The Mount Royal Chalet, the highest point of Mount Royal. Situated 233 metres above the City of Montreal, offers the best panoramic view of the city and is an easy climb up a few steep stairs from Peel Street.
This is the best place to watch the sunrise.
The 4am wake up call is always a gamble, capturing the sunrise can be hit or miss. On my solo mission to the Mount Royal Chalet, I was so excited to capture the sunrise that I hadn’t really contemplated how dark the forest would be first thing in the morning. Regardless of how bright my flashlights were, I found the bottom of the mountain spooky; really spooky. While I was deliberating whether to head into the dark forest or not, a man strode past me on his early morning jog, right into the forest. My mind was made up and so off into the forest I went; after all, images needed to be made.
Climbing the stairs, I passed by some other people on their way to watch the sunrise. It didn’t take long to get to the top, although I had exerted enough energy to work up a good sweat. At 05:30 there were a lot of people lining the wall at the top of Mount Royal, including some people continuing their drinking from the night before. An older dishevelled man could see me setting up my equipment “6:03AM” he bellowed. “The sun will come up at 6:03AM” he said again, this time cracking a beer and fiddling with a portable radio. I thanked him and made some small talk about hoping it was worth the early wake up call. He continued muttering away to himself in a thick French accent, while I continued with my mission.
I set my camera up on my tripod and played with different settings and frames until I was happy. Now it was time to wait. The dishevelled man’s portable radio was playing some music from the 70’s and 80’s. This, coupled with the colours in the sky, gave the morning a mood that you just couldn’t help yourself but smile 🙂
Now I was focused on making images, my body temperature started to drop I longed for a sweater but the hue of the imminent sunrise and the music made my shivering tolerable. The orange glow started to shine over the city. The crowd was getting bigger; I no longer felt the cold and I knew my gamble was about to pay off.
On any journey, it is very important to look and get a feel for what is before me. With my viewpoint selected and my equipment in place. I took a moment to step back and enjoy the sunrise without looking through the view finder and utilized my remote shutter. Stepping back once set up, helps me fine tune and capture the mood better in my imagery.
While stepping back, I found another frame I wanted to capture. A couple more clicks and time to move my setup.
With the sun pretty much up, some kids were messing around on the top of the wall around the edge of the mountain. One stood up on the wall and took in a deep breath, with his arms outstretched. He held the position as if he was having a spiritual moment. He then turned and jumped back down to the ground, his friends now wanted to imitate and it was time for them to take turns standing on the wall.
The spiritual moment had fleeted, it was now time to take pictures for social media. The sun highlighting them, making them look cool on their smart phones. They played like this for about 10 minutes before the novelty wore off and the sun was fully up.
The sun was now up and beaming over the city, highlighting the buildings and the trees on the lower part of the mountain in front of me. For some reason, the music had stopped and the crowd had followed suit. There was silence for a minute or two, as if people were paying respects for the day that was about to start. It was beautiful.
It was now time to head down to the city, but not before making a quick stop at the Belvedere for a different view.
This mornings views were fantastic. Montreal treated me to a beautiful sunrise it was time to get some breakfast.
Smoked salmon bagel anyone ?
Have you been to the top of Mount Royal ? Or explored Montreal ? What did you think and would you go back again? Let me know what you think.
I would, I had a blast, and still have a lot left to explore.
And remember to follow my journey 🙂