The Chief of Elbow Falls
(Click the image above to open a larger and more detailed version)
The flow of water above, over and below the layers of rock that create Elbow Falls is a beautiful photographic subject at any time of the year. In winter, with the ice and snow draped around the waterfall, I find the magic a little easier to work with and creating some compelling images a bit less elusive.
For as long as I have been photographing this spot, I have always seen the face of a chief in the rock outcropping that sits just below the waterfall. Not only a face in the rock, the lines that draw the lips, the cheeks, chin and nose outline a sketch of the man who watches over this stretch of the river west of Bragg Creek in Kananaskis Country.
Winter’s Art: Ice, Water and Snow
An early morning at one of my favourite places in Kananaskis, Elbow Falls. With the stretches of deep cold this winter broken up by the occasional warm chinook arch, the layers of ice along the river and the waterfall that shares its name are really beautiful right now. The color didn’t build in the sky this morning but that allowed me to stay focused on the ice. A very nice morning to spend outside with a camera in hand.
American Dipper on the Ice in Banff
On Third Vermilion Lake where the hot spring creates a break in the ice I found an American Dipper diving for food, hopping in the reeds and seemingly enjoying the warm water. I caught it during a quiet moment along the edge of the ice. The Vermilion Lakes are just west of Banff (a 10 minute ride) in the National Park. Moose, deer, eagles and ravens can be seen year round along the lakes. And, dippers – where there is some warm water.
Banff Landscapes: Into the storm
Here I wanted to work with a dominant pattern across the water and up on the mountains. The diagonal lines of the ridges along the mountain slopes were receding into darkness but I had time to work within this composition.
With the snow that was falling and being blown around by the wind, the lines fade increasingly into the storm. One of the myriad looks of winter in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
This photograph is from the Third Vermilion Lake just outside the Banff townsite. I was out there for sunset on Saturday and things looked promising when a gap in the clouds started to open up but by the time the sun was low and there would have been some color in the sky, the storm had closed in and the grand sunset landscape was filed into the next time folder. I enjoyed watching the snow fall, an American Dipper play in the hot spring water and the winds blow across the ice and through the trees. It was a very nice evening outside.
Banff Landscapes: Along the Vermilion Lake shoreline
A photograph from a morning along the shoreline of the second of the three Vermilion Lakes near Banff in the National Park. Mount Rundle looms above Tunnel Mountain across the water. The ice gives way to this stretch of open water due to a small hot spring that seeps out of the rock and soil into the lake.
Banff Landscapes: Lines into Patterns
In several spots along the Vermilion Lakes in the Banff National Park there are sections of open water despite the sustained cold that has frozen over all three lakes this winter. These breaks in the ice are due to runoff from underground hot springs that ring the lakes. The warmer water attracts birds and the occasional mammal in the winter. On the weekend, I saw an American Dipper and followed it flitting amid the reeds and diving for bits in the water. Following that, I turned my attention to working with patterns created by the sticks and reeds and their reflections in the water along the shoreline.
Here are two that I liked in particular. One presenting dominant vertical lines and the other creating horizontal movement across the frame. I enjoy working on these type of compositions while waiting for the dramatic landscapes to fill with clouds, light or anything else of interest. Sometimes those come, other times they don’t. Having a list of different types of images I want to create helps avoid a strikeout when things aren’t cooperating.
Banff Landscapes: Vermilion Lake to Mount Rundle
I was in Banff at Vermilion Lakes on Sunday morning. The cold was there, the snow was there, as were the clouds. The light teased me and certainly provided enough to work with. This is one from the second of the Vermilion Lakes looking at a small patch of open water, across the ice towards Mount Rundle.
Happy New Year’s
2010 rolled up and down like a boat on the ocean and I enjoyed most of the ride. I’m excited to move into a new year. Here’s to a great 2011.
All the best to you and yours in the new year.
A Winter Scene – Sunset on the Elbow River
On Boxing day the afternoon gave way to evening in a rush of color that pulled me outside, running down the path to the river. I had enough time to get the tripod set up and make a few photographs before the pastel hues evaporated, leaving the dark shades of blue to fight briefly against the night.
This river is the Elbow and it runs down from the Canadian Rocky Mountains, east through forests in Kananaskis and out onto the Albertan Prairie through Springbank. The Elbow River’s source is Elbow Lake, from there it runs through a large section of Kananaskis, past Bragg Creek and enters Calgary at Weaselhead Flats. West of the Calgary Zoo, the Elbow joins the Bow River and they continue eastward joining the South Saskatchewan River and finally entering Hudson Bay. It does not draw as much attention as the Bow River which runs through Banff, Canmore and Cochrane before reaching Calgary. However it hosts many beautiful locations and is where I spend much of my time photographing when I’m outdoors throughout the year.
Ice and Water Forms at Elbow River
I spent Sunday morning working upstream of the Elbow Falls in Kananaskis. I really enjoyed looking for patterns and shapes in the ice and the water.
I used a macro lens to get close to the ice and a tripod to keep the camera steady during the longer exposures that I used vary the blur of the water.