Posts tagged “nightscape

Happy New Year’s Day

January 1st has been a good, and wonderfully relaxed, start to 2020 for us.  The fireworks at the Redwood Meadows community sports field last night did a great job of ushering in the new year.  All the best to you and yours in this new year.

The fireworks were great.  Thank you to the people involved in the evening’s light show.

 


Mornings at Radium’s Sinclair Canyon

My family spent a few days in Radium at the end of March.  I had not been that way since last fall.  Driving through the Sinclair Canyon’s narrow opening into the Columbia Valley this time, the steep rock walls grabbed my attention.

I went there early on three of the four mornings to play with those solid forms.  Lights from passing traffic traced bright lines through the long exposures.

The last morning was the earliest I arrived – a little after 4am.  I had some ideas for images with star trails through the gap in the canyon.  The clouds were not supportive of those ideas.  I watched them knit together and block the night sky as I was setting up.  Those ideas will get another chance later this spring I think.


Spring equinox and the supermoon

I was happy to miss the moonrise on March 19th.  My daughter was performing one of her dance routines – where she sings too so I was in no rush to leave that.  Quick shout out to the Moto Café in Bragg Creek – thanks for hosting the recital – wonderful coffee, scones and atmosphere!

When the performers had all finished, I headed east towards the prairie and found the full moon still fairly low with the alpen glow hanging in the sky above it.  I knew this stand of trees and thought it’s silhouette, along with the color in the sky, would frame the golden supermoon well.  It felt like a great start to spring!


Happy New Year!

I spent New Year’s Eve at home with my children and one of their close friends.  We all had fun and enjoyed the evening.  The Redwood Meadows community once more put on a fireworks show.

They always do a great job and this year was outstanding.  Kian found friends to watch and hang out with.  The other two enjoyed the show from the picture window of a neighbor’s home which provided a good, and warm, view.  It wasn’t frigid cold but it was -12ºC and the windchill made it feel like several degrees cooler again.

Some people watched with their kids from their vehicles, some people bundled up and were happy to stand outside.  No matter how people watched them, everyone seemed to enjoy the performance.  I certainly did.

I set up across the road from the field where the fireworks were set up.  I wanted to have the option to silhouette people against the explosions.  I used two cameras to have some options.  I set one up with a remote control and kept those all at  a 10 second shutter speed, lens at f/10 and an ISO of 800.  The other one I shot with directly during the show and played with the settings and the composition.

As we have just left 2018 here in Alberta, I wanted to wish you the very best in 2019.  Happy New Year!


Nightscapes in Kananaskis

A 25 second exposure and a fast lens (in this case, a Canon 24mm f/1.4 set at f/1.8) revealed wisps of clouds stretching east across the Kananaskis River valley a little after 4 in the morning on October 7th.  The soft green glow betrayed the Aurora Borealis pulsing low over the northern horizon.

Red light from my headlamp illuminated Highway 40 in this 10 second exposure that centered on the hazy Northern Lights.


Lightning over Lac Mercier

This lake is near Mont-Tremblant and has a lovely beach where my son and I swam the day before this heavy storm blew through the Laurentian Mountains.

The lightning strikes came in sets, striking the hills across the water.  Beside the beach is a pier and a small covered area where I was able to hide from the rain.  That afforded a wonderful view of the lake and back towards the vibrant little town.  Of course, much of that view was illuminated only by the flashes of lightning – most along the hills across the water but a couple were over the community.


I felt the accompanying thunder from those deep in my chest.  Frequently, the wind ripped through the valley and drove the rain horizontally.  The temperature dropped fast when the storm approached and stayed cool through the evening.  I was glad for the rain gear I had stashed in my pack.

There were occasional stretches where everything calmed down, almost to catch a collective breath, but the storm crashed across the mountains relentlessly otherwise.  A proper summer storm by every measure.  After a couple of hours, the rain picked up even more and I thought it was well past time to get home.


Lightning strikes over Lac Mercier

A fierce thunderstorm in the Mont-Tremblant area of the Laurentians in Québec last night. Steady sheets of lightning, howling wind and hammering rain accompanied the thunder that rang across the valleys for hours. This photograph was from Lac Mercier just after midnight. When this lightning cracked, it shook the gazebo I was standing under. I left a few minutes later – I’d had enough and the rain that followed shortly afterwards was of an almost biblical level. It was time to get home.  I will share a few more from the night soon but my son and I are off to Ottawa to visit Parliament Hill.


