Posts tagged “Rocky Mountains

The setting of a supermoon

 

Supermoon setting - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Moonset of the latest supermoon coincided with dawn last weekend.  I was photographing the prairie landscape and climbed up to a spot where I had a bit of elevation in order to look over the fields and be somewhat on level with the Rockies.  The mist laying low over the fields was a lucky bit of happenstance.


A new portfolio of landscape images

Fire in the clouds - Mount Rundle, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

This is a collection of a my favourite landscape photographs from the past couple of years.  Locations include North America’s Rocky Mountains, the Prairies, and the island of Kaua’i.  If you are interested in having a look, please click on this link or on the image above.


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.


The elusive red light of dawn on the Ten Peaks

Red dawn above Moraine Lake - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 2 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100

I enjoy photographing the landscapes around Moraine Lake and realized it had been almost a year since I went up and waited for sunrise there.  I clambered up the moraine, the geological rock pile at the eastern edge of the lake, near the end of August and shared a beautiful dawn with a few other people spread out along the pathways.

Painting the peaks - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 4 tenths of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

Under a full moon at Moraine - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens: 2.5 seconds at f/20 on ISO 50

On this visit to the Valley of the Ten Peaks, a cloudless sky to the east allowed the early sunlight open passage to the mountains above the lake.  They did their part and caught the red ribbons wonderfully.

Light and dark among the Ten Peaks - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105mm lens: 1/13th of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

Even after the light had cooled there were still interesting images to be found around the valley.


Nighttime at the boathouse on Emerald Lake

The boathouse on Emerald Lake - © Christopher Martin-4131

Bobbi and I got away to Emerald Lake last weekend for a little retreat.  The valley is in the Yoho National Park in British Columbia, about two and a half hours from Calgary.  We had a great time enjoying time on the land and enjoying the fine amenities offered by the Emerald Lake Lodge.  We have to thank both sets of grandparents for taking care of Kezia and Kian.  I spent most of the night out photographing around the water.  The image above is looking down the stairs to the boathouse where you can rent canoes and row boats to take out on the lake.  There was a wedding in the lodge where Cilantro’s restaurant is located across the bridge.  The lights from the party and the bridge illuminated the little cabin and the stacked boats.  Emerald Lake is a wonderful place to visit – we are already plotting our next return visit.


Moonlight at Elbow Falls

As the moon waxed towards full this weekend, I spent an evening at Elbow Falls to photograph the landscape at night.  The clear air allowed stars to shine even with a relatively short exposure and small aperture (10 seconds and f/8.0, respectively).  Always a bit lonely sitting out there for a couple of hours but the stars are really good company.

Elbow Falls under moonlight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The 6400 ISO and the bright moonlight allowed for some of the great details at this magical place in Kananaskis Country to show in the image.  I am impressed with the improvements in the dSLR’s low-light capabilities over the last couple of years.  A couple of years ago I spent another evening up at these falls. At that time I was using a Canon 1D Mark III and when compared with the image above and others where I used a 5D Mark III, the detail, structure of the noise and the color are all vastly improved.  The technology is less and less of an obstacle to realizing the images I want to make.  I like that a lot.


Lake Louise – ice castles and early mornings

The ice castle at Lake Louise - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Lake Louise is a favourite place for my wife and I to visit in the Banff National Park.  This weekend, with my parents taking care of the kids for a night, we went up and stayed on the lake’s eastern shore at the Chateau.  The view across the ice up to the Victoria Glacier and the surrounding peaks was hidden by nightfall by the time we arrived so I was anxious for the morning to come.  As it turned out, I may have slept right through sunrise, if Bobbi hadn’t looked outside just after 7 and woken me up.  The black of night had given way to the dark shades of blue ahead of the dawn.  I looked outside and then raced out of the door a few minutes later.

A window to dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Winter at Lake Louise is magical.  The Fairmont had an ice carving competition earlier this year and the sculptures fanned out between the hotel and the lake.  At night, they are lit up as is the patriotic castle that is in the middle of the skating rink cleared out on the lake ice.

A view through the maple leaf archway - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Ice climbing with the sun - 2013 © Christopher Martin

An ice castle is made every winter by the Chateau’s chefs from large blocks of ice. Nearby is a hockey rink and the trailhead for ski trails along the northern shoreline. Through the evening and again during the day, as it turned out, these drew many visitors who walked, skated and skied around.  However at the time I went down to the lake, in the early but quickly brightening morning, there were only a few other people around.

Early morning shinny at Lake Louise - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Two people were playing around with hockey sticks and a puck while a couple of other photographers were roaming across the ice.  And there was one gentleman out skating laps around the castle – I was glad he wore a red coat.

Alpen skate - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Once the sunlight hit the peaks, the dark sky disappeared and the cold, clear dawn of a beautiful morning took hold.  It was wonderful to be out on the lake and I had a lot of fun working with the details in the castle and the spectacular landscape surrounding it.

A window to first light on Victoria Glacier - 2013 © Christopher Martin

When the sun was rising out of the forest east of the lake, the warm light on the ice blocks provided another opportunity to play a bit longer before I headed in for breakfast with my dear, and patient, wife.

Framing the sun - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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Lake Louise landscape - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Kananaskis

(click the image to go to a higher resolution version)

Spent most of the day up in Kananaskis hiking, photographing and looking for wildlife.  Such a beautiful and varied country there.  I get focused in on a particular location or species so that I forget about the whole package sometimes.  Yesterday was one of those great times where I felt like I was enjoying, and appreciating, the whole.  If you have a chance to head up to any of the areas that make up K-Country take it, I hope you like it as much as I do.


Mount Kidd – splashes of colour reflected

 

I am drawn back to Mount Kidd in Kananaskis over and over.  In the morning the eastern light accentuates the crags and patterns in the rocks and dominates the skyline from many viewpoints along Highway 40.  From these reflecting pools a bit further south the mountain doesn’t dominate in the same way but I like the balances that can be found between the peaks and the elements along the shoreline.  Later in the morning, I worked the scene with black and white images in mind but with the first light, I was enjoying the splashes of colour.

 

Green algae under one of the ponds provided a green cast to some of the reflections.  I thought the shapes under the water along with the colour were really interesting.

This pond had a floor of stones which was another detail to play with.

With the pink light receding to warm morning sunlight, I liked how the land still in shadow had a cool tone contrasted with the mountain and its reflection.


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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