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Ice fog nightscapes

 

During a cold night in November where ice fog spread low around the Springbank Airport west of Calgary, I photographed around the area for a couple of hours.  I started capturing light trails from traffic going through the intersection where the Springbank United Church stands.  Most of these exposures were close to 20 seconds to allow the vehicles to pull their lights through the scene.  Later I moved towards farm fields nearby and caught the moon as it rose out of clouds and shone over the mist.  The intensity of the nearly full moon allowed for shorter exposure times which suited me well – my hands were chilly by then and I was ready to pack it in soon after.

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Curves at the Central Public Library

Calgary’s new Central Public Library is an amazing space for many reasons. Last night I enjoyed circling the exterior for the first time, photographing interesting features at interesting moments as I went.

Above a patron standing at the stairs near the main entrance is silhouetted against the beautifully designed curving wall that leads to the doors.  A minute later, and a few steps to the north, a fellow photographer captured the curve in his own way while sitting outside.

Dippers and their questionable behavior

Not bad behavior, just one that I don’t pretend to understand.  When I was last at Elbow Falls, I photographed two American dippers as they flew, dove and splashed around the fast-moving water.  Along the way, one of the birds flew to an overhang beside the edge of the waterfall, and then slid on the ice before finding purchase in the snow.

It paused for a moment and then flew at the waterfall!

The bird flapped its wings to hover for several seconds only a few inches from the water where it fell over the edge.  I don’t know if it was looking for insects behind the water – surely not in the water itself!  Likely it was something else, maybe even simple curiosity or just because it could do it.  It was unusual and really fantastic to watch.

Dippers at Elbow Falls


American dippers are year round residents below the Elbow Falls.  When I was there before sunrise, I could hear an occasional chitter from one pair as they flew up and downstream.  As the day brightened I saw them a couple of times while I was photographing the landscape around the waterfall.

I shifted my attention to them and had two lengthy sessions photographing them.  The first began when I was taking the last couple of shots above the falls and noticed one dipper fishing in the small rapids there.  The bird splashed here and there, submerged in the flowing water and managed to hunt down a good number of insects in there.  After several minutes, breakfast concluded and the bird flew down the river and quickly went out of sight.

An hour’s wait separated me form the second encounter.  Eventually one of the dippers flew by and landed at rapids upstream from the falls.  That was too far for any reasonably interesting photographs but a second dipper followed only a little while later.  This one returned to pools above the waterfall which I have enjoyed watching them at often.  When the bird alighted in the water this time, I laid down on the snow to get close to eye level with the little bird.  I was well rewarded as it soon chose to ignore me and walked close by.

Winter at Elbow Falls – water, snow and ice

There is a beautiful balance of running water, ice forms along the river’s edge and drifts of snow at Elbow Falls right now.  Following an early start, photographing the waterfall before dawn, I stayed for a long time playing with these elements.  This is one of my favorite waterfalls and was happy to find a few new ways to photograph it on this visit.  A couple of American dippers kept me company and I eventually turned my attention to them as splashed around hunting for breakfast in the fast-moving water.  I look forward to sharing those images soon.

Elbow Falls – lit by YYC

I went to Elbow Falls yesterday and arrived well before sunrise.  As I stood above the waterfall, the glow from Calgary, ~50km to the east, mixed with the faintest hint of the approaching dawn to paint the clouds and to illuminate the river very gently.

Harvest ravens

Late October provided a window of warm weather that gave farmers the opportunity to finish their harvesting.  Driving near the Springbank Airport, I saw the dust plume generated by a combine on one field and went to have a look.  Often, birds and coyotes can be drawn in looking for any dazed or dead rodents resulting from the harvester passing over their burrows.  These ravens were four of a much larger group that were following behind the tractor.  I watched these ones as they hopped and flapped around, cawing at one another while searching for food.

Lest We Forget

On this day of remembrance, the 100th anniversary of when the guns at last fell silent and the first world war ended, my family and I say a simple, but deeply heartfelt, thank you.  Thank you to those who have served, sacrificed and given so much for the safety, freedom and well-being of so many.  It is the remembrance of these people and their legacies, as well as the heavy toll exacted on them and their families, that must not be forgotten.

On a personal aside, for those soldiers in our family who gave their lives and those who returned with memories no one should be burdened with, we love you and we remember.

A view from under the flyover

On my path towards the water for sunrise a couple of weeks ago, I passed under the 4th Avenue Flyover Bridge.  Curtis Van Charles Sorensen’s mural of the leaping foxes is a street art favorite of mine.  I liked how the curve of the bridge allowed me to connect it to the Calgary Tower.

A sunrise in the East Village

I stumbled upon the beginning of this sunrise as I was heading to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary last weekend.  Driving through downtown, the clouds in the sky looked interesting as dawn approached.  I parked in the East Village near the Bow River and grabbed my gear.

A long exposure, 6 seconds at f/16, made the dim glow to the east much brighter than it appeared to me then.  I saw this image on the back of my camera and raced to the water’s edge between the Reconciliation Bridge and the George C. King Bridge.

As the sun rose into the clouds, warm light filtered through the clouds spreading up from the horizon and across the sky.

A few minutes later, I framed a lone pedestrian crossing the bridge against this fiery backdrop.

The color faded to pastels just before the sun cleared the horizon.  A soft end to a beautiful daybreak in Calgary.

A surprising beauty

There is a book project that I’ve been invited to contribute some images for which saw me working through images from the Khutzeymateen and her wonderful grizzly bears this weekend.  Towards the end of the 2014 set, I found this one of a pigeon that had landed outside of the day room I rented between docking in Prince Rupert and flying out later that afternoon.  I had long forgotten about this image but I was struck by the beauty of this bird on today’s perusal.  Pigeon’s can be somewhat funny looking but I find this one to be rather charismatic.  The iridescence in the neck feathers grabs my attention first, but the pattern in the wing feathers holds it.

Halloween!

Redwood Meadows was a madhouse on Halloween night!  Packs of ghouls, Fortnite characters, Minions, animals and even a puffer fish roamed the community and many houses greeted them with wonderfully elaborate decorations.

My kids are growing up and this was the first time I didn’t go out with both of them.  My son and two of his friends preferred to strike out on their own which is great fun of course (and a little – tiny – bit sad for me).

Kezia, playing Ginny Weasley from the Potter-verse, canvassed the neighborhood with three friends.  Luckily for me they are a little younger and were happy to let me tag along.  We had a blast!

I managed to catch up with Kian at the end and grabbed a couple of shots with him dancing to the spooky scary skeleton song (an absolute favorite of ours!) before he separated from his steampunk skeleton alter ego.

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