In April 2012, without neither a plan nor notice, I ended up returning to Banff, my dinky little hometown in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. While I was not born there, I first explored the area in 2002 after being convinced by my friend Matt that it is the proverbial “cat’s ass” (you’ll have to look up that proverb yourself though…), and since then decided to make it as much a homebase as I am willing to admit that I even have. Within 15 minutes of showing up, I managed to get my old job as a guide/driver, and some kick-ass staff accommodation was provided, which, through a lucky spin of the Monkeetime Wheel of Dharma translated into a two bedroom apartment all to myself: a housing bonanza for a guy with a backpack!
Being placed 1km from the slope of Sulphur Mountain, 2km from Mt. Rundle, and 5 minutes goat’s run from Cascade Mountain, this promised to be an orgy of adventure, exploration, and videomaking. Sure enough, the following 5 months were a jackpot and the result was a 9 part series. Tamer than the usual “monkee business” I engage in while in Asia in the company of my “monkee friends”, this was a more detailed look at the area, with a heavy emphasis on outdoor activity, adrenaline sport, fun, and exploration, all serving to provide a better look than the usual 3-4 day visit most people allow themselves on their cross-country drive between Calgary and Vancouver.
The doors were opened wide by the Banff – Lake Louise Tourism Bureau which was more than keen to get some more exposure, while I was more than overjoyed with the access provided to me by the bureau who made phonecalls and got local tour operators on board. Of particular help were the folks at Banff Adventures Unlimited, an adventure shop which puts visitors in every imaginable activity on tap in and near the national park. Thus, between May and September I flew, floated, kayaked, rode, ran, climbed, ate and slid my way through Banff National Park, as well as some neighbouring areas, resulting in an epic season of healthy fun and exhilaration, and for you, 2 hours of video.
For my part, I had to balance the filming with some of that unfortunate thing you call “work”. Luckily for me, my work put me right in the park on a daily basis, so all I had to do was make sure to bring my camera everywhere, and great footage was obtained by default. After seeing countless bears, filming multiple stunning locations, and getting into a variety of phenomenal situations, I gathered double-digits of GB’s of video, which then I edited and posted for your enjoyment. With one exception, the soundtrack is made up of royalty-free music, courtesy of jamendo.com as well as Kevin MacLeod’s incompetech.com, both of which are sources of fantastic soundtrack material without anyone banging on your door about copyright violations.
As is always the case, I ended up collecting heaps more footage than I could possibly use, and so there is a number of extended scenes which are posted on the secondary youtube account (monkeetimevideo) with links below, if you crave to have a more in-depth look at the stuff. Monkeetime devotees have no doubt noticed that I have a tendency to film every sunset, every cloud, and every peak, and that, while quite scenic, makes for slow moviemaking. Hence the separate collection.
The following videos are neither narrated nor soundtracked, just to preserve the actual sound/feel of the place filmed. While most of the footage is what you found in the main series, there are plenty of additional scenes that didn’t make the final cut.
Bear at Lake Louise (this one is largely the same as the original, until some unscripted goofing-off towards the end)
Black Bear Family 1 and Black Bear Family 2 (shaky iPhone footage of a bunch of black bears I have been trying to find for the whole summer, and then when I did find them, I was not armed with a proper camera… I tried my best with the iPhone, but it is nowhere as good as it could’ve been.)
Railway track rejected intro : I was vastly unhappy with the look of this intro, not to mention that some safety dog was going to get all constipated about the dangers of walking along railway tracks. CUT!!!
Calgary to Banff Timelapse : This was an experiment with a timelapse video of the 115km drive from the outskirts of Calgary to downtown Banff, but unfortunately the shot was ruined by a fatality, and some rain, and general vibration… Unusable in the main video, I thought I would share here.
The series covers the summer season in Banff, which, despite the duration, shows only a tiny fraction of what’s available, as the winter, a.k.a. “the snow season”, is a distinct paradise in its own right. Some of the places that I visited are easily accessible to everyone, while other adventures are for the more fit and/or determined backpackers who dont mind a couple of blisters, and a cut or two. The filming was cut short towards the end of the season when I managed to tumble off a mountain and injure myself quite seriously, but by that time I had all the footage needed, and the time I had was running short anyway as I was setting out for the next mystery location.
If you feel like watching the whole thing in one go, here is a link to the Youtube playlist.
Do have a look, share with friends, write a comment if you wish, but most of all, enjoy!