Outdoors

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.

 


Holiday sledding at night

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7072

With the Christmas holiday in full swing around our house now, the kids and I went out night sledding on the 23rd.  The snow had started falling early that morning and kept going all day.  We went out earlier but had the most fun in the evening.

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7076

Kian had the idea to take some photos and I was onboard.  A drag of the shutter (1/10th – 1/6th of a second) with a flash of 1/200th of a second to create some motion blur while freezing the kids in action.

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7043

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7104

I played around as they sped down the great little hill just off our back yard.  They eagerly collaborated with the images – looking at the screen after each run to see what worked and what didn’t.

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7066

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7130

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7038

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7075

Holiday sledding at night © Christopher Martin-7039

We had a blast – a great way for a daddy to spend Christmas Eve’s eve with his daughter and son 🙂


A hockey night in Calgary

Hockey night in Canada - © Christopher Martin-0966

I found this ice rink in a park near Marda Loop.  There were a few people playing hockey under the night lights.  I stopped for a few minutes to play with the patterns of the trees and lights against the rink.  I loved the setting and that everyone was out to enjoy this most traditional of Canadian pastimes.

Hockey night in Canada - © Christopher Martin-0978


Parkour Kian at Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3260
When Kian and I were visiting Waterton we went up to explore the Red Rock Canyon.  Kian loved running on the slick rock and leaping back and forth across the stream.

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3257

I always love photographing him and when he’s in motion doubly so!  This was on the first day of our boys trip and set a great tone for the weekend.

Red Rock Canyon - © Christopher Martin-3252

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3231

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3280

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3281

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3282

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3286

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3244


Kian’s crazy jumps

The kids and I took their cousin up to the park this morning.  The playground there is pretty cool but the most fun we had was when the kids were jumping off some of the bouncy animal rides.  Taking a low angle, I wanted to make these small guys into giants.  Kian loved these photographs and said it would be alright if I shared them.

 

(click on an image for a larger image gallery)


Exploring the Rockies: a few summertime adventures in the mountains

I was working on some images of the active lifestyle in the Rockies for a client and thought the summer set would be fun to post.  With fall ready to give way to winter any day it was nice to recall the summer before the snow flies.

In July Jeff and I met a kayak team on the Kananaskis River during one of their training sessions.  We definitely had the easier work scurrying over the rocks photographing compared to waging war against and conspiring with the water.

When I was in the Tonquin Valley with Art Wolfe and Gavriel Jecan, I had a minute to photograph Gav as he was bouldering.  That ended when we noticed a grizzly bear among the rocks a stone’s throw away.

This guy, Chris as coincidence had it, was visiting friends in Jasper and came to Horseshoe Lake for one purpose: to hurl himself off this cliff about seventy feet above the lake.  I remember doing some decent jumps but shooting him descending was a different perspective.  I was impressed with his lack of hesitation and the nonchalance displayed when he swam back to the shore afterwards.  It wasn’t enough to convince me to follow suit though.

I photographed a group of para-gliders, hang-gliders and other fliers from their launch at the top of a ridge above Golden in British Columbia.  Watching them spiraling  upwards on thermals, as this lady was doing in the image above, was amazing.  I came away with a profound appreciation for the grace and the silence of these engine free forms of flight.

We went into the Tonquin Valley in August along a trail that started in forest, came up above the treeline and then slowly descended towards Amethyst Lake.  In the image above, our guide Sarah is leading our group out of the valley.  Seemingly not as adventurous as some of the other images, throw in a trailside bee hive and a six hour trek through rain and sleet, and I think it belongs.


Cochrane Lion’s Labour Day Rodeo

I was down at the rodeo with my kids and my parents for a couple of hours yesterday.  Here are a few from the events that I pulled off between runs to the fair ground and the snack tent.  After a rainout the night before, Saturday was beautiful.  A great small town rodeo – definitely part of what summer in Alberta is.

 

 


A look at the stars instead of the screen

We had a great weekend which included visiting my family in the Crowsnest Pass, spending the best part of the evening light with a bald eagle out in the Foothills and a hike with my wife and children around Fenland Trail in Banff.

