Photography Spotlight: Good Spirit Lake, Saskatchewan

Good Spirit Lake in Saskatchewan Canada, is a picturesque sandy oasis in the prairies. It has even been listed as one of the top beaches in Canada by several publications. The Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park is located on the south west corner of Good Spirit lake, approximately 30 mins north west of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

Sunset photography at good spirit lake

Good Spirit lake is known as a popular family friendly swimming/fishing/camping destination. This park has a variety of activities to keep anyone busy. With a large main area as a central hub of activity. There is also a concession on site open in the summer with a variety of food and snack options. I had to try their mini donut sundae and I will definitely be back!

Beach at sunrise at good spirit lake

The beach is quite large and the lake is nice and shallow in the swimming area. There’s also a section of the beach that is dog friendly. With plenty of area to enjoy the sun, head out on the lake, swim the shallow waters or sit in the shade, this park is a fantastic lake destination in Saskatchewan. There are also several kilometres of trails to enjoy, including part of the Trans Canada Trail. It just turns out that it is also perfect for photography – and more specifically night photography or sunrise waterscapes.

For some people, photography and travel come hand in hand. Wanting to know what a location provides for photography purposes is usually a unique list of requests. As an astro photographer I’ve found it especially difficult to find the information I need to scout some locations online so its inspired me to start highlighting locations based on research and first hand experience. It has led me to focus some articles on photography specific travel information for locations you may want to visit or to help you explore further.

Good spirit lake sand dunes at sunset

So if you are thinking about heading to Good Spirit Provincial Park in Saskatchewan Canada or just looking for somewhere to shoot the stars, or an interesting landscape, let me break down this location into the photography specifics I found worth noting.

Meteor shower and northern lights at good spirit lake provincial park

Photography Highlights at Good Spirit Lake

Catch the Northern Lights here! Being located just far enough north to enjoy a show, the northern lights are visible from here depending on the forecast. If you are staying at Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park, the view over the lake is toward the northeast. This is good for viewing the northern lights! What’s even better is, you can hike along the Dunes Discovery Trail and get a perfect view of the northern horizon over the lake. With a good aurora forecast, this location can provide great results. To learn more about how to see and photograph this phenomenon, I wrote about it here.

Although light pollution shows up later as a challenge for this location. The sky is dark enough to capture a decent view of the stars, so it is worth the starscape adventure. Unlike some locations that have a lot of lakefront lighting, there are plenty of dark spots along the lake even right at the main beach to set up for some shots. Check out the light pollution info here.

The unique geological features of this location really makes it stand out as offering a variety for shooting. From strolling through the trees and rose bushes to the sand swept shoreline, the lake provides a variety of plantlife and scenery to enjoy.

Milky Way at Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park

Sand Dunes line 3km of the southern portions of this lake. A brochure available at the park office outlines the six distinct zones of the dunes that can reach approximately 50 feet high. With an easy 3.5 km round trip hike on the Dunes Discovery Trail from the main park area you can enjoy this interesting environment.

Purple Sand can be found along the shorelines. With an information board located along the sand dunes discovery interpretive trail you can learn the purple sand is the result of garnet gemstone deposits from the glacial period. However, the sand is constantly changing and the conditions or visibility of the purple sand is always different.

Located in the parklands, the trees and nature provide a welcoming habitat for many species of wildlife. Deer are common, along with coyotes, fox and moose.

Enjoying sunrise right from the main beach is a wonderful moment to capture, facing straight east as sun rises above the tree line and reflects over the water. For sunset, a bit more effort may be required as the sun would set behind the main beach area, but hiking to the sand dunes or capturing the sunset glow off of clouds in the east instead, are both options.

Sunrise over the water at good spirit lake Saskatchewan

Here are some of the Photographic Challenges:

The shoreline is a beautiful fine sand, and really is amazing to see however it does provide a challenge for composition and foreground elements along the lake. There are no iconic subject matters here and the landscape is minimal but there is an opportunity for some unique compositions. When the lake is low a variety of sand bars emerge adding to the shoreline.

Light pollution is evident here. Although it’s not over powering to the sense that I wouldn’t recommend astro photography here, it is something to note and a reason why it’s not an actual dark sky location. There is development around the lake and the light domes do impact the night sky along the horizon here.

Good spirit lake nightscape with light pollution

Camping is not lakefront. There are plenty of well kept and very nice camp sites available here though. Although the camping is not lake front and hiking is required (or driving to the parking location) it isn’t to far, but there is no opportunity to capture the lake view right from your campsite.

Overall, Good Spirit is a good place to visit for photographers, with an interesting location that provides a variety of landscape, wildlife and vegetation along with an opportunity for night photography.

Good Spirit Lake Sand Dunes at Night

Remember, a Saskatchewan Parks pass (daily or seasonal) is required to visit the park. You can get that and reserve your camping spot here. The campground can get quite busy, book ahead if you require services. The over flow camping is a great option for last minute arrivals that don’t require power/water.

Another option, is to check out Canora Beach Resort located on the north eastern shoreline. They offer full service camping as well.

Some basic recommendations for your next photo trip:

  • Camera gear of choice
  • Tripod & ball head
  • Polarizer / ND filters for effect
  • Sand/ dust camera cover
  • Garmin In Reach Mini
  • Bug Repellent / Sunscreen
  • Lots of water – the dunes get hot!
  • Good hiking shoes – part of the trail is in sand, you will get sand everywhere.
  • Headlamp for night hiking
  • Whistle for safety
  • Bicycle to get around the park
  • Cross country skis, snowshoes or snowmobile (winter)

Looking for more photography based travel information? Let me know if you have any questions as you plan your next photo journey. By purchasing from the links above, I receive a small portion of it to help support my small business at no extra cost to you.

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