Landscapes

A night in the old port of Montréal

A silhouetted self-portrait in the Old Port, Vieux-Port, of Montréal in Québec, Canada.

Following the enjoyment of watching the fiery, hazy spell cast by la Joute fountain in front of the Palais des congrès, I continued on to the old port.  This area is the historical heart of Montréal and one I had not spent time exploring before.  Restaurants and cafes were winding down for the night as I walked past and people were making their way home.  That left the cobblestone streets, lined with some of the oldest buildings in Canada, to me and the occasional group of merrymakers and travelers.  I played with some long exposures, stepping into a few of those frames, and some motion blurs (images of the Ferris wheel on the waterfront from that night can be seen here).  I ended up getting pretty tired towards the early morning so  that impacted the photographing a bit but I’m glad I had time to have a look around.  I’m excited to get back there again in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully with more time and during daylight too!


La Joute – a fountain of water, fog and fire

Recently I was in Montréal and my first destination was the Palais des congrès.  A stroll down Avenue Viger led me to this convention centre and the beautiful façade of colorful glass windows that drew me there.  I crossed the street to frame the windows behind the fountain in the park there.  La Joute is the name of the sculpture fountain and it breathes fire!  I didn’t know that when I arrived though.  Standing at the edge of the fountain’s pool, I overheard a boy ask his brother when the fire would start so I decided to wait and see what would come next.

A few minutes later, a thick haze started to roll over the water and soon covered the pool and rose up towards the bronze sculptures of animal and human figures.  The presentation was impressive and had a gentle flow as it moved from water into fog.

A few people had gathered and were enthralled, as I was, when the first flickers of flame began to appear around the central statue.  These flames connected into a complete ring of fire and rose a foot or two off of the water.

The backdrop of the Palais made for a lovely atmosphere and a great scene to photograph throughout the sequence.


La Grande roue de Montréal

I had an extended layover in Montréal a couple of weeks ago and spent the night photographing in the old port area.  The ferris wheel on the harbour front opened last year and is eye-catching addition to the city’s skyline. I wandered down to the waterfront close to 11 with a warm rain starting to fall which found me thinking about puddles and reflections.

The wheel closed at 11 so I was lucky to arrive in time to watch a couple of the different colors they project onto it while it is open.  Afterwards it is lit in simple white but I liked photographing that too.  I will share some photos from around the old part of the harbour but for this one, it’s all about La Grande roue de Montréal.  There may have been controversy behind this installation and I am a sucker for Ferris wheels but I think it works as part of the waterfront.

This last one was taken quite a bit later in the night.  I went into the frame to fill the narrow slot with my silhouette.  I didn’t intend for that to add a slightly foreboding tone to the image.


A Black Diamond rainbow

A couple of weeks ago my son spied this rainbow as it arched out of a storm cloud rolling over the prairies east of Black Diamond.  I am very glad he did!


Northern Lights… softly

On the weekend there was a minor geomagnetic storm which enveloped the Earth for a couple of days.  Around midnight on Sunday I could see a green glow along the northern horizon so I walked down to the Elbow River.  It runs near my backyard and I was quickly down at the water.  A couple of hours saw a few sprites stretch away from thick Aurora band which stayed low in the sky.  However the Northern Lights were comfortable doing a slow waltz on this night.  Next time I’ll hope for a more energetic dance but I certainly enjoyed the quiet beauty that was shared.

 


Venus-Moon conjunction in the evening sky

Last Tuesday, April 17th, Venus shone brightly as dusk fell.  It joined a beautiful crescent moon in the northwestern sky.  Stars began to pop out while the night took hold.  I had been out walking my hound and thought the silhouettes of the line of trees above the Elbow River near my home would help frame the conjunction nicely.  When I got back to the house, I quickly gathered my gear and went out to the river – I’m glad I did.

As the moon dropped, I kept moving west, upriver, the descending tree line allowing me to keep the Moon in sight.  Some gauzy clouds came in low and afforded some interesting, hazy halos around the Moon.

