The waves of mild temperatures then bitter cold that have been winter’s pattern this year have played havoc with the ice.
Along the Elbow River the once smooth sheets of water frozen layer on layer, have buckled and split along the channel.
The temperature went into free fall yesterday but the blue skies pulled me outside this morning. Near the edge of the ice down the Elbow I spent some time photographing the forms created by the blanket of snow, broken ice cover, and the long shadows of winter.
We are just coming out of a long cold snap here on the eastern flanks of the Rockies. Temperatures started out around -10°C (14°F) last week and then dropped to -25°C (-13°F) a couple of days ago and have stayed there. This image is from a stretch of the Elbow River just a couple hundred meters from my home in Redwood Meadows (west of Calgary). Most of the river there is now iced over but I haven’t been back at dawn to photograph the difference.
Apparently we start climbing upwards later today and should be just below freezing by the weekend. That will feel balmy – I hope the forecasts hold! I love the winter landscapes but this year when the temperature fell below about -15 my enthusiasm for the season fell too. Maybe some powder skiing on the weekend will remind me of the upside of winter.
This coyote didn’t seem impressed with the storm that tore across the Foothills on the weekend. The front of the blizzard was pretty wet so when the temperature started to drop, everything built up a layer of ice. I suppose this creature didn’t feel like trotting around with the extra weight, and the blinding snow, so it laid down and burrowed in. It was resolute to stay put and only watched me as I set up my camera and lens for this picture. Most coyotes will perk their ears so I wondered if this one may have been injured or sick. However, I went by a couple of hours later and the coyote had moved on. The storm was still raging so maybe dinner had called her to action. When I’d seen her earlier, I thought she might not leave until the weather improved considerably.
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.
Lake Minnewanka has a beautiful shoreline on its southeastern edge. I have not spent much time along the rocks there but a few days ago I was there for about an hour in the morning and really liked the area. The ice coating the rocks where there were gaps in the snow worked in nice contrast to the stormy skies crowding over the ridges of Inglismaldie on the far side of the water.
During the lunar eclipse last December I was shooting off the Centre Street Bridge in Calgary with the moon to the west of me. As the moon came out of eclipse, I turned my attention to the east and photographed the sunrise over the Bow River looking east from downtown.
I wrote a short post on the eclipse the next day but then we left on vacation and I forgot about these images. Looking through Calgary sunrise photographs in my library, I rediscovered these and put them together here.
After the big snowstorm Monday night, the clouds cleared and towards the evening, the light was beautiful and I was pulled outside.
Before the sun set, I photographed the sunlight on the tree boughs along the path to the Elbow river. Getting down to the river, the snow was over a foot deep. It was fun to walk along and photograph this river delta just before night fell, looking for interesting relationships in the landscape.
I walked to the far side before I found some breaks in snow and ice where I could see the water.
I used a telephoto lens to close in on the ice formations with a tripod to keep the camera steady over the exposures which stretched up to 10 seconds.
I returned home under moonlight which was very enjoyable as well
I walked up to a small group of horses in West Bragg Creek this morning as the sun was slowly warming up their frigid meadow. They were lined up along the fence, likely waiting for their morning hay. This mare walked towards me and when she was close I noticed the ice frozen onto the whiskers around the mouth. It was -19°C so the moisture in her breath was freezing as soon as it was exhaled. The distortion in perspective of a wide angle lens created an interesting view of her head when I lowered the camera and put it very close to the nose.
I went up to Elbow Falls on Sunday following a heavy snowstorm over the weekend. There were a few warm days leading up to the blizzard so I was hoping for heavy snow in the trees and on the rocks with some good stretches of open water on the river. I was not disappointed.
I’ve tried to stay away from this section of the river but haven’t been able to do it with any consistency. It is a beautiful place and a very special location for me to photograph.
The flow of water above, over and below the layers of rock that create Elbow Falls is a beautiful photographic subject at any time of the year. In winter, with the ice and snow draped around the waterfall, I find the magic a little easier to work with and creating some compelling images a bit less elusive.
For as long as I have been photographing this spot, I have always seen the face of a chief in the rock outcropping that sits just below the waterfall. Not only a face in the rock, the lines that draw the lips, the cheeks, chin and nose outline a sketch of the man who watches over this stretch of the river west of Bragg Creek in Kananaskis Country.
An early morning at one of my favourite places in Kananaskis, Elbow Falls. With the stretches of deep cold this winter broken up by the occasional warm chinook arch, the layers of ice along the river and the waterfall that shares its name are really beautiful right now. The color didn’t build in the sky this morning but that allowed me to stay focused on the ice. A very nice morning to spend outside with a camera in hand.