On Saturday I watched the morning arrive on the shore of the Bow River. I was across the water from Calgary’s downtown and used the Center Street Bridge as a focal point between the sky and the buildings. I parked along Memorial Drive and checked the sky in a couple of test photographs. Traffic came by and made for a good start.
On the other side of the road, the rocks, snow and ice along the river bank presented an interesting foreground. It was a bit hectic teasing out compositions as the light was changing rapidly. But that’s pretty fun chaos by any measure.
The eastern sky had bundles of pink cotton candy for a few minutes. To the west the pink was a pastel that looked very pretty reflected in the Bow where it passed Prince’s Island Park.
Mallard ducks and Canada geese milled about flying up and down the river. The cackling and quacking across the water along with the occasional group of vehicles passing behind me on Memorial Drive joined the river to perform the morning’s soundtrack.
I had an extended layover in Montréal a couple of weeks ago and spent the night photographing in the old port area. The ferris wheel on the harbour front opened last year and is eye-catching addition to the city’s skyline. I wandered down to the waterfront close to 11 with a warm rain starting to fall which found me thinking about puddles and reflections.
The wheel closed at 11 so I was lucky to arrive in time to watch a couple of the different colors they project onto it while it is open. Afterwards it is lit in simple white but I liked photographing that too. I will share some photos from around the old part of the harbour but for this one, it’s all about La Grande roue de Montréal. There may have been controversy behind this installation and I am a sucker for Ferris wheels but I think it works as part of the waterfront.
This last one was taken quite a bit later in the night. I went into the frame to fill the narrow slot with my silhouette. I didn’t intend for that to add a slightly foreboding tone to the image.
Time spent at the Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park is always worthwhile. It had been a while since I had watched day break there so on the weekend I drove up to do that. I went very early so I was able to make some long exposures at the second lake before the morning arrived.
With sunrise threatening, other people wanting to enjoy the quiet spectacle came down the road to find their spot. I didn’t mind adding a light streak into the scene!
When the clouds above the Fairholme Range to the east began to glow the day soon rushed in behind. The lake dazzled again, as usual, reflecting Mount Rundle and framing the energetic sky above as it ran through dawn’s color palette.
A small group of photographers assembled along the shoreline nearby as the sky’s performance heightened. The tone of the hushed murmurs suggested they were enjoying the moment. I certainly was.
On the suggestion of a reader (thanks Jo Ann!), I hiked up to Boom Lake on the western edge of the Banff National Park near the British Columbia – Alberta border. The trail is a gentle ~5km hike complicated only by a bit of snow, ice and mud given the time of year. I enjoyed the walk through the trees and over the numerous streams. The lake appears suddenly and is walled in on the far side by Boom Mountain.
I would have thought the name came from the sound of the avalanches whose tears down the slopes can be seen in several places. However, I found that the lake was named Boom owing to the driftwood created by the trees that are pushed into the water by the avalanches.
Many of these logs are submerged but a large number have collected at the eastern end and where they poke out of the water suggested a logger’s boom to the person who formally named the lake in 1908. I found that interesting as I did the lake itself.
I scrambled over the rocks along the shore for a couple of kilometres while the wind, snow, sun all wrestled overhead, as they often do in these mountains.
Winter’s teeth have yet to be bared with any sincerity so it felt more like mid-October than mid-November. This little patch of vegetation drew my eye on the way down, the shock of color seemed a direct challenge to colder weather while the ice frozen over the leaf suggested its inevitability. Needless to say, I enjoyed my random thoughts and musings as I strolled back down the trail.
Our family stayed at the Emerald Lake Lodge on the weekend. It is a beautiful lake ringed by peaks including Emerald Mountain and Mount Burgess but can prove tricky for sunrise photography. I had two mornings where I was able to watch dawn arrive. I really enjoyed the stillness of the water and its mirroring of the pastel sky. Both mornings ushered in great days for the kids, Bobbi and I.
The boat house across from the lodge is a beautiful, rustic spot that I love to photograph around when I’m visiting. I found a few different looks this time around.
I was up in Kananaskis a few days ago to explore the recently opened stretch of Highway 40 up to the Highwood Pass. Leaving home in the dark, I arrived at Wedge Pond just as light was creeping into the eastern edge of the sky.
