Author Archive

Before dawn on the Highwood Pass

Kananaskis Bighorn - © Christopher Martin-9961

 (Please click the image to open a higher resolution version)

This bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) was snacking on salt roadside and was unsure of my intentions as I drove by.  A flash was needed as the morning was still waiting for night to loosen its grip.  I was just west of the Highwood Pass on Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country – likely my last drive over this spot before it is closed for the winter.


Autumn animals… before the season is too long gone

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-3346

In between the absurdly early snowstorm in September and the first winter cold snap that started last week, we had a great autumn here in the Foothills between Calgary and Banff.  I spent a fair bit of time on the prairies and enjoyed some good encounters with their wild residents.  The Great Horned Owl above was from a stand of trees west of High River during a great day where I had two separate encounters (one and two) with these beautiful owls.  The one below is closer to home being a few miles south of Cochrane.

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-4927

A beaver in the lake at Wild Rose, west of Bragg Creek, let me watch him swim on an overcast day where the ripples were soft and provided some nice opportunities.  On another visit a pair of muskrat preened on the lake’s shoreline before returning to the water.

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-7120

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-7113

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-6745

White-tailed deer are regularly seen in the fields as they stock up for winter.  It was cool to see the young stag in the second image that was stag traversing the blackened earth in a much less recovered section of the Sawback prescribed burn that was done in 1993.

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-5786

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-8338

Another White-tail on the prairies stood on alert in a field south of Cochrane where I watched two stags rutting.

Autumn animals - © Christopher Martin-9399


Thinking of warmer places

Koke'e silhouette - © Christopher Martin-3154

With the cold snap of the past week, I found myself thinking about warmer climes.  Hawai’i is usually at the top of the list for me and I pulled this 2012 image out of my library as a nice reminder of one of our favourite places in Kaua’i.  This photo is from the top of the Koke’e State Park near the Kalalau Valley overlook.  The tree is silhouetted against the clouds rising up from the coast far below this mountain ridge just before sunset.


Snow in the forests

Snow branch - © Christopher Martin-5283

(Please click the image to open a higher resolution version)

… and just about everywhere else in this part of the world is frozen solid.  Temperatures have been stuck below -20°C for the week.  Much too cold but rather beautiful.  This branch hung over a trail I was on near Johnson Lake in the Banff National Park.  It seemed to be a fitting summary of the change into full winter.


Dawn at Elbow Falls

Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-9682-2

The early light worked well with a few interesting clouds hanging above Elbow Falls on the day I was up there this weekend.  The soft pink ahead of sunrise shared the sky with the waning full moon early.  As the clouds turned to a deep peach color I moved just above the waterfall.  From there the reflections of colour on the excited water were beautiful and I watched the morning open up.

Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-9699-1

Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-9722

 


Up the tree for a better view

Tree climb cat - © Christopher Martin-9831

I went to see an owl but found this cat quite high up in this tree instead.  She looked pretty comfortable there before turning her body downwards and then, half scraping, half sliding, made her way to the ground.


House Sparrows in Canmore

Canmore House Sparrows - © Christopher Martin-8941

The Summit Cafe is a favourite place for Bobbi and I to have breakfast when we are in Canmore.  I was there last weekend, sitting on their patio outside.  The sun was out, the snow had melted and it had more of a spring feel than anything else.  These House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) contributed to that with their chittering and occasional outburst of song.  There were about 15 that darted between the roof of a nearby building, a deck railing and a shrubbery that was more stick than bush given the time of year.

Canmore House Sparrows - © Christopher Martin-8981

Canmore House Sparrows - © Christopher Martin-8970

Canmore House Sparrows - © Christopher Martin-8984

Canmore House Sparrows - © Christopher Martin-9034

Canmore House Sparrows - © Christopher Martin-9010


Bow Valley – late autumn, early snow

First snow in the Bow Valley - © Christopher Martin-8598

Winter snuck an early snowstorm into Banff National Park’s Bow Valley last weekend.  By mid-morning, most of the snow had melted away in the valley bottom but the upper slopes were still dominated by the white mixed with the green of the forest.  It was a beautiful landscape to enjoy – we’ll see how long it takes before the snow takes hold for a longer stay.


A halo around the sun

Sun halo - © Christopher Martin-9284

Mist rising off the Elbow River near Bragg Creek catches the sun in its own halo of sunlight.


November snow reflected in the Vermilion Lakes

November in Banff - © Christopher Martin-5469

(Please click any image to open a higher resolution version)

Following an unusually warm Hallowe’en, the temperature dropped below freezing.  That low pressure system was accompanied by heavy clouds and snow flew for the first and second days of November in southern Alberta.  On Sunday, I left Bragg Creek early in the morning with the snow still falling fast.  By the time I was in Banff, the cloud ceiling was much higher and the snow falling much softer.  Before noon, the sun was out and the winter wonderland was starting to melt away quickly at the lower elevations.  I went down to the Vermilion Lakes to see how things looked and check if any of the wild residents were wandering about.  I didn’t find much wildlife, but the landscape looking beautiful with the shoreline’s snow gone but the belt of white starting only twenty or so metres above.  When the long chain of freight cars riding the rails on the far side of the second lake came into view I stopped to take a few photographs.

November in Banff - © Christopher Martin-5473


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