Posts tagged “British Columbia

Archive images: Summer snowstorm – Kootenay National Park

Last June I traveled to Radium with my children.  On our travels there we passed through the Kootenay National Park during an early summer snow storm.  We stopped along the Kootenay River to photograph the icy blue water and bright green of the young forest being met by the white blizzard.


Happy Mother’s Day

2013 © Christopher Martin

I had a great day with the mothers in my life.  I hope you have enjoyed the same, great memories or are the recipient of a lot of heartfelt thank you.  You have the privilege to have such influence over your (and personally, on my) children.  It is lucky for them it is so very well placed. Happy Mother’s Day.

2013 © Christopher Martin


Eagles in the Columbia Valley

At the end of March, I had some time in Radium with my family.  I spent the mornings meandering along the Columbia River as well as some of the valley’s ponds and puddles.  This area of British Columbia seemed a couple of weeks further into spring than my home in Bragg Creek in Alberta.  Green was starting to show on the trees and in the grassland.  And on one lake, ice was still covering most of its surface.

The open water offered fish and the ice had some kind of insect, slug or some such on it.  Ravens and bald eagles were drawn in by both.  Over a couple of days I had some great opportunities to watch both and their occasional interactions.

 

 


Mornings at Radium’s Sinclair Canyon

My family spent a few days in Radium at the end of March.  I had not been that way since last fall.  Driving through the Sinclair Canyon’s narrow opening into the Columbia Valley this time, the steep rock walls grabbed my attention.

I went there early on three of the four mornings to play with those solid forms.  Lights from passing traffic traced bright lines through the long exposures.

The last morning was the earliest I arrived – a little after 4am.  I had some ideas for images with star trails through the gap in the canyon.  The clouds were not supportive of those ideas.  I watched them knit together and block the night sky as I was setting up.  Those ideas will get another chance later this spring I think.


A short spell with a few of Invermere’s belted kingfishers

It seems longer than a month ago when Kian and I went to the Columbia Valley in British Columbia for the Labour Day long weekend.

(please click any image to see a higher resolution version)

We had a great time skateboarding in Invermere, touring around Fairmont and even did a little swimming which was unreasonably cold for the late summer.

Photography wasn’t the focus of our trip but, unsurprisingly, I fit a little in here and there.  Easily the best of these was our walk along the narrow channel of the Columbia River where it meets the northern tip of Windermere Lake.  We found five kingfishers chattering, flying and occasionally diving along the water.

This juvenile alighted on the pillar near us as we were watching another one flying on the far side of the river.  He stayed for several minutes.  Drawing a flyby from one kingfisher but mostly left alone to scout for dinner before the sun set.


Flashback Friday – Khutzeymateen Mists

It’s been a couple of years since I last visited the Khutzeymateen Inlet.  A situation I hope to correct in the new year.  I may even lead a tour there next fall.  Thinking about the Khutzeymateen, it’s easy to relive the bear encounters (for me, those can be seen at this link, this one or this one) as they can be intimate in a way that I find unique and mesmerizing.  For whatever reason, I’ve been recalling the mists that rarely disappear in the valley.  It clings to the trees as the wind and sun push wisps, walls and blankets of fog up and down the steep mountainsides.  The continuous motion tears holes in these terrestrial clouds.  The view changes endlessly as they drag across the landscape exposing islands of forest here and a rocky shoreline there.

And, it certainly doesn’t hurt having these elements as the backdrop for bear photographs either!


Smoky Golden Moonrise

My son and I returned from a weekend hiking and camping with good friends in the Monashee Provincial Park in British Columbia on Monday night.  Wildfires have been a clear and present danger across the province for the whole summer and west of Golden we drove between two separate fires that were burning on mountainsides across the valley from each other.  The thick smoke obscured the flames and blocked out much of the sun.

It was powerful to directly observe something we have followed all summer remotely.  We stopped at a pullout briefly and then continued east towards home.  The day retreated and when we were nearing Golden, the moon rose above the forest and mountain ridge lines.

