Posts tagged “night

Winter’s return

Snow fell hard last night across southern Alberta and we had several inches blanketing the landscape by morning.  Here, my hound and I went out for a walk late.


Canmore – clouds racing the moonlight

clouds-over-canmore-christopher-martin-3015-2A 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.


Nightlines and the Brandenburg Tor

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-9018

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.

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-9020

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.

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-9028

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.

Nightlines at the Brandenburg Tor - © Christopher Martin-8993

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.


Images of the Aurora over the Elbow River

Albertan Aurora over the Elbow River - © Christopher Martin-5945-2

When the Northern Lights brightly lit up the sky on May 8th, I went out to a favourite spot along the Elbow River on the edge of Redwood Meadows.  The river there is dotted with sets of rocks near the shore which provide interesting elements and break up the reflection in an attractive way.  The landscape is beautiful and supported the main show in the sky above well.  The Aurora streamed across the sky from the northern horizon to well past the zenith.  The image below was taken with the camera pointing almost straight up.

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5930

 

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5979

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-6030

Albertan Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5938


Mother’s Day Aurora

Mother's Day Aurora Borealis - © Christopher Martin-5949

There was an intense auroral storm that started late on May 7th and rang in Mother’s Day with vibrant ripples and sheets until just before dawn.  This session of the Aurora Borealis was the most vibrant I’ve watched over the past five years.  For three hours I watched the sky being canvassed with impossibly bright streams of spray paint. I enjoyed watching them on the northern edge of my community along the banks of the Elbow River.  I thought it was a great start to Mother’s Day and certainly worth losing most of a good night’s sleep to watch the sky.


Night Flight

Night owl - © Christopher Martin-4069-4

I found an owl hunting after dusk had settled over Bragg Creek.  It was getting dark quickly and I had go back to my car  for a flash at one point.  I started to photograph this Great Gray around a stand of trees on the edge of a field.  After a while she moved out onto the yellow grass and then went to perch on a fencepost.

Night owl - © Christopher Martin-3923

Retrieving the light, I mounted it in the hotshoe and it didn’t take long to relocate her.  We then spent an hour together as she hunted on either side of the fence line while I watched from 40′ away.  She was very comfortable with me there and flew to a post closer to me on a couple of occasions.  It was challenging to shoot the owl in flight but a lot of fun.

Night owl - © Christopher Martin-4059

At one point we traveled along the fence with her stopping every 100′ until I caught up.  When we had returned to the edge of the trees, the owl flew back out towards the field.  It was a very powerful encounter for me.

Night owl - © Christopher Martin-4049

 


The Northern Lights over Southern Alberta

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2319
The Aurora Borealis has been very strong for a few nights in a row, reaching southern Alberta regularly which comes after what has seemed like a very long absence.  Perhaps it has just been me that was absent for shows since last year but being out for this one on the night of March 18-19.  When I went out at 11pm, there was a dull green bow low in the sky towards Calgary.  After a while, the arch began to glow brighter and stretch higher.  Columns then started to separate from the green band and the arch itself dissolved.  For the next couple of hours the lights shifted their shapes, colors and intensity.

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2522

– Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2382-2

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Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2572

I was out on the berm that sits between Redwood Meadows and the Elbow River.  The height of the berm, the rocky shoreline and the snow remnants allowed for a variety of perspectives.  The three and half hours that the Northern Lights performed allowed me the time to explore these.  It was an amazing night.

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2549

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2539

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2491

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2505

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2383

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2529

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2472


Aurora over the Elbow River

 

Spring Equinox Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2500-3

Canon 5DIII – 24mm lens: 6 seconds on f/1.8 at ISO 3200

In the middle of the active Aurora that reached southern Alberta the lights were reflecting brightly over the waters of the Elbow River in Redwood Meadows.


Under the stars with Kian

Under the stars - © Christopher Martin-0981

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.

Under the stars with Kian - © Christopher Martin-0955

Under the stars - © Christopher Martin-0965

Rocks and stars - © Christopher Martin-0949

Under the stars - © Christopher Martin-0968


Happy Hallowe’en!

 

 

Halloween's Forest - © Christopher Martin-7775

I hope everyone who is out and about this evening has a fun, and appropriately scary, time.

