Landscapes

Nightscapes in Kananaskis

A 25 second exposure and a fast lens (in this case, a Canon 24mm f/1.4 set at f/1.8) revealed wisps of clouds stretching east across the Kananaskis River valley a little after 4 in the morning on October 7th.  The soft green glow betrayed the Aurora Borealis pulsing low over the northern horizon.

Red light from my headlamp illuminated Highway 40 in this 10 second exposure that centered on the hazy Northern Lights.


Wintry autumn in Redwood Meadows

 

Following the heavy snowfall early in the week, I found a few different times to get out to photograph this interesting transition from autumn to winter.  The cold snap caught the trees off guard and the leaves have been falling steadily since.

 


An autumn walk in Kananaskis Country

Ahead of the winter storm which hit late Monday, I went to Kananaskis to enjoy autumn in the mountains.  The clouds were leaden, already suggesting snow when I watched them wrap around Mount Kidd in the fading darkness.

I waited for dawn on the low ridge above Wedge Pond.  The little lake looked beautiful but the brightening sky was much less so.  The clouds did diffuse the light which supported taking a few landscapes of the larch that ring one side.

I wanted to get a hike in so I packed up and headed off to the trailhead for the Galatea Lakes.  I grabbed my tripod, threw on my backpack and headed up.

The trail followed Galatea Creek as it wound up the valley towards the lakes.  I photographed steadily as I wandered along.  It came as no surprise that I hadn’t covered more than a couple of miles before I needed to return home.  It was nice to get lost really seeing and enjoying the forest, the splashing water and the mountains for a couple of hours.

I hope there is a reprieve from the falling snow, I would like to get back this month to see how the autumn landscape looks in winter trappings.

 

 


A sunrise in Springbank

The sun climbed over Springbank hill while I was heading into the city a couple of weeks ago.  I stopped at this stand of aspen with its blend of broken trunks, spidery branches and open canopy which I thought would provide an interesting frame for the sunrise.


An impression of autumn

When the snow was falling last week, I enjoyed trying to create some interesting images from the collision of weather with the fall landscape.  The photograph I shared earlier drew some very kind comments about the style of painting it was similar to.  I agree with Linda who saw suggestion of Pointillism.  Using a short exposure of 1/400th of a second froze the snowflakes in that photograph.  Here, I used a longer exposure of 1/40th of a second.  The slower shutter speed let the snow trace blurry paths through the scene.  I liked the level of abstraction that created.


A common loon swims in front of a low, rocky island on a calm, smoky morning on Upper Kananaskis Lake.  Haze from the wildfires to the west was thick in the mountains and often hid the mountains that ring the lake.

 


Sunrise moonset

At the end of July, on the 28th, the moon set very close to the same time as the sun rose.  That morning I went to a hill a bit east of Bragg Creek which had a great views of the sunrise to the east and the moon falling towards the Rockies above the western horizon.

Thick haze from the wildfires to the west softened the features of the land.  The sun, dimmed by the smoke, was saturated into striking shades of orange, yellow and red.

 


Calgary – a view to the tower’s lights

 


The night lights on the Calgary Tower caught my eye a couple of weeks ago.  I found an interesting perspective after moving around a bit.


Springbank electrics

The thunder and lightning rolled over the prairies several times over the past couple of weeks.  On August 1st, I went out to photograph dusk as the smoke from the wildfires has helped create some beautiful evening scenes.  The haze thinned after sunset and a large cloud took shape from it as the sky cooled into night.

While the color slipped away, the cloud grew and I caught a flicker of lightning on the northern edge.  Rain didn’t fall and the wind never really picked up.  However a fork crackled through the air every few minutes for the next couple of hours.

The storm slowly churned east towards Calgary and the open prairie beyond.  The trailing edge left behind a clear sky dotted with stars.  This last photograph caught the moon illuminating the cloud as it rose.

 


Sunset into smoke and silhouettes

The wildfire smoke gave the setting sun a fiery hue as it fell towards the horizon on the first day of August.  A few minutes earlier I had watched as it slipped into the clouds rendered indistinct in the hazy atmosphere.  When the orb re-appeared just above the horizon, with the pink light tracing out the tops of the cloud bank, I enjoyed this beautiful moment.


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In a sea of prairie green


Lightning over Lac Mercier

This lake is near Mont-Tremblant and has a lovely beach where my son and I swam the day before this heavy storm blew through the Laurentian Mountains.

The lightning strikes came in sets, striking the hills across the water.  Beside the beach is a pier and a small covered area where I was able to hide from the rain.  That afforded a wonderful view of the lake and back towards the vibrant little town.  Of course, much of that view was illuminated only by the flashes of lightning – most along the hills across the water but a couple were over the community.


I felt the accompanying thunder from those deep in my chest.  Frequently, the wind ripped through the valley and drove the rain horizontally.  The temperature dropped fast when the storm approached and stayed cool through the evening.  I was glad for the rain gear I had stashed in my pack.

There were occasional stretches where everything calmed down, almost to catch a collective breath, but the storm crashed across the mountains relentlessly otherwise.  A proper summer storm by every measure.  After a couple of hours, the rain picked up even more and I thought it was well past time to get home.