Sunset

Sunset over Springbank fields

Sunset over a field in Springbank west of Calgary.


Smoky Golden Moonrise

My son and I returned from a weekend hiking and camping with good friends in the Monashee Provincial Park in British Columbia on Monday night.  Wildfires have been a clear and present danger across the province for the whole summer and west of Golden we drove between two separate fires that were burning on mountainsides across the valley from each other.  The thick smoke obscured the flames and blocked out much of the sun.

It was powerful to directly observe something we have followed all summer remotely.  We stopped at a pullout briefly and then continued east towards home.  The day retreated and when we were nearing Golden, the moon rose above the forest and mountain ridge lines.

The smoke in the air from the fires, and likely others that were not visible to us, turned the sky a purple colour at dusk that moved quickly into a deep blue.

The nearly full moon shone brightly and had an orange cast to it.  Beauty from these wildfires that I enjoyed but that I would trade for rain there in a heartbeat.


Upper Kananaskis Lake – sunset and thereafter

On my way up to the mountains this weekend, the sun continued its struggle with the smoke from the wildfires.  In the early evening I made my way along Highway 40 and stopped several times to watch the clouds and sun in this unusual scene.

I ended up on the shore of the Upper Kananaskis Lake about an hour before sunset.  It was a warm night which I was grateful for – even in summer the wind can blow hard and cold across the lake at anytime. Over the next couple of hours a loon, a few people fishing and one large, extended family came and went.  I moved down the shoreline slowly, taking photographs of the sun’s descent towards the jagged silhouette of the mountains the curve around the lake.

The smoke acts like a neutral density filter and drops the intensity of the sun’s light considerably.  That allowed me to spend a lot of time exploring how the atmosphere, the sunlight and the landscape could be composed.  All three changed in appearance and shape as the sun descended.

When the sun drew close to the mountains, the colors deepened and the silhouettes of the mountains were fantastic against the sky.

The fiery hues disappeared quickly once the sun fell behind the mountains.  That left cooler tones to quietly take hold.  At that point, I was alone on the shore and the tranquility held me there for a long while.

 

 


Smoky sunset on the prairie

 

The sun has taken on a strange appearance each of the last few evenings.  The smoke from the wildfires to the west was thick in the foothills west of Calgary last Thursday when I stopped along Highway 8.  The pink globe in the sky drew my attention and, once stopped, I enjoyed watching the small clouds drifting past.  This one looked like a dancing bull, or maybe a bison in full stride, as it charged across the sun.


Winter prairie landscapes

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I spent a lot of time on the prairies in December.  These days started early in the morning so I was able to enjoy watching night give way to day.  And several hours later, watch the principles switch as the short daylight hours ran out.

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An autumn sunset in the sky

Sunset in the sky over Springbank © Christopher Martin-0767

The sky in late October near the Rocky mountains often serves as a fantastic canvas for clouds, wind and sunshine to paint as they mix, blend and tear apart.  I live on the eastern flank of the Rockies and am fortunate to be able to see a fair number of these beautiful collisions.  This one was just before sunset in the third week of October on a recently paved country road off of Highway 8 between Bragg Creek and Calgary.


Rainbows over Medicine Lake at sunset

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A double rainbow arched over Medicine Lake just before sunset in Jasper National Park.  Light rain fell on Kian and I as we watched these rainbows develop on the edge of a storm that had rolled up the Maligne Valley.  The sun was near setting so the sunlight was pure gold and the colors across the landscape were incredible.

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My favourite landscape photographs from 2015

Mount Athabasca in the first light of dawn in the Jasper National Park

I had fun pulling together this list of my landscape images that stood out to me.  Last year I spent time in some beautiful places near and far which certainly helps towards making pretty pictures.  Within those moments, I really enjoyed composing the images to try to create something more compelling than just pretty pictures – although I like those too!

Fireworks in Redwood Meadows to celebrate Canada Day

I felt like I put more effort into my wildlife photography last year but am happy with the progression with my landscape images.  The sky makes up so much of what makes or breaks a landscape image for me and I see my exploration of that continuing in 2016.  If you are interested in seeing these of images, please click on any image or this link to open the image gallery.  Thank you for visiting now and throughout the year.

A quiet prairie landscape before dawn near High River, Alberta


Evening skies over the Waterton National Park

Waterton Sunset - © Christopher Martin-4026

The night skies around Waterton were magical in the weekend that we were down there (Aurora and the Milky Way).  Even better were the sunsets we were treated to as night fell.

Waterton Sunset - © Christopher Martin-3345The golds came in softly and then gave way to deep purples and pinks as the waning light skipped under the clouds above the western flank of Waterton National Park in southern Alberta.   The first and last files were in-camera HDR images taken with my Canon 5DIII – I use this function rarely but for the second night’s sunsets, it seemed well suited to me.

Waterton Sunset - © Christopher Martin-3388

 

 

Waterton Sunset - © Christopher Martin-4020


Dusk in the Crowsnest Pass

Crowsnest Dusk - © Christopher Martin-3199

I had a wonderful getaway camping with my son in the Waterton National Park last weekend.  Along the way down there, I travelled through the Crowsnest Pass just as the sunlight was slipping off the peaks and giving way to the night.  I stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the transition and this photograph is the one I made from the many peaks stacked around the valley.  A mountain unknown to me but beautiful in its isolation.

August 16th update – my Uncle Bill, Auntie Ann and cousins Chad and Darren, who lived in the Crowsnest Pass area for many years, discussed this peak and confirmed that it is Mount Tecumseh.  Thank you family!


Rocky Mountain Sunsets

Chinook sunsets over the Rockies - © Christopher Martin-9867

During the chinook of the last few days there were several beautiful sunsets that I took time to enjoy.  Looking west at the Rockies is one of my favourite skylines and their silhouette at dusk often adds immensely to a landscape photograph.

Rocky Mountain After Glow © Christopher Martin-9926

Chinook sky - © Christopher Martin-1437

The chinook ended last night with the arrival of a snowstorm which continues this morning.  I’m not too dismayed, it was nice to have a break of warm weather in the middle of winter.

Ridges of fire - © Christopher Martin-9856


Thinking of warmer places

Koke'e silhouette - © Christopher Martin-3154

With the cold snap of the past week, I found myself thinking about warmer climes.  Hawai’i is usually at the top of the list for me and I pulled this 2012 image out of my library as a nice reminder of one of our favourite places in Kaua’i.  This photo is from the top of the Koke’e State Park near the Kalalau Valley overlook.  The tree is silhouetted against the clouds rising up from the coast far below this mountain ridge just before sunset.