I’m enjoying day with my kids. I hope all the fathers who love, support and try their best to understand theirs are enjoying the same today.
A couple of weeks ago, I walked with a friend down to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Canada geese were massed along the Bow River in and around the cold water. Flights of these birds came in and out all morning.
I dragged the shutter and panned with the birds as they flew past to create blur and lend motion to the images.
A very enjoyable couple of hours went by and then my friend had to leave. I elected to stay and walked down the iced over path that parallels the Bow along the eastern edge of the bird sanctuary.
A young stag trotted along the rocky beach right in front of me at one point. He stopped for a few seconds out of mild curiosity before skipping around the corner and quickly going out of sight.
An immature bald eagle alighted in a tree across the water a few hundred meters away. It was watching the geese that congregated near the water intently. After half an hour it launched into the air, crossed the river and flew directly overhead. I love eagles so this was a highlight of the morning for me despite the somewhat harsh lighting.
The day was close to noon by then and I headed towards the ponds. A couple of magpies were making a terrific racket which drew my attention. Looking in the dense stand of trees I spied a great horned owl calmly perched a couple of meters off the ground. She stayed mostly oblivious to the angry birds and they soon moved on. I returned to check on the owl a couple of times in the afternoon but she was napping for the most part so I didn’t photograph much. It was unseasonably warm so I enjoyed spending time with the owl with no expectation for more.
There were two mule deer bucks nibbling on roadside grass that I came across last weekend. They were between the two Kananaskis Lakes and they ran up the hillside to the forest edge when another car passed by. This brought them into the morning sunshine which illuminated them wonderfully.
One of the stags paused at the top of the hill before disappearing behind the trees. The other walked along the ridge above the road for a few minutes.
He was enjoying the buffalo berries which are ripe throughout the valleys in Kananaskis now. I always think of these berries as being food for the bears but this fellow reminded me that they are a delicious snack for many of the animals in the Rockies.
The smoke from the wildfires in British Columbia and Alberta continues to roll across the west. That morning the resulting haze was quite heavy which warmed and softened the sunlight. Beautiful light to work with – a very small and personal silver lining to a massive issue impacting millions of people. This photo of peaks in the Kananaskis valley gives some indication of the atmosphere on that morning.
The stag kept an eye on me but with little traffic and me staying in my car had little provocation to join his partner in the woods. I left him still grazing and continued my travels around K-Country.
I found this beautiful doe and her fawn in Kananaskis Country – they were kind enough to stay for a minute and let me take a family portrait in the forest.
White-tailed deer are a bit flighty so when I came across this doe munching on some flowers (another dandelion hunter as it turns out), it was no surprise that the tail came up and she took a few quick steps away. She quickly returned to grazing so I wasn’t too much of a threat – or the flowers were too good to walk away from.
This White-tailed stag was found during a short drive into Bragg Creek on Christmas day this year.
We are slowly warming up to New Year’s Eve and looking forward to the fireworks that our local community of Redwood Meadows puts on. Always a great show – and they go early so the children get to enjoy them too!
I hope everyone has enjoyed, or is enjoying the last day of 2016. It has been a winding year for our family, as it often goes, but still filled with a lot of laughs and the continued wonders of rearing my two children.
The snow fell heavily last night after an initial hailstorm started things off. This morning there was two inches (~5 cm) of snow on the ground. I went out for a short drive into West Bragg. I missed the Great gray owl that a couple of photographer friends watched this morning. This mother White-tailed deer and her two fawns along the edge of the snowy forest made up for that though.
Bobbi and the kids watched a Lynx walk around our house and into the woods behind yesterday. I wasn’t home so that wasn’t a show meant for me but we do have less elusive wildlife that comes around. Particularly in the winter, some of the mule deer who live in the community clip clop onto the deck looking for seeds underneath the bird feeder. This doe was bold enough to visit during the daytime. She was rewarded with a pretty good snack being the first visitor in a couple of days.
In between the absurdly early snowstorm in September and the first winter cold snap that started last week, we had a great autumn here in the Foothills between Calgary and Banff. I spent a fair bit of time on the prairies and enjoyed some good encounters with their wild residents. The Great Horned Owl above was from a stand of trees west of High River during a great day where I had two separate encounters (one and two) with these beautiful owls. The one below is closer to home being a few miles south of Cochrane.
A beaver in the lake at Wild Rose, west of Bragg Creek, let me watch him swim on an overcast day where the ripples were soft and provided some nice opportunities. On another visit a pair of muskrat preened on the lake’s shoreline before returning to the water.
White-tailed deer are regularly seen in the fields as they stock up for winter. It was cool to see the young stag in the second image that was stag traversing the blackened earth in a much less recovered section of the Sawback prescribed burn that was done in 1993.
Another White-tail on the prairies stood on alert in a field south of Cochrane where I watched two stags rutting.
I was roaming the gravel roads east of south of Cochrane on the weekend. As dusk started to fall, I found a small herd of white-tailed deer in the middle of a field. There were two bucks standing apart from four does. The smaller male was prancing about a bit so I put on my longest lens and waited to see if anything would happen. We are still in the middle of the rut so I was hoping they might do some antler jousting.
And, as it turned out, they did. They clashed a couple of times with antlers cracking while they tangled head to head. The battle was short, frenetic and I felt very lucky to watch this moment play out.
After this skirmish the smaller one darted away and they stood apart for a minute before moving up a fold in the hillside back towards the seemingly unimpressed does.
