Moody Murray Meadows

One of my favourite places along the Kwai Lake loop in Strathcona Provincial Park is Murray Meadows. I love how the trail rises up (or descends down, depending on whether or not you’re going clockwise or counter-clockwise around the loop) from the open, wet sedge meadows and climbs up to Croteau Lake. That particular slope of meadow framed by tall sub-alpine trees makes for good landscape photography when you get a bit of blue sky in the gap in the trees and above Mount Elma beyond.

Murray Meadows
The traditional view of Murray Meadows looking up toward the ridge and Mount Elma.

By the time we got to Murray Meadows on the return from Moat Lake it was fairly late in the day. I was lagging a bit and decided that a little photography break was in order before the short climb to the ridge. While the rest of the group continued on, I made a detour into the meadows and checked out the ponds at the far end. At this time of the year, plants were well into their fall colours and only the cotton grass was still in bloom.

Murray Meadows Pond #2
Murray Meadows Pond #2

With the fog rolling in, the light was pretty flat and lacked contrast and colour and I definitely didn’t get any blue sky. I did like the moody, gray, late day light but it was challenging to get a balanced exposure.

Afterwards, I took the images into Lightroom and adjusted the white balance to bring them up a little and then adjusted the exposure (I ended up underexposing by about a full f-stop just to get a bit of detail in the sky and colour in the vegetation). I’m still pretty much a neophyte with Lightroom, but it’s amazing what detail you can bring up and how much colour you adjust in post-processing. Most of what I’ve traditionally done with Photoshop, I now am able to do more efficiently in Lightroom.

Murray Meadows Pond #3
Murray Meadows Pond #3

The meadows have a timeless quality at this time of year, especially when you’re alone. For a while I contemplated the dark water of the ponds, the golden green of the sedge and the quiet stillness. The summer flowers may be long gone, but these fall meadows are still beautiful.

Too soon it was time to move on and join the group, but this short stop was rejuvenating. Best to enjoy this gorgeous fall weather while you can!

Wondering where Murray Meadows Pond #1 and #4 are? I’ll be posting them in my photo gallery later this week.

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