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Those eyes…

We had two wonderful encounters with great gray owls yesterday. The highlight for me came when the second owl flew across the field to a tall post about 30′ away. I took some good flight shots there. Then he glided down and landed 2′ away on a fence post beside me. When he was there, it was incredible to share the space. Being that close I was awed by the power and wisdom that I felt from him.

He stayed there for around 10 minutes before I moved further down the fence. The wind picked up as the clouds covered the sun. The owl remained focused on finding dinner in the long grass but after several more minutes, with his feathers whipping around, he flew off into the trees.

Waterton – a look back at the landscape

Kian and I went camping at Waterton National Park in 2015. I had not realized that it was almost six years ago. When a prospective client asked about my favourite landscape images from the area for a print, I put together this little set for her review.

Link to the portfolio: click here

The Northern Lights color the night sky above Waterton National Park

It brought back fun memories. Looking forward to getting back there with my kids to create a bunch more.

Flaring to land

This great gray owl dove at something in the hillside grasses behind this sign. I wasn’t in a good position for that attack but I was when it returned to the sign post it was hunting from.

Snowstorm and Robin

In mid-April, snow fell regularly. The robins had arrived earlier in the month and I wasn’t sure how they would feel about the weather. One afternoon, I photographed this one for a little while. He didn’t seem to have any issues with the white stuff as he bombed through it and flew around to a few different spots around the yard.

A view of Kananaskis from Forgetmenot Pond

I love K-Country and with a break in the rain on Friday, we went up to Forgetmenot Pond for a walk around the water before evening set in. The mountains that stand to the south, west and north were all still snow clad and, surprisingly the pond still had ice covering most of it. It was cold, clear and beautiful.

For the photograph below, I shot the reflection of the mountains in the water. Slight ripples distorted the scene in a way I thought was intriguing. Another way to enjoy the views of the forest, mountains and their peaks as spring pushes into the higher elevations.

My favourite great blue heron shot

Desirée shot this heron out of the sunroof while we were driving into the sun along Plummers Road near Priddis. It was beautiful light to see this bird in flight – but such a hard photograph to get. She has worked hard at her photography and built on her natural talent. I feel like this image is such a great reward for that: Artistic, dynamic, perfectly focused and truly beautiful. It’s my favorite image of a great blue heron. An incredible shot sweetheart!

In flight

This great gray owl was hunting in a field near Grand Valley Road a couple of weeks ago. On one of the glides between perches above the grass, she flew towards me and landed on a ranch gate behind me.

Common loon cleaning

This loon had a small lake to himself a week ago. After swimming around a small island once, he decided to preen. I am used to this being a relatively short session that ends with the stretch out of the water as in the image above. This time was very different and saw the bird splash, skim, dunk and flap for 15 minutes. I’m guilty of thinking that he was having great fun during his bath time. While this is not unusual behavior for loons, it was new to me for the amount of time and the exuberance displayed.

I had a great time was watching and enjoyed looking for dynamic images that I have never had the opportunity to photograph before. The head emerging from the water, wings outstretched perpendicular to the water, surface skimming while beating droplets into a fury around him were among my favorite moments. Here are a few of the images that put a smile on my face when I reviewed them a couple of days after the encounter.

Road warrior

After hunting along a field to the right of the road, this great gray owl flew low across to the other side. I left a few minutes later while she continued to closely watch the grasses while moving between fence post and traffic sign perches.

Great gray owl backlit in the morning

This owl was hunting along a field and flew up to this post close to me after swallowing a vole. The sunlight shone through the extended feathers as she flared her wings to land. The intensity of the great gray owl eyes was on full display as well. A few different elements came together to make an image that I really like.

The first hummingbird of the year

We heard a quiet buzz above our deck yesterday, looked up and saw a Rufous hummingbird hovering near our feeder. It was our first one of the year and one of the most welcome migratory birds that return to our backyard each year.

The see saw between winter and spring has brought a full variety of weather from each. A couple of weeks ago, this storm rolled over the prairies west of Cochrane, the wind bringing rain that became snow later in the evening. At this point, a little after dinner time, the clouds seemed to be inviting the trees to dance. In my imagination, they appeared to be reaching down to touch them – extending a hand with the invitation.

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