Redwood Meadows was a madhouse on Halloween night! Packs of ghouls, Fortnite characters, Minions, animals and even a puffer fish roamed the community and many houses greeted them with wonderfully elaborate decorations.
My kids are growing up and this was the first time I didn’t go out with both of them. My son and two of his friends preferred to strike out on their own which is great fun of course (and a little – tiny – bit sad for me).
Kezia, playing Ginny Weasley from the Potter-verse, canvassed the neighborhood with three friends. Luckily for me they are a little younger and were happy to let me tag along. We had a blast!
I managed to catch up with Kian at the end and grabbed a couple of shots with him dancing to the spooky scary skeleton song (an absolute favorite of ours!) before he separated from his steampunk skeleton alter ego.
Thanks to Game of Thrones, this phrase is often heard. Yesterday Mother Nature provided her own reminder that far too soon winter will be here. I still hope we have a couple of months before it does but the snow is still on the trees this morning and does not yet look interested in melting away. I can’t say that I’m a fan of snow in September.
Last weekend there was a break in the storms where blue sky appeared for an hour or two in the afternoon. It was cold but the sunshine was inviting so I strapped on snowshoes and headed outside. The Elbow River is still largely frozen over so a walk along the plain at the north end of Redwood Meadows seemed a good call. The clouds left with snow trailing just behind their departure.
I ended up playing around more than covering any real distance. The slope from the berm to the river was a fun distraction as I jumped down into the snow and clambered up again a few times.
I ended with a short trek onto the plain and then back along the forest. A few photographs of some wintering berries close to the berm coincided with the clouds closing in again. The snow began to fly and I made my way home.
Last year when visiting Berlin, I took a day trip to Potsdam. From the train station, Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, I walked to the Neues Palais. I love wandering in unfamiliar places for the surprising things I find along the way. At one point, I turned away from the busy street at a park gate. When I came through, this quiet scene was waiting. It was an entrance to the extensive grounds of the palace. I walked through these grounds and the surrounding parks for the Sanssouci Palace for several hours, including a long nap beside a pond. The palaces weren’t my cup of tea but these parks had a manicured charm that I enjoyed immensely that day.
A morning scene from the edge of the Olympic Plaza in Calgary’s downtown. It’s a small park with a million stories. This was a sunny morning earlier this week where the moment suggested the light and the dark sides of many of these stories.
This image is from 2011 and was taken along the Elbow River. Kezia was 2 1/2 years old and running with Kian who was 4 1/2. I used a shutter speed of 1/6th of a second for a relatively long shutter and panned with the kids as they raced by. I love playing with motion and creating, or capturing, movement in these types of images. The blurred lines that layer to create the scene remind me of an Impressionist painting.
This year is my daughter’s first as a member of her dance studio’s competition team. She has been working hard on her three routines and last weekend was the Springbank Dancer’s public performance ahead of the spring competition schedule.
Kezia’s is competing in three categories – hip hop solo, small hip hop group and large group musical theatre. All of the routines are great for her and allow her personality to shine throughout.
She loves performing and this weekend was no exception. She danced wonderfully and had a great time – on and off stage.
It was the first time I got to see each of her dances on stage and in full dress. The choreography done by the studio’s teachers is great and she has put in the effort to learn them cold. It was really fun to watch it all come together and see Kezia doing what she absolutely loves to do. And I absolutely love watching her do everything she wants to do.
The week flew by here in Europe with a weekend in Gent and then five days in Berlin. I met up with my cousin and two other very close friends and had a blast the whole time. It was fast but I am a little surprised how much was stuffed in. Last night, I spent the evening around Alexanderplatz and went up the Fernsehturm for a true bird’s-eye view of the city. Berlin’s TV Tower is referred to by some as the toothpick and the TV asparagus I’m told. I expect there are more nicknames but its status as an icon of Berlin and a dominating presence in her skyline elevates it above reproach in my book.
