Winter

Tobogganing in Kananaskis (again)

A couple of weeks after sledding on our tiny hill across the street, we went to the best toboggan location in our neck of the woods last weekend. The slope is somewhat dramatically called Suicide Hill by locals. We have gone there since all of the kids were really young and it is always a lot of fun. I titled a post in 2017 the same and it was fun to compare then and now.

We went late in the day which meant fewer people but came at the expense of the sun falling behind the trees shortly after we got started. It was still a beautiful day and we had a great time.


A whisky jack in flight

We have several gray jays that visit our backyard a few times a day. I watched this one land in the trees in the afternoon. When it launched, the snow sprayed behind as its wings flared out as it flew into a dive.


Skyfall

Desirée and I caught the sunset on the first day of the new year this evening. It turned out to be a beautiful end to the day. We watched the clouds play with the last light in the foothills on the eastern flank of the Rockies.


Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2021. Here’s to a happy and healthy year for you and yours. There is so much that will be nice to leave behind in 2020 around the world. I hope to remember the silver linings and the special moments from a long year and let the tougher ones fade sooner than later.


Christmas sledding in Redwood

I hope you have enjoyed a nice holiday and are able to close out a hard year on a good note. We have had a lot of time with our children which has been great. We had a massive snowstorm just before Christmas and we went out tobogganing as it was building.

Five kids makes for an instant party and we had a blast slipping and sliding around the little hill across the road from our house. We stayed out into the night before going back inside for hot chocolate. I came back out to photograph the falling snow for a while. It was too beautiful to pass up taking the opportunity to capture the wintry landscape in the dark.


It will DEFINITELY be a white Christmas at home this year

We had a bit of snow on the ground yesterday where I live near Bragg Creek, east of Calgary, Alberta. We have A LOT more today!

A snowstorm let fly yesterday evening and it is still falling this afternoon. It seemed like the snow was anxious to land as it fell aggressively all night. We woke up this morning with over 60 cm (2′) on our bedroom deck. Last night, the kids and I went out tobogganing soon after the snow started to fall. It was great fun and we stayed out until dark. Walking back, the nightscape with snowflakes illuminated by the street lights, Christmas lights and silhouettes of the trees along the road caught my eye. I grabbed my tripod along with a remote trigger and photographed for a little while. I could almost watch the blanket of snow rise as I shot. A few vehicles passed by, tracing their lights across some of the long exposures. The muffling of sound from the heavy storm stilled the night leaving only the sound of the snowflakes landing on the ground. One of the prettiest winter nights that I’ve been out in.

Desirée was in town while we played around and called soon after I returned home. Her drive back was a scary one as the same pretty storm was a whiteout on the road and saw more than a couple of dangerous drivers racing around to make it more stressful than was necessary. Once she returned, we all relaxed and were able to resume our wonder at this crazy tempest. A late night soak in the hot tub allowed us to be in the middle of it and stay warm.


Happy New Year’s Day

January 1st has been a good, and wonderfully relaxed, start to 2020 for us.  The fireworks at the Redwood Meadows community sports field last night did a great job of ushering in the new year.  All the best to you and yours in this new year.

The fireworks were great.  Thank you to the people involved in the evening’s light show.

 


Dalemead dawn

West of the hamlet, Desirée and I watched the sunrise over the frozen prairie.  Despite the slightly wicked cold, the beauty of the snowy fields, black tree silhouettes and the deep hues in the sky was overwhelming.  The lens was in my trunk so when I put it on, it frosted up.  That was partially by design and partially due to a lack of planning earlier in the morning.  I loved the haze around the frame that resulted and had a lot of fun shooting with that for a bit.


A pair on the prairie

 

I enjoy the backroads on the prairies.  This afternoon I found a pair of ravens perched on the peak of this weathered homestead east of Dalemead.  When they flew I tried to compose their flight against the field and the house.


Photography in silhouette

A photographer's silhouette - © Christopher Martin-8554

I spend a lot of time photographing on the edges of the day.  On this morning, as the winter sun cleared the horizon, I found my shadow watching me from the side of a hay bale.


A snowstorm’s abstract

Greedily, Old Man Winter has snuck past Spring once more and released another day-long blizzard across southern Alberta.  The snow fell in thick flakes, speckling the sky then blurring the forest as it neared the ground.  I’m looking forward to greenery, especially given how lovely Seattle was when I was there last week, but this was a storm which cast a beautiful spell over the landscape west of Bragg Creek.


Short-eared owls: morning and midday

A day with an owl encounter is wonderful.  In late February some friends and I had a four owl day.  Short-eared and snowy owls on the prairie in the morning.  Long-eared, short-eared and great gray owls in the foothills later that afternoon.  The short-eared were the first owls found.  After daybreak this owl flew along a weathered fence line hunting.

In the afternoon, a long-eared owl hunting was preceded by a short-eared flying overhead and hunting in an adjacent field.  All of these were at an extended range and in sharp light.  Both leaving room for improvements in the end result but it was great to observe these beautiful birds in different landscapes and learn a bit more about them.