Author Archive

Loon on the lake

A quiet moment watching a lone loon between his dives under the water.


From the archives: Port Angeles sunrise


I have to admit to missing the ocean badly right now.  The pandemic has interrupted a couple of trips to the coast but a stroll through my image library helped.  I landed on some images from a morning two Aprils ago where I was on the narrow strip of land where the Ediz Hook Reservation for Native Birds borders against a US Coast Guard Air Station.

The sun rose just after 6 am.  I was on the shore by 5 and enjoyed watching twilight brighten the night sky.  The hour seemed to glide quickly past – as is often the case when I’m out photographing landscapes.  Not before I had managed a few different scenes of the blue hour on this interesting spot along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

When the sun was up, I did a little beach combing.  Walking through the wash of the tide, I found a few interesting miniature scenes.  This one was a favorite of mine.

 


Early summer flowers in Kananaskis Country

On a walk in the hills above Sibbald Flats a couple of weeks ago, we had a great time following a stream into the forest.  Flowers clung to the rocks in odd spots along the water’s run.  I broke up the hike with a few shots of them along the way.

If you are interested in the names, just hover over the picture and you can see them.

 


The start of summer lightning

We had a massive thunderstorm roll directly over our home last weekend.  A warm night met with heavy clouds with rain, wind and lightning all in large measures.  We have some incredible storms in the summer – this one felt like the first of those.  Here the forest in my backyard is silhouetted by lighting arcing across the clouds in the storm.

 


Swallow vertically

A tree swallow on barbed wire south of Cochrane.


Whiskey Jack on the wing

I love Canada jays.  They go by a couple of names (well I guess we like to call them by a few names) – I like Whiskey Jack and Canada jay more than gray jay but those are just my own preferences.  Some people see them as mischievous camp robbers.  I don’t.  For me, they exemplify companionship as I always flitting around in pairs.   I found this one in a tree and waited until it flew off towards the call of its partner.


Backyard isolation

The squirrels continue to race around the trees in our backyard.  Social distancing and self isolation obviously have no meaning for them. Still, I did identify with this one for a minute when it perched alone. Soon it resumed scrambling up the trunks and leaping across branches.  It drew a little closer to the balcony in short order.

 


Archive images: Sol Duc Rainforest

Last April, I was on Washington’s coast photographing in the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle.  The Sol Duc Rainforest was one of the incredible forests that I spent time photographing in.  I found the old growth with the density of wilderness to be stunning.  It’s a beautiful location to get lost for days.  I had a few hours and look forward, down the road, to get back for more.




Great gray owl in the late winter forest

On a solo outing to some remote roads, I found a gorgeous great gray owl perched on a telephone pole in warm afternoon sunshine.

A short wait ended with the bird gliding into the forest.  It found a perch there and moved to two other ones before flying to a knot of trees close by.

She scanned the sky occasionally, watched the ground steadily but did not find a target on or under the snow.  One launch had the owl drop onto a pile of deadfall.  I caught a nice launch off of a tree trunk and followed the bird up to her next perch.

Soon she flew across the nearby meadow and landed in a lone evergreen.  She flew along a frozen creek to a slender tee – a winter’s skeleton – that bowed under her weight.

 

And then she flew west, further afield, and well beyond my shooting range with the gear I have.

ng range.


Archive images: Last summer with black-crowned night herons

A small slough west of Calgary is a little gem for birds from spring until fall and one I like to visit now and then.  Last August I was surprised to find a few night herons perched among the long grass surrounding the water.  I had not seen them frequent this location previously so it was a pleasure to watch them for about a half an hour.

It was early evening, around 6pm, warm with only a rustle of wind – just enough to keep the mosquitoes away.  One heron found the conditions favorable and flew overhead at one point.

The herons were more active on the far side of pond.  However one bird was stationed closer to me and I kept my long lens trained on that one for the most part.  Eventually that paid off when a farm truck rumbled by on the gravel road behind me and set the heron to flight.  The launch yielded my favourite photographs – I am a sucker for images that capture motion and power – but I was spoiled across the whole time I was there.


Archive images: Summer snowstorm – Kootenay National Park

Last June I traveled to Radium with my children.  On our travels there we passed through the Kootenay National Park during an early summer snow storm.  We stopped along the Kootenay River to photograph the icy blue water and bright green of the young forest being met by the white blizzard.


Evening towards Kananaskis

A night on the western edge of Bragg Creek in January.  The clouds had incredible texture all afternoon and when the last light caught them it threw incredible pinks and purples across them. A cotton candy sky glowing to see the day off.  Same scene above and below – two versions.

 


Bohemians in the backyard?

As cool as that visual could have been, self isolation would frown on people congregating in our backyard. Instead, a flock of 60 or more Bohemian waxwings flew into the trees behind our home in the morning. They nibbled at the trees, and the odd chunk of snow hanging in the branches. Flitting around the forest edge, I enjoyed their industry for half an hour as the morning sun shone over the hills.  These are a favourite backyard bird for me.  They don’t come around my home often but it is magic when they do.


