Posts tagged “clouds

More lightning on the edge of the prairie

The other side of the fence - 2014 © Christopher Martin

With the nightly storms, I have had a couple of opportunities to get out and photograph the lightning.  These are the remaining shots from the first night that I went out and had great forks of lightning stretch out in the clouds near my home.  The storm’s strikes would come in waves and resulted in several nice images.

Lightning along the Cowboy Trail - 2014 © Christopher Martin

I wanted to put a person into the scene and I graciously accepted the invitation to do so :)

Storm watching - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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Night lightning - 2014 © Christopher Martin

 


Storms and light trails over Sedona

Storm over Sedona - 2014 © Christopher MartinStorm over Sedona
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 105mm: 1/13th of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

Rain has been a rare commodity in northern Arizona for the last couple of months.  When clouds started to roll in from the north while we were down there people were hopeful that they would drop some of their precipitation before moving on.  The rain did come eventually and the evening before I hiked along the airport trail to watch the storm’s approach.

Winter storm - 2014 © Christopher MartinWinter storm in Northern Arizona
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 65mm: 1/10th of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

I was content to watch the blues and greys in the sky deepen with night coming.  However, a break in the clouds to the west allowed for some color to break through and I turned my attention out over West Sedona’s forested cityscape.

West Sedona at night - 2014 © Christopher MartinWest Sedona at night
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 58mm: 2.5 seconds at f/11 on ISO 200

There was an uneven stream of traffic passing below me towards the airport and the lookouts around the mesa.  Long exposures of cars driving up and down the road to the airport seemed to work well with this sunset.

Sunset and car lights in Sedona - 2014 © Christopher MartinSunset and car lights in Sedona
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 50mm: 128 seconds at f/16 on ISO 1600

Light trails up to sunset - 2014 © Christopher MartinLight trails up to sunset
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm: 30 seconds at f/16 on ISO 800


Sunset across the prairies

Winter sunset - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/45 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

A few days ago, the clouds were anchored along the eastern edge of the Rockies all afternoon and I was not sure how the sunset would develop.  Well, I guess I was sure that the winter sun would go down early and fast but what the light would do was the question.

Cloud fire - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/70 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

I found myself on the edge of Springbank, west of Calgary, at 5:30 and the clouds had stretched east across the prairies and were catching and filtering the rich glow from the sun now hidden behind the mountains.

Up to darkness - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/50 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

It was a scene that didn’t require much input from me to create images.  I did like the reflections on my car’s glass and hood so that provided an opportunity to play around a bit.

A thin slice of sunset - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/60 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

Sunset reflected - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/40 of a second at f/8 on ISO 1600

Bobbi and I are off to Sedona, Arizona tomorrow for a week – this landscape session provided a nice warm-up for the spectacular red rock scenery I’m looking forward to photographing down there.


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.


Landscapes in the Khutzeymateen

Into the Khutzeymateen - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Justifiably, the Grizzly bears I spent time watching in the Khutzeymateen cast a long shadow and much of my time there and since returning has been spent thinking about them.  I have to say that even if I had seen no wildlife, the scenery in the Khutzeymateen is brilliant and I would have been able to fill my memory cards with landscape imagery.

Shade and sun fight in the Khutzeymateen - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Trapped in the ridges - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The inlet is relatively narrow, running roughly a mile wide for most of its length.  The mountains rise steeply up from the water, blanketed in most places with dense rainforest.  The trees are broken up by chutes, large and otherwise, where the snow has conspired to avalanche and by areas where the barren rock has prohibited the forest’s advance.

Rainforest silhouettes - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Forest in mist - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Throughout the day, chains of mist evolve across the mountainsides.  Whether under a leaden sky or in bright, open sunshine, these ethereal cousins to clouds continue unabated.  It was a true pleasure to just relax and watch them travel past.  While looking for the valley’s wildlife, I enjoyed picking out details along the coast as we motored past in the little zodiac boat.

A spontaneous creek - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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The edge of coastal forest - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Berries in the wilds - 2013 © Christopher Martin

On the second to last afternoon, the rain abated and the sun lit up the valley a little before night stepped in.  It whispered of great weather and that held true for the next couple of days.

Lighting smoke - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Into night in the Khutzeymateen - 2013 © Christopher Martin

We sailed a few miles westwards towards the mouth of the inlet on the last evening.  The light was warm, so was the air – a nice time to photograph off the bow.

2013 © Christopher Martin

That night, the moon was full and when it cleared the ridge above the cove, it was a beautiful scene to behold.

Blue Moon rising over the Khutzeymateen - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The last morning, dawn was spectacular.

Dawn on the water in the Khutzeymateen Inlet - 2013 © Christopher Martin


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.


Moonlight over Mount Rundle

Hiding in the clouds - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 80 seconds at f/11 on ISO 800

During the tail-end of the full phase of August’s blue moon I went to the edge of the first of the Vermilion Lakes just west of the Banff townsite and set up for a night of long exposures.  I drifted in and out of sleep but my timer remote stayed awake and kept running across the dark hours of the night.  The clouds raced across the sky under pretty steady winds.  With the longer exposures, they were stretched out and occasionally lent a mystical quality to the images.

