Posts tagged “Calgary

Splashing the clouds with color at dawn

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Before photographing down in the fog a week ago, I stopped along the Trans-Canada Highway on the hill overlooking Springbank to watch the sunrise.

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The eastern sky was starting to brighten quickly and I hoped the clouds would catch the early light.  The fog was quite close to the hilltop when I first arrived but it fell back down before dawn came.  The sunlight did bathe the clouds in amazing colors.  It was spectacular!

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Photographs from a foggy landscape

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Last weekend when fog stretched out across Calgary, I spent the morning photographing along the western edge near Springbank and east of the city around Delacour.  The density of the fog changed constantly which was great fun to play with in the images I made.

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At times the sun would break through the haze.  Some of those moments were incredible just to watch as shafts of sunlight pierced the fog and were then quickly absorbed.

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I returned to a weathered old truck that I’ve shot over the years.  The fog’s isolation allowed for some new images of this charismatic vehicle.

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Much like the train tracks above, I loved how the road disappeared – there is an ethereal quality that is lent to these images by the fog.

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The trees that dot the prairies individually and in small stands drew my eye throughout the morning.  Sometimes the fog hid them and sometimes it isolated them as with the truck above.  Often they were just beautiful scenes to enjoy and shoot before they changed into something new.

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Clearing fog under a rising sun

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On Monday morning fog rolled up from the rivers around Calgary and covered most of the city and surrounding areas.  I was near the Springbank airport at sunrise and the visibility was not much more than a hundred metres.  I photographed the sunrise from a hill above the fog and then returned to the airport.  This photograph was taken about 20 minutes after daybreak as the line of fog was receding towards Calgary.  I was surprised by the speed that it moved and even more so when it returned again a few minutes later.  This ebb and flow reminded me of the tides and was amazing to be in the middle of.  I will share more soon but wanted to start with this first view of the sun when the fog was rolling eastward.


Calgary at night: traffic in motion under the city’s lights

A view of Calgary's downtown at night - © Christopher Martin-0686

Late night light trails as vehicles move along Bow Trail.  The red tail lights streak towards downtown while the lights on the left climb out of the city centre.  Every few minutes the LRT, Calgary’s public transit commuter trains, slid along the tracks dividing the westbound and eastbound lanes of the roadway.

A view of Calgary's downtown at night - © Christopher Martin-0655-2

I walked to the Bow Trail Bridge near midnight in early January.  I often pass under this bridge and believed it would afford a good view of both the city’s skyline and the traffic passing under it.  The bridge itself has great curved lines and I shot it for a few minutes before photographing the cityscape.

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From the bridge deck, the view matched my expectation and it was fun composing for long exposures meshed with the skyline.  I’ll end with a slightly wider view of the scene.  I’m looking forward to a return on a starry night… or maybe during an exceptionally bright Aurora Borealis display.

A view of Calgary's downtown at night - © Christopher Martin-0643


A traffic lit landscape

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When the first serious blast of winter cold rolled onto the Prairies last weekend, it caught me west of Calgary near Springbank.  The heavy clouds that introduced the snowstorm were already blocking most of the light as the sun started to rise.  I stood on the south side of Highway 8 watching the irregular morning traffic on its way to and from Calgary.  I liked how the headlights lit up the asphalt.


A heron fishing in silhouette

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Walking back from the birds along the shoreline of the Bow River, I drew a line along the ponds in the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.  The daylight was failing and the paths were in deep shadow.  The water reflected the southern sky where there were breaks in the surrounding forest.  In one of these bright patches, was a welcome surprise, there stood a Great blue heron, his profile silhouetted and motionless at first.

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The bird then moved slowly in the shallows and I loved watching as the hunter stalked the fish below.

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Within a couple of minutes, a strike came.  The water was pitch black to me but that did not help this fish.  The heron lifted its head out of the water with a very nice sized dinner I would imagine.

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Once finished, the heron continued to ply its trade, looking to have seconds.

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A Cormorant in motion on the Bow

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I spent an evening on the Bow River at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary on the weekend.  It was a beautiful day, warmly lit in golden light, and I had a great time photographing the birds well into dusk.  Among the birds nearby were a few Double-crested cormorants fishing and flying around.  I photographed as they flew or swam by.  They are exceptionally fast birds and they often fly just above the water at speed which is exciting to watch.  After the sunlight had left the river, I caught sight of one of these cormorants moving upriver.  Darkness was starting to settle in so I dragged my shutter in order to use the lack of light to pan with the bird as it passed me.  I used a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second and it worked out pretty well.


More from the Canada Day lightning storm

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-390

When my children and I decided to head out from Redwood Meadows to find a good vantage point to watch the lightning storm hanging over the Bow River between Cochrane and Calgary, we stopped when we got past the edge of the forest and could first see the storm itself.

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We found a spot 10 miles from the closest edge of the storm and watched the show which rippled and flashed in the massive clouds rising off the northern horizon.

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At one point while we were watching the lightning erupting at 3, 4 or 5 different places at once, my son said, “Baby Thor is having a temper tantrum”.  That seemed about right and apparently he has an enormous amount of energy because the lightning flashed and the bolts flew constantly for the two hours that I was there.

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I re-worked the image that I first posted from the storm – cooling the white balance by almost 1000°K.  I really love how the lightning bolts crackle out of the cloud column.

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On the way back, I stopped by a pond where the western edge of the storm, still busy with sheet lightning, was reflected in its surface.  A beautiful final view of the storm before heading home.

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Lightning in the clouds over the Foothills

After the fireworks at Redwood Meadows last night, my children spotted lightning flashing to the east.  At that moment we voted to become storm chasers and we headed towards the prairies to see what the storm was all about.   It turned out to be far beyond my expectations!

Canada Day Lightning Storm - © Christopher Martin-388

This storm was hanging over the northern ridge above the Bow River and stretched from Cochrane to Calgary.  The size was impressive, but the electrical activity was truly spectacular.  The lightning flashed throughout the peaks and valleys of the clouds constantly for the entire two hours that we watched from a high spot near the Springbank Airport.  I will share more images from the night soon but when I saw this one, taken with my telephoto lens aimed at one spot that had been flashing steadily, I was excited to get a quick post out!


Prairie sunrise silhouettes

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Sunday’s sunrise shone through a narrow break on the horizon.  A storm coming out of the mountains darkened most of the sky but with the light rode in from the east and painted the leading edges of the clouds.  I was east of Bragg Creek along Highway 8 as the colour started to build so I pulled in behind a stand of trees that have great lines.

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The branches silhouetted against the dawn gave me a lot to work with and here are three takes over a fifteen minute window before the colour drained out and the clouds stretched fully across the sky.

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Kezia and Finnegan

Kezia with a River otter at the Calgary Zoo - © Christopher Martin-2103

On the weekend, my children and I visited the Calgary Zoo for the better part of a day.  We used to go frequently when they were younger but it had been a couple of years since we went together.  We had a really great time there with a number of fun moments watching the animals and having fun with each other.  When we visited the river otters, Kezia had this wonderful interaction with Finnegan, the son of the other two otters.   The otters are so curious, which matches Kezia perfectly, so when he saw her at the glass he swam by performing spins and rolls.  When she put her finger against the window, he followed it around to her great delight.  Two beautiful creatures sharing a little time together.


A hockey night in Calgary

Hockey night in Canada - © Christopher Martin-0966

I found this ice rink in a park near Marda Loop.  There were a few people playing hockey under the night lights.  I stopped for a few minutes to play with the patterns of the trees and lights against the rink.  I loved the setting and that everyone was out to enjoy this most traditional of Canadian pastimes.

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