Backyard blue jays

The home isolation as the world buckles down is hard.  We are very fortunate to live in a forest so the time at home affords the opportunity to watch the trees and the wildlife that lives in it.  These blue jays come by a couple of times a day.  I’m sure I’ll be sharing more from my backyard for a while to come.  Be safe, be isolated and find hope.

 


Great gray owl – winter edition

 

Driving home through Millarville last weekend, I hoped to see a great gray owl along the edge of the forest that skirts the road toward Bragg Creek.  I had my camera beside me and my girlfriend and I kept eyes peeled for them on fenceposts or perched in the trees.

We found one amid a snow storm.  It was not in a stop friendly location so I took a couple of quick shots and continued along.

Happily, another one was waiting a few miles further along.  This one was watching over a field and was kind enough to have chosen a tree that was across from a small pullout.  We had time to point out the owl to the kids and for me to put a long lens on it.  After a few minutes, it launched out over the field and I had some good flight opportunities.

It had been a few months since I had seen a great gray owl so I was thrilled to get to see two that evening.  I’ll have to make sure I retrace my steps there again soon.


Aurora Borealis in the Yukon

Last summer we went to Whitehorse to visit my girlfriend’s family.  One of the nights, we noticed a few lines of color waving in the sky above our patio.  We hopped in the car and drove out of town.  Whitehorse is a pretty small city but the urban lights were too bright for the display to stand out.  We followed a gravel road up a forested hill to a stony field that opened up.

The moon had not quite set when we set up so the first half an hour had the bright moonlight, illuminated clouds and muted northern lights blending across the night sky’s canvas.

The moon set and the aurora display intensified as well so that the greens, blues and traces of purple rippling above were mesmerizing.  We stayed there for a couple of hours.  That was my first time to the Yukon and it was wonderful to be able to enjoy the Northern Lights that far north.  I hope for the same kind of luck when we visit there next.


Evening over Sulphur Mountain

With the day slipping away from the Vermilion Lakes in the Bow Valley, the clouds began to light up in the last light of the day.  This column started out bright white and soon burned into a hot pink.  It hung over the valley between Sulphur Mountain and Sunshine Peak brushing them with a faint pastel hue before dimming as night took hold.


An abstract with the moon

The crescent moon on my daughter’s birthday in January was beautiful.  Here I framed it between the silhouettes of the trees along the forest in Redwood Meadows. During the exposure (0.8 seconds) I moved the camera slightly to play with the elements and see what would trace across the image.  This one had an interesting look of motion in it.


Bald eagle in a tangle of branches

Whitehorse is home to bald eagles among many other birds – large and otherwise.  We found them on several occasions during our visit there last summer.  This one landed in these twisted branches and I was able to play with her framed by them.


Night fox in Whitehorse

We found this red fox near our B&B when we were there in August last summer.  The foxes in Whitehorse are not too hard to find but at 10:30pm, we weren’t expecting to see one in the gloom.  But this one stood out against the bright green lawn of a home that edged on to the forest.


A lounge leopard

… not a real leopard but this one behind the behind the bar at the Calcutta Cricket Club on 17th Avenue in Calgary is stunning. I hope to see one in the wild – perhaps with my friends in India – sooner than later.


A Christmas owl

I found this great horned owl on December 20th.  She was perched a couple of meters off the ground in a stand of trees along the edge of a farm east of Langdon on Alberta’s prairie.  It was just before noon and the day was cool but not frigid.  The warm sun was lovely as I walked from the range road to a position with a better view of the owl.  I was excited to photograph the bird – especially once I had the sunlight at my back and I could catch the glow of the golden eyes.

She watched the ground intently at times and tracked any ravens that flew overhead.  I settled in on a mound and waited for the bird to launch. Despite a couple of shakes and repositions early on, the bird didn’t fly then and soon the eyes were shutting for increasingly long intervals.

For four hours I waited before the owl jumped into the air.  I was in a great position but was chagrined when she flew away from me.  Hope returned when she alighted on a branch 20 meters away and turned back towards me.  A few minutes along and the excitement returned.  This time the flight path was towards me and she flew beside me on her way to another line of trees towering over a snow-covered field.  This time afforded me a great angle on the owl.


Happy New Year’s Day

January 1st has been a good, and wonderfully relaxed, start to 2020 for us.  The fireworks at the Redwood Meadows community sports field last night did a great job of ushering in the new year.  All the best to you and yours in this new year.

The fireworks were great.  Thank you to the people involved in the evening’s light show.

 


Dalemead dawn

West of the hamlet, Desirée and I watched the sunrise over the frozen prairie.  Despite the slightly wicked cold, the beauty of the snowy fields, black tree silhouettes and the deep hues in the sky was overwhelming.  The lens was in my trunk so when I put it on, it frosted up.  That was partially by design and partially due to a lack of planning earlier in the morning.  I loved the haze around the frame that resulted and had a lot of fun shooting with that for a bit.