Gulls in flight at Carburn Park

I like photographing birds – no surprise to those who follow this blog.  I’m not a birder with a long list of life birds but I really enjoy watching almost every bird I see, particularly when they are in motion.  Several days ago at Carburn Park the sky was overcast, snow fell and wind out of the north had a bit of a bite to it.  A great day to watch and photograph along the Bow River.

At one bend there was a small colony of California gulls.  A few flew off in the time I watched them.  Although these gulls are common around Calgary’s rivers through the winter, and can be easily found at any time, I had fun watching these ones fly by.


4 responses

  1. They certainly can be impressive–and such characters!

    April 12, 2018 at 7:55 pm

  2. I love all of your photos. I am hoping you can make some suggestions on some spots to photograph the Milky Way near Canmore/Banff. I will be visiting at the end of May and if the skies are clear I’d love to do some astrophotography. I’ve been to Canmore/Banff several times but have not done night photography there so I haven’t scouted locations. Thanks so much.

    March 27, 2018 at 8:47 am

    • Hi Mara,

      Thank you! I always appreciate your comments.

      I am sad to report that May is not a good time to see the Milky Way in Alberta. At that time of the year, the Milky Way lays parallel to and low along the horizon. In summer, June onwards, it stands up – perpendicular to the horizon – and stretches up through the night sky. I’ve learned a lot from Alan Dyer and this link is a great reference for photographing the Milky Way and details how it moves through the heavens over the year: You can check the Milky Way’s location for the exact days that you will be visiting – hopefully it will be visible for you.

      The Milky Way may prove elusive in May but one of our best Aurora Borealis shows was in May last year. I hope there is a repeat of the activity when you are visiting.

      For locations, I believe the Milky Way will be rising late in the eastern sky. In Alan’s article, he lists a couple of different programs which can pinpoint exactly where celestial objects will be at a specific time. The best views eastward from Banff that I know of are: the Banff scenic viewpoint that is up Mt. Norquay Scenic drive (it has an incredible view over the Bow Valley, the Banff townsite, Mount Rundle and more – if the Milky Way comes up enough that you could see it there, it would be beautiful); the Vermilion Lakes look eastward back to Banff and Mount Rundle but the mountains may block the Milky Way in May; Lake Minnewanka’s western shoreline could work well but it depends on the rise (again!). East of Canmore, you can drive along Highway 1A (Bow Valley Trail) eastward toward Cochrane (which is about 1/2 hour west of Calgary). It’s a lovely drive out of the mountains and into rolling hills. About halfway along is Ghost Lake which has a number of nice viewpoints on the north side of the lake where you may be able to photograph the Milky Way rising in the east. The McDougall Memorial United Church is one of these and is a pretty building which would provide a great foreground.

      Even without the Milky Way, the views throughout the day and night at all of these spots is worthwhile enjoying. I hope you do and that the Milky Way finds its way infront of your camera when you visit.



      March 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm

  3. There’s a poetic , almost mystical quality to the grey gull agains the pale sky. This from a bird most Albertans group with pigeons and magpies in the class of undesirables.

    March 27, 2018 at 7:58 am

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