we saw him off the next morning with a traditional Canadian meal of Tim Horton’s coffee and Bagel BELTs.

Julian Bialowas is a Canadian photographer based in San Francisco.

He shoots with a Nikon D610 and an iPhone 5s; his photos are processed with VSCO.

For more of Julian’s work, visit his website

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