This scene was waiting for me as a drove along the prairies towards Calgary this morning.


Moonrise over Mount Rundle

 

Moonrise over Rundle - © Christopher Martin-9579

My son and I were in Banff for the weekend and went out for a drive along the Vermilion Lakes just before sunset on Saturday night.  We stopped at the first lake to watch the colors deepen on the face of Mount Rundle as the sun was going down.  Another photographer, Grace Chen visiting from Calgary, asked me where the moon would be rising.  I had to admit that I didn’t know – I hadn’t done any planning as Kian and I were water sliding all afternoon and the drive was a last-minute decision.  I was quite surprised when I next looked in the viewfinder and saw a sliver of white rising behind the mountain!  It was fun to point at the peak as a response to her question.

Mount Rundle Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-9546
I had been a bit disappointed that there were no clouds but that proved to be very fortunate.  I loved the clean elements of the blue sky, white moon and reddish rocks.

Mount Rundle Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-9590

 

The moon climbed quickly, becoming steadily brighter and I finished shooting less than half an hour after first seeing it.  The sunlight on the mountain moved from deep yellow to a beautiful red while the sky steadily darkened.  It was not quite a full moon, being at 98%, but was still bright and wonderful.

Mount Rundle Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-9588

Mount Rundle Moonrise Reflected - © Christopher Martin-4640

Moonrise over Rundle - © Christopher Martin-4643

Mount Rundle Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-4647


Dark snow

Night snow - 2014 © Christopher Martin

A blizzard swept out of the mountains on the weekend.  The ground had been almost bare but winter felt everyone’s enthusiasm for spring was premature.  The snow fell through the night and in the morning there was almost a foot blanketing the grass, the trees and almost anything else that doesn’t move.  In the middle of the storm, I went outside to watch the snow and enjoy the sound of the huge flakes touching down and watching them tumble through the darkness.


Storms and light trails over Sedona

Storm over Sedona - 2014 © Christopher MartinStorm over Sedona
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 105mm: 1/13th of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

Rain has been a rare commodity in northern Arizona for the last couple of months.  When clouds started to roll in from the north while we were down there people were hopeful that they would drop some of their precipitation before moving on.  The rain did come eventually and the evening before I hiked along the airport trail to watch the storm’s approach.

Winter storm - 2014 © Christopher MartinWinter storm in Northern Arizona
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 65mm: 1/10th of a second at f/11 on ISO 100

I was content to watch the blues and greys in the sky deepen with night coming.  However, a break in the clouds to the west allowed for some color to break through and I turned my attention out over West Sedona’s forested cityscape.

West Sedona at night - 2014 © Christopher MartinWest Sedona at night
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 58mm: 2.5 seconds at f/11 on ISO 200

There was an uneven stream of traffic passing below me towards the airport and the lookouts around the mesa.  Long exposures of cars driving up and down the road to the airport seemed to work well with this sunset.

Sunset and car lights in Sedona - 2014 © Christopher MartinSunset and car lights in Sedona
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 50mm: 128 seconds at f/16 on ISO 1600

Light trails up to sunset - 2014 © Christopher MartinLight trails up to sunset
Canon 5D Mark III + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm: 30 seconds at f/16 on ISO 800


Evening at Cathedral Rock

Alpen light on the Cathedral - 2014 © Christopher MartinAlpen glow over Red Rock Crossing
Canon 5D Mark III + 70-200mm f/4 lens at 140mm: 2 seconds at f/11 on ISO 200

The afternoon I spent at Red Rock Crossing was a fun trek along Oak Creek but when the shadows lengthened, I trotted back to where I could have a view of Cathedral Rock.  It’s an iconic location and with the evening light moving into deep reds I was enthralled by her beautiful cliffs and spires.

Nighttime at the Cathedral - 2014 © Christopher MartinNighttime at the Cathedral
Canon 5D Mark III + 70-200mm f/4 lens at 184mm: 5 seconds at f/4 on ISO 2500

After a couple minutes of splashing around, the red color disappeared quickly, leaving pink clouds above and darkening rock below.  It did not take very long for the stars to start standing out against evening’s blanket.  A beautiful evening in Sedona, Arizona.

