Sunsets over wide open spaces

Aaron Spence has a growing collection of pictures she has taken over the years.

Sailboats on Lake Diefenbaker near Outlook, Saskatchewan.
Sailboats on Lake Diefenbaker near Outlook, Saskatchewan. — photo courtesy Aaron Spence

Along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, about an hour southwest of Saskatoon, sits the town of Outlook. In the heart of farmland, Outlook offers an abundance of places to snap photos of classic prairie scenes. Photographer Aaron Spence has a growing personal and professional collection of pictures she has taken over the years.

“I have thousands of photos,” Spence said. “I take pictures of everything and have photographed some of the same things and places over and over, but it turns out different every time.”

Located in a river valley, the Outlook area is exposed with a never-ending horizon, acres of farmland and an array of wildlife.

A walk with a breathtaking view

Outlook is home to SkyTrail, the longest pedestrian bridge in Canada. Originally used by rail traffic, the 3,000-foot bridge is built 150 feet above the South Saskatchewan River. The bright red iron viaduct is part of the Trans Canada Trail and is positioned along the North American Central Flyway for migrating birds.

“The noise is unreal in the fall,” said Spence. “There are snow geese, Canada geese and sandhill cranes migrating.”

Another pedestrian bridge just south of SkyTrail creates a walking trail loop around both sides of the river, allowing photo opportunities from all angles and every direction.

“Sunrise and sunset are the best times,” Spence said. “This is when the light is strongest and casts shadows, making everything bright.”

Skytrail is located in Outlook and District Regional Park, which is adjacent to the town of Outlook along the eastern bank of the South Saskatchewan River.

The great outdoors

Lake Diefenbaker is the result of the construction of the Gardiner and Qu’Appelle dams. At 225 kilometres long, it offers 800 kilometres of shoreline with three provincial parks as well as several regional parks. Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, watersports and golf are popular pastimes in and around this vast tourist attraction.

“There’s so much to see and do at Lake Diefenbaker,” Spence said. “As far as photo ops, people go to the dam and spillway. You can get some unique pictures there. As far as the lake itself, a shot of sailboats on the water is always an option, especially on the southern part of the lake from the coulees, where it’s calm and there are reflections from the clouds.”

The abundance of green space serves as home to a number of birds and animals including geese, cranes, hawks, eagles, moose and deer.

To get to Lake Diefenbaker from Outlook, head west on Highway 15 then south on Highway 45 (52.5 kilometres).

The big draw

Saskatchewan is known as the land of the living skies and a picture of a sunset is a must when visiting the province. Spence said it’s easy to get a great shot of the sun setting.

“There are no trees or mountains in Outlook, so it isn’t hidden,” she said. “You can capture a sunset from almost anywhere. And the colors are amazing and can vary depending on the weather. You will see blue, purple, orange, pink and red. There really is nothing like photographing a prairie sunset.”

The skies also provide a beautiful backdrop to photos of the many farms in the Outlook area.

“There are a lot of great things to get pictures of just driving around,” Spence said. “A shot of cattle in a pasture, a field of yellow canola or purple flax or even just a photo of a granary sitting in the middle of a field. The possibilities are endless and every day I am out and about I see something new I want to take a picture of.”

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