Calgary

Incoming

I found a small marsh as the day moved towards evening.  There were a few blackbirds, shovelers and other ducks swimming around the pools between the tall grass.  This mallard circled overhead twice and then surprised me by landing in the middle of the grass.  I expected the water would be preferred but I don’t know enough about these birds to pretend to know anything at all.  I was very happy to be surprised and she looked amazing as she flared her wings to land.


Splashing the clouds with color at dawn

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Before photographing down in the fog a week ago, I stopped along the Trans-Canada Highway on the hill overlooking Springbank to watch the sunrise.

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The eastern sky was starting to brighten quickly and I hoped the clouds would catch the early light.  The fog was quite close to the hilltop when I first arrived but it fell back down before dawn came.  The sunlight did bathe the clouds in amazing colors.  It was spectacular!

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Photographs from a foggy landscape

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Last weekend when fog stretched out across Calgary, I spent the morning photographing along the western edge near Springbank and east of the city around Delacour.  The density of the fog changed constantly which was great fun to play with in the images I made.

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At times the sun would break through the haze.  Some of those moments were incredible just to watch as shafts of sunlight pierced the fog and were then quickly absorbed.

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I returned to a weathered old truck that I’ve shot over the years.  The fog’s isolation allowed for some new images of this charismatic vehicle.

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Much like the train tracks above, I loved how the road disappeared – there is an ethereal quality that is lent to these images by the fog.

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The trees that dot the prairies individually and in small stands drew my eye throughout the morning.  Sometimes the fog hid them and sometimes it isolated them as with the truck above.  Often they were just beautiful scenes to enjoy and shoot before they changed into something new.

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Clearing fog under a rising sun

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On Monday morning fog rolled up from the rivers around Calgary and covered most of the city and surrounding areas.  I was near the Springbank airport at sunrise and the visibility was not much more than a hundred metres.  I photographed the sunrise from a hill above the fog and then returned to the airport.  This photograph was taken about 20 minutes after daybreak as the line of fog was receding towards Calgary.  I was surprised by the speed that it moved and even more so when it returned again a few minutes later.  This ebb and flow reminded me of the tides and was amazing to be in the middle of.  I will share more soon but wanted to start with this first view of the sun when the fog was rolling eastward.


Calgary at night: traffic in motion under the city’s lights

A view of Calgary's downtown at night - © Christopher Martin-0686

Late night light trails as vehicles move along Bow Trail.  The red tail lights streak towards downtown while the lights on the left climb out of the city centre.  Every few minutes the LRT, Calgary’s public transit commuter trains, slid along the tracks dividing the westbound and eastbound lanes of the roadway.

A view of Calgary's downtown at night - © Christopher Martin-0655-2

I walked to the Bow Trail Bridge near midnight in early January.  I often pass under this bridge and believed it would afford a good view of both the city’s skyline and the traffic passing under it.  The bridge itself has great curved lines and I shot it for a few minutes before photographing the cityscape.

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From the bridge deck, the view matched my expectation and it was fun composing for long exposures meshed with the skyline.  I’ll end with a slightly wider view of the scene.  I’m looking forward to a return on a starry night… or maybe during an exceptionally bright Aurora Borealis display.

A view of Calgary's downtown at night - © Christopher Martin-0643


A Cormorant in motion on the Bow

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I spent an evening on the Bow River at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary on the weekend.  It was a beautiful day, warmly lit in golden light, and I had a great time photographing the birds well into dusk.  Among the birds nearby were a few Double-crested cormorants fishing and flying around.  I photographed as they flew or swam by.  They are exceptionally fast birds and they often fly just above the water at speed which is exciting to watch.  After the sunlight had left the river, I caught sight of one of these cormorants moving upriver.  Darkness was starting to settle in so I dragged my shutter in order to use the lack of light to pan with the bird as it passed me.  I used a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second and it worked out pretty well.


Calgary Stampede – running and riding at the rodeo

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-245-2

I started this year’s Calgary Stampede with an afternoon at the rodeo with two good friends.  We were part of a larger band of harmless troublemakers so the party started before and continued after the rodeo was over.  Photography wasn’t my focus on this visit to the grounds but I did have some good opportunities from the seats in the infield right above the chutes.

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-95

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-105

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-156

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-3

It was great to see the cowgirls, cowboys and all of the animals in action.  Judging by the capacity crowd and all of their happy faces, I wasn’t alone.  Happy Stampede!


Lightning in the clouds over the Foothills

After the fireworks at Redwood Meadows last night, my children spotted lightning flashing to the east.  At that moment we voted to become storm chasers and we headed towards the prairies to see what the storm was all about.   It turned out to be far beyond my expectations!

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-388

This storm was hanging over the northern ridge above the Bow River and stretched from Cochrane to Calgary.  The size was impressive, but the electrical activity was truly spectacular.  The lightning flashed throughout the peaks and valleys of the clouds constantly for the entire two hours that we watched from a high spot near the Springbank Airport.  I will share more images from the night soon but when I saw this one, taken with my telephoto lens aimed at one spot that had been flashing steadily, I was excited to get a quick post out!


Kezia and Finnegan

Kezia with a River otter at the Calgary Zoo - © Christopher Martin-2103

On the weekend, my children and I visited the Calgary Zoo for the better part of a day.  We used to go frequently when they were younger but it had been a couple of years since we went together.  We had a really great time there with a number of fun moments watching the animals and having fun with each other.  When we visited the river otters, Kezia had this wonderful interaction with Finnegan, the son of the other two otters.   The otters are so curious, which matches Kezia perfectly, so when he saw her at the glass he swam by performing spins and rolls.  When she put her finger against the window, he followed it around to her great delight.  Two beautiful creatures sharing a little time together.


A hockey night in Calgary

Hockey night in Canada - © Christopher Martin-0966

I found this ice rink in a park near Marda Loop.  There were a few people playing hockey under the night lights.  I stopped for a few minutes to play with the patterns of the trees and lights against the rink.  I loved the setting and that everyone was out to enjoy this most traditional of Canadian pastimes.

Hockey night in Canada - © Christopher Martin-0978


Crowchild in motion

Crowchild in motion - © Christopher Martin-0241-2

Canon 5DIII with a 24mm f/1.4 lens: 13 seconds on f/11 at ISO 100

Vehicle lights trace lines along Crowchild Trail on a winter’s night in Calgary.


De-icing planes at YYC – revisited

De-icing planes at YYC - 2014 © Christopher Martin-070025

I originally published one photograph of the patterns of steam created by workers de-icing planes in January 2014, the day after I took the picture when I arrived in Arizona.  I processed the image quite minimally as I believe I was working off of an iPad and had limited time to work on the images.  Last year, a more true to life, and to my eye more pleasing, version was recognized in the CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition.  This version required some processing as RAW files are quite flat and high contrast images can require a bit of work to bring them out.

De-icing planes at YYC - 2014 © Christopher Martin-070525

For a recent competition I entered, I submitted a series of different images from the same time.  I liked the abstract quality of the steam created by the patterns and swirls, backlit by the just risen sun.  I wanted to share those here – with the break in the freezing temperatures this morning, I thought it was a nice reminder of just how cold winter can be in Alberta!

De-icing at YYC - 2014 © Christopher Martin-070825

De-icing at YYC - 2014 © Christopher Martin-072725

De-icing planes at YYC - 2014 © Christopher Martin-070725

De-icing at YYC - 2014 © Christopher Martin-071425