Late night light trails as vehicles move along Bow Trail. The red tail lights streak towards downtown while the lights on the left climb out of the city centre. Every few minutes the LRT, Calgary’s public transit commuter trains, slid along the tracks dividing the westbound and eastbound lanes of the roadway.
I walked to the Bow Trail Bridge near midnight in early January. I often pass under this bridge and believed it would afford a good view of both the city’s skyline and the traffic passing under it. The bridge itself has great curved lines and I shot it for a few minutes before photographing the cityscape.
From the bridge deck, the view matched my expectation and it was fun composing for long exposures meshed with the skyline. I’ll end with a slightly wider view of the scene. I’m looking forward to a return on a starry night… or maybe during an exceptionally bright Aurora Borealis display.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a night under the stars on the shore of Lake Minnewanka. On the way there, as I passed through Canmore, the full moon was lighting up the mountains that connect the town with the sky. Here the tip of Ha Ling and the East End of Rundle (EEOR) were lit up during the long exposure I made looking across the Trans-Canada Highway and over the town.
The architecture on and around Museum Island is impressive to say the very least. I spent a couple of nights photographing the buildings along the banks of the River Spree and the canals nearby. The lighting on many of the buildings at night adds to the majestic feel which seems appropriate given the enormous efforts to restore them since Germany’s reunification. Above is the Altes Museum and below is Berliner Dom which shares the Lustgarten and its central fountain.
Further down the river, I caught the moon rising across the river from the Berliner Dom. I loved the reflection of the lights in the water.
A long exposure as a night cruise passed by this outdoor party blurred the lights on the water – and a couple of people along the boardwalk.
I finished the late night walkabout with a stroll back to the Brandenburg Tor to photograph the eastern side with the absence of the masses that visit during the day and evening. Afterwards, I crossed to the western side and photographed light trails under the gate.
The Brandenburg Gate is a beautiful monument that has been at the centre of pivotal moments in history since its construction completed in 1791. The Tor was commissioned by King Friedrich William II as a sign of peace; Napoleon marched through it in triumph; it was closed to all through the cold war, dividing Berlin – and the world, and divided Berlin and the world; and then it was where the wall first fell and was where the city and Germany reunified. Coming full circle, it has now come to represent peace as well as unity in the country and in Europe.
I was excited to photograph this icon and visited there several times through my week in Berlin. One visit was after midnight and I set up on the west side of the where three streets meet. I wanted to create some long exposures to let the lights from the vehicles create streaks in front of the gate. It is a stunning structure and I enjoyed spending time there and making these images.
When night fell, I had been hanging around the Spree River near Berliner Dom so it was not a very long walk to the Tor. Coming from the east, I photographed the front of the gate first. The Quadriga of Victory looks like it about to leap off the top and carry forward.
It is a stunning structure and I enjoyed spending time there and making these images. With recent events within Germany and other parts of Europe, a visit seemed timely and it would serve many well to consider what the Brandenburg Gate has come to represent from many years of hard learned lessons about peace and unity.
I have driven by the Burmis Tree, an Alberta icon, many times while traveling through the Crowsnest Pass on my between British Columbia and Alberta. It stands out on a rocky outcrop just above Highway 3 where the road bends into the valley below Turtle Mountain. This limber pine catches many people’s eye as they travel past with its gorgeous lines and skeletal beauty. This weekend I drove past close to midnight and stopped for an hour to photograph the tree. This image is from the western side of the hill facing east. The limbs were backlit by the headlights of the oncoming traffic and the hill glowed red from their tail lights as they passed by.
Canon 5DIII camera and 300mm f/4 lens: 1/15th of a second at f/16 on ISO 200
I drove along the Grand Valley Road in search of raptors and was fortunate to come across a small group of fellow photographers who had spied a Northern hawk owl in a roadside stand of trees. I will share a couple of photographs of that fine bird soon but wanted to first show the abstract images I made earlier in the day. Before finding any wildlife, I was spending time looking for them among the trees and meadows along the road. Early on, I found this stand of Aspens and I loved the vertical pattern and the stark contrast between dark and light within and between the tree trunks.
