Sunrise

The sun’s fire in the trees

Fire in the trees - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on the image if you would like to view a higher resolution version)

A hazy sky created deep, rich hues in the rising sun and the morning sky.  A beautiful scene to watch unfold as the day grew but it was a small silver lining to forest fires burning across the province right now responsible for the haze.  While we haven’t had forest fires around Bragg Creek and Kananaskis so far this summer, there are ten fires in Alberta currently.  Most are being held or are under control presently with only one reported as being out of control.  It is a testament to people involved in fighting these fires and a reminder of our place in this natural cycle that allows for rebirth.


A calm morning at Elbow Falls

First light above Elbow Falls - 2014 © Christopher Martin

I went up to Elbow Falls last weekend and ice-covered all but a sliver of the river and most of the waterfall too.  With the warm days since then, I wanted to see how this beautiful spot looked now.  Much of the snow and ice has melted, opening the waterway and showing another side of Kananaskis.  Spring may be around the corner.


A few mornings off Punta Cabeza De Ballena

To Cortés - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm: 8 seconds at f/16 on ISO 200

When we were in Los Cabos last week, we stayed just off the water near Punta Cabeza De Ballena which is east of Cabo San Lucas.  Facing east, the sun rose out of the Sea of Cortez every morning.  With my wife’s graceful blessing, I was on the beach before dawn almost every day.  These are a few of the different faces the coast presented over the week.

The lighthouse on Punta Cabeza De Ballena - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 25mm: 120 seconds at f/16 on ISO 800

 

Dawn over the rocks - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm: 8 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200

 

Stars over Los Cabos - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm: 20 seconds at f/4 on ISO 800

 

Between night and day - 2013 © Christopher Martin
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm: 6 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200

 

Sea mists - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 67mm: 4 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100

 

Water sparks - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens: 1/15 of a second at f/9 on ISO 100

 

The sun's charge up from the sea - 2013 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 40mm: 0.6 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100


Pelican Landing

Dawn landing - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The colors in the sky at dawn have been fantastic during our visit to Los Cabos this week.  The wildlife has been even more enjoyable.  Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) have been a favourite bird of mine to photograph since I first saw them here in Cabo san Lucas a couple of years ago.  On the prairies, we have White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) that will hang out on larger ponds for the summer but for some reason they don’t cast the same spell on me that their multi-coloured cousins do.  I had a great encounter with a pair of pelicans a couple of mornings ago.  This image was of the first one maneuvering in to land on a half-submerged rock pile just before sunrise.  The other pelican joined a little while later.  Probably once I get home, I’ll have more to share from these two.


Mexican dawn in Los Cabos

Mexican Dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Bobbi and I are in Cabo san Lucas with our children for a nice break from winter.  We left just before a heavy blizzard so we were lucky with the timing.  The mornings have been spectacular here as we are located on a lovely stretch of sand where the sun climbs out of the Sea of Cortez right in front of us.  On this morning the silhouette of a fellow sunrise watcher tied the glowing pastels in the sky ahead of dawn to the rippled reflections and the beach.


Cotton Candy

Cotton candy above - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Fuji X100S: 1/30 of a second at f/8 on ISO 800

I couldn’t help but think of the carnival ground food staple when I was photographing at dawn a couple of days ago.


Autumn glow at Wedge Pond

Morning glow at Wedge Pond - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens (at 17mm): 13 seconds at f/22 on ISO 400

With most of the aspens having turned gold in the lower reaches of Kananaskis Country around Bragg Creek, I was excited to get up to Wedge Pond to see how the colours were around the water and up towards Mount Kidd.  It was a cloudy morning but for a few minutes at dawn the sun broke through in a couple of places.  A strange, soft purple-pink glow illuminated the whole scene fleetingly.  I doubt I will ever get tired of visiting this place.


Broken tree sunrise

Broken tree sunrise - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Autumn is a great season for sunrises in the prairies around Calgary.  The clouds at dawn can be spectacular.  Last week, I was in Springbank and the sky was beautiful.  The interesting silhouettes from this wind-broken stand of trees were a good partner to the light playing in the clouds.


Fall sunrise at McDonald Lake

Autumn sunrise on Lake McDonald - 2013 © Christopher Martin - 2358

I drove up to Apgar, a small village in Glacier National Park, this morning.  I arrived at the southern edge of Lake McDonald in the dark and headed past the sleeping townsite for the rocky beach.  The full moon provided a bit of light out over the water and I could see the mist was already rising up into the cold air.  I started getting excited as the eastern edge of the sky brightened and silhouetted the mountain peaks above the north and east sides of the lake.  The glow in the sky deepened and the colours came in beautifully.

Silhouettes on Lake McDonald - 2013 © Christopher Martin

As the intense colour began to fade, I was able to balance this great stem of autumn leaves with the lovely Grinnell argillite rocks under the water (the first image).  A very beautiful morning in Montana’s Glacier National Park.


