Landscapes

Nightlines and the Brandenburg Tor

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-9018

The Brandenburg Gate is a beautiful monument that has been at the centre of pivotal moments in history since its construction completed in 1791.  The Tor was commissioned by King Friedrich William II as a sign of peace; Napoleon marched through it in triumph; it was closed to all through the cold war, dividing Berlin – and the world,  and divided Berlin and the world; and then it was where the wall first fell and was where the city and Germany reunified.  Coming full circle, it has now come to represent peace as well as unity in the country and in Europe.

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-9020

I was excited to photograph this icon and visited there several times through my week in Berlin.  One visit was after midnight and I set up on the west side of the where three streets meet.  I wanted to create some long exposures to let the lights from the vehicles create streaks in front of the gate.  It is a stunning structure and I enjoyed spending time there and making these images.

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-9028

When night fell, I had been hanging around the Spree River near Berliner Dom so it was not a very long walk to the Tor.  Coming from the east, I photographed the front of the gate first.  The Quadriga of Victory looks like it about to leap off the top and carry forward.

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-8993

It is a stunning structure and I enjoyed spending time there and making these images.  With recent events within Germany and other parts of Europe, a visit seemed timely and it would serve many well to consider what the Brandenburg Gate has come to represent from many years of hard learned lessons about peace and unity.


More from the Canada Day lightning storm

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-390

When my children and I decided to head out from Redwood Meadows to find a good vantage point to watch the lightning storm hanging over the Bow River between Cochrane and Calgary, we stopped when we got past the edge of the forest and could first see the storm itself.

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-184

We found a spot 10 miles from the closest edge of the storm and watched the show which rippled and flashed in the massive clouds rising off the northern horizon.

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-201

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-292

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-570-2

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-301

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-431

At one point while we were watching the lightning erupting at 3, 4 or 5 different places at once, my son said, “Baby Thor is having a temper tantrum”.  That seemed about right and apparently he has an enormous amount of energy because the lightning flashed and the bolts flew constantly for the two hours that I was there.

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-357

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-506

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-405

I re-worked the image that I first posted from the storm – cooling the white balance by almost 1000°K.  I really love how the lightning bolts crackle out of the cloud column.

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-388

On the way back, I stopped by a pond where the western edge of the storm, still busy with sheet lightning, was reflected in its surface.  A beautiful final view of the storm before heading home.

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-593

 


Shapes and shadows in Yellowstone

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-9020

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States.  The rings of color which the rock, microbes and water create are amazing and I had hoped to be able to photograph them when I visited in late May.  The weather had other plans and the cold, wet air created a heavy mist over the scalding hot water.  The wind blew in on gusts from the south creating waves of cloud.

Roads of microbes wind towards the blue pool of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in May 2016.

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8805

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8853

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8793

Occasionally, the elements would conspire and rifts would open in the sheets of white lifting off of the spring’s surface.  I walked around the boardwalk twice, enthralled by the isolation created amid the fluid transitions blowing by.

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8784

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8815

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8908

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8903

Grand Prismatic Spring - people in the mist - © Christopher Martin-8957


Images of the Aurora over the Elbow River

Albertan Aurora over the Elbow River - © Christopher Martin-5945-2

When the Northern Lights brightly lit up the sky on May 8th, I went out to a favourite spot along the Elbow River on the edge of Redwood Meadows.  The river there is dotted with sets of rocks near the shore which provide interesting elements and break up the reflection in an attractive way.  The landscape is beautiful and supported the main show in the sky above well.  The Aurora streamed across the sky from the northern horizon to well past the zenith.  The image below was taken with the camera pointing almost straight up.

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5930

 

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5979

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-6030

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5938


Mother’s Day Aurora

Mother's Day Aurora Borealis - © Christopher Martin-5949

There was an intense auroral storm that started late on May 7th and rang in Mother’s Day with vibrant ripples and sheets until just before dawn.  This session of the Aurora Borealis was the most vibrant I’ve watched over the past five years.  For three hours I watched the sky being canvassed with impossibly bright streams of spray paint. I enjoyed watching them on the northern edge of my community along the banks of the Elbow River.  I thought it was a great start to Mother’s Day and certainly worth losing most of a good night’s sleep to watch the sky.