Canon 5DIII camera and 300mm f/4 lens: 1/500th of a second at f/9 on ISO 1250
I loved the straight image and once I dialled that in the way I liked, I wanted to drag my shutter and play with the blurred images that I traced out.
Canon 5DIII camera and 300mm f/4 lens: 1/30th of a second at f/16 on ISO 200
Canon 5DIII with a 24mm f/1.4 lens: 13 seconds on f/11 at ISO 100
Vehicle lights trace lines along Crowchild Trail on a winter’s night in Calgary.
The Leaping Tiger Gorge is a deep canyon created by the Jinsha River whose headwaters are in the Tibetan Plateau is the upper course of the Yangtze River. The water volume is immense and with the amount of ground carved away always runs a earthy colour. The color is repeated with some of the ripples in the rock exposed between the water and the edge of the forest which traces a ragged line above the river.
There is a visitor site that is interesting and allows you to descend several hundred feet down to the river level. The legend holds that a tiger was once seen leaping across the gorge. At a minimum distance of 82′ (25m) that would have been amazing to watch. Being able to feel the spray off of the rapids and hear the roar of the water up close was beautiful. I think I will remember my time in the gorge for a very long time.
Vicki Alford made the excellent suggestion to include some imagery to show the river’s power. I have included an image with a faster shutter speed taken from a viewing deck roughly halfway down the canyon.
After a great evening with another family who came over for dinner, we enjoyed having some time playing around before bed. Kian and Kezia had a bunch of glow sticks that they connected together and swung around in the dark. We had a lot of fun tracing out crazy patterns during a series of long exposures.
My son and I spent a couple of hours down on the beach watching the stars and playing around with some longer exposures. It was a beautiful night made infinitely better with him there.
This is a short section of the Ashnola River in British Columbia’s Cathedral Provincial Park. I saw a wonderful diversity of riverscapes as I went up and then back down the gravel road that runs closely to the water. This section drew me in but I look forward to going back with the luxury of more time to explore them.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 17mm: 2 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200
I have spent a fair bit of time hiking and travelling around Kananaskis Country. That said, I have only seen a small amount of its beautiful landscape. It is always wonderful to find a new place. On the weekend, I was revisiting a few favourite spots that I had not been able to see since the flood. Along the drive between two such spots, up Highway 66, the morning mists and fog were slowly rising up in the warming air in a small meadow I have passed by many times but never explored. I stopped this time for a few minutes to photograph the light and shadows playing with one another. There was a roar of water nearby but it was hidden deeper into the forest and I had another spot on my mind so I headed on.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens at 81mm: 1/400th of a second at f/11 on ISO 400
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens at 135mm: 1/200th of a second at f/11 on ISO 400
On my return past the same place an hour later, I pulled off and set out for a little exploration. I found a trail that led down from the meadow and into the woods. Following that for a few minutes, I walked up to the top of this small waterfall. It was the source of the roaring heard earlier. The water drops only a few metres but it falls into a narrow bowl of rock which intensifies the sound significantly.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 17mm: 6 seconds at f/22 on ISO 50
A bit of mountain goating saw me step and then jump down into the bowl. Water vapour was heavy in the air which played a little havoc with the front of my lens but it was nothing a couple of cloths couldn’t handle over the time I was down there. I stayed for more than an hour – at one point just sitting down and enjoying this wonderful little place.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 23mm: 5 seconds at f/22 on ISO 50
The stream is only a metre wide above and below the falls. At the base, the pool opens up to a few metres across. There were some signs of recent high water activity but it seems the flow was not enough to damage the trees and bushes that overhang the channel.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 19mm: 2 seconds at f/16 on ISO 50
I believe this stream falls into the Elbow River but I’m not sure if it, or this waterfall, have their own names. I have to find out from a few of the locals who know Kananaskis Country in a way I hope to some day far down my path.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 39mm: 5 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200
So, for me at least, this waterfall remains unnamed. In truth, I like it that way for now. I really enjoyed that narrow wedge of rock and water below the forest and will be returning there soon.