Moon streaks - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 658 seconds at f/11 on ISO 400

A break in the sky for the blue moon - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 80 seconds at f/11 on ISO 800

As it drew closer to the morning, the land started to brighten and one of the last images revealed more of the scenery.

The gentle approach of dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 238 seconds at f/11 on ISO 1000


A blue moon in the Khutzeymateen

The Khutzeymateen's Blue Moon - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 2500

On the last night in the Khutzeymateen there was a short break in the clouds right as the full moon was clearing the tree tops across the bay.  This was the fourth moon of the season earning the distinction of being a blue moon.  It seemed an appropriate way to end a spectacular visit to this wonderful inlet.


Lightning strikes on the prairie

 Night lighting - © Christopher Martin-0417

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 6.0 seconds at f/6.3 on ISO 800

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

A couple of nights ago, lightning was being thrown around by several large storm clouds as they spread out and rolled over the prairies.  After a spectacular sunset in Kananaskis Country earlier (the image below), I had just drove out of the mountains when I saw these strikes lighting up both the fields and the clouds.

Night's march above Kananaskis - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40 lens: 1/160th of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 800

I ended up pulling off of the Trans-Canada Highway at Hermitage Road to watch this summer performance.  It was just before 11pm when I set up my camera along a fence which was busy splitting up a meadow of wild grass.  The moon was out and waxing near full so the land was gently lit up.  

Moonlit - © Christopher Martin-0433

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 2.5 seconds at f/5.6 on ISO 1600

It was warm but the mosquitos compelled me to put on a light jacket.  When a breeze came up around midnight, it was a perfect night to be outdoors.  

A lone fork - © Christopher Martin-0568

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 10 seconds at f/8.0 on ISO 1600

Two hours flew by largely unnoticed before the storms had moved out of view and I decided to head home.

Lightning forks - 2013 © Christopher Martin-0416

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 6.0 seconds at f/6.3 on ISO 800


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.


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


Magic in the clouds above

Magic in the clouds - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The sunset in West Bragg Creek was beautiful last night.  The warm sunlight alternating with the long shadows striped the land and looked great in every direction.  However it was the same light caught in the clouds above that stole the show.


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.


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.

 


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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Emerald Lake Landscapes

We stayed one night in the lodge on Emerald Lake in British Columbia so I was able to be on the water’s edge well ahead of sunrise the next morning.  In the deep blues of the early morning, I could make out some heavy clouds in the sky so I was uncertain if a fiery sky was coming.  The mountains that ring the eastern edge of the lake were streaked with thick fog rising off of the water and mixing with the clouds.

The sunlight was held up by a bank of grey so the drama never painted the sky however the details in the canoes, the bridge and along the shore as well as a slow shutter to drag out the sky and its reflection made for an enjoyable scene to work with.

I’m looking forward to getting back to this literal jewel of the Yoho National Park near the town of Field.  A glowing sky of pinks, reds and oranges would be wonderful to see in this valley and reflected in the lake.

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Hide and seek with a blue moon

 

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

Last night as the setting sun was painting the broken clouds above Lake Okanagan, the waxing moon was using them to hide as it rose.  The colours in the evening sky were beautiful pastels and the bright lunar surface stood in sharp contrast.

This blue moon will be full on August 31st so these images are of the moon in its gibbous waxing phase.

 

I’ll be watching again tonight to see if our earth’s satellite has any more tricks planned.


A broken cloud sunrise on the Canadian prairies

The clouds make or break sunrises in many landscape scenes.  On Sunday, they broke apart just before sunrise leaving a nice gauzy patchwork above the glow on the horizon.   A good start to the day just west of Calgary in Alberta, Canada on May 27th.


A Rainbow on the Prairie

Leaving the Calgary this afternoon, I drove through some heavy rain pouring down from some dark gray clouds rolling over Calgary.  As I reached the western edge of the city along Highway 8, I was back in the sunshine and enjoyed the drive past the fields.  Drawing closer to home, I looked back east and found a rainbow straddling the road.  The arch was a mile wide and looked brilliant against the dark clouds still dragging the storm through the city. I pulled onto one of the gravel top range roads and composed this image of the scene.

(click for a larger image)

 


Dramatic peaks above Banff

 


Prairie Landscapes: Clearing storm and the end of winter?

Winter has been mild here in southern Alberta this year.  We had a short blast roll out of the mountains in the middle of the week with snow blanketing the city.  That seemed like a last gasp as it lasted only one day and melted before the weekend arrived.  It was an interesting run of weather that finished with a wind storm and warming that reached 15° C on Thursday.

These images are from my afternoon drive out of the city with the storm still attacking Calgary but open skies above me in Springbank west of the city.

For March, the prairies have very little snow.  Makes for a bit different mid-winter landscape images than previous years.


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