Canada Day fireworks in Mont-Tremblant

Kian and I headed up the ski hill last night to get a good vantage point for the fireworks.  We found a great slab of bare rock near the flying mile chairlift and enjoyed the explosions as they lit up the village and echoed across the valley.

Pretty fantastic to spend a warm night watching the light show above this pretty little town with my son.

 


A night in the old port of Montréal

A silhouetted self-portrait in the Old Port, Vieux-Port, of Montréal in Québec, Canada.

Following the enjoyment of watching the fiery, hazy spell cast by la Joute fountain in front of the Palais des congrès, I continued on to the old port.  This area is the historical heart of Montréal and one I had not spent time exploring before.  Restaurants and cafes were winding down for the night as I walked past and people were making their way home.  That left the cobblestone streets, lined with some of the oldest buildings in Canada, to me and the occasional group of merrymakers and travelers.  I played with some long exposures, stepping into a few of those frames, and some motion blurs (images of the Ferris wheel on the waterfront from that night can be seen here).  I ended up getting pretty tired towards the early morning so  that impacted the photographing a bit but I’m glad I had time to have a look around.  I’m excited to get back there again in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully with more time and during daylight too!


Northern Lights… softly

On the weekend there was a minor geomagnetic storm which enveloped the Earth for a couple of days.  Around midnight on Sunday I could see a green glow along the northern horizon so I walked down to the Elbow River.  It runs near my backyard and I was quickly down at the water.  A couple of hours saw a few sprites stretch away from thick Aurora band which stayed low in the sky.  However the Northern Lights were comfortable doing a slow waltz on this night.  Next time I’ll hope for a more energetic dance but I certainly enjoyed the quiet beauty that was shared.

 


Gulls in motion under the city lights

Last week one of the snowstorms that came through Calgary picked up intensity after dark.  I was staying downtown near the Bow River and watched as the increasing snowfall was illuminated by the city lights above one of the bridges crossing the water.  A silhouette sped in front of a light at one moment and then a dozen more did the same the next.

A colony of gulls threw waves of their silhouettes into the storm circling low over the water and then above the lights for several minutes before they appeared to settle down.

I don’t know if it was the weather, disturbance by a someone or something or members returning to congregate for the night but they were excited for a short while.  I loved the grainy sky created by the snow and the shape of these dark blurs as they flew into and out of the light.


Nightscapes of downtown Calgary

 

A few photographs of downtown Calgary from the north side of the Centre Street Bridge last week during the latest cold snap.

 

On this last photograph, I entered the frame with the help of a timer in order to provide a contrasting element in the foreground.


Flashback Friday – today I’m reminded of winter’s chill

Winter has gripped southern Alberta in a dramatic advance which has brought cold, snow and ice – all in significant measure.  I’m looking forward to shooting the wintry landscape but haven’t carved out time yet.  It has reminded me of this cold night last January when I was out photographing Calgary’s downtown from the Bow Trail Bridge.  It was somewhere below -25ºC then – we aren’t that cold yet!  The traffic leaving and entering downtown, along with the LRT train, traced out colorful lines during this 20 second exposure.

Autumn Aurora

I walked my dog early this morning and when I looked to the north could see the Northern Lights rippling and snapping above the horizon.  The hound was returned home and replaced by my camera.  I walked down to the Elbow River which runs nearby and spent a couple of hours photographing the Aurora Borealis before it faded out against the approaching dawn.  I’m feeling very lucky to be able to enjoy such a show in my backyard!


May Aurora Borealis at Lake Minnewanka

The aurora storms in May were beautiful.  This is one photograph from May 20th in Banff National Park along the Lake Minnewanka shoreline.  There is a good chance of more displays this weekend.  I’ll be looking up and hopefully the ribbons of red, green and purple will be dancing above.


The May 21st Minnewanka Aurora – into the early morning

Following on from my last post on this geomagnetic storm, here are a few of the images from later in the night.  As the early hours of May 21st dripped past, the sprites in the Northern Lights appeared and then alternated with beautiful glowing arches.  These continued painting across the sky well past the earliest sign of dawn.

