Just before the holidays, and the cold snap that came along at the same time, my daughter and I played in the snow the day after a blizzard had blown through.
Kezia was brushing branches to watch the snow fall. She called them snowbursts and with the bright sunshine lighting them, it felt like a bit of magic.
We had a lot of fun playing and taking pictures, as you can probably tell. And so did our hound Lacey who chased snowballs and dove her head into the snow constantly!
We had been snow-free up to that point in December (the 20th) so the excitement to be returned to a proper winter wonderland was palpable. I love hanging out with this sweet girl and this was a great day doing just that.
My children, one of their good friends and I went to a hill along Highway 66 west of Bragg Creek in Kananaskis last week. It was at the front end of the latest warm spell in southern Alberta so it was great to be outside and there was still a lot of snow. In between runs we all made together, the kids made a few runs where I photographed them flying down, catching air and spraying snow with little regard for its well-being. A fantastic afternoon with my two very favorite people in the world.
Kian went full punk off of one jump. Later Kezia plowed through it!
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.
With the Christmas holiday in full swing around our house now, the kids and I went out night sledding on the 23rd. The snow had started falling early that morning and kept going all day. We went out earlier but had the most fun in the evening.
Kian had the idea to take some photos and I was onboard. A drag of the shutter (1/10th – 1/6th of a second) with a flash of 1/200th of a second to create some motion blur while freezing the kids in action.
I played around as they sped down the great little hill just off our back yard. They eagerly collaborated with the images – looking at the screen after each run to see what worked and what didn’t.
We had a blast – a great way for a daddy to spend Christmas Eve’s eve with his daughter and son 🙂
On our last day in Jasper, Kian and I went for a walk along Pyramid Lake that morning. It was the first weekend of September so it was cool with a bit of mist on the water and the autumn colors were just starting to come in. We headed back to town around 9am and spotted a Black bear in the open forest above the road.
One bear soon became two when the other stepped out from behind a dense clump of Buffalo berries. The berries were ripe at that time so the bears had been drawn in. At first we thought they were a mother and cub but when they were side by side, and then when they were wrestling, we could see they were both the same size.
To me, they seemed like they were near adults and given their play fighting I think they are siblings that are still hanging out together. Whether related or not, they seemed to enjoy each other’s company and stayed close to each other as they munched through the patches of berries along the hillside.
On the weekend, my children and I visited the Calgary Zoo for the better part of a day. We used to go frequently when they were younger but it had been a couple of years since we went together. We had a really great time there with a number of fun moments watching the animals and having fun with each other. When we visited the river otters, Kezia had this wonderful interaction with Finnegan, the son of the other two otters. The otters are so curious, which matches Kezia perfectly, so when he saw her at the glass he swam by performing spins and rolls. When she put her finger against the window, he followed it around to her great delight. Two beautiful creatures sharing a little time together.
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.
The family of foxes I had the opportunity to photograph last week were an energetic bunch. Well, the kits were – I didn’t see the adults at any point during the couple of hours I watched them. Neighbours of the human type indicated that the adult pair raise a brood here every year.
However, the siblings all seemed to smoothly shift between play, tricks, sleep and just watching throughout the time I watched them. Just as you would expect for young foxes in training.
I was struck by their similarity to my own canines at home – particularly our one year old labradoodle (frenetic, smart and above all else playful) but still decidedly foxy!
From the deck of the sailboat that was home in the Khutzeymateen we spotted a mother and cub padding through the deep sedge grass during low tide. With the full moon, the change between high and low tides was over seven metres. The salmon that have spawned up the creeks, are little more than heartbeats when they float back down to the river mouth. When the water is high they often get caught in the sedge grass and are easy pickings for the clever bears who are in the know.
The cub played unaware we were watching for several minutes. When he did notice, he stared us down before trotting back to momma.
The mother stayed in the grass until the cub came up and growled and pawed at her.
After a while the cub turned his attention back to his mom. He trotted over and growled and pawed at her. He conned her into coming down to the beach and they ran around chasing each other.
It was a really special finish to a great first day in the Khutzeymateen. And more great moments were to come in the next two days I spent in the Khutzeymateen.
The kids and I took their cousin up to the park this morning. The playground there is pretty cool but the most fun we had was when the kids were jumping off some of the bouncy animal rides. Taking a low angle, I wanted to make these small guys into giants. Kian loved these photographs and said it would be alright if I shared them.
(click on an image for a larger image gallery)
I was in Jasper photographing for a few days with a couple of good friends. We had one day where we were able to get some glass on two separate mothers with their cubs. One family was just the mother and her cub and it was this cub who proved to be an adept tree climber.
The pair was snacking on berries when the little one trotted over to a tall tree and then shot up the trunk. It stopped about 40′ up and looked around for a bit. At that point we weren’t sure whether there would be a descent down the bark or a fall.
It was amazing to watch the bear when it decided to come down. I can only describe it as a vertical slide and a very quick one. The cub went back to mom and they foraged along for a while. Then it climbed another tree, stayed up to enjoy the bird’s-eye view and then slid back down. Very fast, very natural and really a treat to see this rascal go.
On the ground the bear did not appear agitated so I believe it was climbing out of curiosity and, possibly, just for the fun of it.
We spent afternoon driving around the Bow Valley on Sunday. We ended up playing at a beach on Ghost Lake and the light was beautiful – warm and very soft. I had to grab my camera and photograph my kids as they played on the water’s edge.
We went to the Calgary Zoo a few days ago and we had a great time having a guided tour by our children through all of the areas. During one of their breaks, Kezia and Kian played around the outdoor theatre while mom photographed the zebras and dad photographed them.