I recently travelled to Banff, Alberta on a spontaneous trip with another filmmaker, Mike, and we spent one week exploring around the national park. The trip was planned a week before we left. My friend flew from LA and met me in Vancouver and we began our 10 hour road trip.
Considering it was very last minute, and with it being peak tourist month, we had no accommodations. I was able to book a campsite spot, but we had to change sites each day because it was so booked up! It wasn't all that bad though; we were only there to sleep. We would get in around midnight after shooting the sunset, and we were always up and out by 5AM to chase the sunrise. I really recommend checking out Park Distillery, as well as the Banff Brew Pub. Both locations have great atmosphere and something different every night.
We started off our trip waking up at 5AM to make our way to Lake Louise for sunrise. With it being peak tourist season, we wanted to take advantage of beating the crowds. We then went to Moraine Lake to catch a late sunrise before the crowds and tour busses showed up. We also checked out Peyto Lake, the Gondola and the Banff Hot Springs. Again, waking up early to catch sunrise. The one tip I cannot stress enough is to go early! Wake up for sunrise, get there before the crowds. Not only is it less busy, but you get the best lighting for the best shots! The hatred for the lack of sleep is worth every moment afterwards! We ended the night with a canoe on the Vermilion Lakes. We also explored around Johnston Canyon, saw a family of grizzly bears on the side of the road, and plenty of elk.
One of the most memorable stories from the trip has to be the lack of planning that went into the trip. Like I said, my friend Mike met me in Vancouver and we began our road trip. I was in charge of finding anywhere to stay, and all we found was camping. To start the trip off, my air mattress had a hole in it, I forgot to bring my friend’s sleeping bag, and I booked a RV lot instead of a tent lot. The first night must of been the worst sleeps I have had in years. I felt really bad for my friend because it was my fault he didn't have his sleeping bag. Looking back on it now, it made for a great story and we laughed about it the next day. The best moments come when they aren't planned. Exactly what our whole trip was, not planned and very disorganized.
Things to remember when you travel to Banff: take your camera, a tent, and have some snacks. The lakes are spread out, and sometimes you are too far away to make it back for lunch. Plan your day ahead. I always bring a portable charger, extra batteries, a good backpack, a few different camera lenses (wide and zoom).
One tip I would suggest to other travelers that want to take trips but are worried about expenses is to reach out to brands. It never hurts to try. If you don’t try you won't gain anything, if you do try, some people are happy to work with you! If you are a photographer or videographer like myself, reach out to clothing brands. It is always a good idea to reach out to the tourism department in any city you go. For this trip to Banff, we reached out to the tourism to see if they could help us out and they were more than helpful! If you are a videographer, I like to offer brands short little promotional videos to cover expenses and sometimes sponsored trips!
My name is Tyler Cave and I am from Victoria BC, Canada. Videography and photography was a hobby that turned into a career. Creating content and being outdoors is what I enjoy. Seeing new places and experiencing new cultures was my goal and part of the fun was creating content that myself, my friends and family could look back on. I am fortunate enough to now travel for a living, creating content for brands and tourism departments around the world. Never plan too far ahead, take it as it comes.