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Moraine Lake Swim

Justin Kauffman


Behind the Shot

Canada’s Banff National Park is home to the beautiful, glacially fed lake that visitors refer to as the “other lake”, because of its proximity to the much more tourist-friendly Lake Louise. Locals joke that Moraine Lake has the “$20 view” because Moraine, not Lake Louise, has been featured twice on the back of the Canadian $20 bill (1969 and 1979).

Eager to photograph Banff and Moraine Lake, Justin and his brother crossed into Canada to see the region with their own eyes. “We took this trip in late fall, just after the first snow. We drove up from Montana and slept in our car along the way. We tried to see as many spots as we could. This was my first time in Banff, and every few miles there was another thing to stop and photograph.We had parked near the lake in the middle of the night. When we woke up the lake was perfectly calm, so we decided to jump in.”

In the summer, the lake rarely rises above 41 degrees Fahrenheit. In fall it is much colder. “It was ice cold. Beyond cold. We jumped in three times and raced back to warm up in the car afterward.”

Moraine Lake and Banff National Park has become a favorite location for Justin to visit and photograph. ”It’s just beautiful up there. I’ve revisited about 10 times since this trip.”