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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.

Morning flight

Mallard ducks backlit against morning sunshine rise off a pond east of Cochrane in Alberta, Canada.  Photographed on September 26, 2020.

No Trespassing Sunrise

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">I enjoyed a beautiful autumn dawn over the prairies northwest of Calgary near Big Hill Springs Park in late September. I enjoyed a beautiful autumn dawn over the prairies northwest of Calgary near Big Hill Springs Park in late September.

Using a headlamp’s red light, I painted this fence and illuminated the sign during one long exposure. There is a juxtaposition of the invitation a sunrise extends at the start of a new day with a sign meant to keep people away that I ruminated on while I photographed the morning.

Who knew deer don’t fancy fashion

Desirée and I were doing an autumn fashion shoot in Redwood Meadows for a local jewelry designer – Nicole at Stone Willow Jewellery – last night.

This young buck came by to see what was going on but wasn’t interested for long. Not much of a fashionista as it turned out. Silly deer – my lady was far more intriguing. He did enjoy the greens he found nearby though.

Aurora Prairialis

The Northern Lights have been increasing their activity into the southern Canadian latitudes lately. After what seems like close to a year of quiet night skies, it is wonderful to enjoy them again.

We found these dancing lights on the prairies south of Cochrane near the end of September. It was a calm display but hopefully a harbinger of things to come.

Rolling the moon down a cloud

The full moon rolling down a hill of clouds. Photographed on September 1, 2020 west of Calgary, Alberta near Bragg Creek.

We caught the first full moon of September on the first day of the month. The clouds spun and stretched across the sky during the moonrise off of the prairie west of Calgary. The moon leaped up quickly daring the clouds to dim her bright light. It was beautiful.

Hummingbirds in the backyard

Early in the summer, we had a couple of hummingbirds that visited our backyard. We had a feeder out before we went on vacation and I had a couple of great photography sessions sitting on our deck watching them come and go. These are a few photographs from those.

This is either an immature or a female Rufous hummingbird. I don’t know this species near well enough to say which one. Certainly a beautiful bird no matter.

A walk under the Trans-Canada

After taking back to school photographs of our kids in the countryside, we went to an underpass along the Trans-Canada Highway west of Calgary. It is covered in graffiti and offers an interesting juxtaposition with the rolling prairie.  This picture of the three oldest children walking out of the shadows was a favorite from this scene.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron over Frank Lake

After a day that started with snowfall, the clouds cleared in the evening.  Desiree and I headed south to Frank Lake to see what birds were staging around the shoreline.  With the unusual dip in temperature, I was unsure which birds may have jumpstarted their migrations and which would still be there.  We were treated to a large squadron of white pelicans which were the main focus of our bird watching and photography.  The sun fell under the clouds an hour before dusk and the light was incredible right through to sunset.  Aside from the pelicans, we had several species of seagulls, great blue herons, cormorants, hawks, coots, ducks and shorebirds that came by.  And, a number of Black-crowned Night-Herons too. Surprisingly to me, most of those were juveniles.  Which Desiree was able to identify as Night-Herons.  Which was great as I thought they were an egret or another type of heron.  The young look very different from the adults in this species of heron!  This photo caught the heron flying into the warm sunlight and I was lucky to have it catch the eye.

Cat Creek Waterfall

 

We started the September long weekend with a family hike up Cat Creek on the southern side of Kanananskis.  It’s a short walk through the forest that offers beautiful views down the Foothills and more intimate scenes in the valley.  It was late afternoon and we enjoyed being in no particular rush.  The trail has signs about the area’s history as main trail into Kananaskis last century as well as a short-lived period as a coal mining hotbed.  We arrived at the end of the main trail shortly after 5 o’clock and had the pond below the waterfall to ourselves.

Cold but not bitterly so, the youngest kids all had turns jumping in and taking short swims.  Desiree and I climbed up the cliff beside the waterfall and explored further upstream for a little while.  Above the cliff edges were striped with thick moss and the stream had several small drops.  However the waterfall at the end of the trail was rightfully the star of the show.  It is one of the prettiest that I have seen in Alberta.  That comment may be influenced by the company I was with – most of my very favorite people.  Nonetheless, it was a great location to take a few photos.

The walk back in the evening light was just as beautiful.  We finished with most kids sleeping on the way home.  A great day.

 

Storm clearing over Water Valley

Photographed north of Cochrane in Water Valley in the early evening in June.  The trailing edge of a storm had lost its enthusiasm with only a ragged veil of rain left to haze the Rocky Mountains slightly.

Perseid Meteor Shower over Bragg Creek

Desirée and I went out to look for shooting stars last night for our favorite meteor shower of the year.  The Perseids didn’t let us down and we saw a couple dozen on either side of midnight west of Bragg Creek.

The Milky Way stood out against the deep night and I was lucky to catch a few crossing that incredible arch.

 

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