Posts tagged “Redwood Meadows

First day back to school

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1477

It was a busy morning getting ready for the first day of school in time for the bus this morning.  Bobbi did a great job having everything planned out for the kids so it wasn’t chaos.  Kezia is super excited to get back to class to see her friends and get Grade 3 started.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1478

Kian and Bobbi are embarking on a home schooling adventure this year which will be amazing for both of them.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1506

Kian is very excited about the opportunity to dive deep into subjects and be more in control of where his efforts are placed.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1496

Both the kids are excited about each other’s path this year.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1523

It was fun to photograph them together, and get one with Kezia and I (thank you Bobbi), before she got on the bus to get her year started.

First day of school - © Christopher Martin-1533

 


Happy Canada Day!

To my fellow Canadians, and anyone else with a soft spot for the country, Happy Canada Day!  149 years old today!

Canada Day bike parade- © Christopher Martin-54

This was the annual bike parade in Redwood Meadows led by our local Fire Department.  And followed closely by my daughter, Kezia, in the middle looking back.


A Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3782-3

I’ve lived in Redwood Meadows for over 9 years and have never photographed a Great gray owl in the daylight here.  A little while ago, I was driving back from Bragg Creek and spotted this owl perched on a fence post.  I watched him in the sun for a little while before he flew.  Then he quickly moved from post to post for a couple of minutes, with short breaks between flights.

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3714

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3730

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3735

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3736

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3737-2

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3738

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3748

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3749

Eventually he flew to the top of a nearby tree for a better view.  That did not last long and he flew directly in front of me as he crossed the road (the first photo int his story) and flew into the heavier forest on the edge of the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo and Pow Wow grounds.

Great gray owl in Redwood Meadows - © Christopher Martin-3780

 


Elbow River Dawn

Elbow River Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1831-2

I went out for a mountain bike this morning along the Elbow River.  The temperature was near -20°C and the snow-covered trails were a bit slippery – and it was a great ride.  It was before the sun had come up and the land was emerging from the dark draped in soft, bluish light.  The alpen glow in the clear sky to the west added a magical pink hue to the scene.

Elbow River Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1826-2

These two images were taken before and after the sunlight lit up the Kananaskis mountains.  The first was at 8:27 and the next 13 minutes later, just a minute after sunrise.

Elbow River Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1841

 

 


Halloween Tricking and Treating

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2519

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.

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2505

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2566

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2534

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.

Kezia the leopard at Halloween - © Christopher Martin-2516

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!)

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2537

Everyone had a really great time – running between houses, jumping around and sharing a lot of laughs.

Halloween Tricking and Treating - © Christopher Martin-2560


Canada Day at Redwood Meadows

Canada Day Fireworks - © Christopher Martin-6016

Canada Day is always a great event in the Redwood Meadows community.  Due to enthusiasm, organization and efforts of the small army of volunteers a super fun day is created.  From the bike parade led by the Redwood Meadows Fire Department, the entertainment on the outdoor stage, the adults tea party in the shade and all of the great children’s activities (face painting, bouncy castles, slip and slide and more) to the fireworks at the end of the day – they were all fantastic.

Canada Day Fun - © Christopher Martin-5989

Our children had a great time down on the grounds and I wasn’t far behind.  The weather cooperated, after a nasty hailstorm the night before, so I have a bit of a sunburn to show for my time listening to music and watching the kids play.

Canada Day Fun - © Christopher Martin-389920

 

Canada Day Fun - © Christopher Martin-789971

Canada Day Fireworks - © Christopher Martin-6040

The fireworks are always good and I think they were really great this year.  They started at 11pm under a still fairly bright sky.  We sat facing northwest so I enjoyed having that element to frame the explosions against.  A great day and we were all worn out at the end.  Thank you to everyone who made this happen!  Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day Fireworks - © Christopher Martin-6046


The Northern Lights over southern Alberta

Aurora Borealis above the forest  - © Christopher Martin-5571

I live in a forest community along the Elbow River near Bragg Creek in Alberta.  I often enjoy watching the stars against the silhouette of the trees.  When I saw the Aurora Borealis begin to shade the northern sky once dusk’s afterglow darkened, I raced around to set up my gear on the deck.

