Alberta has been thrown into the freezer this week. The temperature, -26ºC/-15ºF and colder, has felt like winter asserting that it is truly here now. It is a shock but I went outside last night while one of the boys had an appointment downtown just to thumb my nose at the chill a little bit. The fingers got cold but I didn’t mind too much. There is something about photographing landscapes when it is really cold that adds to the images – almost a clarity and a stillness – that I really like. These are images of Calgary’s downtown from Discovery Hill as the day slipped away.
I’ve photographed downtown Calgary at dawn from the east side near Inglewood twice in the last few weeks. It is a side of the city that I have not shot before. I have enjoyed the view and the different look from this side.
On Saturday I watched the morning arrive on the shore of the Bow River. I was across the water from Calgary’s downtown and used the Center Street Bridge as a focal point between the sky and the buildings. I parked along Memorial Drive and checked the sky in a couple of test photographs. Traffic came by and made for a good start.
On the other side of the road, the rocks, snow and ice along the river bank presented an interesting foreground. It was a bit hectic teasing out compositions as the light was changing rapidly. But that’s pretty fun chaos by any measure.
The eastern sky had bundles of pink cotton candy for a few minutes. To the west the pink was a pastel that looked very pretty reflected in the Bow where it passed Prince’s Island Park.
Mallard ducks and Canada geese milled about flying up and down the river. The cackling and quacking across the water along with the occasional group of vehicles passing behind me on Memorial Drive joined the river to perform the morning’s soundtrack.
On my path towards the water for sunrise a couple of weeks ago, I passed under the 4th Avenue Flyover Bridge. Curtis Van Charles Sorensen’s mural of the leaping foxes is a street art favorite of mine. I liked how the curve of the bridge allowed me to connect it to the Calgary Tower.
Recently I was in Montréal and my first destination was the Palais des congrès. A stroll down Avenue Viger led me to this convention centre and the beautiful façade of colorful glass windows that drew me there. I crossed the street to frame the windows behind the fountain in the park there. La Joute is the name of the sculpture fountain and it breathes fire! I didn’t know that when I arrived though. Standing at the edge of the fountain’s pool, I overheard a boy ask his brother when the fire would start so I decided to wait and see what would come next.
A few minutes later, a thick haze started to roll over the water and soon covered the pool and rose up towards the bronze sculptures of animal and human figures. The presentation was impressive and had a gentle flow as it moved from water into fog.
A few people had gathered and were enthralled, as I was, when the first flickers of flame began to appear around the central statue. These flames connected into a complete ring of fire and rose a foot or two off of the water.
The backdrop of the Palais made for a lovely atmosphere and a great scene to photograph throughout the sequence.
It was a surprise, to me at least, that a snowstorm blew across Calgary this morning. I thought that weather wasn’t coming until Friday. I took a few photographs near City Hall as the snow fell. It cleared off quickly but provided a wintry reminder that spring has not taken hold quite yet.
Coach Hill, a rise in west Calgary, affords a great view of city’s downtown. I found a place there where vehicles traveling along Sarcee Trail pass in front of the knot of skyscrapers. The play of perspective, especially the relative size of the cars to the buildings, was very interesting to me.
A few photographs of downtown Calgary from the north side of the Centre Street Bridge last week during the latest cold snap.
On this last photograph, I entered the frame with the help of a timer in order to provide a contrasting element in the foreground.
A morning scene from the edge of the Olympic Plaza in Calgary’s downtown. It’s a small park with a million stories. This was a sunny morning earlier this week where the moment suggested the light and the dark sides of many of these stories.
I caught Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday and absolutely loved it. The continuation of the saga is a joyride I have been looking forward to enormously and the movie met my loftiest hopes 🙂
Earlier in the week, my kids and I went downtown for my birthday evening and we saw these Stormtroopers walking near The Bow. Great foreshadowing for us. There was a film crew with them so it was some form of promotional shoot. That didn’t stop the kids and I getting really excited daydreaming about walking into the middle of a real life Star Wars scene.