We had several days of rain preceding this visit so I was unsure what the weather would be like in the mountains. The reports called for partly sunny with showers. From experience, that can mean anything from empty blue skies to heavy, wet gray clouds. I don’t mind either so I was happy to head up and find out. That morning the mist was swirling above the pond and rising up to meet the low hanging clouds that were stuffed into the valley. I trotted down to the water’s edge and moved along keeping an eye on Mount Kidd. The mountain catches the early pre-dawn Alpen glow and can be spectacular right through sunrise. The view over Wedge and up to Kidd whispered of something good that might come and I was happy to move around, watching and waiting.
Seven minutes later, pink light was hitting a few of the higher clouds. The lower clouds were breaking up and it seemed like a clear view of the mountain was coming forward.
It didn’t – the clean view was swallowed up by the clouds as the rich colours on Mount Kidd came in. I didn’t mind at all as a few fleeting openings afforded beautiful views of one or two of the peaks for the next couple of minutes.
I have not had such a dynamic encounter with the weather up at Wedge Pond and I had a great time. It was fun to play around with the moodiness under the clouds balanced (and thrown out of balance) with the sunrise opening above. I’m enjoying the late resurgence of summer we are enjoying but I found myself looking forward to the fall colours that always look so wonderful in this special place. I will be there and would be very happy if these clouds returned then too.
(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.
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.
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.
From a small pond in Granville Island where a light rain was falling. The circular ripples created by the raindrops hitting the water distorted the reflections of trees above.
I have always loved the crazy colours and patterns displayed by the male Wood duck (Aix sponsa). They have been somewhat elusive in the areas I am typically out photographing wildlife. When I was at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary a couple of weeks ago, I came across a raft of them paddling around a chain of small ponds sheltered by overhanging branches above and reeds behind.
The ripples in the water and the distorted reflections served as a chaotic yet still suitable background to photograph these beautiful birds. I stopped and enjoyed almost an hour of watching these fellows swim, waddle and chase one another as well as their better halves. The weather picked a great time to cloud over and the diffused, even light allowed those colours and the textures in the feathers to own the stage in several of the images.
One of the last ones I photographed before moving on caught my eye as it hopped out of the water onto a log jutting out of the water. After shaking himself off, he cocked his head and fixed me with this one-eyed stare. The stare, his body posture along with the tail feathers slightly askew suggested a bit of a character and he was a fitting model to finish this duck encounter with.
There is a nice spot to snorkel just off of Ke’e Beach on Kaua’i’s north shore. The fish school in decent numbers and there is often a chance of seeing sea turtles. Before returning to Canada we went up to Ke’e for one last afternoon on the beach and an evening photographing the sunset down the Na Pali.
The water was choppy from high surf coming over the reef which usually breaks down the waves. This made swimming with the kids a more involved process than normal and shortened any snorkelling. I still went out and photographed along the calm side of the coral reef for sometime close to an hour.
The fish were more scarce on the day, maybe due to the turbulence, but it was still pretty busy down below. I had fun photographing individual fish within their environment.
From down below, even looking up was beautiful.
I love the way light diffracts, focuses and reflects under water. During my swims with an underwater camera I had a lot of fun playing near the shore. This beach near Kapa’a is called Baby Beach as it has a nice reef that breaks the waves creating a safe place for kids to swim. These silvery fish are curious and they did a nice job filling in the middle of this photograph.
The week I spent in the Jasper National Park at the end of October coincided with a heavy snowstorm which gripped the park area for most of the week and gave winter a firm grasp over it. I was there to photograph wildlife with a small group but stole a few opportunities to capture the landscape freshly trimmed with its winter coat.
During a scout along the Athabasca River looking for tracks, I stopped to work into this scene for a few minutes. With a bit of time to find something to work with in the foreground, waterproof(ish) boots so I could set up out in the water a bit and a polarizer all helped to realize what I had in mind. Namely, a subtle winter landscape in this national park.
The last day had some of the heaviest snow in the morning but also afforded the only sunshine of the week. This image was along the river’s edge east of Jasper a little while before the clouds started to knit back together.
There is a small pond just across the road from the firehall in Redwood Meadows. Spring is when wildlife is most active in this stretch of water.
It regularly overflows its northern edge at that time of the year and then fills up a much larger area, not even close to a lake but it becomes a much larger pool. This year has had a fair bit of rain so the pond has stayed beyond its borders for the summer so far. The other evening, the light was really rich and warm. With the hot temperatures, it was a draw for the animals. I was happy to watch them for a few minutes.
