Congratulations to Christopher Hawkins for winning the recent Reflections Assignment with the image, “Spirit Island.” The image shows fog lifting off Maligne Lake, located in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
“Spirit Island is a beautiful landmark in Alberta that can only be accessed by boat,” explains Hawkins. “There are tours to the island, but I chose to kayak out so I could wait for the perfect moment.
“Not wanting to spend a bunch of money, I found a cheap sit-on-top style eight-foot kayak to use. Upon starting this voyage, I realized that my setup attracted plenty of attention from the locals who used 17.5-foot sea kayaks or motorized canoes. Many people stopped to check on me, talk and laugh with disbelief that someone would take on this lake with such a small boat. Even tour boats were coming in close and stopping to let other tourists take photographs of the silly American (all in good fun, of course). Nevertheless, I arrived at the campground nearest the island to cheers from other campers who passed me throughout the day.
“The next morning, the fog was thick while I was paddling out at first light, but it cleared just before sunrise. Even the clouds formed leading lines, all pointing to target. Luckily for me, there was no one else about that morning due to the fog, so I had the opportunity to take a truly unique photograph and enjoy solitude in a popular location.
“In short, the trip was better than I could have imagined. I made many friends along the way, the lake is stunning and the people are fantastic. A group of fishermen even gave me a tow for part of the way back and fished around me. Quite an adventure.”