When I was down on the ground, the Berlin lacht festival was in full swing so the performances, partying and laughter overran the square. This image shows a bit of the colours and mood of this event – all under the watchful eye of the tower with a lump in its throat.
Anyways, a quick image while I wait for my plane and get home to my kids. I will share more from the whirlwind soon I hope.
I found this ice rink in a park near Marda Loop. There were a few people playing hockey under the night lights. I stopped for a few minutes to play with the patterns of the trees and lights against the rink. I loved the setting and that everyone was out to enjoy this most traditional of Canadian pastimes.
A window into a traditional Tibetan home in a rural village. This was from one of my day trips out of Shangri-La and up into the front range of the Himalayas in the northern corner of Yunnan province. Many of the people living in the small mountainside towns, farms and villages are ethnic Tibetan. It was an honour to see some of their culture during a visit to this village.
It was interesting as this is a place that tour buses stop during day trips into the mountains so it is a tourist focused place but the people living there had a joy and vibrancy about them which stood apart from many similar locations. I really enjoyed the couple of hours that I spent there.
I originally published one photograph of the patterns of steam created by workers de-icing planes in January 2014, the day after I took the picture when I arrived in Arizona. I processed the image quite minimally as I believe I was working off of an iPad and had limited time to work on the images. Last year, a more true to life, and to my eye more pleasing, version was recognized in the CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition. This version required some processing as RAW files are quite flat and high contrast images can require a bit of work to bring them out.
For a recent competition I entered, I submitted a series of different images from the same time. I liked the abstract quality of the steam created by the patterns and swirls, backlit by the just risen sun. I wanted to share those here – with the break in the freezing temperatures this morning, I thought it was a nice reminder of just how cold winter can be in Alberta!
I caught Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday and absolutely loved it. The continuation of the saga is a joyride I have been looking forward to enormously and the movie met my loftiest hopes 🙂
Earlier in the week, my kids and I went downtown for my birthday evening and we saw these Stormtroopers walking near The Bow. Great foreshadowing for us. There was a film crew with them so it was some form of promotional shoot. That didn’t stop the kids and I getting really excited daydreaming about walking into the middle of a real life Star Wars scene.
A small group of monks from Ganden Sumtseling Gompa took a walk around Lamuyang Lake in the early evening. I was strolling along the wooden pathway and stopped to photograph them as they approached. The monastery sits on a hill above the lake a short distance from here and I was told monks often circle it before dusk. I did love photographing Sumtseling that evening but this was a good moment where I felt a connection with this place and her people.
(please click on an image to open a higher resolution version)
The kids in Redwood Meadows were out on the prowl last night tricking and treating their way around the town. Our troop of cousins, friends and a couple of adults headed out just before dark. The neighbours were characteristically generous and all of the children made out like bandits.
Kian was a skeleton assassin and Kezia was a leopard. Both stayed in character for much of the night – except when daddy asked them to pose together for a quick shot together.
The Redwood Meadows firefighters had one of their trucks parked outside and stopping there was a highlight for the kids (and another source of heaps of candy!)
Everyone had a really great time – running between houses, jumping around and sharing a lot of laughs.
The countryside surrounding Shangri-La is a rural landscape of small farms, fields and villages divided by densely forested hills, soaring mountains and deeply carved rivers. When I was in China last month I spent a couple of days driving the narrow roads that connect these places. These are a selection of these scenes as I experienced them.
When I was in Shangri-La in China a couple of weeks ago, I spent a fair bit of time before and after the award ceremony and activities walking around the city’s old town area. I enjoyed photographing the street scenes I came across.
I loved the three wheeled vehicles that thread through traffic carrying fruit, people, propane and almost anything else.
Above and below are from my first morning in China, before heading up to Shangri-La. I stayed in a small town called Ka Fa Chu perched on the side of a steep valley above the Yangtze River. I woke up and walked around the town visiting a small temple and ending along a busy street where the traffic heading up to Shangri-La passed close by. These gentlemen were focused on this game which was not familiar to me but appeared to be equal parts chance and skill.
