The Lion’s Annual is a small rodeo in Cochrane that I love attending every year. It has very good talent (both people and animals) and a great atmosphere which makes you feel like a close member of the community.
I’m heading down for the Finals right now but wanted to post a couple of images I took on Saturday afternoon as the storms started to roll in.
This storm front came marching down out of the Rockies past Canmore and swept out on to the Prairie on Friday. We have had a number of these big storms over the summer which has afforded a few really great landscape photographic opportunities.
I made this image while stopped on the Springbank overpass on the Trans Canada highway west of Calgary where the road climbs up towards the mountains.
The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s reserve lands run on both sides of Highway 22x, The Cowboy Trail, as you approach Bragg Creek from the east. Every year, the band holds a Rodeo and Pow Wow in July at their Beaverdome and rodeo grounds across the road from the Redwood Meadows Golf Course.
The event is attended by nations from all across North America. The rodeo is a major pull for competitors and fans alike. Drawing on a rich history of horsemanship and true cowboy toughness, these men and women put on an exciting, unpredictable and truly enjoyable show.
Here is a sequence showing a great ride ending with a hard, hard landing…
… I spoke to this gentleman afterwards where he had missed a full ride by less than a second. He told me he almost had him and all he wanted to do was get back on tomorrow. Awesome! Pretty mean looking horse too.
I stayed late on Saturday night, with the sun leaving us in twilight, a moon drifting higher in the east and the bulls seeming to gain the upper hand over the would be riders. It was a relief at the end, as there were a couple of bad tramples. There may have been a couple of broken bones but not many moans. It has been said how tough cowboys are and watching a bull stomp on a rider’s knee or chest, that comes to light in the aftermath.
The breath holding eased as the last of the riders made their way off the dirt. Giving room for the beauty of the area and a great sporting event to take back center stage in the minds of the crowd as we shuffled out of the grandstands.
I already can’t wait for next year’s rodeo (July 22-24). If you can make it, you will have a great time and meet some wonderful people.
This great blue heron returns to this small lake on the eastern edge of Kananaskis near Bragg Creek. The great blue is the largest heron in North America. They can stand over 4 feet tall with a wingspan just shy of 7 feet. Very graceful to watch in flight and their takeoffs and landings are performances.
This year it has a mate so I’m keeping my eye out for young ones. It would be great to see this pair grow to be a small rookery in the next couple of years.
I first photographed these birds in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island. I still think it is special every time I see them right near my home.
The cloudy mornings over the weekend created very even, diffused light around the backroads of West Bragg Creek. I was out with the family enjoying the scenery and we came across a lot of whitetail deer. Some young lone males, mothers with one or two babies and a few older groups of twos and threes.
Very nice light to photograph these beautiful animals in. They and their cousins, the mule deer, are very common around Bragg Creek but I can’t imagine getting tired of seeing them.
Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou led a group of photographers to the Bar U Ranch historical site just west of Longview, Alberta. This was one of 1111 groups comprised of over 33,500 photographers participating in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk. It was fun to be a part of the Bar U group and neat to be involved with such a huge international group.
I had not wandered through Bar U previously and was interested to see what subjects would pull my attention. The ranch is set up in the style of its heydays when it was one of the largest ranching operations in North America. That puts the time at roughly 1882 – 1925. There are period costumes, decorations, equipment and sundry items – all of which lend themselves easily to becoming a photograph.
I really enjoyed the walk, meeting some of the other photographers, sharing a laugh and scouring around for images to make.
Thanks to Samantha and Darwin for a smooth operation and a fun walk.
When the Prairies get wet it is usually due to some pretty impressive storms. The first couple of weeks of July have been heavy with rain which seems to be about a month later than the last couple of years. The weather may not lend itself to days on the beach, it makes for some great photographic possibilities. With the wet comes saturated colors and, using a polarizer to cut the glare, you can create images that almost glow. The dark skies reveal the texture within the clouds and make beautiful backgrounds to landscape photographs.
I felt a bit bad watching these cows inside my car as the window and their backs took the brunt of the wind and rain.
So, I ventured out to get a couple of portraits and was rewarded with stern glares from the models and raindrops on the lens.
I liked this fellow’s optimism with the shorts. Prudence must have taken hold as he walked out the door with the toque and the long sleeve shirt.
A view of the Trans-Canada Highway looking westward as it disappears into the storm. Photograph made from the Springbank overpass just outside of Calgary.