Weather

Springbank electrics

The thunder and lightning rolled over the prairies several times over the past couple of weeks.  On August 1st, I went out to photograph dusk as the smoke from the wildfires has helped create some beautiful evening scenes.  The haze thinned after sunset and a large cloud took shape from it as the sky cooled into night.

While the color slipped away, the cloud grew and I caught a flicker of lightning on the northern edge.  Rain didn’t fall and the wind never really picked up.  However a fork crackled through the air every few minutes for the next couple of hours.

The storm slowly churned east towards Calgary and the open prairie beyond.  The trailing edge left behind a clear sky dotted with stars.  This last photograph caught the moon illuminating the cloud as it rose.

 

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Lightning over Lac Mercier

This lake is near Mont-Tremblant and has a lovely beach where my son and I swam the day before this heavy storm blew through the Laurentian Mountains.

The lightning strikes came in sets, striking the hills across the water.  Beside the beach is a pier and a small covered area where I was able to hide from the rain.  That afforded a wonderful view of the lake and back towards the vibrant little town.  Of course, much of that view was illuminated only by the flashes of lightning – most along the hills across the water but a couple were over the community.


I felt the accompanying thunder from those deep in my chest.  Frequently, the wind ripped through the valley and drove the rain horizontally.  The temperature dropped fast when the storm approached and stayed cool through the evening.  I was glad for the rain gear I had stashed in my pack.

There were occasional stretches where everything calmed down, almost to catch a collective breath, but the storm crashed across the mountains relentlessly otherwise.  A proper summer storm by every measure.  After a couple of hours, the rain picked up even more and I thought it was well past time to get home.


Lightning strikes over Lac Mercier

A fierce thunderstorm in the Mont-Tremblant area of the Laurentians in Québec last night. Steady sheets of lightning, howling wind and hammering rain accompanied the thunder that rang across the valleys for hours. This photograph was from Lac Mercier just after midnight. When this lightning cracked, it shook the gazebo I was standing under. I left a few minutes later – I’d had enough and the rain that followed shortly afterwards was of an almost biblical level. It was time to get home.  I will share a few more from the night soon but my son and I are off to Ottawa to visit Parliament Hill.


La Grande roue de Montréal

I had an extended layover in Montréal a couple of weeks ago and spent the night photographing in the old port area.  The ferris wheel on the harbour front opened last year and is eye-catching addition to the city’s skyline. I wandered down to the waterfront close to 11 with a warm rain starting to fall which found me thinking about puddles and reflections.

The wheel closed at 11 so I was lucky to arrive in time to watch a couple of the different colors they project onto it while it is open.  Afterwards it is lit in simple white but I liked photographing that too.  I will share some photos from around the old part of the harbour but for this one, it’s all about La Grande roue de Montréal.  There may have been controversy behind this installation and I am a sucker for Ferris wheels but I think it works as part of the waterfront.

This last one was taken quite a bit later in the night.  I went into the frame to fill the narrow slot with my silhouette.  I didn’t intend for that to add a slightly foreboding tone to the image.


Gulls in motion under the city lights

Last week one of the snowstorms that came through Calgary picked up intensity after dark.  I was staying downtown near the Bow River and watched as the increasing snowfall was illuminated by the city lights above one of the bridges crossing the water.  A silhouette sped in front of a light at one moment and then a dozen more did the same the next.

A colony of gulls threw waves of their silhouettes into the storm circling low over the water and then above the lights for several minutes before they appeared to settle down.

I don’t know if it was the weather, disturbance by a someone or something or members returning to congregate for the night but they were excited for a short while.  I loved the grainy sky created by the snow and the shape of these dark blurs as they flew into and out of the light.


A snowy morning downtown

It was a surprise, to me at least, that a snowstorm blew across Calgary this morning.  I thought that weather wasn’t coming until Friday.  I took a few photographs near City Hall as the snow fell.  It cleared off quickly but provided a wintry reminder that spring has not taken hold quite yet.

Snowstorm in downtown Calgary- © Christopher Martin-5262


Winter’s return

Snow fell hard last night across southern Alberta and we had several inches blanketing the landscape by morning.  Here, my hound and I went out for a walk late.


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

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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.

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