I went for a hike in late afternoon along the West Fork Trail which starts a few miles north of Sedona. The trail follows Oak Creek as it runs against the contours of the steep Oak Creek Canyon walls. These steep walls keep the heat found in Sedona at this time of year at bay and I found it to be a really nice temperature for a walk. The trail itself is fairly level all the way up to the very last stretch so it was less a hike and more of a walk. The forest with patches of wildflowers, many types of lush trees, birdsong and chittering insects was very enjoyable. I spent a couple of hours on the trail, stopping to photograph a small outpost of butterflies, reflections of the scenery in pools formed in the shallows of slabs of red rock and everything else that caught my eye. I saw this beautiful overhang of rock drawing the eye out to the greenery along the trail on my way up but it was a bit too bright for the image I had in mind. When I came back that way on my back down, the light had cooperated and I was able to create what I was looking for.
(please click on any image to open a higher resolution version)
Bobbi and I are in Sedona, Arizona for a few days this week. We drove into the town yesterday and went exploring down at the Red Rock Crossing for a couple of hours until nightfall. I haven’t been here before so Bobbi is in the role of guide and I am the happy follower.
We went to this location which is split by Oak Creek. The cool waters drew a number of small groups and families offering respite from the 42°C (108°F) heat of the day. We hiked along the riverside trails and photographed reflections in the water, the towering red rocks that backstop the area as well as a couple of lizards. A beautiful place to escape the heat.
What makes this place a destination for landscape photographers are the views of Cathedral Rock and the opportunity to work with its reflections in the creek. At sunset the last sunlight of the day makes the rocks glow. Last night did not disappoint and I had a wonderful time playing with the elements at hand.
It was -14°C on Sunday morning when I walked down the path to the shore of the first Vermilion Lake just west of Banff. The lakes are largely frozen over after several days of cold weather. A great benefit to birds, photographers and other wild creatures are the hot springs that bleed into the lake from different spots around the lakes. For photographers, the warm springs keep patches of water ice-free throughout the winter.
I have a couple of favourite locations across the three lakes including this one. Arguably it has the best view of Mount Rundle. On this morning, the warm water had cut a winding path out across the lake and I enjoyed playing with the composition of this element with the sky, the mountain and all of the reflections. When I arrived it was still dark but the sky was showing great promise. The clouds pushed up towards Rundle and parked there as the sun neared the horizon catching the warm light beautifully. A very nice place to photograph landscapes on a very nice morning.
Ran across some beautiful, warm evening light when I was in North Myrtle Beach a few days ago. I was walking on the boardwalk around Prices Swamp Run and the reflections in the rippling water were beautiful.
I was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a few days last week. Great weather and very good golf courses. The area is bounded by the ocean and the land off the water has been recovered from swamp. I had a good vantage point of a major canal, the Intracoastal Waterway, that is about a mile back from the beach and runs parallel to the ocean for a very long stretch. At night, the sodium vapour lights provided most of the illumination and when mixed with stray Christmas lights and other types of lighting made for some interesting landscapes.
This boat, The Barefoot Princess 5, looked like a half-hearted re-creation of an old sternwheeler – without the wheel. Designed for sightseeing, it has maximum seating but at the expense of a bit of character. At night though it looked very nice with its blue lights and the street lights streaming through the decks.
I was out on a windy hill east of Calgary’s downtown core on Monday night photographing the city center at sunset. There were some great clouds that soaked up the light to create some beautiful hues that reflected into the buildings. As the sun fell, stray light would find a clear patch through the clouds and then bounce around the glass on the buildings. A beautiful scene to photograph, here are a few from the evening.
Although it is no longer the tallest building along the skyline, the Calgary Tower is still an icon for the city. This is a different look at the building as dusk quickly advanced.
A view of the whole downtown as the sunlight waned.
In several spots along the Vermilion Lakes in the Banff National Park there are sections of open water despite the sustained cold that has frozen over all three lakes this winter. These breaks in the ice are due to runoff from underground hot springs that ring the lakes. The warmer water attracts birds and the occasional mammal in the winter. On the weekend, I saw an American Dipper and followed it flitting amid the reeds and diving for bits in the water. Following that, I turned my attention to working with patterns created by the sticks and reeds and their reflections in the water along the shoreline.
Here are two that I liked in particular. One presenting dominant vertical lines and the other creating horizontal movement across the frame. I enjoy working on these type of compositions while waiting for the dramatic landscapes to fill with clouds, light or anything else of interest. Sometimes those come, other times they don’t. Having a list of different types of images I want to create helps avoid a strikeout when things aren’t cooperating.