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.
Driving along Highway 22 after a day with the eagles, I was traveling parallel to the Livingstone Range of the Canadian Rockies. The foothills lead up to it in a couple of rounded hills and then the mountains jut up sharply from there. It was an impressive scene with the sharp contrast between hills and mountains as well as light and shadow of the late afternoon.
The Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is often referred to as the Little Potala given its resemblance to the Dalai Lama’s original home, the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. I have not yet visited there but Sumtseling, in Shangri-La on the western edge of China was a very meaningful place for me. I spent the morning exploring the complex and listening to the resident monks chanting in one of the great halls housed under the golden roofs. In the afternoon, I wandered around the lake that sits at the foot of the monastery. In the image above, I framed Sumtseling against the darkening sky whose clouds were gently catching some of the color ahead of sunset. The hill in the mid ground, above the light green trees, hides the small village that sits under the monastery and serves to keep the magnificent complex uncluttered from this view.
The colours came in nicely when the sun fell under the clouds before hiding behind the ocean horizon. The shoreline around La Jolla looked like someone had splashed paint across the wet rocks, swirling water as well as the dark clouds hanging above. This was a few minutes after the previous image I shared from the same sunset – interesting how the colours changed over that short period of time.
Boundary Bay is lovely throughout the year. Early spring along the levee that runs parallel to the tidal flats, driftwood piles and grassy fields is not an exception. When we were there last weekend, the rain rolled in as we were watching Snowy owls scattered across the grassland which did contribute to a beautiful scene a couple of hours later. At the time, it set the owls in their poses as they hunkered down through the showers.
Jack and I waited for the weather to change so that the owls may take to the air. Dusk was quickly approaching and we had hopes that these raptors would start hunting. The rain increased and we walked back along the dyke towards the parking lot a couple of kilometers away. As the car came into view, the rain lessened and when I was at the trailhead, the sun had even hazarded a couple looks under the clouds. The evening light was beautiful though very soft as it was filtered by the clouds and water vapour in the sky. A rainbow over the water drew my attention out over the flats and that’s where I first saw a distant bird flying low over the marshes.
I followed it through the gloom and as it moved closer and into the sunlight, I was able to identify it as a Barn owl (Tyto alba). This was my first sight of one of these owls in the wild and I fell in love immediately.
They have a chaotic flight pattern where they swoop along and then dive with great conviction downwards at crazy angles when they find a target. It crisscrossed a large area for about half an hour and all I could have wished for was a bit more light.
Dusk was well entrenched by this time and I was pushing the camera’s ISO and autofocus hard. The owl was curious too and swooped by on two separate occasions. The whole time spent watching this bird was a great experience and I’m looking forward to my next encounter with one of these beautiful owls.
I could still make out the silhouette as it flew further away but my attention was pulled in a new direction by a Short-eared owl that circled by for a couple of minutes and then a Snowy which, freed from its perch by the calm weather, landed on a pile of waterlogged wood less than a stone’s throw away. I hope to share some of those photographs soon.
(please click on an image to open a higher resolution version)
Last night as the setting sun was painting the broken clouds above Lake Okanagan, the waxing moon was using them to hide as it rose. The colours in the evening sky were beautiful pastels and the bright lunar surface stood in sharp contrast.
This blue moon will be full on August 31st so these images are of the moon in its gibbous waxing phase.
I’ll be watching again tonight to see if our earth’s satellite has any more tricks planned.
The light this evening was lovely and the lines of the hillsides of the Foothills towards Kananaskis Country looked like a water-colour painting.
(please click on any image to open a higher resolution version)
Bobbi and I are in Sedona, Arizona for a few days this week. We drove into the town yesterday and went exploring down at the Red Rock Crossing for a couple of hours until nightfall. I haven’t been here before so Bobbi is in the role of guide and I am the happy follower.
We went to this location which is split by Oak Creek. The cool waters drew a number of small groups and families offering respite from the 42°C (108°F) heat of the day. We hiked along the riverside trails and photographed reflections in the water, the towering red rocks that backstop the area as well as a couple of lizards. A beautiful place to escape the heat.
What makes this place a destination for landscape photographers are the views of Cathedral Rock and the opportunity to work with its reflections in the creek. At sunset the last sunlight of the day makes the rocks glow. Last night did not disappoint and I had a wonderful time playing with the elements at hand.
The moon gave it a great try but from our vantage point just west of Calgary, it just missed blocking out the sun this evening. This was in no way a failure on the moon’s part, just our position in the universe relative to it and the sun. As it was, the crescent created by the moon swinging in front of the sun was very impressive.
There was haze in the sky which worked well with the dark glass I had piled on to drop the bright sunlight as much as possible. When a thick cloud pulled above the horizon, I thought it might be too heavy but the colors and textures were amazing.
At this point I thought the moon may move into position in the ring of fire. I hadn’t looked into this solar eclipse much so I did not know if we were in the right location. It was exciting to watch the sun and moon approach. When the moon swung away, it was still great to watch.
On the drive across the prairies to Medicine Hat last weekend, Bobbi and I drove through an early spring storm near sunset. The trailing edge of the storm clouds were to the west and the sunlight slipped in along with some amazing color.
To the east, the strongest part of the storm was still releasing wind, rain and a bit of lightning. With a few 30 second exposures I got lucky and caught this bolt as it shot out of the darkness.
On Saturday evening, I was combing Bragg Creek’s back roads for a Great Gray Owl I have seen a couple of times lately. I did not find the owl but enjoyed the scintillating blues in the sky contrasting with the bright white clouds. I paused my search to watch the sky and see if any of the clouds picked up the sunset colors once the sun dropped. I was mesmerized by these colors and contrasts and the scene faded to gray and then black in just a few minutes.
I was in a great location to watch the storm that had rolled in Friday night and dropped many, many buckets of rain through Saturday afternoon start to break up.
The drama in the clouds west of Calgary was beautiful to watch build and fall away for a few minutes.
Certainly a different feel in black and white. In the version above I wanted to bring the weathered barn to greater prominence. I ended up shedding the color and adding a little grain to create a more historical, antique feel.