The smoke in the air from the fires, and likely others that were not visible to us, turned the sky a purple colour at dusk that moved quickly into a deep blue.

The nearly full moon shone brightly and had an orange cast to it.  Beauty from these wildfires that I enjoyed but that I would trade for rain there in a heartbeat.


Listen to the young

Mother and cub traveling along the Khutzeymateen Inlet towards the estuary

The theme for this year’s World Wildlife Day is listen to the young.  I love this celebration of animals in their natural environments and a focus on the voices that will guide our future.  Thinking about this day and this theme, my mind went to the Grizzlies in the Khutzeymateen and the mothers who raise their cubs in this bear paradise.

grizzlies-for-world-wildlife-day-christopher-martin-3176

These images are from a couple of different mother cub pairs.  When I was lucky enough to spend time with these bears, I loved hearing their voices.  I hope my children are able to say the same when they are my age.

Khutzeymateen Inlet, British Columbia, Canada - August 2013

I hope to give both my children and the bears the opportunity to share their voice.  I will always listen.


Waiting for the grizzlies

Khutzeymateen Inlet, British Columbia, Canada - June 2014

I’m heading up to Banff National Park tomorrow and the recent warm weather has me thinking about bears.  It’s far too early for them to wake up so I don’t expect to see any.  It did prompt me to look at the photographs from watching this mother Grizzly with her cub during a visit to the Khutzeymateen two years ago.  I can’t wait to see bears in both places starting later this spring.

 

2014 © Christopher Martin

2014 © Christopher Martin

Khutzeymateen Inlet, British Columbia, Canada - June 2014

A wary mother Grizzly checks for trouble further down the Khutzeymateen Valley


A Marten’s stroll at Emerald Lake

A Marten's stroll - © Christopher Martin-0293

When we stayed at the Emerald Lake Lodge in May, our cabin’s deck overlooked the path and the lake beyond.  While sitting outside to enjoy the view, I noticed this little fellow coming down the path.

A Marten's stroll - © Christopher Martin-0295

He looked surprised when I stood up and circled back to have a quick look around.

A Marten's stroll - © Christopher Martin-0302

I said good morning and he carried on with his plans.

A Marten's stroll - © Christopher Martin-0309

 

I did happen across him the next day as well, this time near a path in the forest but I missed a decent photograph as he darted in and out of the foliage faster than I could find and focus.


A gallery of Bald eagles

Khutzeymateen Inlet, British Columbia

I have been wanting to upload more portfolios of wild animals as the two I have had up for a while (Grizzlies and Great blue herons) seem lonely.  Towards that goal, I have uploaded a Bald eagle gallery this afternoon.  These are images from trips to the Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, Brackendale during the winter salmon migration and closer to home on the prairies.  These images are from the last couple of years.  If you are interested in having a look, please click on the eagle picture above or this link. I hope you enjoy.


A Sunbow in Yoho

Our family enjoyed a beautiful weekend at Emerald Lake in the Yoho National Park on the weekend.  On Sunday, while enjoying the warm sunshine and vibrant air, Bobbi became aware of a vivid sunbow overhead.  Many spiritually attuned cultures and people have stated this is a sign from the creator and can mark a time of great change or transition.  We were honoured to share space with this one.

Sunbow in Yoho - © Christopher Martin-0690

 

Sunbows are also called Whirling Rainbows by some North American First Nations.  The Hopi and Navajo share the Whirling Rainbow prophecy, which reads:

“There will come a day when people of all races, colors, and creeds will put aside their differences. They will come together in love, joining hands in unification, to heal the Earth and all Her children. They will move over the Earth like a great Whirling Rainbow, bringing peace, understanding and healing everywhere they go. Many creatures thought to be extinct or mythical will resurface at this time; the great trees that perished will return almost overnight. All living things will flourish, drawing sustenance from the breast of our Mother, the Earth.