The rise of the crescent moon came just after 4 am as the aurora’s glow started to fade and night handed the sky over to day.  Within an hour the sunlight brushed its own colors across the canvas now shared with clouds instead of stars.


Lake Minnewanka’s Northern Lights

There have been strong Aurora Borealis events over the past couple of weeks.  These have extended far enough south that those of us in southern Alberta have been able to enjoy great displays in the night sky.  Throughout the earliest hours of May 20th the Northern Lights flashed, rippled and glowed over Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.  It was a beautiful night with few clouds and a sky that looked like someone had spread out all the diamonds across a dark blanket.

Along the lake’s western shore, many people had come out to see the auroras.  When I passed the marina, the storm was in a lull but the green glow drew a sharp line on the Palliser Range’s silhouette.  I’m usually alone when I’m photographing at night so it was neat to be part of a loose community all there to enjoy this natural event.

Most people were lined up along the dam.  I hiked down a trail a bit further south and found a stretch of rock along the water’s edge that looked good to me.  I spent the next four hours watching the sky, scrambling around the rocks and photographing the aurora.  The photographs here are from the first hour during an active period following the lull.  I will share a few more from later in night in another post soon.

 


Aurora over the Elbow River

Last weekend there was a massive storm in the sky on Saturday night.  Not the thunder and lightning kind – though there was a very energetic rain shower around 2am – rather a geomagnetic storm.  With that came bright auroras which rippled and shot for several hours.  The rain actually woke me up and when I looked outside, I could see the Northern Lights between gaps in the clearing clouds.

I picked up some gear and headed outside right away.  Living near Bragg Creek we have dark skies except for the glow from Calgary to the east so it was easy to see the show right from my deck.  When I walked over to the banks of the Elbow River, it coincided with an intense burst that lasted for almost twenty minutes.  I woke my daughter up later when I went back home and we were able to catch another smaller outburst – her first in real-time.  Easily the best part of a great night.

 


A Neoclassical Night in Berlin

The Altes Museum

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.

Berliner Dom - © Christopher Martin-8972

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.

Berliner Dom and the rising moon - © Christopher Martin-8950

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.

Night parties along the Spree - © Christopher Martin-8931

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.

Brandenburg Tor before dawn - © Christopher Martin-7660


Saint Patrick’s Aurora

Saint Patrick's Aurora - © Christopher Martin-2473
Canon 5DIII – 24mm lens: 2.5 seconds on f/1.8 at ISO 6400

The night after St. Patrick’s Day brought out the Aurora Borealis over southern Alberta.  Along the Elbow River, west of Calgary, the bands of color rippled in the sky and on the surface of the water for several hours.  I met two photographers, Stacey and Clif, out on the berm.  They had come out to Redwood Meadows in search of the Northern Lights.  The show took a little while to start so it was nice to chat while we waited.  When the lights did start to dance it was beautiful.  I will share more images from the night soon as the colours and mood changed throughout the night and allowed for great variety.


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


The last half of the lunar eclipse

Blood Moon - © Christopher Martin-4533The clouds cleared at the point during this week’s eclipse when the moon was just coming out of the earth’s penumbra.  The top edge of the full moon was just coming into e sunlight.  The majority of the surface was still in shadow and was a deep reddish orange.

Blood Moon - © Christopher Martin-4606

 The glow from the moon coloured the landscape as well.

Under a blood moon - © Christopher Martin-4547Landscape under a lunar eclipse - © Christopher Martin-4552

The moon left the shadow much too quickly for me but it was fun to watch the different looks as the clouds moved, the colours changed and the blood moon slipped away.

Cloud and eclipse - © Christopher Martin-4711Moon haze - © Christopher Martin-4709

The sky brightened along with the moon and I called it a night.Moonrise - © Christopher Martin-4658


Calgary’s cityscape at dawn

Fire on the eastern front - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The sky to the east was beautiful this morning.  I had a chance to photograph from a good elevation which let me see the horizon towards the east and the downtown cityscape in the other direction.  I loved the explosion of color in the clouds preceding the sunrise and those added nice reflections in some of the glass facades of Calgary’s prominent buildings.

Calgary's cityscape at dawn - 2013 © Christopher Martin


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.