Redwood Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5561

It turned out to be a very active aurora and I had a couple of hours to watch the colors ripple across different parts of the northern sky.  The beauty above was met in equal measure by the sounds of the crickets and birds and the relaxed touch of a warm, summer wind.

Redwood Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5643-2

The time drifted by without any ties to an actual clock and I felt pleasantly ensconced in my own little world.  The Northern Lights seem to have that effect on me.

Redwood Aurora - © Christopher Martin-5612


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.


Electric Sky

A very energetic storm rolled out of the mountains and spread across the prairies last night.  Bobbi was driving home as the clouds thickened and the lightning began to streak across the sky.  At her urging, I went out to photograph the light show and it was spectacular.  The summer heat seemed to have loosened up Zeus’s arm and he was firing bolts down to the ground and between clouds for a couple of hours.

Electric sky - 2014 © Christopher Martin

(Please click on the image if you would like to view a higher resolution version)

This image was taken at the sports field in Redwood Meadows just a little ways from my house.  The clouds were running east along the south side of the Elbow River.  To the north, the sky was clear which presented an interesting background to lightning.  Following a few minutes set up by the field, I went out onto the prairies after this image and had a great (although late) night storm watching.


An Evening Grosbeak in the snow

Winter snack - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The Chickadees, Bluejays and Nuthatches in our backyard stay year round.  For some of the other birds, the heavy snowstorm on Sunday and the cold temperatures left behind have prompted discussion about overwintering or heading for the south.  This Evening Grosbeak seemed to be weighing his options as he nibbled on twigs while perched in the bushes above the pond.

Cracking twigs - 2013 © Christopher Martin

With the cold and the snow, I will not blame him if he takes flight soon.

Grosbeak's crown - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Canada Day at Redwood Meadows

Canada Day Fireworks at Redwood Meadows - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The Canada Day fireworks at Redwood Meadows were great.  This was the first year our children were able to stay awake late enough to see them.  Their big smiles and excited commentary continued throughout the performance.  The fireworks marked the end of the Canada Day celebrations – let me back up and share a little bit of the fun we all had throughout the day.

Ready to ride - 2013 © Christopher Martin

We all joined in bike parade led by the firefighter trucks and rescue vehicles that always starts Canada Day in Redwood.  Kian and Kezia both had a lot of fun making the loop of the town with all of their friends.  It was good that the parade started at 10 am – it was warm then and by noon it was hot and sunny.

Rolling in the bike parade - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Redwood Meadows Bike Parade - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Parading through town - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Following the parade, the stage in the middle of the sports field was the centre of attention for the opening ceremony which led into live performances that continued for the afternoon.  Dancers from the Tsuu T’ina Nation opened the performances on the stage.  It is always an honour to watch them and with Hal Eagletail narrating everyone was made welcome and enjoyed their dancing.

Hal Eagletail and Tsuu T'ina dancers - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Hal narrated, joked, drummed and sang – he set a great tone for the rest of the live music, magicians (both were great although Kian gave his vote to the gentleman who used swords!) and speakers.

Tsuu T'ina Dancer - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Around the stage, the community association had set up a bunch of activities for the kids including face painting, street drawing, games and bouncy castles.  For adults, including weary or wilted parents, a beer garden was open.

A rainbow in the making - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Kezia decided on a rainbow connecting a heart with a happy face.

A Canadian boy - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Kian transformed from a Canadian boy to a Canadian ninja.

A Canadian ninja - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Street art - 2013 © Christopher Martin

There were two themed cakes as well as cupcakes.  Kezia was quite happy to show her support…

Rainbow Kezia and her cupcake - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The heat built up by mid-afternoon and even the kids looked to be feeling a little worn down.  That all changed when the firefighters spread out a large sheet of plastic and hooked up one of their hoses to the fire truck.  The water was turned on, the kids lined up and then chaos was unleashed (very fun chaos).

