Nature

Watching the hunt

I spent a bit of time with a great gray owl last week. It was later in the evening and it seemed to be looking for a last snack before dark.

I watched it crisscross a meadow of tall grass and make several dives out of sight. It came up without a catch on those.

Apparently, it felt like a change of location was required. Crossing the road she landed on a couple of old fenceposts and stared hard into the adjacent little fields but didn’t find a target worth chasing.

Success came when she flew out of a tall tree she had spent a few minutes surveying from. When she launched, it was a drop to just above the grass and then a sudden drop.

She swallowed while low in the grass and then rose out and flew towards me before alighting on a post right beside me. A couple of minutes later she went across another field and out of sight.


Summer lightning over the Elbow

The gods were bowling in the clouds late last night. The rolling thunder was preceded by steady sheets of lightning and a downpour that reminded me far more of a rainstorm in the tropics than one on the prairies. Once the rain died down, we walked to the banks of the Elbow River and watched as the storm moved eastward out of the low mountains around Bragg Creek. Forks of lightning peeled across the sky every couple of minutes for over an hour. It was a really beautiful summer storm to photograph.


Waterton – a look back at the landscape

Kian and I went camping at Waterton National Park in 2015. I had not realized that it was almost six years ago. When a prospective client asked about my favourite landscape images from the area for a print, I put together this little set for her review.

Link to the portfolio: click here

The Northern Lights color the night sky above Waterton National Park

It brought back fun memories. Looking forward to getting back there with my kids to create a bunch more.


Common loon cleaning

This loon had a small lake to himself a week ago. After swimming around a small island once, he decided to preen. I am used to this being a relatively short session that ends with the stretch out of the water as in the image above. This time was very different and saw the bird splash, skim, dunk and flap for 15 minutes. I’m guilty of thinking that he was having great fun during his bath time. While this is not unusual behavior for loons, it was new to me for the amount of time and the exuberance displayed.

I had a great time was watching and enjoyed looking for dynamic images that I have never had the opportunity to photograph before. The head emerging from the water, wings outstretched perpendicular to the water, surface skimming while beating droplets into a fury around him were among my favorite moments. Here are a few of the images that put a smile on my face when I reviewed them a couple of days after the encounter.


The first hummingbird of the year

We heard a quiet buzz above our deck yesterday, looked up and saw a Rufous hummingbird hovering near our feeder. It was our first one of the year and one of the most welcome migratory birds that return to our backyard each year.


An owl in the rising sun

I went out onto the Foothills last weekend to catch the sunrise. It was beautiful but this great gray owl stole the honors for the morning to me. I loved having her backlit by the warm sunshine while she flew to hunt in the field.

Amid a number of current challenges, I enjoyed getting out for time to photograph and put energy into this passion of mine.


Happy Easter!

The robins have just returned to our home this weekend. It was a nice surprise from the Easter bunny to see and hear them in the backyard again.

Desirée thought the image above suggested the bird centre in the sunlight was the hope of spring emerging from darkness of winter. I liked that a lot. She has a beautiful way of seeing things.


Equinox aurora revisited

Last weekend, I shared one photograph of the Northern Lights from the geomagnetic storm that hit earth in the early morning of the spring equinox. The aurora rippled high into the northern sky for a few hours. Desirée and I watched them for much of that time. Here are a few more images from an incredible night.

After leaving Bragg Creek to see the sunrise at Ghost Lake, the aurora faded into the brightening horizon. This last photograph of the rolling hills north of the lake suggested an echo of the Northern Lights. I’m not sure if they were there still or if it was more my imagination.


Sunrise at Ghost Lake

A man sitting on a park bench is silhouetted by a fiery cloud during sunrise at Ghost Lake, east of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.  Photographed on March 20, 2021.

After an incredible Northern Lights display in the early hours of March 20th, I drove west of Cochrane to watch the morning arrive. Ice still covers the lake though large cracks and variety in the surface color and texture indicate spring is loosening the frozen grip.

I arrived in darkness with a dim glow on on the eastern horizon. The glow brightened steadily and soon I was watching the fiery clouds catching the earliest light and waiting for the sun to jump into the sky.

The long night fled as the sun rose and I used the time to think about the cycles of the seasons, life and family. Good thoughts, I believe, for the Spring Equinox.


Towing the moon across the sky

I caught sight of this airplane just after it had crossed infront of moon in the early evening. The smoke trails connected them together. I liked the way that it looked like the jet could almost be pulling it behind.


It will DEFINITELY be a white Christmas at home this year

We had a bit of snow on the ground yesterday where I live near Bragg Creek, east of Calgary, Alberta. We have A LOT more today!

A snowstorm let fly yesterday evening and it is still falling this afternoon. It seemed like the snow was anxious to land as it fell aggressively all night. We woke up this morning with over 60 cm (2′) on our bedroom deck. Last night, the kids and I went out tobogganing soon after the snow started to fall. It was great fun and we stayed out until dark. Walking back, the nightscape with snowflakes illuminated by the street lights, Christmas lights and silhouettes of the trees along the road caught my eye. I grabbed my tripod along with a remote trigger and photographed for a little while. I could almost watch the blanket of snow rise as I shot. A few vehicles passed by, tracing their lights across some of the long exposures. The muffling of sound from the heavy storm stilled the night leaving only the sound of the snowflakes landing on the ground. One of the prettiest winter nights that I’ve been out in.

Desirée was in town while we played around and called soon after I returned home. Her drive back was a scary one as the same pretty storm was a whiteout on the road and saw more than a couple of dangerous drivers racing around to make it more stressful than was necessary. Once she returned, we all relaxed and were able to resume our wonder at this crazy tempest. A late night soak in the hot tub allowed us to be in the middle of it and stay warm.


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.