Posts tagged “water

Great Blue Heron Reflected

A Heron's flight reflected - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I went to the small lake in Wild Rose on the weekend to see whether the cooler weather of the past week had scared off the pair of Great Blue Herons who summer there.  The shoreline was empty and I thought the lake had been left by these large birds until next year.  I turned my attention to the small island in the middle of the lake.  Under a stand of mixed trees at the far end one heron was standing a few metres back from the water’s edge.

Wild Rose High Four - 2013 © Christopher Martin

It stared my way for a few minutes and then resumed its previous activity – perched on one leg, standing motionless except for the occasional pull at a stray feather or similar grooming habit.  When a noise drew its attention it would stare for a bit and then continue.  I loved the colours in the bushes along the shoreline and their soft reflections.  I hoped to see the heron fly low against this backdrop so I waited.  And waited.

Great Blue Heron reflected - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Somewhere close to an hour later it finally stretched out its wings, stepped close to the water and took to the air.  It was worth the wait.  Flying low, the feet dragged in the water a couple of times as it crossed the lake.  I love watching Great Blue Herons fly, their wings are so large that it seems like they are barely putting in any effort when they fly yet they move at a good pace.

Slicing the surface - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The heron checked its flight as it arrived on the other side and started walking along the shallows.  I watched it stalk fish for a while and then I headed home to warm up.  I think it will be heading south soon.

Checked flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Fishing in the shallows - 2013 © Christopher Martin


Fall sunrise at McDonald Lake

Autumn sunrise on Lake McDonald - 2013 © Christopher Martin - 2358

I drove up to Apgar, a small village in Glacier National Park, this morning.  I arrived at the southern edge of Lake McDonald in the dark and headed past the sleeping townsite for the rocky beach.  The full moon provided a bit of light out over the water and I could see the mist was already rising up into the cold air.  I started getting excited as the eastern edge of the sky brightened and silhouetted the mountain peaks above the north and east sides of the lake.  The glow in the sky deepened and the colours came in beautifully.

Silhouettes on Lake McDonald - 2013 © Christopher Martin

As the intense colour began to fade, I was able to balance this great stem of autumn leaves with the lovely Grinnell argillite rocks under the water (the first image).  A very beautiful morning in Montana’s Glacier National Park.


A secluded waterfall in Kananaskis

 

A quiet place - 2013 © Christopher Martin-7750

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 17mm: 2 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200

I have spent a fair bit of time hiking and travelling around Kananaskis Country.  That said, I have only seen a small amount of its beautiful landscape.  It is always wonderful to find a new place.  On the weekend, I was revisiting a few favourite spots that I had not been able to see since the flood.  Along the drive between two such spots, up Highway 66, the morning mists and fog were slowly rising up in the warming air in a small meadow I have passed by many times but never explored.  I stopped this time for a few minutes to photograph the light and shadows playing with one another.  There was a roar of water nearby but it was hidden deeper into the forest and I had another spot on my mind so I headed on.

Forest morning - 2013 © Christopher Martin-0428

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens at 81mm: 1/400th of a second at f/11 on ISO 400

Morning sunlight - 2013 © Christopher Martin-0342

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens at 135mm: 1/200th of a second at f/11 on ISO 400

On my return past the same place an hour later, I pulled off and set out for a little exploration.  I found a trail that led down from the meadow and into the woods.  Following that for a few minutes, I walked up to the top of this small waterfall.  It was the source of the roaring heard earlier.  The water drops only a few metres but it falls into a narrow bowl of rock which intensifies the sound significantly.

2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 17mm: 6 seconds at f/22 on ISO 50

A bit of mountain goating saw me step and then jump down into the bowl.  Water vapour was heavy in the air which played a little havoc with the front of my lens but it was nothing a couple of cloths couldn’t handle over the time I was down there.  I stayed for more than an hour – at one point just sitting down and enjoying this wonderful little place.

Over the rocks and through the forest - 2013 © Christopher Martin-7599

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 23mm: 5 seconds at f/22 on ISO 50

The stream is only a metre wide above and below the falls.  At the base, the pool opens up to a few metres across.  There were some signs of recent high water activity but it seems the flow was not enough to damage the trees and bushes that overhang the channel.

Downstream - © Christopher Martin-7731

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 19mm: 2 seconds at f/16 on ISO 50

I believe this stream falls into the Elbow River but I’m not sure if it, or this waterfall, have their own names.  I have to find out from a few of the locals who know Kananaskis Country in a way I hope to some day far down my path.

River rock abstraction - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 17-40mm lens at 39mm: 5 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200

So, for me at least, this waterfall remains unnamed.  In truth, I like it that way for now.  I really enjoyed that narrow wedge of rock and water below the forest and will be returning there soon.


Mornings with loons

A Loon's stretch 2013 © Christopher Martin-0305

The small lake surrounded by the Wild Rose Estates west of Bragg Creek is a very nice place to watch wildlife.  I often find Great Blue Herons, eagles, geese and osprey plying their various trades in or around the water.  One of my favourite visitors to the pond are Common Loons (Gavia immer).  Occasionally I will see up to four of them swimming and diving.  However, it is usually one couple who comes back in the spring, who then disappear for a couple of months and then return in late summer for a while before migrating on.  They do not nest on this lake so I assume they disappear while they are nesting and raising chicks.  When they return, that is when I usually see three or four loons together.  The fishing at Wild Rose must be worthwhile.

On the water - 2013 © Christopher Martin-0307


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


A Ruddy Duck Outing

Ruddy Duck - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/2500 second at f/6.3 on ISO 800

The Ruddy Duck is an odd creature.  Blue bill, white cheeks, russet toned back feathers with liberal sections of black and motley brown.  I find them to be a beautiful bird but I wouldn’t take issue with someone who felt differently.

