Weather

Photographs from a foggy landscape

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Last weekend when fog stretched out across Calgary, I spent the morning photographing along the western edge near Springbank and east of the city around Delacour.  The density of the fog changed constantly which was great fun to play with in the images I made.

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At times the sun would break through the haze.  Some of those moments were incredible just to watch as shafts of sunlight pierced the fog and were then quickly absorbed.

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I returned to a weathered old truck that I’ve shot over the years.  The fog’s isolation allowed for some new images of this charismatic vehicle.

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Much like the train tracks above, I loved how the road disappeared – there is an ethereal quality that is lent to these images by the fog.

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The trees that dot the prairies individually and in small stands drew my eye throughout the morning.  Sometimes the fog hid them and sometimes it isolated them as with the truck above.  Often they were just beautiful scenes to enjoy and shoot before they changed into something new.

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Clearing fog under a rising sun

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On Monday morning fog rolled up from the rivers around Calgary and covered most of the city and surrounding areas.  I was near the Springbank airport at sunrise and the visibility was not much more than a hundred metres.  I photographed the sunrise from a hill above the fog and then returned to the airport.  This photograph was taken about 20 minutes after daybreak as the line of fog was receding towards Calgary.  I was surprised by the speed that it moved and even more so when it returned again a few minutes later.  This ebb and flow reminded me of the tides and was amazing to be in the middle of.  I will share more soon but wanted to start with this first view of the sun when the fog was rolling eastward.


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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More from the Canada Day lightning storm

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-390

When my children and I decided to head out from Redwood Meadows to find a good vantage point to watch the lightning storm hanging over the Bow River between Cochrane and Calgary, we stopped when we got past the edge of the forest and could first see the storm itself.

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We found a spot 10 miles from the closest edge of the storm and watched the show which rippled and flashed in the massive clouds rising off the northern horizon.

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At one point while we were watching the lightning erupting at 3, 4 or 5 different places at once, my son said, “Baby Thor is having a temper tantrum”.  That seemed about right and apparently he has an enormous amount of energy because the lightning flashed and the bolts flew constantly for the two hours that I was there.

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I re-worked the image that I first posted from the storm – cooling the white balance by almost 1000°K.  I really love how the lightning bolts crackle out of the cloud column.

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On the way back, I stopped by a pond where the western edge of the storm, still busy with sheet lightning, was reflected in its surface.  A beautiful final view of the storm before heading home.

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-593

 


Lightning in the clouds over the Foothills

After the fireworks at Redwood Meadows last night, my children spotted lightning flashing to the east.  At that moment we voted to become storm chasers and we headed towards the prairies to see what the storm was all about.   It turned out to be far beyond my expectations!

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-388

This storm was hanging over the northern ridge above the Bow River and stretched from Cochrane to Calgary.  The size was impressive, but the electrical activity was truly spectacular.  The lightning flashed throughout the peaks and valleys of the clouds constantly for the entire two hours that we watched from a high spot near the Springbank Airport.  I will share more images from the night soon but when I saw this one, taken with my telephoto lens aimed at one spot that had been flashing steadily, I was excited to get a quick post out!


Snowstorm silhouettes

Snowstorm silhouettes in Kananaskis Country - © Christopher Martin-0890

I love the abstract quality that snowstorms can bring to landscape.  A heavy snowfall in Kananaskis near the Highwood Pass changed the treeline into softened silhouettes.  The scene was suggestive of charcoal sketches I still enjoy drawing.


A storm over Upper Kananaskis Lake

Storm on the Upper Kananaskis Lake - © Christopher Martin-0825-2

Back in October, before the snow had decided to stick around, I spent a stormy morning along the shoreline of the Upper Kananaskis Lake.  The valley couldn’t decide if it was fall and should therefore rain or winter with its snow.  The compromise was a heavy sleet that came across the lake in sheets.  Above, the clouds stretched apart and welded back together as the wind dictated.

Storm on the Upper Kananaskis Lake - © Christopher Martin-0836-2


A wicked lightning storm

Prairie Storm Lightning - © Christopher Martin-8527

One of my drives home earlier this week was made more exciting by a massive thundercloud just south of Highway 8.  I stopped near the Rockyview Fire Department in Elbow Valley and photographed as it rumbled past.  There were a few lightning strikes that I managed to capture but I was paying more attention to the angry beast.

Prairie Storm Lightning - © Christopher Martin-8558

It was dark, dark grey in the center, the edges were rolling fast and the temperature plunged by 10°C or more just before the rain began to fall.  I scurried back into my car once the volume raised up to a downpour.  Back on the road, I wondered how the storm would develop as it moved eastward.  The next morning, I learned that it contributed to the flooding and heavy hail that beat up Chestermere.  That was one of the mean summer storms we get in the Calgary area and I am sorry to hear about the damage it caused.

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On a cold clear morning…

Alberta Sky - © Christopher Martin-8649

This strange cloud and a few stragglers lit up brilliantly ahead of the rising sun.  I was driving east towards Calgary and stopped for a few minutes to watch what looked more like a stack of cotton candy than a regular cloud.  Mind you, whenever I think a cloud is just a normal one, watching it morph unpredictably as it crosses the sky reminds they are magical creations.

 


Wedge Pond Mists

Wedge Pond Mists - © Christopher Martin-0024

With the early snows of the past week, I was eager to get into the mountains to see how things looked up there this weekend.  I went up to Wedge Pond which sits below Mount Kidd in Kananaskis.  This small, shallow pot lake is a great location in the fall as it is ringed by a variety of trees and catches the mountain’s reflection in its quiet waters.

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It was overcast when I headed out but the sky was more promising in the mountains.  Before dawn, the mist started to rise off the water.  It was cold and seemed to be perfect conditions for the creation of low clouds and heavy mist.  That worked for me and I enjoyed photographing along the shoreline through sunrise.

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The leaves on the deciduous trees are just starting to change color so I will make sure to return in a couple of weeks to catch their golds and oranges.  The elk rut should start around the same time so I’m looking forward to hearing their bugling in the forest surrounding the pond then too.

Wedge Pond Mists - © Christopher Martin-0124

 


When it snowed, we went sledding

 

Kian's airtime - © Christopher Martin-9801

When they returned from school in the middle of our strangely early snowstorm, my son and one of his friends headed straight to the shed and grabbed their sledding gear.  There was no disappointment with a suspension of late summer, they were ready to toboggan.  I was happy to join them and we had a great time playing around.

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Dismount - © Christopher Martin-9818

The bent and broken trees, power outages, traffic accidents and many other challenges that this storm has unleashed on Southern Alberta has been hard to believe.  I’m glad that we were able to find enjoyment in the snow but our thoughts are with those not near so fortunate.

Kian at the ready - © Christopher Martin-9787