Testing the iPhone 14 Pro in the Canadian Rockies

Lake Louise

After almost 3 years of being confined in Singapore due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I finally had the chance to travel overseas earlier in September this year. The Canadian Rockies has been on my travel bucket list for the longest time, so when the opportunity to go on a 2 week overseas holiday with my girlfriend arose, I quickly got online and booked tickets to Canada.

We left for Canada in the last week of September, just a week after the new iPhone 14 Pro was released, so I had the opportunity to put the new phone to the test during my trip. For some context, my previous phone was the iPhone 12, so the iPhone 14 Pro is a big upgrade in terms of the camera. I also brought along my Nikon D7000, which I had been using for most of my travel photography, but I found myself using my new iPhone exclusively during the trip.

We flew in Calgary and then drove to Canmore the next day. Along the way, we stopped by Barrier Lake for lunch, and then drove a bit further to the Upper Kananaskis Lake to start our hike to Rawson Lake. The hike to Rawson Lake wasn’t too difficult, but after not hiking for 3 years, we were quite out of shape. After some effort, we finally made it to the lake and were rewarded with a stunningly green lake. I really appreciated the ProRAW function on the iPhone 14 Pro which helped to preserve the highlights and shadows of the lake against a cloudy day.

We spent the next 3 days in Banff exploring the area around Banff. One of the highlights was us attempting the C-level Cirque hike, which saw us climbing almost 800m for beautiful views overlooking Lake Minnawanka. During the hike, I was extremely thankful for the iPhone’s portable form factor and light weight.

View of Lake Minnawanka from the C-level Cirque trail
View of Lake Minnawanka from the C-level Cirque Trail

While in Banff, we also made the short drive down to the famous Lake Louise. Despite having seen so many photos of it on Instagram, we were still absolutely blown away by the majestic view in real life. I would also strongly recommend the Lake Agnes – Little Beehive hike to get stunning views of the turquoise blue lake from above.

After 3 beautiful days in Banff, we continued on our trip and stayed in the Lake Louise Village with hopes of catching the sunrise at the famed Moraine Lake. Alas, it was not to be – despite waking up in the wee hours of 2 mornings (5am and 2am!!), we were not available to secure a parking lot. We found out later on that there was a change of rules regarding overnight parking and people have been driving in at 10pm the night before!

In the end, we arranged for a private transport service to Lake Moraine. It was so surreal to see the Gatorade blue lake and the surrounding peaks in person. We were also extremely lucky to be able to witness the beauty of the nearby Larch Valley during the full bloom of the larch season.

While staying at the Lake Louise Village, we also took a day trip out to Yoho National Park, visiting the famous Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls, as well as the less well-known but no less beautiful Sherbrooke Lake.

After spending a fantastic week in the Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise area, we set off on the scenic Icefield Parkway towards Jasper. We spent 2 days exploring the various stops along the highway, including highlights such as Peyto Lake, taking the Icefield Explorer to the Athabasca Glacier, and many more.

After 2 days on the road, we reached Jasper, where we stayed for 2 days. We spent a day exploring the Maligne Canyon and taking a boat cruise on Maligne Lake to the iconic Spirit Island.

Our second day in Jasper was spent exploring the area around Pyramid Lake. Thanks to the telephoto lens on the iPhone 14 Pro we were able the capture the fall foliage across Patricia Lake against the looming backdrop of Pyramid Mountain.

We ended our trip with a 2 day drive down to Vancouver. While en-route to Vancouver, we managed to squeeze in 1 last hike at the beautiful Joffre Lakes, a series of 3 lakes in British Columbia.

The improved camera system and the variety of lenses on the iPhone 14 Pro in a portable form factor made me ditch my trusty Nikon D7000. My back was definitely thankful for not lugging along a heavy DSLR and accompanying lenses during the long hikes.

Besides the upgraded camera system, other plus points of the iPhone 14 Pro include the all day battery life and the bright display. Despite taking photos and videos all day, I never had to reach for my spare battery pack to rejuice my iPhone in the middle of the day. The bright display was also a godsend as I was able to see content clearly even when the sun is glaring directly overhead.

I would say that the only limitations that the iPhone 14 Pro has are night photography and astrophotography. Despite technological advances such as night mode, the iPhone’s small camera sensor is inadequate for any meaningful form of astrophotography or night photography out in the wild.

Erm… nope…

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