The great spiritual Teachers who walked the Earth and taught the basics of the truths of the Whirling Rainbow Prophecy will return and walk amongst us once more, sharing their power and understanding with all. We will learn how to see and hear in a sacred manner. Men and women will be equals in the way Creator intended them to be; all children will be safe anywhere they want to go. Elders will be respected and valued for their contributions to life. Their wisdom will be sought out. The whole Human race will be called The People and there will be no more war, sickness or hunger forever”

The text of the prophecy is copied, with permission, from Dorothy at the Life Heart and Soul blog.

Sunbow with ravens in Yoho - © Christopher Martin-0672

Raven is the creator in some Native American histories.  There were two ravens circling inside of the ring which made the experience increasingly profound.  The two ravens can be seen only as specks in the second photo – one just to the left of the sun and the other just above the leftmost tree’s silhouette.


Eagles in the Elk Valley


Elk Eagle Valley - © Christopher Martin-0150

We were in Fernie a couple of weeks ago and on the drive home found a few Bald eagles who were flying around a carcass that had been pulled a few hundred meters off the highway.  They scattered when we first stopped but came circling back around the trees and back to the easy meal.  A nice break during the lean winter months.

Elk Eagle Valley - © Christopher Martin-0157

Elk Eagle Valley - © Christopher Martin-0161

 


Grazing in the estuary

 

2014 © Christopher Martin

When I was in the Khutzeymateen (K’tzim-a-deen) in June, the sedge was waist-high in the estuary which sits at the end of park’s fjord.  The Grizzly bears come out of hibernation in late May or early June and the grass is growing fast and waiting for them.  We spent an hour watching this boar mowing a path through the green.  He was a big, beautiful bear and it was a privilege to spend some time watching him in his valley.

2014 © Christopher Martin

(Click any image to open a higher resolution version in its own webpage)

Grizzly and grass - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We took the zodiac from the sailboat in the morning and were lucky that the weather didn’t beat us up.  The rain varied between a drizzle and a downpour which provided great mood to some of the images.   Being in the Great Bear Rainforest on the west coast, it can rain hard and often does.  There is a point where it is impossible to photograph, or even stay outside, but that day it went easy on us and played nicely.  Along the way we saw several bears at different points in the estuary and only headed out when the tide started to come in.

Khutzeymateen Grizzly - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Looking up - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Grizzly and grass - 2014 © Christopher Martin –

Sitting down for dinner - 2014 © Christopher Martin


Evening over Osoyoos

Osoyoos Dusk - © Christopher Martin-7035

When we were in Osoyoos in August, we stayed at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort.  It is a great place to stay and its location above the lake and across from the city gave us a beautiful view of both as well as the hills to the west.

Sunset from Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos - © Christopher Martin-7045

On our last evening, I watched the sunset from one of the rooftop patios and enjoyed the light and its changes on the land and in the sky.  As the sun sped away, there were interesting scenes that kept my interest sharp through into night.

Sunset over Lake Osoyoos - © Christopher Martin-6948

(Please click on any image if you would like to view a higher resolution version)

Cloud painting - © Christopher Martin-6959

Hiding from the night - © Christopher Martin-7016-2

Sunlight sneaks between a ridge and the clouds above Lake Osoyoos in the Okanangan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.

Western sky - © Christopher Martin-6931

Evening comes over Osoyoos - © Christopher Martin-7013


Radium Otter

Otter Abstract - © Christopher Martin-8903

A few years ago I photographed river otters swimming in a pond in between the Columbia River and the town of Radium in British Columbia.  They swam around for an hour and I had great fun watching them.  I never looked through these images afterwards but came across them while working on a client’s project.  I enjoyed having a look at these again and particularly liked how this image looked in black and white.


A Grizzly’s water walk

Grizzly on a water walk - 2014 © Christopher Martin

This wonderful bear strode through the estuary during low tide in the Khutzeymateen Inlet.  June is a time when all of the bears are wary of one another’s intentions but that didn’t stop this lady from walking down the centre of the river.  I saw her a couple of times during our trip into the provincial park but this was the only time where she was in the water.