Sunrise over the Trans-Canada Highway

Driving away from the morning - 2013 © Christopher Martin

A co-operative cloud anchored itself just above the horizon as dawn broke west of Calgary.  I set up in the dark on the Jumping Pound overpass with my camera and tripod.  When the sunlight started to paint the clouds, I liked how it contrasted with the vehicles and the lines on the road.


Among the clouds at Wedge Pond

Moutn Kidd cloaked - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I was up in Kananaskis a few days ago to explore the recently opened stretch of Highway 40 up to the Highwood Pass.  Leaving home in the dark, I arrived at Wedge Pond just as light was creeping into the eastern edge of the sky.

Peeking at the peaks of Mount Kidd - 2013 © Christopher Martin

We had several days of rain preceding this visit so I was unsure what the weather would be like in the mountains.  The reports called for partly sunny with showers.  From experience, that can mean anything from empty blue skies to heavy, wet gray clouds.  I don’t mind either so I was happy to head up and find out.  That morning the mist was swirling above the pond and rising up to meet the low hanging clouds that were stuffed into the valley.  I trotted down to the water’s edge and moved along keeping an eye on Mount Kidd.  The mountain catches the early pre-dawn Alpen glow and can be spectacular right through sunrise.  The view over Wedge and up to Kidd whispered of something good that might come and I was happy to move around, watching and waiting.

Sunrise at Wedge Pond - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Dawn along the shore - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Seven minutes later, pink light was hitting a few of the higher clouds.  The lower clouds were breaking up and it seemed like a clear view of the mountain was coming forward.

Dawn sneaks a look down at Wedge Pond - 2013 © Christopher Martin

It didn’t – the clean view was swallowed up by the clouds as the rich colours on Mount Kidd came in.  I didn’t mind at all as a few fleeting openings afforded beautiful views of one or two of the peaks for the next couple of minutes.

Morning in the mountains - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I have not had such a dynamic encounter with the weather up at Wedge Pond and I had a great time.  It was fun to play around with the moodiness under the clouds balanced (and thrown out of balance) with the sunrise opening above.  I’m enjoying the late resurgence of summer we are enjoying but I found myself looking forward to the fall colours that always look so wonderful in this special place.  I will be there and would be very happy if these clouds returned then too.


The elusive red light of dawn on the Ten Peaks

Red dawn above Moraine Lake - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 2 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100

I enjoy photographing the landscapes around Moraine Lake and realized it had been almost a year since I went up and waited for sunrise there.  I clambered up the moraine, the geological rock pile at the eastern edge of the lake, near the end of August and shared a beautiful dawn with a few other people spread out along the pathways.

Painting the peaks - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 4 tenths of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

Under a full moon at Moraine - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 2.5 seconds at f/20 on ISO 50

On this visit to the Valley of the Ten Peaks, a cloudless sky to the east allowed the early sunlight open passage to the mountains above the lake.  They did their part and caught the red ribbons wonderfully.

Light and dark among the Ten Peaks - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105mm lens: 1/13th of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

Even after the light had cooled there were still interesting images to be found around the valley.


Dawn over the prairies

Dawn down the road - 2013 © Christopher Martin

On the weekend, I found myself on a hill overlooking the farm fields south of Cochrane waiting for the morning to arrive.  I had went out at 4 in the morning looking for the Northern Lights but they eluded me.  This time of the year dawn comes early and by 4:30 there was already a bright line on the horizon to the east.  I enjoyed listening to the birds waking up as I sat beside this gravel road hoping for a nice sunrise.  As the sun prepared to rise, this wonderful cloud caught the early light and met all expectations that I brought to the day.

Sky light - 2013 © Christopher Martin

A few minutes later, the cloud hanging above the farmland took over the show.  The colours and textures were brilliant.  Dawn comes early but I’m rarely disappointed when I do force myself to roll out of bed and get out to enjoy it.

Moonset over the Rocky Mountains - 2013 © Christopher Martin

While the sun and the cloud were performing magic, the moon was full and glowing above the Rocky Mountains.  I’m glad I had a look behind me while I was changing lenses as the view to the west was on equal terms with its eastern counterpart.


Dawn at the Lion’s Gate Bridge

The Lion waits for dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

(as always, please click on any image to open a higher resolution version)

In March, I spent a weekend in Vancouver photographing birds, Granville Market and a few other things with a good friend.  On one of the mornings we headed down to Stanley Park around 4:30 AM to see about sunrise.  We walked to the seawall along the Burrard Inlet and worked for a while with the lights of North Van across the water.

Dawn on the Burrard Inlet - 2013 © Christopher Martin

As dawn came in, we moved slowly towards the Lion’s Gate Bridge and I had a lot of fun working with this dominant structure.  I was very happy that they left the bridge lights on right through sunrise.  I used to spend a lot of time exploring the park when I went to school in Vancouver but this was one of only a few times that I have photographed there.  It is a beautiful place to spend time – with or without a camera.