Many photographs to work through, a magazine article to write, two workshops to plan and market – much to do but, when I came across this image during a licensing request, it got me to put down the keyboard and go outside and look at the stars for a while.

I made this while I was taking long exposures up at the Elbow Falls in Kananaskis.  Towards the end of my night in the mountains, I pointed the lens up at the stars and then zoomed through the range for a few seconds to generate some warp speed lines.

More posts on the Tonquin, Moraine Lake, a cliff jumper I met and the eagle soon.


Canadian Rockies Wildlife: Tonquin Grizzly Bear

Gavriel and I were working on compositions with two students among these large boulders when I noticed this young grizzly boar shuffling nearby.  He was up wind so he had not caught our scent and we were grouped on the far side of a house-sized rock so he hadn’t seen us yet.  I climbed higher on the rock and had a great view of the bear. 

He didn’t come too much closer before he noticed us.  Some people still think bears don’t see well but they are wrong – this fellow caught sight of me from a couple of hundred meters away. 

Our group of six photographers watched (and photographed) as he turned towards the shoreline and then walked parallel to our group along the isthmus dividing the two sections of Amethyst Lake.  We walked to higher ground for a better vantage point and found him loping towards the river. 

He dove in and swam across to the foot of The Ramparts where he walked along the far shoreline away from us.  In the image below he is just clear of the water and looking back in our direction.  I kept an eye out for him for the next couple of days that we were in the valley but did not come across him again.  A beautiful bear, I hope he’s able to fatten up in the next month before the snow starts to stick on the ground again.


Kayak Training Session in Kananaskis

Kayaking is a sport I’ve always been interested in.  On the weekend, my friend Jeff and I met up with a team of kayakers at Canoe Meadows on the Kananaskis River.  We had arranged with their coach to meet the team during one of their training sessions and photograph them while they practiced on the water.

Good guys, strong athletes and great water made for some fun photography.  Here are a few images from the session.

An aggressive charge by the kayaker and a longer shutter speed created an image which suggests the power of the sport and of the water.

The fast pace of the downstream sections provided a nice opportunity to drag the shutter and abstract the action a little.

Photographed just after dropping into this hole, the paddler drives in his oar and pulls himself up and out.

  The course at Canoe Meadows is highly configurable and the setup on Saturday appeared to be a good challenge that these guys had fun attacking.

A lucky break in the sheet of water splashing up affords a window into the concentration needed when you are playing in, wrestling on and fighting with a strong river.


Stampede Sunday – July 10th

I spent the afternoon back at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo on Sunday.  Some great rides across all events matched with fine weather made for a great afternoon.  The rain came with a fury later during the chuck wagon races but left us alone for the rodeo. 

As is the custom all of the day’s competitors come out at the beginning to tip their hats to the crowd and stand for the national anthem.

Here one of the mares, Lush Margie, launches Jim Berry of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on a short-lived flight.

Wade Sumpter of Fowler, Colorado leaps on a mini bull before trying to wrestle it to the ground.

Leaping out of the chute like a beast on a mission, Broken Lady gave Ryan Gray of Petersburg, Texas a pretty entertaining ride.

Joe Gunderson of Agar, South Dakota pulls free of his ride, Kalispell Whiskey, as the horse runs along the rails sending the cowboys up the rails to get out of the way.

Kelly Timberman of Mills, Wyoming in the middle of a good test with Jay Bar Nine.

A break in the action for the Red and White

Clint Cooper  leaps while his horse stands on the brakes during the tie-down roping event.

Mid-flight after being flung well clear of the saddle during the saddle bronc event.

Lane Stuckey of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta competing in the novice saddle bronc event gets bucked off Tough Alloy.

Cory Hines from Rocky Rapids, Alberta as he and Super Nest leap out of the gate during the novice saddle bronc event shortly before parting ways as seen below.

 


Calgary Stampede: Saturday’s Rodeo

I had a full day along the rails down at the Stampede yesterday. Here are a few photographs I liked from the quick scan of the wagon load I took yesterday.

The rodeo is a great event and I’m amazed by the performances of both the athletes and the animals.  Huge helpings of strength, balance and sheer will on both sides.  And, a lot of fun to watch.

I’m just heading down for today’s rodeo, can’t wait to get back down there.