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Playing with chickadees

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is well-known for living up to its name and being one of Calgary’s finest locations for birding.  I consider the paths through the forest that connect the viewpoints along the Bow River to be just as exciting as the shoreline.  There are Great-horned owls in the trees, a couple have been spotted recently but I could not find them, as well as deer, coyotes, woodpeckers, magpies and the list of animals grows considerably in the warmer months.  Easily the most interactive members of the community are the Black-capped chickadees.  Easily seen along the pathways, they are curious and like to come very close.  One precocious little bird perched on my camera and the day before another one had landed on my friend’s head.  It is great fun watching them flit through the brambles and chirp at one another.

 


Calgary Stampede Rodeo – more steer wrestling from day one

Jake Reinhart is a steer wrestler from Highmore in South Dakota.  He competed at the 100th Calgary Stampede Rodeo yesterday and turned in a 4.6 second run.  Enough to put him in the day money and move him closer to the finals on the last day of Stampede.

He also ran a nice line to keep the steer on course for Wade Sumpter (wrestling in the image above) who placed one spot ahead of Jake with a 4.4 second finish good for $2500.


Winter Passing on the Prairie

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On a drive back from Gleichen where I was photographing Snowy owls I noticed the sun sparring with chunks of cloud making for interesting lighting on the ground.  With strong swathes of sunlight and shade striping the farmland, I stopped for more than a few minutes to enjoy the land and photograph a few takes on it.


Kananaskis Lakes Winterscapes

The storm blew over in waves as I trekked around the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park yesterday.  Obscuring the far shoreline first, then moving across the ice and rolling over me.  This cycle repeated at both locations and allowed for some moody landscape photographs.

At the Lower Kananaskis there was a stretch of open water below the control station which manages the flow between the two lakes.  The patterns along the edge of the ice worked nicely with the distant lines in the forests and mountains.

Away from the water’s edge there was a man ice fishing on the lake.  I made this one image of him standing over his fishing hole – the compression of the lens telephoto lens makes him look quite close to the edge but he seemed a safe distance.

Upper Kananaskis Lake is completely frozen over now.  The blizzard was at its height when I was there so I waited between waves where I could see across the lake to the rock island and silhouettes of the peaks looming over the west edge of the lake.


Down the alleys with a superhero

Thursday night I was downtown photographing night scenes.  Hunched over my camera, concentrating on some abstract composition my attention was torn away by a blur of motion above me.  Looking up, I saw a flash of red and then… nothing.

I climbed up a fire escape on a lovely old brick building and that’s when I had a good look at the cause of my distraction.  He landed on the flight of stairs above and then leaped over the railing (as seen above).

At this point he was well positioned for an action pose and I managed to take one photo as he was staring at me.  A second later and he was scaling another wall up towards the roof top. Keeping up to him without a jet pack, flying surfboard or some other speedy contraption was unlikely so I just stood and watched as he spun a web and swung out of sight.

I went back down the escape and walked around the corner keeping an eye out for the webbed one.  I turned around intent on heading up the alley and saw him scaling a brick wall.  After clearing the doorway our neighbourhood friend launched upwards into the darkness where I lost him again.

I didn’t see the masked vigilante for a little while and thought he might have gone.  I was heading back to my car when I looked back over my shoulder and caught a sliver of his mask peering around a gate entrance.  I carried on to my car in one of the city’s underground parkades and was still rather surprised when the man spider ran down a line of parked cars and vaulted over my car.  I wish I had captured the whole sequence but I was only able to take one sharp shot.

At that point I was thinking that my chance encounter wasn’t chance.  I know photography was one of this particular superhero’s interests but I can’t say whether he was watching me out of curiosity about just what I was photographing or if he thought I may be a villain up to no good.  I should have asked, not that it was likely he would have responded.  When I pulled out of the garage, I had one last good look at this mysterious fellow.

I wasn’t thinking about it in the moment but, looking at the pictures, I wonder why he wasn’t in full outfit – was he just exercising a little after the day job, the superhero’s equivalent of going out for a stroll?  No idea, these and other questions are still puzzling around in my mind.  The imagination wanders… it was a very interesting evening.


Up into the blue

On Saturday evening, I was combing Bragg Creek’s back roads for a Great Gray Owl I have seen a couple of times lately.  I did not find the owl but enjoyed the scintillating blues in the sky contrasting with the bright white clouds.  I paused my search to watch the sky and see if any of the clouds picked up the sunset colors once the sun dropped.  I was mesmerized by these colors and contrasts and the scene faded to gray and then black in just a few minutes.