Duck flap - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/1600 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600

Ruddy flaps - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/2500 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600

Along with photographing Yellow-winged Blackbirds and Eared Grebes during my last visit to Frank Lake, there were several Ruddy Ducks that swam nearby and were caught within my viewfinder.

Bill cleaning - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/2000 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600

The males were more prevalent, swimming in the open away from the reeds.  I’m not sure whether the females were shy or, more likely, staying close to their nests.  A few did pass by, this one came right in front of the blind providing a nice opportunity for me.

A female Ruddy Duck paddling by - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/1250 second at f/6.3 on ISO 800

The males came and went, chasing each other occasionally but mostly just skimming their bills along the water catching insects.

Water chase - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/5000 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600

Splash attack - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/5000 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600

These ducks are known for their spiky tail which they often hold straight up when on display.  They seem very formal, almost like a soldier in uniform and at attention, when they do.

Spiky tail on display - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/3200 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600

Very cool birds.  I’m hoping to see their ducklings on my next visit to the Frank Lake Conservation Area.

A bubbly greeting - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with Canon 500mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x extender: 1/3200 second at f/6.3 on ISO 1600


Rippling on the water

A pond of abstraction - 2013 © Christopher Martin

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.


Californian wave forms

Wave flow - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I woke to a grey morning on the Pacific earlier this week.  As the sun rose, its light diffused across the dull silver clouds and carried on to the waves rolling in.  In these images I stretched some of these waves out with longer exposures (1/30 to 1/2 seconds) and swung the camera around a bit just to play with the idea a bit more.

Wave form 2013 © Christopher Martin-1787

Rip curl -  2013 © Christopher Martin-1798

Amid the abstract work, a few seals skimmed by.  One of these glided inside a wave as it rolled into shore – which was fantastic to watch.  I hope to share images from those encounters as well as a few with Brown pelicans from the same morning soon.

Seal wave - 2013 © Christopher Martin-2534


Fishing with a heron

Over the weekend I was in Vancouver for some photography work.  With my friend Jack we visited the wonderful birds preparing for spring in the Lower Mainland.  We spent time in the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary with Wood ducks and Sandhill cranes, the owls along Boundary Bay, Great blue herons (Ardea herodias) around the marinas and waterways in Ladner, and a few other great spots.  Although I lived in Vancouver for university, I had not visited any of these locations for wildlife before.  I was amazed by the birds and their numbers at almost every location.  I am looking forward to sharing some of the images soon.

A pause in the hunt -2013 © Christopher Martin

This Great blue heron was a highly proficient hunter and it collected fish steadily for the hour that we watched it from a bank in Ladner off of River Road.  The heron moved along the shoreline as the tide was going out and kept up its hunting pace the whole time.  Great opportunities to watch the heron’s behaviour and its technique.  I learned a few tells of when it is readying to strike that yielded some really nice images.  I’m having fun working through the collection.


A dancing abstract

Dance - © Christopher Martin-8671

I was looking through my image library for abstracts that I could use for a print series I’m working on and found the image above.  I had photographed a reflection pool from the fourth story of a hotel in Mandalay, Myanmar.  Leaning out of the window and using a longer lens, I was first drawn to the koi swimming in the shallow water.  However, the trees on edge of the courtyard were casting energetic shadows across the gently rippled surface.  I photographed the fish with the shadows for a little while and then dropped the fish altogether.  The patterns of the distorted tree shapes in the water mesmerized me.  I think of dance in the one above.

Koi in Mandalay - © Christopher Martin-8654


Dolphins at play in the waves

Exhalation - © Christopher Martin-4239

When I was on a catamaran sailing along the Na Pali Coast we had a close encounter with a small pod of dolphins where they swam alongside for several minutes. I loved watching the deceptive power in their movements. The cat was under full sail and the dolphins seemed to expend little effort to speed past the bow and slip in and out of the waves.

Slipstream - © Christopher Martin-4275

Nosing under - © Christopher Martin-4273

Splash - © Christopher Martin-4274

Dolphin mirage - © Christopher Martin-4277

On the return trip to the harbour, close to the first visit, a couple more dolphins (different I think as they seemed to be gray coloured versus the blue bodies of the first ones – although that could be a change in the light) came by and this time had a couple of humpback whales with them. The dolphins get very excited when the whales return for the winter and the two species are often found playing together and generally hanging out together until the whales head off around the globe again. The whales did not make any spectacular breaches but I felt no disappointment as just seeing them in their waters was magical.

Dolphin pair - © Christopher Martin-4668

Humpback ridge - © Christopher Martin-4651


Hawaiian bodyboarders: riding off Nukoli’i Beach

Wave riding - © Christopher Martin-1115

(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)

Nukoli’i Beach seems to be an unpredictable surfing location in the winter.  The waves moving west were great the first few days on this eastern beach that we were in Kaua’i at the beginning of December.  However after one huge storm that raged across the island, they remained choppy and were not frequented by any surfers or bodyboarders for the rest of our stay.  Those first few days I did get out twice to photograph some of the bodyboarders.  The waves were breaking pretty far out but a long lens helped to make a few images.

Carvin' - © Christopher Martin-0902

Down the line - © Christopher Martin-1118

Tunneling - © Christopher Martin-1051-2

Ocean spray - © Christopher Martin-1033

Workin' a small one - © Christopher Martin-0913

Boogie boarder - © Christopher Martin-0814

This trip to Hawai’i I spent my time in the ocean photographing underwater and that squeezed out any time that I might have gone bodyboarding or surfing.  I’ll make up for that on the next visit.  It was really fun to watch these guys ripping along the waves.  I can’t wait to join in!

Flying off the back - © Christopher Martin-0670-3