Thistles for lunch

Columbia Ground Squirrel - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Well, not the whole thistle, just its flower.  At the same rest stop where we watched chipmunks eating berries, there were Columbia Ground Squirrels (Urocitellus columbines) scurrying about on an embankment.

Columbia Ground Squirrel - 2014 © Christopher Martin

They stood up to watch us, creating a short staring contest with my son, before resuming their runs from rock to rock and other spots around the hillside.  I was in a good position when one of them approached a thistle because it was a few feet away and the squirrel ran towards me with little regard for me or my camera.

Columbia Ground Squirrel - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The dexterity of its fingers and the delicate nibbling were really cool to watch up close.  And provided a nice distraction from the drive.


Working for peanuts

Stellar Jay - © Christopher Martin-4472

Not me, the Stellar Jays on the deck of my aunt and uncle’s house in Nelson.

 Backlit Jay - © Christopher Martin-4336

There are a pair of these beautiful birds that live near the house and they call for peanuts a few times throughout the day.  These cries are rewarded and the opportunity to photograph them was not one I passed on.  At my home we have several blue jays that favour our backyard so it was fun to look at these birds closely and compare and contrast with “ours”.

Phone perch - © Christopher Martin-4398

I grew up in the Kootenays but moved away almost twenty years ago.  Luckily Marnie and John have kept their house there and we try to get out to visit them at least once every summer.  I missed last year and sadly this year was only a one night stay.  However, it was great to see them, to meet their resident jays and to enjoy one of my favourite places in the world.

Prize winner - © Christopher Martin-4484


A Chipmunk’s feast

Chipmunk in the berry tree - © Christopher Martin-7139

Driving through the Kootenays last week we stopped for a break at a park east of Christina Lake.  I found a couple of Chipmunk’s eating berries in the boughs of a small tree.

Chipmunk - © Christopher Martin-7129

This fellow was not shy and scurried around a few metres from me from bunch to bunch.

Chipmunk - © Christopher Martin-7154

Chipmunk - © Christopher Martin-7150


Summer in Osoyoos

Running through the vineyard - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We are enjoying some family time at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia. The trail down to the water is through the Nk’Mip Winery and their vineyards. When we went down last night for a swim in the lake, it was great to watch the kids running down the pathway.


A little bear cub in the K’tzim-a-deen

A handsome cub - 2014 © Christopher Martin

This young Grizzly bear cub was beautiful and proved to be curious, with a measure of caution, every time that we came across him and his mother when we were in the Khutzeymateen Provincial Park in June.


An ill-tempered Grizzly bear

Khutzeymateen staredown - 2014 © Christopher Martin

A Grizzly bear male watches from the tall grass of the Khutzeymateen Estuary.  He looked to have been on the wrong side of a couple of fights judging by his beaten up coat.

Grizzly reflected - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We were on a zodiac inflatable and he was on the edge of the river.  We looked at each other, us six in our boat and him now on a log.  He growled and huffed while swiping his claws across the tree bark.

Swipe - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Then, having made his point, he turned his back on us, indicating that we were no longer worthy of concern and continued feasting on the sedge.

Growl - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Wary over dinner - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We watched him as we retreated and he wandered to the edge of the forest and then disappeared from view.

In their land - 2014 © Christopher Martin


A Grizzly Boar’s Breakfast in the Khutzeymateen

A Grizzly Boar's Breakfast in the Khutzeymateen - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on any image if you would like to view a higher resolution version in a new window)

When the Grizzly Bears wake up from their hibernation in the mountains above the Khutzeymateen Inlet, the sedge grass is waiting for them.  When Bobbi and I were there in June breakfast, lunch and dinner for them finds sedge on the menu.   On this cold, wet morning this boar was one of several bears spaced out along the banks of the estuary at low tide mowing away.  The volume, of grass eaten and sound created, were both very impressive.