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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

Happy Hallowe’en!

 

 

Halloween's Forest - © Christopher Martin-7775

I hope everyone who is out and about this evening has a fun, and appropriately scary, time.

This scene was waiting for me as a drove along the prairies towards Calgary this morning.

Autumn at Pilot Pond in Banff

Autumn - © Christopher Martin-6513

We have enjoyed a long fall season this year.  Sometimes winter steals in before it seems like summer had closed off.  This autumn is now closing in on two months and has been quite a nice season.  I went to a small lake, Pilot Pond, which lies in the Bow Valley facing Pilot Mountain in the Banff National Park a week ago and felt the scenery around the water was a nice reflection of the fall we have had in the mountains.

Pilot Mountain in the Banff National Park - © Christopher Martin-6030

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

Autumn - © Christopher Martin-6501

 

Autumn - © Christopher Martin-6569

 

Autumn - © Christopher Martin-6471

Autumn - © Christopher Martin-6530

I was alone except for one female Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) out on the water biding its time, and once flapping its wings, before continuing south.

Autumn - © Christopher Martin-5062

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise from the Fawn Hills

Dawn over Fawn Hills - © Christopher Martin-6599

The autumn weather in the foothills west of Calgary is unpredictable with snow, sun, wind and rain all possible on any given day.  The clouds conjured up at this time of the year can be fantastic and I’m rarely disappointed when I get up early to see how they will frame the sunrise.  On this morning in the middle of October, it was a beautiful dawn to watch build towards the day from the low-rise of the Fawn Hills a short distance west of Bragg Creek.  There was a beautiful sheet spread over the sky with corner left untucked on the eastern horizon allowing the dawn light to come under and skip along its underside.  A couple of lone clouds flying low provided beautiful points of interest.

Dawn over Fawn Hills - © Christopher Martin-6608

 

Dawn over Fawn Hills - © Christopher Martin-6646

 

Dawn over Fawn Hills - © Christopher Martin-6605

Autumn sunset over Bragg Creek

Autumn sunset over Bragg Creek - © Christopher Martin-4896

This sunset was given life by the fantastically textured clouds over Bragg Creek.  I was in Redwood Meadows just off the Cowboy Trail and watched the pinks and blues ripple through their hues as the clouds rolled by.  The eastern ridges of Kananaskis held the clouds off of the horizon which allowed the colour in through much of the sunset.

Autumn sunset over Bragg Creek - © Christopher Martin-5834

 

Cloudfall - © Christopher Martin-4878

Solar eclipse


Partial solar eclipse - © Christopher Martin-7482-2

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

The October 23rd solar eclipse was at its maximum at 4:07 pm here in Calgary.  It was a partial eclipse with the moon blocking out a majority, but not the entire sun.  The sun swung like a pendulum behind the moon which afforded a couple of images of each of the distinct phases.  The image above was taken at 4:07 PM MST which was at the maximum.

Partial solar eclipse - © Christopher Martin-7431

 The image above was from 3:55 PM and the one below was taken at 4:13 PM as the sun and moon separated.

Partial solar eclipse - © Christopher Martin-7514

Daybreak over Banff

  Waiting for sunrise over Banff - © Christopher Martin-5850 I watched the sky brighten above the Banff from Norquay Meadow.  The moon lit the mountain a little while the townsite’s lights glowed in the valley below.

Wildlife Gallery: A whole bunch of Grizzly bears

It is no surprise that I am quite fond of bears.  Grizzly bears are of particular interest to me so it was a lot of fun putting together a gallery of my favourite Grizzly images from the past couple of years for a project that I am working on with a client.

Khutzeymateen Inlet, British Columbia, Canada - August 2013

If you are interested in seeing the images in this rather large set, please click the image or this link.

Fighting in the fields

Rutting bucks - © Christopher Martin-5183

I was roaming the gravel roads east of south of Cochrane on the weekend.  As dusk started to fall, I found a small herd of white-tailed deer in the middle of a field.  There were two bucks standing apart from four does.  The smaller male was prancing about a bit so I put on my longest lens and waited to see if anything would happen.  We are still in the middle of the rut so I was hoping they might do some antler jousting.

Rutting bucks - © Christopher Martin-5176-2

And, as it turned out, they did.  They clashed a couple of times with antlers cracking while they tangled head to head.  The battle was short, frenetic and I felt very lucky to watch this moment play out.

Rutting bucks - © Christopher Martin-5175

Rutting bucks - © Christopher Martin-5184

After this skirmish the smaller one darted away and they stood apart for a minute before moving up a fold in the hillside back towards the seemingly unimpressed does.

Rutting bucks - © Christopher Martin-5202

The last half of the lunar eclipse

Blood Moon - © Christopher Martin-4533The clouds cleared at the point during this week’s eclipse when the moon was just coming out of the earth’s penumbra.  The top edge of the full moon was just coming into e sunlight.  The majority of the surface was still in shadow and was a deep reddish orange.

Blood Moon - © Christopher Martin-4606

 The glow from the moon coloured the landscape as well.

Under a blood moon - © Christopher Martin-4547Landscape under a lunar eclipse - © Christopher Martin-4552

The moon left the shadow much too quickly for me but it was fun to watch the different looks as the clouds moved, the colours changed and the blood moon slipped away.

Cloud and eclipse - © Christopher Martin-4711Moon haze - © Christopher Martin-4709

The sky brightened along with the moon and I called it a night.Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-4658

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