The Aurora Borealis has been very strong for a few nights in a row, reaching southern Alberta regularly which comes after what has seemed like a very long absence. Perhaps it has just been me that was absent for shows since last year but being out for this one on the night of March 18-19. When I went out at 11pm, there was a dull green bow low in the sky towards Calgary. After a while, the arch began to glow brighter and stretch higher. Columns then started to separate from the green band and the arch itself dissolved. For the next couple of hours the lights shifted their shapes, colors and intensity.
I was out on the berm that sits between Redwood Meadows and the Elbow River. The height of the berm, the rocky shoreline and the snow remnants allowed for a variety of perspectives. The three and half hours that the Northern Lights performed allowed me the time to explore these. It was an amazing night.
I returned to Irricana recently to look for Snowy owls. I left early and arrived well before night had given much ground to day. Having criss-crossed the backroads west of the town, I have a decent feel for the farmland in the area and took the opportunity to photograph a couple of locations while the clouds were glowing pink ahead of the sunrise.
A lost wallet and a flat tire, both noticed about an hour after the last of these photographs was taken, made me feel like I earned these images a bit more than usual. The wallet had fallen out of my pocket unnoticed when I was at the farmstead above. A fair bit of time spent retracing my stops before finding it undisturbed in the middle of the gravel road. When I picked up the wallet, I noticed the flat rear tire. Along the way to Irricana, I apparently drove over a hardware store as Phil’s Auto in Irricana (very friendly people – thank you for the coffee!) later showed me the 3 inch long screw that had lodged into the tire. The wallet was recovered before I found the first owl and by the time of my appointment at 3 pm, I was happy to have had several good encounters with 5 different Snowies. I will share those soon. These prairie landscape images from a beautiful morning heralded what became one of the more interesting days I have had out on the prairies.
I have created a gallery of scenic images that I curated from a recent look back at 2014. If you are interested in seeing these landscapes, please click on any image or this link.
In 2014 I spent much of my time waiting for wildlife when I was out with my camera. That came at the expense of some time I may have used to search for interesting landscapes and compelling ways to interpret them in my imagery. Far from being lost opportunities, I treasured the time when I was focused on the land a little more than I have previously.
Reviewing last year’s images, I see growth and feel like I am successfully bringing more of my emotion in the moment and some of “me” into the landscapes I am photographing. It is that interpretation where I am happily expending energy focusing on.
When we were in Los Cabos last December, we were able to enjoy beautiful sunrises almost every day. This morning’s dawn was a favourite and I was out early to catch the sun rising out of the Sea of Cortez at these fingers of rock that I had scouted a few days earlier.
An early morning east of Calgary near Strathmore looking for Snowy owls came up with only one shy one isolated in a field. This allowed time to see the prairie landscape. And, as it has turned out, one of the last days before the warm weather of the past couple of weeks came and melted all of the snow. While I’m not missing the bitter cold, I did enjoy the icy air and snow-covered fields when I was out then.
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.
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.
Along the coast in Los Cabos, I often came across fishermen casting among the rocks before sunrise. We would exchange greetings on passing by but they, like me, seemed intent on what they were about and enjoying the quiet the comes with the early morning.
I liked making the occasional photograph with them silhouetted against the colourful sky as they provided an interesting element to these beautiful scenes.
This strange cloud and a few stragglers lit up brilliantly ahead of the rising sun. I was driving east towards Calgary and stopped for a few minutes to watch what looked more like a stack of cotton candy than a regular cloud. Mind you, whenever I think a cloud is just a normal one, watching it morph unpredictably as it crosses the sky reminds they are magical creations.
We are staying at a beautiful resort that is along the shore of the Sea of Cortez about ten kilometres from Cabo San Lucas. Hacienda del Mar has colonial style architecture painted in vibrant, warm tones. The villas are surrounded by gardens, pathways and courtyards which attract hummingbirds, sapsuckers and a wide variety of other birds. This is our second visit here and I took a little time to photograph the grounds on the way to the beach before sunrise the other day.
Hurricane Odile hit the Los Cabos area on September 14, 2014 unleashing 210 km/h winds and 6 hours of torrential rain. The aftermath saw heavy destruction all along the coast and an unprecedented disruption to Cabo’s primary industry – tourism. Hacienda del Mar was hit hard but, as seen throughout the area, the people here have done incredible work to get the resort not just back into service but I would say to a better than before state. It’s a great place with very special people – we are lucky to be able to enjoy time with both.
This meadow in the Bow Valley often provides a reflection of the current of the weather affecting much of the park. On this day in early November, the remnants of a storm was thrashing around in the mountains while more promising blue sky opened up above.
Earlier in the morning, the clouds hung low over the Vermilion Lakes hiding all but the lowest slopes of Sulphur Mountain across the water. Later in the day when I returned along the Trans Canada Highway the clouds were truly broken up and it proved to be a very nice autumn afternoon in the Banff National Park.