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My favourite great blue heron shot

Desirée shot this heron out of the sunroof while we were driving into the sun along Plummers Road near Priddis. It was beautiful light to see this bird in flight – but such a hard photograph to get. She has worked hard at her photography and built on her natural talent. I feel like this image is such a great reward for that: Artistic, dynamic, perfectly focused and truly beautiful. It’s my favorite image of a great blue heron. An incredible shot sweetheart!

In flight

This great gray owl was hunting in a field near Grand Valley Road a couple of weeks ago. On one of the glides between perches above the grass, she flew towards me and landed on a ranch gate behind me.

Common loon cleaning

This loon had a small lake to himself a week ago. After swimming around a small island once, he decided to preen. I am used to this being a relatively short session that ends with the stretch out of the water as in the image above. This time was very different and saw the bird splash, skim, dunk and flap for 15 minutes. I’m guilty of thinking that he was having great fun during his bath time. While this is not unusual behavior for loons, it was new to me for the amount of time and the exuberance displayed.

I had a great time was watching and enjoyed looking for dynamic images that I have never had the opportunity to photograph before. The head emerging from the water, wings outstretched perpendicular to the water, surface skimming while beating droplets into a fury around him were among my favorite moments. Here are a few of the images that put a smile on my face when I reviewed them a couple of days after the encounter.

Road warrior

After hunting along a field to the right of the road, this great gray owl flew low across to the other side. I left a few minutes later while she continued to closely watch the grasses while moving between fence post and traffic sign perches.

Great gray owl backlit in the morning

This owl was hunting along a field and flew up to this post close to me after swallowing a vole. The sunlight shone through the extended feathers as she flared her wings to land. The intensity of the great gray owl eyes was on full display as well. A few different elements came together to make an image that I really like.

The first hummingbird of the year

We heard a quiet buzz above our deck yesterday, looked up and saw a Rufous hummingbird hovering near our feeder. It was our first one of the year and one of the most welcome migratory birds that return to our backyard each year.

The see saw between winter and spring has brought a full variety of weather from each. A couple of weeks ago, this storm rolled over the prairies west of Cochrane, the wind bringing rain that became snow later in the evening. At this point, a little after dinner time, the clouds seemed to be inviting the trees to dance. In my imagination, they appeared to be reaching down to touch them – extending a hand with the invitation.

Water Valley dawn

On a trip to Water Valley a couple of weeks ago, I raced to find something interesting for the sun to silhouette as it rose above the prairies. These trees, still weeks away from any leaves emerging fit the bill very nicely. It was one of the prettiest mornings I’ve enjoyed in quite a while.

My favourite version was the wider view with the deep blue of the sky above in it. However, the tighter shot with the sun just above the trees and a color palette of gold, copper and bronze was a close second.

A night fox in motion

I found this red fox hunting in a field recently. It was well into dusk but she had no trouble maneuvering through the grass. Photographing her in motion was much more of a challenge. In this image, I dragged the shutter to 1/6th of a second and tried to capture that energy. She reminded me of my daughter, her spirit and her intelligence – as every fox that I see does.

An owl in the rising sun

I went out onto the Foothills last weekend to catch the sunrise. It was beautiful but this great gray owl stole the honors for the morning to me. I loved having her backlit by the warm sunshine while she flew to hunt in the field.

Amid a number of current challenges, I enjoyed getting out for time to photograph and put energy into this passion of mine.

Happy Easter!

The robins have just returned to our home this weekend. It was a nice surprise from the Easter bunny to see and hear them in the backyard again.

Desirée thought the image above suggested the bird centre in the sunlight was the hope of spring emerging from darkness of winter. I liked that a lot. She has a beautiful way of seeing things.

Equinox aurora revisited

Last weekend, I shared one photograph of the Northern Lights from the geomagnetic storm that hit earth in the early morning of the spring equinox. The aurora rippled high into the northern sky for a few hours. Desirée and I watched them for much of that time. Here are a few more images from an incredible night.

After leaving Bragg Creek to see the sunrise at Ghost Lake, the aurora faded into the brightening horizon. This last photograph of the rolling hills north of the lake suggested an echo of the Northern Lights. I’m not sure if they were there still or if it was more my imagination.

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