Posts tagged “Canadian Rocky Mountains

A night at the Athabasca Glacier – sparkling stars, blurred clouds, glowing skies and jagged peaks

Athabasca Glacier under the stars - © Christopher Martin Photography-0666

When I ventured up to Jasper National Park in May, I spent the first night at the foot of the Athabasca Glacier. After laying my sleeping bag across the reclined passenger seat, I set up my tripod and camera along one of the trails that lead up to the edge of the ice.

Athabasca Glacier under the stars - © Christopher Martin Photography-0663

Looking up the glacier, between the clouds as they slid by, a subtle green-blue glow was visible above the ice, rock and snow. With long exposures, the glow was more pronounced. I first thought it may be the Aurora Borealis but I was facing towards the southwest so I would have expected a show behind me more than where I was looking. It was a new moon that night so I’m not sure was responsible for the glow. Could it be the starlight on a clear night, free from light pollution, reflecting off of the ice? Maybe, but I really can’t explain it. It was hauntingly beautiful and I enjoyed spending a couple of hours in that place within this immeasurably vast universe – a night with the stars will get you thinking such things!

Mount Andromeda under the stars - © Christopher Martin Photography-0660-2

It was a great auditory experience as well, the ice cracks and rock falls echoed off the mountains and down the glacier field irregularly through the night which broke up the steady cries of the racing winds.

Athabasca Glacier under the stars - © Christopher Martin Photography-0676

Sparkling stars, blurred clouds, glowing skies and jagged peaks – it was a special night.


Rocky Mountain Sunsets

Chinook sunsets over the Rockies - © Christopher Martin-9867

During the chinook of the last few days there were several beautiful sunsets that I took time to enjoy.  Looking west at the Rockies is one of my favourite skylines and their silhouette at dusk often adds immensely to a landscape photograph.

Rocky Mountain After Glow © Christopher Martin-9926

Chinook sky - © Christopher Martin-1437

The chinook ended last night with the arrival of a snowstorm which continues this morning.  I’m not too dismayed, it was nice to have a break of warm weather in the middle of winter.

Ridges of fire - © Christopher Martin-9856


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

 


Elbow Falls under an alpen glow

Elbow Falls under an alpen glow - © Christopher Martin-1388

A cold morning greeted me at Elbow Falls yesterday.  I set up from a rocky perch above the river and enjoyed watching the day come in.  The clouds above caught the early pink light while the land below was gently brushed by the alpen glow that preceded sunrise.

Elbow Falls - water through the rocks - © Christopher Martin-1379-2

 


Through a window and up to the night sky

A window to the night sky - 2013 © Christopher Martin

We stayed at Lake Louise a couple of weeks ago and I set up to take some photographs from my room of the ice sculptures lit up around the front lawn of the Chateau.  It was then I noticed the stars and how wonderfully bright they were.  With the reflection of lights from below there was a lot of distortion, refraction and general murk to wrestle with.  The hazy arcs above the mountain are one of the interesting effects from the lamps around the pathways.  I worked away for a little while and liked this somewhat abstract image of Mount Whyte under the night sky.


Windswept across Mount Rundle’s jagged peak

Wind blows snow off of Mount Rundle’s eastern peak.  This was the vanguard of the storm that brought snow out onto the prairies over the weekend.


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.


Mount Kidd

 

The morning got bright quickly when I was at a set of reflecting ponds just west of Wedge Pond and the Galatea Trailhead in Kananaskis.  I met a fellow Calgarian photographer, Graham McKerrell, along the water’s edge and we watched the most promising cloud slip behind the mountain just a couple of minutes before the sunrise hit the face.  The early light was still beautiful on the rock of Mount Kidd and its reflection.  I really had fun once the morning sun was well established as I switched from hunting warm light to thinking about the sun and shadows for black and white images as seen here.

(please click on the image to link to a larger, higher resolution version)

These ponds are a beautiful location to welcome the morning, I hope to get out there once more this season.

 


Autumn at Wedge Pond

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

The morning was cold as I walked down to Wedge Pond on Friday.  No frost, but very chilly under the clear skies.  I woke early so I was there before the skies had started to brighten.  The only sounds were the splash of the occasional fish jumping and bull elk bugling challenges nearby in the forest.  It was a special moment to take in.  In the darkness the exposures ranged up to five minutes to show the pre-dawn scene as below.  The slowly lightening sky to the east reflected on the upper flanks of the mountain.

As the sun approached, the birds started chattering and a few other photographers showed up for the alpen glow and then first light on Mount Kidd.  Kananaskis lived up to expectations again.  It was lovely to be on the lake’s shore for the morning with the autumn colours coming in.


Kootenay Landscape: Along the Vermilion River

Bobbi and I drove with the kids up to Lake Louise for a hike on Sunday.  The walk around the north side of the lake was nice and the kids had a lot of fun. Not much time to photograph, too busy throwing rocks in the water with Kian and Kezia, but there was some interesting light on the mountainsides when I did stop for a minute.

On the drive back we went on a detour along Highway 93 into the Kootenay National Park.  We turned around before Vermilion Crossing at the point where Floe Creek joins the Vermilion River which runs down the spine of the valley.  Kootenay National Park has had several large forest fires in the past 40 years and there are huge stretches of matchstick trees.  Under these ravaged trunks, evergreens have taken hold and bring color into the hillsides.  In the rivers, glacial silt paints the water a lovely blue.  Strong lines in the river’s canyon walls and in the burned out forest.  A lot of great elements to choose from and work with.

 

Here are a few images from this bend in the river.


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