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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Desiree and I went out to photograph the Neowise comet on consecutive nights in late July before its nightly tour over the northern hemisphere ended. It was amazing to see the comet so bright. With longer exposures, the tail flared out behind in a way that I haven’t photographed before. That was beautiful and I’m glad we were out there and could share that together.
The comet was difficult to see with the naked eye. With the camera, and a 6 second exposure, it stood out even against the sparkling sky.
A quiet moment watching a lone loon between his dives under the water.
I love Canada jays. They go by a couple of names (well I guess we like to call them by a few names) – I like Whiskey Jack and Canada jay more than gray jay but those are just my own preferences. Some people see them as mischievous camp robbers. I don’t. For me, they exemplify companionship as I always flitting around in pairs. I found this one in a tree and waited until it flew off towards the call of its partner.
On a solo outing to some remote roads, I found a gorgeous great gray owl perched on a telephone pole in warm afternoon sunshine.
A short wait ended with the bird gliding into the forest. It found a perch there and moved to two other ones before flying to a knot of trees close by.
She scanned the sky occasionally, watched the ground steadily but did not find a target on or under the snow. One launch had the owl drop onto a pile of deadfall. I caught a nice launch off of a tree trunk and followed the bird up to her next perch.
Soon she flew across the nearby meadow and landed in a lone evergreen. She flew along a frozen creek to a slender tee – a winter’s skeleton – that bowed under her weight.
And then she flew west, further afield, and well beyond my shooting range with the gear I have.