Prairie sunrise silhouettes

Prairie sunrise silhouettes- © Christopher Martin-7733

Sunday’s sunrise shone through a narrow break on the horizon.  A storm coming out of the mountains darkened most of the sky but with the light rode in from the east and painted the leading edges of the clouds.  I was east of Bragg Creek along Highway 8 as the colour started to build so I pulled in behind a stand of trees that have great lines.

Prairie sunrise silhouettes- © Christopher Martin-7688

The branches silhouetted against the dawn gave me a lot to work with and here are three takes over a fifteen minute window before the colour drained out and the clouds stretched fully across the sky.

Prairie sunrise silhouettes- © Christopher Martin-7701


Late afternoon along the Livingstone Range

Late afternoon at the foot of the Livingstone Range - © Christopher Martin-6240

Driving along Highway 22 after a day with the eagles, I was traveling parallel to the Livingstone Range of the Canadian Rockies.  The foothills lead up to it in a couple of rounded hills and then the mountains jut up sharply from there.  It was an impressive scene with the sharp contrast between hills and mountains as well as light and shadow of the late afternoon.


Banff and the early morning blues

Banff and the morning blues - © Christopher Martin-1413

I love when I can get out early in the morning.  When it is pitch black as I get to my destination, I get excited as I wait for the first hint of light on the eastern horizon.  As the sky slowly brightens, there is a magical time ahead of any color in the sky where blues of almost every hue color the world.  I enjoyed one of these mornings on the shore of the Vermilion Lakes in the Banff National Park a couple of weeks ago.


A few more of the Burmis pine tree

Burris Tree and highway lights - © Christopher Martin-0241-2

When I photographed the Burmis tree, a limber pine that was between 600 and 750 years old when it died in the 1970s, I circled it a couple of times.  It presented very different looks as I moved around which was great fun to photograph.  I wanted to share a few of the ones I liked from this stop on the edge of the Crowsnest Pass.

Burmis Tree - © Christopher Martin-0245

Please note: those familiar with the Burmis tree will note that in three of images, and the image in the previous post, I have removed the metal pole that supports the long lower branch that extends away perpendicularly from the main trunk.  I rarely edit out things in my landscape photographs but I find that pole to be quite distracting.  It is necessary given that someone cut the branch in 2004 and nearby residents re-attached the limb and needed the pole to support the weight.  I am grateful they did this work but used some artistic license to create the final images as I imagined them.

A lone sentinel - © Christopher Martin-0261

Clouds from the west slowly advanced as I scrambled around, at first only hiding the stars but then dragging rain into the scene.  Sometimes that can make things more interesting photographically but at that late hour and with the wind picking up sharply, I soon packed up and carried on to Fernie.  I did have almost as much time as I wanted there so the weather’s turn was a nice push to get moving.

Burris Tree in black and white - © Christopher Martin-0230


The Burmis Tree

 

Burmis Tree at night - © Christopher Martin-0261

I have driven by the Burmis Tree, an Alberta icon, many times while traveling through the Crowsnest Pass on my between British Columbia and Alberta.  It stands out on a rocky outcrop just above Highway 3 where the road bends into the valley below Turtle Mountain.  This limber pine catches many people’s eye as they travel past with its gorgeous lines and skeletal beauty.  This weekend I drove past close to midnight and stopped for an hour to photograph the tree.  This image is from the western side of the hill facing east.  The limbs were backlit by the headlights of the oncoming traffic and the hill glowed red from their tail lights as they passed by.


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


Dawn along the prairie’s horizon

A fiery dragon over the prairie - © Christopher Martin-8907-2

Early morning is my favourite time to be out on the prairies at any time of the year.  There is a tranquility born out of the silence that hangs over the land before dawn whose beauty draws me in.  I love the big sky and where it meets the horizon as the sun approaches there is an evolving magic which shows different faces as the night retreats and slips away.

Prairie dawn - winter morning - © Christopher Martin-8959

This morning southeast of High River in early January this year was beautiful.  The silhouette of the trees and the grain silos provided great anchors in these photographs of the eastern glow and the blazing cloud that suggested a dragon’s nature to me.

Prairie dawn - winter morning - © Christopher Martin-8977

Prairie dawn - winter morning - © Christopher Martin-8857


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