Ben Durham

5 Reasons that THIS IS THE BEST TIME to take awesome photos at Mont Royal Chalet, Montreal

This post isn’t about Mont Royal’s history. If you want to know more about it, I did 30 seconds of interwebs searching for you:

When’s the best time to take photos?

The Morning.

That’s it – that’s the answer, The Morning. You can leave now. Just kidding, you don’t get away from this that easily. I’ll go into the details as per usual!

When I say “the morning” I mean even before the sun rises, you should be getting your butt out of bed and up that mountain and it should be dark as you’re doing it! Get up fast too because as you’re going up the mountain you’re in amongst trees and they’ll be hiding the sunlight from you… so by the time you get to the Mont Royal Chalet lookout, the sun should just be peaking over Montreal’s downtown core… and it should look amazing <3

Here are the reasons that this is the best time!


If you go anytime after the morning there are CROWDS of both people and tourists (tourists don’t count as people, they’re a different animal with different desires than normal humans) are essentially pilled on top of each other when you get there for “your photo”. With so many people there, it’s almost entirely impossible to get a nice wide shot like any of the ones you see throughout this post.

On top of this, if you’re new to modelling, crowds make talent uncomfortable and unwilling to do weird and cool things for the sake of the photo. If no one’s there, almost anyone is willing to do anything because they’re COMFORTABLE with the situation. That’s good, because as a photographer (professional or not), your job is to make the on-screen talent comfortable enough to look good!


If you don’t know about the Golden Hour (aka the Magic Hour), then this wikipedia article is for you. The AWESOME THING is that the sun rises right over the downtown core when you’re looking out from the Chalet which gives your photos a magical feel. 

Warning, because of the direct sunlight coming at you, you maaaaaaay need to know a bit about camera settings in order to make your camera do the right thing. Along with that, even though a lot of newer cameras have pretty good image quality, you’ll also want as much dynamic range to play with as possible (to retain data/information in the shadows and highlights) so you might want to shoot in RAW and edit it later to your liking! 🙂

NOTE: The sooner you get there, the less bright the sky will be, so the less stress you’ll put on your camera’s dynamic range and the more golden the light will be. 


Okay, so this IS a thing when it comes to photography. Here’s an article on some advanced stuff aimed primarily at astrophotography but it still applies to simple “morning shoots”. 
Here’s an excerpt of what I’m getting at specifically:

The air above us is colder, which means it can’t support as much moisture and results in fewer obstacles between your eyes or camera and the heavens. According to Fusco, this is a boon for photographers during the day as well. “These conditions can provide a great looking image at sunrise or sunset.”

So yeah, morning photos –no matter if you’re on top of a mountain or not– have a certain clarity to them (but please stay away from that “clarity” slider in Lightroom… that’s another topic for another day)!


I don’t just mean it’s quiet because there isn’t a soul to speak of up there… it’s just quiet because the city hasn’t woken up yet – you’ve beat them to the… uhh… top of a literal mountain?

Aside from being extraordinarily relaxing and peaceful, it also allows both photographer and talent to communicate easily, often times without more than a few softly spoken words which carry through the stagnant air. 


Below’s a quick gallery of our morning up at Mont Royal Chalet. Natalia and I ran into another photographer up there too (the one shooting the guy in the suit) which was pretty cool to see! #shamelesspromotion 
My instagram: @absolutelyben
Natalia’s IG: @nataliadanczak
Jean’s IG: @jeanterry

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Ben Durham

Professional storyteller

Just an average person on a bike who’s focused on getting more people out of their cars and on to bicycles or electric last-mile micro-mobility solutions!

That, and rooting for active transportation infrastructure upgrades in North America (we need to catch up)!

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