Eventually the Moon slipped behind the trees and quickly disappeared leaving Venus glowing in a sky filling up with stars.

Before I packed up, I took one last long exposure facing west where the river winds past Bragg Creek and on to the front range of the mountains in Kananaskis Country.


Snowshoeing on the Elbow River

Last weekend there was a break in the storms where blue sky appeared for an hour or two in the afternoon.  It was cold but the sunshine was inviting so I strapped on snowshoes and headed outside.  The Elbow River is still largely frozen over so a walk along the plain at the north end of Redwood Meadows seemed a good call.  The clouds left with snow trailing just behind their departure.

I ended up playing around more than covering any real distance.  The slope from the berm to the river was a fun distraction as I jumped down into the snow and clambered up again a few times.

I ended with a short trek onto the plain and then back along the forest.  A few photographs of some wintering berries close to the berm coincided with the clouds closing in again.  The snow began to fly and I made my way home.

 


Gulls in motion under the city lights

Last week one of the snowstorms that came through Calgary picked up intensity after dark.  I was staying downtown near the Bow River and watched as the increasing snowfall was illuminated by the city lights above one of the bridges crossing the water.  A silhouette sped in front of a light at one moment and then a dozen more did the same the next.

A colony of gulls threw waves of their silhouettes into the storm circling low over the water and then above the lights for several minutes before they appeared to settle down.

I don’t know if it was the weather, disturbance by a someone or something or members returning to congregate for the night but they were excited for a short while.  I loved the grainy sky created by the snow and the shape of these dark blurs as they flew into and out of the light.


Vermilion Lakes – Winter Dawn


January’s lunar eclipse

I was very excited to get out to photograph the most recent lunar eclipse.  I kept an eye on the weather forecasts and knew clouds were moving over southern Alberta that night.  I hoped for a break in the clouds but when I woke up early that morning the sky was low and heavy with no stars, or moon, to be seen.  So, I packed up and headed west to see if I could get the western edge of the cloud front.  My first glimpse was between Canmore and Banff when I came around a corner and the moon was hanging in the sky.  That was not a safe place to stop and the moon alone in the blackness was not the image I had in mind so I kept going to Banff.  Thought I still did take that shot a little while later!

Clouds returned by the time I was in the townsite so I headed up towards the hot springs to see if I could find a good vantage point.  That didn’t pan out but when I came back down, the moon re-appeared.  Now it was falling quickly towards the western flank of Cascade Mountain.  Her and I then played a game of hide and seek as the clouds continued to drift in front of the red globe.

I framed the moon using trees and the mountain’s ridge line when the opportunities came.  Within a few minutes it disappeared.  I didn’t realize the image I was looking for but had a great time watching the spectacle.  I have been able to photograph several lunar eclipses and always deeply enjoy the otherworldly beauty as the moon slips into and eventually out of the sun’s shadow.


Sunshine over Spillway

In December while my son was in snowboarding lessons at Nakiska, I drove further into Kananaskis Country.  At Spillway Lake, along the Smith-Dorrien Trail, I found the sun laying low above the silhouettes of the forest and the mountain ridge lines.


Flashback Friday: Pelicans flying over the Sea of Cortez

It has been a couple of years since I went to Cabo San Lucas.  Thinking about an image for Flashback Friday, one from a spectacular sunrise there came to mind.  The fiery sky had me thinking about where to set up for a landscape shot when I saw a brief of brown pelicans flying low over the water.  I switched to my camera with a telephoto lens attached and watched as they rose off the water.  This let their silhouettes contrast sharply from the background.  That got me excited and I squeezed off a couple of photos before they dropped down again and continued southwards.

If you are interested in seeing a few more images like this one, here is another photo from the same flight which I posted that morning in December 2014.  And, another post where one pelican flew very close to me a couple of days later and I isolated the lone bird against the sky and the rising sun.

A few minutes later, I returned to landscape hunting and was not disappointed in any way with what nature laid out before me.