Under the Lion - 2013 © Christopher Martin

With morning came the runners that pile on miles along the pathways year round.  I enjoyed working them into a few photographs before packing up for breakfast.

Stanley Park - morning run 2013 © Christopher Martin


Sunrise over Mount Rundle

Sky fire reflected - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The second sunrise at Vermilion Lake this weekend produced some wonderful images this weekend.  There was a break between clouds and mountain peaks farther east so the clouds above Mount Rundle and the lake were painted with this amazing light.  One of the best mornings that I have had in the Banff National Park.

Out of the grasses and into dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The hot springs that seep into the water along the chain of lakes allow for a few pools without ice to remain open through the winter.  These pools pull many photographers to their shores and this morning was no exception.  It’s always interesting how quiet these moments become even with five other photographers nearby.  The better the light gets, the quieter it usually becomes.  It was silent at the peak of this morning’s sunrise.

Rundle winds - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Vermilion reflections - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Starting the rise - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Early morning with Vermilion and Rundle

Dawn at the second Vermilion Lake was beautiful with some lovely colour in the sky around Mount Rundle early in the sunrise.  As the sun climbed, I moved into the contrasts and this one worked well in black and white.

Dawn at Vermilion Lake - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Winter landscape: fire in the sky

Fire in the sky, winter edition - © Christopher Martin-6558-2

The glow before sunrise caught bands of clouds above the forests in West Bragg Creek.  With the temperature below -20°C, it was warming to see this early fire in the eastern sky.  I enjoyed taking a break from following moose tracks for a few minutes to watch the morning arrive.


Sunrise across Kalihiwai Bay

Sunshine on Kalihiwai - © Christopher Martin-3583

I went further up island to the north shore for sunrise this morning.  I went to Kalihiwai Bay which lies between Kilauea and Hanalei and opens its arms to the Pacific due North.  I went along the western side towards Anini Beach so that I would see the colors in the sky and the sun rising out of the east across the bay.  It proved to be a very nice location to photograph daybreak from.

North shore morning - © Christopher Martin-3471


On the rocks

Nukoli'i Rocks - © Christopher Martin-1990

The sunrise was beautiful this morning.  Ahead of the sun coming over the horizon, I got out into the water and used the silhouetted rocks to anchor the foreground.  In this photograph, I made these rocks the main subject as I waited for the sun.


A veiled sunrise along Nukoli’i

A veiled sunrise - © Christopher Martin-4035

(please click on the image for a higher resolution version)

The first sunrise of this visit to Kaua’i was spectacular.  I watched the clouds retreat towards the horizon under the moonlight before dawn and when the day started to come, they were a heavy veil stretching up from the ocean.  A few minutes after sunrise, the sun shone red through a thin spot in the clouds.  For the next twenty minutes the sun broke free here and there while the waves kept crashing in and the sky steadily brightened.  Nukoli’i Beach is a long stretch of sand along Kaua’i’s eastern shore.  At this time of the year, the sun rises directly off the beach.  When the clouds cooperate, the mornings can be exceedingly beautiful.  This morning was exactly that.


Fantastic creatures in sunrise

The winter morning was beautiful earlier this week.  I watched the sky brighten and start to illuminate the sparse clouds scattered along the horizon and further off to the west.  With the color running into the day, I saw a dragon stretch its wings out as it reached towards the rising sun.  Surely a victim of my exuberant imagination, I was little surprised when I saw a phoenix flying low along the eastern horizon when I turned in that direction.  Switching from one fantastic creature to the other during the short time that the best light of the day held, I enjoyed this sunrise tremendously.  A childhood spent reading legends and myths revisited for a few minutes out on the cold prairie.  A warm thank you to my elementary teacher, Alanda, who introduced our class to these stories and kindled the fire of my imagination.

 


Back to the reflecting pools in Kananaskis

My friend and fellow photographer Jeff Rhude and I made it up to the reflecting pools which provide a beautiful mirror for Mount Kidd while it was still dark.  While dawn was still only a bit of light to the east, I used an exposure just a bit over two minutes long to see this early morning.

The wind was blowing in short blasts as we were waiting and once it was brighter I took an opportunity to show a bit of that in the blurred water.


Sunrise in the Foothills

Once the horses moved on, I returned to watching the brightening sky.  I didn’t have to wait long for the colour to brush into the clouds.

(please click on any image to open a higher resolution version)

And when the warm sunlight came in, it only stayed for a couple of minutes.  It was great to shoot a few different images while the light was really nice.  The sun cleared the horizon quickly, the light cooled and the day began.

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Approached by horses

The horse that ended up posing for me before padding away led the small herd up the hill towards me.  During one of their pauses on the way up I took the opportunity to frame them as part of the larger scene of dawn on the prairie.  As I said before, I wish I had brought some horse-friendly snacks.


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