The morning mists in Bragg Creek get caught in the trees when they start to dissipate as the day warms up. It provided a nice background when I saw this White-tailed deer walking through the wet grass.
With the cooler mornings of late August, mist becomes a frequent visitor before dawn in Bragg Creek. This young White-tail stag stared at me from a field near the hamlet which gave me a moment to photograph him surrounded by, and almost a part of, the mist on the weekend on a day that started very close to freezing.
This fawn was in a shaded bend of a stream west of Bragg Creek. I noticed this little one’s mom in the middle of the stream first but the light stealing through the trees into this nook grabbed my attention. I watched for a minute and then the fawn stepped into the light and created a good photo op for me. It is very nice when wildlife helps to make the images that much better.
The rain fell hard up in Kananaskis on Friday morning and it served to make this deer almost glow in the wet forest. There were a couple of coyote encounters and a beautiful sunrise that preceded this moment but this was really nice.
(please click on the image for a higher resolution version)
This fawn was trailing its mother along this cliff trail above the Elbow River in Kananaskis. The rising sun had just hit the hillside so the warm light soaked the hill.
There is a small pond just across the road from the firehall in Redwood Meadows. Spring is when wildlife is most active in this stretch of water.
It regularly overflows its northern edge at that time of the year and then fills up a much larger area, not even close to a lake but it becomes a much larger pool. This year has had a fair bit of rain so the pond has stayed beyond its borders for the summer so far. The other evening, the light was really rich and warm. With the hot temperatures, it was a draw for the animals. I was happy to watch them for a few minutes.
I put together a portfolio of wildlife that I have photographed in Bragg Creek so far this spring and just published it to my Portfolios page.
(Click on the image to go to the slide show directly)
This was for a client’s review of local wildlife images for some prints they are interested in and I thought I would put it up on my website as well. Reviewing the images from the past couple of months has served as a reminder of what a great season it has been to date. There are a couple of weeks left in some areas around so I’m excited to see what else let’s me take its photograph.
I find deer to be so alert that I usually can get close and keep them relaxed by letting them see me while I move. When they are watching me, I can take a couple of steps without causing them to bolt away. A small flash of movement caught in the corner of an eye or a stray sound will scare both small herds, and larger ones, away.
I did not get particularly close to this pair of white-tailed deer. I exchanged a few looks as I passed them while on a hike in West Bragg and they were already on alert so I made a couple of images and then continued along the trail that the line dividing Bragg Creek from the edge of Kananaskis Country. With the rain of the past week, I expect things will start greening up quickly now. I will get back to this field this weekend of the next one to check on both these white-tails and the foliage.
Yesterday, I was hiking in Kananaskis Country, west of Bragg Creek, morning along a trail that winds through the forest. The trees are often well spaced out and allow a lot of streaming sunlight to reach down. The highlight of the trek was finding a small herd of White-tailed Deer that were moving slowly towards the hills.
I stepped off the trail and shadowed their progress for a few minutes. I waited for one deer to step into a shaft of light and then tried to create an interesting image.
There were a couple occasions where everything lined up and I got close to what was in my head. In these pictures, I like the sense of the forest and the magic of sunlight.
I was enjoying the stroll in the woods when I was alone, save for the birdsong and angry squirrel reports, but crossing paths with these deer made it a very memorable day.
A chilly morning in West Bragg Creek gilded all the tall grass and tree boughs with hoar frost emphasizing the hold winter now has on Kananaskis Country. I wandered around a few trails before finding this muscular stag walking steadily through a field.
He watched me closely for a minute, pausing to check me over, before carrying on through the snow parallel to the path before crossing and bounding up the hill into the forest.
I encountered a second buck as I was heading back to Bragg Creek. I was driving on Township Road 232 and he was near the fenceline, partially obscured by a stand of reed-like branches. I was running a bit late and he seemed anxious so I only stayed for a minute to get this image before heading on my way.
I wandered away from the Lake Windermere shoreline and up a trail to this marshy field. There were two young mule deer stags lounging away the early evening in the tall grass. They showed a little interest for a minute and then went back to relaxing.
This buck stood up to walk over to a fresh set of grass. There was a bit of a glow off the velvet of the growing antlers in the soft light. With the buttercup wildflowers providing a little color and detail to the scene it was pretty easy photography. The osprey and the river otter proved to be more challenging when I finally headed back to the water’s edge.
A snowstorm obliterated the opportunity to photograph the “supermoon” on March 18th but I was out in a field the night before to see how the moon looked. The moon was impressive and it was really great to be out in the moonlight for a few hours. In the image above, the pink sky is the result of the city glow and the light from the moon. With two of the three deer walking slowly during the long exposure, they have a ghostly appearance.
As the last couple of deer trotted past, I panned with them. Under the moonlight they were dimly illuminated so I raised the ISO, opened the aperture and underexposed a bit to try to capture enough light to show the landscape with the deer moving through it. Even with the noise in this image I like the motion.
Below, a simple landscape image with the moon as it rises clear of a band of haze laying just above the horizon.
A long exposure looking west towards the mountains was one of the last images from the evening. The layers in this photograph from the lights, to the hill, the mountains and into the stretched sky are interesting.
As for the moon itself, I didn’t take an image that really showed the scale of it during this close pass unlike some of the incredible photographs I have seen around the web. This image was taken with a telephoto lens and then cropped in slightly. It doesn’t convey how close the moon came but it is nice to photograph our lone satellite.