Sedona into sleep - 2014 © Christopher MartinSedona to sleep
Canon 5D Mark III + 70-200mm f/4 lens at 140mm: 5 seconds at f/4 on ISO 3200


Sunset across the prairies

Winter sunset - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/45 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

A few days ago, the clouds were anchored along the eastern edge of the Rockies all afternoon and I was not sure how the sunset would develop.  Well, I guess I was sure that the winter sun would go down early and fast but what the light would do was the question.

Cloud fire - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/70 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

I found myself on the edge of Springbank, west of Calgary, at 5:30 and the clouds had stretched east across the prairies and were catching and filtering the rich glow from the sun now hidden behind the mountains.

Up to darkness - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/50 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

It was a scene that didn’t require much input from me to create images.  I did like the reflections on my car’s glass and hood so that provided an opportunity to play around a bit.

A thin slice of sunset - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/60 of a second at f/11 on ISO 800

Sunset reflected - 2014 © Christopher MartinFuji X100S with fixed 23mm lens: 1/40 of a second at f/8 on ISO 1600

Bobbi and I are off to Sedona, Arizona tomorrow for a week – this landscape session provided a nice warm-up for the spectacular red rock scenery I’m looking forward to photographing down there.


Lightning strikes on the prairie

 Night lighting - © Christopher Martin-0417

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 6.0 seconds at f/6.3 on ISO 800

(click on any image to open a page with a higher resolution version)

A couple of nights ago, lightning was being thrown around by several large storm clouds as they spread out and rolled over the prairies.  After a spectacular sunset in Kananaskis Country earlier (the image below), I had just drove out of the mountains when I saw these strikes lighting up both the fields and the clouds.

Night's march above Kananaskis - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40 lens: 1/160th of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 800

I ended up pulling off of the Trans-Canada Highway at Hermitage Road to watch this summer performance.  It was just before 11pm when I set up my camera along a fence which was busy splitting up a meadow of wild grass.  The moon was out and waxing near full so the land was gently lit up.  

Moonlit - © Christopher Martin-0433

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 2.5 seconds at f/5.6 on ISO 1600

It was warm but the mosquitos compelled me to put on a light jacket.  When a breeze came up around midnight, it was a perfect night to be outdoors.  

A lone fork - © Christopher Martin-0568

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 10 seconds at f/8.0 on ISO 1600

Two hours flew by largely unnoticed before the storms had moved out of view and I decided to head home.

Lightning forks - 2013 © Christopher Martin-0416

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24-105 lens: 6.0 seconds at f/6.3 on ISO 800


A late night light show

Astral Duck - 2013 © Christopher Martin

A few nights ago, the Northern Lights came out in force and extended brightly above my home in Redwood Meadows just west of Calgary.  We rarely see the Aurora Borealis here, when the lights are out I usually head further west to escape the nearby city glow, but the extraterrestrial storm that night was exceptional.  The Aurora rippled throughout the night, with blues and greens early on and then adding in purples and yellows as the morning approached.

Ghost lights - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Sheets of color - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Northern silhouette - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Color spray - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Purple horizon - 2013 © Christopher Martin

It was a wonderful evening spent in the backyard.


Dawn at the Lion’s Gate Bridge

The Lion waits for dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin

(as always, please click on any image to open a higher resolution version)

In March, I spent a weekend in Vancouver photographing birds, Granville Market and a few other things with a good friend.  On one of the mornings we headed down to Stanley Park around 4:30 AM to see about sunrise.  We walked to the seawall along the Burrard Inlet and worked for a while with the lights of North Van across the water.

Dawn on the Burrard Inlet - 2013 © Christopher Martin

As dawn came in, we moved slowly towards the Lion’s Gate Bridge and I had a lot of fun working with this dominant structure.  I was very happy that they left the bridge lights on right through sunrise.  I used to spend a lot of time exploring the park when I went to school in Vancouver but this was one of only a few times that I have photographed there.  It is a beautiful place to spend time – with or without a camera.

Under the Lion - 2013 © Christopher Martin

With morning came the runners that pile on miles along the pathways year round.  I enjoyed working them into a few photographs before packing up for breakfast.

