Nature

From the archives: Port Angeles sunrise


I have to admit to missing the ocean badly right now.  The pandemic has interrupted a couple of trips to the coast but a stroll through my image library helped.  I landed on some images from a morning two Aprils ago where I was on the narrow strip of land where the Ediz Hook Reservation for Native Birds borders against a US Coast Guard Air Station.

The sun rose just after 6 am.  I was on the shore by 5 and enjoyed watching twilight brighten the night sky.  The hour seemed to glide quickly past – as is often the case when I’m out photographing landscapes.  Not before I had managed a few different scenes of the blue hour on this interesting spot along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

When the sun was up, I did a little beach combing.  Walking through the wash of the tide, I found a few interesting miniature scenes.  This one was a favorite of mine.

 


Early summer flowers in Kananaskis Country

On a walk in the hills above Sibbald Flats a couple of weeks ago, we had a great time following a stream into the forest.  Flowers clung to the rocks in odd spots along the water’s run.  I broke up the hike with a few shots of them along the way.

If you are interested in the names, just hover over the picture and you can see them.

 


Swallow vertically

A tree swallow on barbed wire south of Cochrane.


Archive images: Sol Duc Rainforest

Last April, I was on Washington’s coast photographing in the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle.  The Sol Duc Rainforest was one of the incredible forests that I spent time photographing in.  I found the old growth with the density of wilderness to be stunning.  It’s a beautiful location to get lost for days.  I had a few hours and look forward, down the road, to get back for more.




Archive images: Summer snowstorm – Kootenay National Park

Last June I traveled to Radium with my children.  On our travels there we passed through the Kootenay National Park during an early summer snow storm.  We stopped along the Kootenay River to photograph the icy blue water and bright green of the young forest being met by the white blizzard.


Bohemians in the backyard?

As cool as that visual could have been, self isolation would frown on people congregating in our backyard. Instead, a flock of 60 or more Bohemian waxwings flew into the trees behind our home in the morning. They nibbled at the trees, and the odd chunk of snow hanging in the branches. Flitting around the forest edge, I enjoyed their industry for half an hour as the morning sun shone over the hills.  These are a favourite backyard bird for me.  They don’t come around my home often but it is magic when they do.


An abstract with the moon

The crescent moon on my daughter’s birthday in January was beautiful.  Here I framed it between the silhouettes of the trees along the forest in Redwood Meadows. During the exposure (0.8 seconds) I moved the camera slightly to play with the elements and see what would trace across the image.  This one had an interesting look of motion in it.


A lounge leopard

… not a real leopard but this one behind the behind the bar at the Calcutta Cricket Club on 17th Avenue in Calgary is stunning. I hope to see one in the wild – perhaps with my friends in India – sooner than later.


Holiday greetings!

 

I hope you are enjoying time with those you love these holidays.  Warmest wishes to you and yours.

 

 

 

 


Photography in silhouette

A photographer's silhouette - © Christopher Martin-8554

I spend a lot of time photographing on the edges of the day.  On this morning, as the winter sun cleared the horizon, I found my shadow watching me from the side of a hay bale.


A Water Valley trio

Water Valley horse trio - © Christopher Martin-6829.jpg

These horses were walking slowly alongside one of Water Valley’s backroads.  We pulled over and I took a few minutes to compose them and a couple of cows in a few different ways.  This was my favorite.  The animals were languid on a nice afternoon in the Foothills.  This field was beautiful to my eye with green and pale gold sharing space across the uneven ground.  I used a small aperture of f/22 to keep the three horses each in sharp focus while separating them from the forest in the background.  Beautiful country there.  I’ve enjoyed wonderful encounters with great gray owls there.  It was nice to enjoy another aspect.

Water Valley horse trio - © Christopher Martin-6829-3

I liked it in black and white too!

 


Autumn in the trees

It has come too soon but I am enjoying the beautiful colors that fall has brought.  Snow is falling this weekend so autumn may be cut short this year – we’ll see.

I’ve had fun playing with longer shutter speeds and moving through the focal length during some of those.  Some of the images have an abstract, painterly quality which I love.  I still like photographing the changing landscape in more straightforward ways too.  Most scenes I end up shooting in a few different ways to see which works in that moment. Here are a few from the past couple of weeks in and around Bragg Creek.

On a side note, it has been a long time since my last post.  I have kept shooting but haven’t made time to publish anything for a little over two months.  A lot went on through the summer.  The biggest change has been falling in love with a wonderful woman.  Aside from my children and how they continually amaze me, that has been the highlight of a summer that has absolutely flown by.


Avocets at Frank Lake in May

I went to Frank Lake in early May.  A short drive east of High River, this is a wetland controlled by Ducks Unlimited Canada and is designated as an Important Bird Area.  The migratory and summer populations both have a large variety of bird species.  I enjoy photographing there – it’s a beautiful location on the prairies, has abundant wildlife and offers a wide area across three basins to explore.

American avocets are one of my favorite shorebirds.  On my last visit, I had great opportunities to photograph them from mid-afternoon through dusk.  These are a few of those images.  Thank you for having a look.