I spent the morning and evening at the Songzanlin Monastery (also called Sumtseling Monastery and Ganden Sumtseling Gompa) yesterday. Sutra chanting, deep tones which carried around the upper complex, drew me to the Duke Khamtsen building. Prayers were ongoing in the hall behind this gentleman with roughly twenty monks intoning and drumming. This was marked by the occasional sounding of a long horn. I stayed there listening for a long time during which I spoke with this monk now and then. He was very friendly and when I asked whether photographing this outer entrance was allowed, as photographing the inner hall during prayers is not allowed, he said it was and offered to be in the picture. The photographs were infinitely better having him in them. When I showed him, he approved and pulled a couple of his friends over to show them too. It could not have worked out better. The photographs are one thing, but he best part was being able to be in this moment enjoying the prayers, the feeling of well being and a little time with my higher self.
Kezia and Kian were excited to start their new school year at Banded Peak today. The first morning had a good dose of chaos but we still had a few minutes to take a few photos before the bus picked them up.
I’m looking forward to a great year for these two wonderful children who I love so very, very much.
I always love photographing him and when he’s in motion doubly so! This was on the first day of our boys trip and set a great tone for the weekend.
July 12th was the final day of the 2015 Calgary Stampede and I had an invitation from good friends to join them for the Chuckwagon Finals and the Grandstand Show Finale that evening. I jumped at the chance and enjoyed a great night down on the grounds.
The Chucks were exciting as usual with the best races coming in the last couple of heats. This year’s champion was Kurt Bensmiller who successfully defended his title from last year in a great race, particularly down the stretch. Bensmiller was riding on the Tsuu T’ina wagon, whose land we live on, so I was happy for them as well! Above is my shot of him closing in on the finish line.
Another great race was heat 5 where Mark Sutherland pulled away from a tight grouping with all four teams and won by just under a second.
Earlier in the evening, we walked down the midway, checking out the rides, the people and the crazy games. I like riding these big swings with my kids and with the sun behind it made for a cool picture.
After the races, the Grandstand Show was up and this year’s edition was called the Canadian Classic. I thought it was great fun. I was sitting above a group visiting from Ohio and, judging by their enthusiasm during and after the performance, it was well received by friends from afar as well.
The fireworks are a signature piece that ends each show. The set on the last day were far and away the largest of the Stampede I was told by a friend who had seen several of them this year. They were huge, loud and beautiful. From our seats on the second deck, we weren’t too far below the average explosion height so they felt all-encompassing which is great when it comes to fireworks in my mind.
Our kids are in a WinSport Snow School program learning to ski and snowboard at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. The hill is a great place to learn and the instructors are adept working with children. Both of them are having a blast out there.
I watched them for an hour on Sunday and then wandered over to the terrain park to watch some very talented boarders and skiers fly.
There are great rollers, kick jumps and skate park features which these snow creatures were ripping off of. I had a great time watching them. I grew up skiing in the mountains but never aired things out like this – so cool!
And there was even a Superman laying it out…
The Shwedagon Zedi Daw is a nexus point for Myanmar’s Buddhists. It’s history goes back more than 2600 years and it is an amazing place of humanity, faith and spirituality. The main stupa is sheathed in gold foil as are many of the parapets and other buildings on the grounds. I went there twice when I visited Myanmar in 2010 and think I could return many more times and always find new things catching my eye. On my second visit, I watched these workers gilding a new, or maybe restored, tower. It was a hot day and while one gentleman found a ball cap to be sufficient protection, the other preferred a more encompassing head cover. This was detailed work and they were attentive to the task at hand. I had to wait a little while until one of them looked up from the tower and glanced out over the crowds walking around Shew Dagon.
A member of the ground crew at the Calgary International Airport does the critical work of de-icing the airplane during a cold sunrise well below freezing in Alberta, Canada.