I have been going to Waskesiu in northern Saskatchewan with my family since I was less than a year old. Over the years, it has come to feel like a second home, a home I dream about and remember throughout the winter when the rest of Saskatchewan is frozen solid under snow and the temperatures range between -20° and below -40°C.
Waskesiu is in Prince Albert National Park , which covers 3,874 square kilometres in central Saskatchewan, Canada. Most of Waskesiu is dense with jack pine and white spruce, and it is not uncommon to see young foxes and deer playing on the golf course in the early morning. You can find elk moving through the trees or grazing roadside, circling their young protectively as you drive by.
Aside from the flora and fauna, though, Waskesiu is noted for its incredible sunsets. In the summer, sunsets can last for a couple of hours, spreading wide and bright at the horizon, shifting through strains of blues and greens, pinks and golds. I was just there in mid-August, and I met a tourist originally from Japan who had come just to witness this spectacle. She swore she had never seen anything like it.
I shoot most of my photos with my iPhone 5, and it’s what I used on this trip to avoid carrying too much equipment. The iPhone 5 might not be considered a high end camera, but I have found that the right apps and attention to focus and exposure while taking the shot can produce some fairly good images with zero to minimal editing, even in lower light situations with high contrast, such as with Waskesiu sunsets.
I used Camera+ as my primary camera app during my trip to Waskesiu, because there is a noticeable difference in the quality of original, unedited photos between apps, and Camera+ can produce crisp images that are fairly true to colour. Also, with Camera+, you can simply drag your index and middle fingers apart across the focus box while you are setting up your shot to separate the focus and exposure points, which allows you to establish those separately. The image will adjust itself live so you can see what works and what doesn’t before you shoot.
Snapseed is my primary photo editing app, because it is simple to use while still being flexible enough to handle all my editing needs, and it does not reduce the quality of my original photo as some apps can do.
When first shooting sunsets, it takes a bit of practice to figure out how to balance the light and dark so that your images don’t range from blown out to black within the same photo, but once you learn that balance, the myriad subtle details in northern Canadian sunsets can become like a drug. They are fantastic, and I always find myself wishing that I could live within that golden light for days rather than the short time it takes before the sun finally drops below the waterline.
I only have approximately 345 days to wait until I can stand on that Waskesiu Lake dock again and listen to the loons call each other along the shoreline. It is such bliss.
About the author: Elan Morgan is a blogger, web designer and consultant, iPhoneographer, speaker, and poet who lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. She blogs and works at Schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through Grace in Small Things, celebrates Canadian blogging with the Canadian Weblog Awards, and speaks all over. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.
As an iPhoneographer, she has taught iPhoneography at conferences in Winnipeg, Toronto, and New York, and she contributed to Alli Worthington’s iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide. Her work was also showcased in Ubiquography, a physical exhibition originating in Barcelona and projected in 35 venues across the world in 2012. Most recently, her iPhoneography has been featured in the book Blog Design For Dummies.