Image

A red fox backlit in Bragg Creek


Forest panoramas in a storm

(Please click on any image to open a separate window to see these panoramas in a larger version)

I have been enjoying creating panoramas by merging a number of shots into one wide image.  The workshop that I went to on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington recently brought that approach back in to my plans.  It’s been a while since I shot them with any regularity.  The rainforests there are well into spring and were amazing to photograph for panoramic concepts.  Forests have incredible depth, details and patterns and that was a focus while I was in the Pacific Northwest.

When I returned home, a cold weather pattern was knocking around Alberta.  When a snowstorm blew in, I headed out to photograph the forest and see if any pano opportunities jumped out.  The storm grew into a blizzard.  It was cool to have the increasing density of snow as a variable to the images.  We’ve had a few really good days in the week afterwards.  Before the next one comes in this weekend.

 

 


Happy Mother’s Day

2013 © Christopher Martin

I had a great day with the mothers in my life.  I hope you have enjoyed the same, great memories or are the recipient of a lot of heartfelt thank you.  You have the privilege to have such influence over your (and personally, on my) children.  It is lucky for them it is so very well placed. Happy Mother’s Day.

2013 © Christopher Martin


Seattle perspective

A sketch of downtown while I rode the Wenatchee ferry across Elliott Bay.


A moose on the loose…

This moose was grazing in a marsh west of Bragg Creek when I drove by.  She stared at me for a minute, trotted through brambles a bit and then stared back to me again.

April 24th update: Thank you to The Mysterious Blogger for suggesting the title of this post – now updated.  And, to P.grover for improving my/our understanding of moose and threats to their health.


Eagles in the Columbia Valley

At the end of March, I had some time in Radium with my family.  I spent the mornings meandering along the Columbia River as well as some of the valley’s ponds and puddles.  This area of British Columbia seemed a couple of weeks further into spring than my home in Bragg Creek in Alberta.  Green was starting to show on the trees and in the grassland.  And on one lake, ice was still covering most of its surface.

The open water offered fish and the ice had some kind of insect, slug or some such on it.  Ravens and bald eagles were drawn in by both.  Over a couple of days I had some great opportunities to watch both and their occasional interactions.

 

 


American robin in a watercolor

 

Spring has returned the robins the fields and forests around Bragg Creek.  I found this one stirring up the leaves below these trees. She darted between the trunks and then flew up into the branches.  The diffused background from a narrow depth of field reminded me of a watercolor painting.  The monochromatic palette in the bark and dull yellow grass both warmed a little with the morning sun.  Her orange belly was a welcome splash of bright color.


The final hunt after an evening with a great gray

Watching from the branches, the owl dove after the sunlight had slipped away.  It had already been a great day of owls (long-eared, short-eared, snowy and great grays).  There was enough light for one more encounter.

 

The bird missed on the first plunge into the snow.  Then heard or saw something and shot upwards.   He flew away from me and quickly dove back to the ground.

With the second strike successful, he swallowed the prey and then returned to the trees.

Flying to a new perch after several minutes.  From there it alternated between watching the field across the road and the fence line directly below.

The light faded quickly and my fingers were happy when I returned to the vehicle.


Continuing on with an evening owl

Flying on from the beam, this great gray owl continued moving from one perch to the next.  Eventually it flew over my head and landed on the top of a tree still in the sunshine.

A couple of minutes, the portrait below and then it flew to a higher point overlooking another field.  That seemed a good point to leave her to her own purposes.

Almost immediately afterwards, we saw a second owl.  This one gliding between branches.  These trees were still in the sunlight and its warm tone wrapped around the bird as it flew.

The sun fell quickly.  The light and shadow drawing lines and space across the forest’s west-facing edge.  The owl weaved between those and the tree branches a couple of times before the daylight slipped away.  His eyes catching the light at some angles and hiding in the shadow at others.

 

There was a third owl that made a couple of sorties into a nearby field.  That was too far away to photograph.  And I was happy to stay with the owl in front of me.  That led soon to a pair of dives into the snow.


Spring equinox and the supermoon

I was happy to miss the moonrise on March 19th.  My daughter was performing one of her dance routines – where she sings too so I was in no rush to leave that.  Quick shout out to the Moto Café in Bragg Creek – thanks for hosting the recital – wonderful coffee, scones and atmosphere!

When the performers had all finished, I headed east towards the prairie and found the full moon still fairly low with the alpen glow hanging in the sky above it.  I knew this stand of trees and thought it’s silhouette, along with the color in the sky, would frame the golden supermoon well.  It felt like a great start to spring!


A crow’s silhouette

 

Raven's silhouette - © Christopher Martin-8363-2

Crows, like ravens, are known as clever birds but I think their beauty is under appreciated.  The iridescent purples and blues that can shimmer out of their black feathers are wonderful.  A couple of weeks ago, I watched a few crows flush off a fence near Cochrane.  I tracked this one and got lucky with this shot.  I loved the shape of the silhouette and how a tiny bit of that iridescence can be seen on one wing.