Sliding along - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Ninja in the water park - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Bart Frasca is a firefighter and resident in Redwood Meadows.  He was one of the key people involved in saving the town during this year’s flood.  He didn’t need the help running the hose but he let Kezia provide her assistance for a minute or two nonetheless.

Kezia with the assist - 2013 © Christopher Martin

With paint now dripping off their faces and weariness starting to settle into their bones, we took our children home to relax and wait for the fireworks.  When we returned to the field just before 11, the sky still had traces of the day on the western horizon.  We settled onto a blanket and covered up from the mosquitos.  The wait wasn’t long and soon explosions of color spread out above.  It was a great ending to a great day.  Thank you to all of the people who set up, performed, painted, sprayed, played and made it so much fun for all.

Canada Day fireworks - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Happy 146th birthday Canada!

Happy birthday Canada - 2013 © Christopher Martin


The flood at Redwood Meadows

These clouds dropped massive rain in the mountains and on the Foothills for several days, swelling the rivers that run towards Calgary.

These clouds dropped massive rain in the mountains and on the Foothills for several days, swelling the rivers that run towards Calgary.

Our community of Redwood Meadows is located along the Elbow River west of Calgary.  Normally, the river is a steady flow that winds out of Kananaskis Country through the Foothills and drains into the Weaselhead delta in the city.  For the past week, heavy rain and snowmelt swelled the river far above its channels and in many places along its path expanded well beyond its banks.

On June 20th the water was still rising when I took this photograph along the bank of the Elbow River.  The water continued to rise for several hours afterwards.  The line of the berm created by the rocks, sandbags and the trees along the left side were all eroded by the river and disappeared by June 21st.

On June 20th the water was still rising when I took this photograph along the bank of the Elbow River. The water continued to rise for several hours afterwards. The line of the berm created by the rocks, sandbags and the trees along the left side were all eroded by the river and disappeared by June 21st.

Owing to a sustained fight by emergency workers, volunteers, community members and skilled heavy machinery crews to reinforce the berm that separates the town from the river, the water was kept out of most houses.  I did not stop to take many photographs during the river’s rise, we were sandbagging and racing to shore up the berm.  I did grab a few afterwards to remember how close the water came to making things significantly worse in Redwood Meadows.

By June 22nd, when this photograph was taken, the Elbow's waters had crested.  Here the emergency work to shore up the berm can be seen.  The bend in the river here had carved out the bank and nearly collapsed a wide section of the berm.

By June 22nd, when this photograph was taken, the Elbow’s waters had crested. Here the emergency work to shore up the berm can be seen. The bend in the river here had carved out the bank and nearly collapsed a wide section of the berm.  The small trees fallen over on the left are what remains of the stand that can be seen in the image above. 

The reinforcement of the berm continues with many truckloads of concrete blocks and rock boulders being positioned to defend against the next time the Elbow’s temper flares again.

A member of the Redwood Meadows Emergency Services patrols a weak point of the berm along the river.

A member of the Redwood Meadows Emergency Services patrols a weak point of the berm along the river.

The story of this year’s flood from Bragg Creek and into Calgary (where the Elbow joined the Bow River and unleashed true destruction), is still unfolding.  The waters have crested, many people are back in their homes and the cleaning up has begun.  There is great community spirit at all places affected and we will all need that over the next weeks and months.

A layer of mud blankets the forest near the Elbow.

A layer of mud blankets the forest near the Elbow.

The water ripped away trees and changed the shape of the valley.  It carried mud through the forest and left a heavy layer behind when it receded.  I found this small flower which had weathered the deluge and seemed to be a good symbol of strength and resilience.  Two qualities I have seen in my neighbours, friends and strangers who rallied to save a town and continue to work to bring it back to normal.

Resilience - 2013 © Christopher Martin