Stanley Park - morning run 2013 © Christopher Martin


Pele’s Visit to Hanalei

Sparks from Pele's anvil - © Christopher Martin-0002

Pele is one of the Hawaiian deities and is often associated with the volcanic activities on the islands.  She also holds dominion over lightning, wind and fire.  One evening, I watched her play with lightning, throwing it over the ridges that rise up from the Hanalei Valley on Kaua’i’s north shore.  For almost three hours, beginning at dusk, the clouds lit up with strikes that branched across the sky.

Pele's play - © Christopher Martin-9809

I watched the storm from the Hanalei outlook in Princeville.  That put me at almost the same elevation as the strikes which hammered the far side of the valley.  With each flash, the taro field ponds lit up as well.  The deep blue sky early in the evening tempered the color in the sky.  When the valley was totally dark, each flash illuminated the scene in wild shades of purple.  It was incredible to see the changes in the color, the clouds and the storm through the night.

A silent observer to Pele's storm - © Christopher Martin-0038

Hanalei maelstrom - © Christopher Martin-9821

Pele's fury - a direct strike - © Christopher Martin-0011

Pele became more ferocious as the night deepened.  Gradual at first, with the wind picking up slowly but steadily and the lightning coming every couple of minutes.  Then increasing quickly along with drops of rain that turned into a downpour after just a few minutes.  I retreated to shelter with the rain drenching me and the lightning tracing arcs directly above me.  It was raw power and I enjoyed watching the goddess at work – by the end there was a determined nature to the storm that made it feel like play had been joined by purpose.

A small window to the stars - © Christopher Martin-9896

Storm glow - © Christopher Martin-9935


Autumn Aurora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Lights west of Calgary, Alberta

I woke up this morning at 4:30, not for any particular reason I can recall.  I went down for some water and saw there was an Aurora Watch Alert.  The live update showed that there was a lot of Auroral activity so, at my wife’s prompting, I headed out.

Aurora Borealis in Southern Alberta - © Christopher Martin-3029

In Bragg Creek we still get a fair bit of Calgary’s night city glow, so I drove northwest to a dark area of the prairie.  Some clouds cleared out along the horizon as I set up and then the show picked up and kept going strong until dawn.

This was a special time under the stars for me.  I have been visualizing photographing the Northern Lights and planning to get out for a couple of years.  I had a fantastic time watching the streams of light streak across the sky.  It was great to be able to realize what had been a little bit elusive.

So now, with this first Aurora shoot, in the rearview mirror, I’m looking forward to finding some new locations and compositions to photograph (and probably a faster f/2.8 or f/1.4 lens to shorten exposures).


Hide and seek with a blue moon

 

(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.


Sparks

We had another play with night shooting the other night. This time we were under a highway overpass with cameras on a service road and the fire spinner up the concrete support that angles up to the bridge. A good spot as there was only concrete and muddy road, offering stray sparks very little opportunity. Click the picture for a small gallery of images from the shoot.

It was a great time thanks to my friends who joined me in shooting and spinning.


Hawaiian Nightscapes: Crescent moon over Hanalei

On two separate evenings, I photographed the sunset from a viewpoint overlooking Hanalei Bay.  It is the wet, stormy season on Kaua’i’s north coast which was still warm and pretty sunny.  It does help to create amazing clouds and when the sun was long gone I was still shooting the clouds, the moon and the afterglow.  The picture below was from a few minutes earlier when the glow up the coast was at its strongest point.


Calgary Landscapes: Lunar Eclipse


Here in Calgary the lunar eclipse started early at 4am. While walking for an unobstructed view of the moon, the image above was my first look at the eclipse.

However it wasn’t until about 7am that the moon was fully in the Earth’s shadow about an hour before sunrise and stayed there until just before dropping below the horizon.

I walked through the downtown early ending up on the Centre Street Bridge.  From the bridge, the moon was glowing red over the Prince’s Island Park on the Bow River.  The Park was illuminated by Christmas lights and the occasional street light which formed nice elements to include in some of the compositions.

When the sun was almost up, the moon had necessarily started to move out of the shadow.  It was also very close to the horizon at that moment so the last image of the eclipse I have is a sliver of the moon framed in between the columns of one of the four lion masted plinths on the bridge.