Posts tagged “waterfall

Dippers and their questionable behavior

Not bad behavior, just one that I don’t pretend to understand.  When I was last at Elbow Falls, I photographed two American dippers as they flew, dove and splashed around the fast-moving water.  Along the way, one of the birds flew to an overhang beside the edge of the waterfall, and then slid on the ice before finding purchase in the snow.

It paused for a moment and then flew at the waterfall!

The bird flapped its wings to hover for several seconds only a few inches from the water where it fell over the edge.  I don’t know if it was looking for insects behind the water – surely not in the water itself!  Likely it was something else, maybe even simple curiosity or just because it could do it.  It was unusual and really fantastic to watch.


Winter at Elbow Falls – water, snow and ice

There is a beautiful balance of running water, ice forms along the river’s edge and drifts of snow at Elbow Falls right now.  Following an early start, photographing the waterfall before dawn, I stayed for a long time playing with these elements.  This is one of my favorite waterfalls and was happy to find a few new ways to photograph it on this visit.  A couple of American dippers kept me company and I eventually turned my attention to them as splashed around hunting for breakfast in the fast-moving water.  I look forward to sharing those images soon.


Happy Canada Day!

 

I love this country, its people and the direction we are, generally, heading in. Lot’s of ground still to cover on equality, indigenous people’s rights, the economy and many more. But, we are discussing these, looking in the mirror and moving forward together. That is worth celebrating!

The photograph is from this morning along a little waterfall near the village of Mont-Tremblant in Québec, Canada.


Happy Holidays!

I hope you are enjoying time doing what you love with those you enjoy spending time with.  I have been able to do both with family and friends this holiday.  For Boxing Day I created some time alone and went up to Elbow Falls in Kananaskis.  It is a beautiful location, particularly when blanketed in ice and snow.  The afternoon held broken clouds but the skies cleared as sunset faded.  The half-moon emerged from the veil and shone incredibly bright in the night sky.  The moonlight washed over the rapids above the waterfall while stars began to take their place above.  I deeply enjoyed being in this scene.


Day into night at the Palouse Falls

Before visiting the Palouse for the first time this Easter, I was excited to see and photograph the rolling fields with their colours and patterns.  While researching the location and mapping out places I wanted to visit, my friend Jack told me about the Palouse Falls and that became one of those spots.  Jack and I traveled down to Washington and we both found it to be even better than imagined.

So much so that we went there twice during the four days we were away.  Spending a few hours on separate afternoons there each time.  It is a beautiful place to watch the day slowly go into night.


The Palouse Falls into dusk

(Please click on the image to open a higher resolution version)

This waterfall is a very worthwhile detour from the centre of the rolling fields.  I’ve visited this park twice during my first visit to the Palouse area.  The canyon the water has carved out is beautiful and its sharp edges contrast well with the endless swirl of the foam around the pool below the falls.  A great place to spend a lot of time watching the day go by.


Elbow Falls in winter’s clothing

Winter sunrise at Elbow Falls - © Christopher Martin-4076

We have had a few stormy blasts throughout November and the snow seems to be intent on sticking around right now.  With the beauty of the winter landscape running through my head, I went up to Elbow Falls in Kananaskis early one morning to catch the sunrise.

WINTER DAWN AT ELBOW FALLS - © Christopher Martin-4088

It turned out to be a beautiful dawn matched only by the tranquility I was able to enjoy sharing the waterfall with the resident Dippers (small birds not swimmers!) and the rushing water.

WINTER DAWN AT ELBOW FALLS - © Christopher Martin-4106


Autumn dawn at Elbow Falls

Elbow Falls, Autumn Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1173

Elbow Falls is a place that I have spent a lot of time at over a number of years.  This past weekend the morning was one of the most enjoyable mornings I have had there.  The sunrise came in gently and the colors grew beautifully – painting the clouds and reflecting in the water above and below the waterfall.

Elbow Falls, Autumn Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1160

Elbow Falls, Autumn Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1132

Elbow Falls, Autumn Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1108

Elbow Falls, Autumn Dawn - © Christopher Martin-1121


Sarrail Falls – a waterfall in the woods

Sarrail Falls in Kananaskis - © Christopher Martin-0634

The Sarrail Falls that spill across several terraces before emptying into the Upper Kananaskis Lake is a beautiful stretch of water surrounded by heavy forest in the steep hillside of Mount Sarrail’s lower slopes.  The path to this waterfall starts at the lake’s eastern parking lot and is set just above the shoreline.  It is a comfortable trail that is about 1-1.15 km to this feature but carries on around the entire lake.  I had planned to complete the loop but spent almost two hours watching, photographing, enjoying and studying the waterfall instead.

Sarrail Falls in Kananaskis - © Christopher Martin-0727

The 2013 flood hit this creek heavily destroying the bridge as well as sending tree trunks and boulders cascading down.  These are still found perched, lodged or lying nearby all along the water’s path.  I found a beauty in these that added to the overall scene and suggested to me the cycles of birth, growth and death as well as of constant change.  Along with the varying crescendos of the water’s orchestra, I found myself enjoying some deep thoughts and the time to chew on them – a luxurious gift to allow oneself!

Sarrail Falls in Kananaskis - © Christopher Martin-0665

At the end, with the morning moving quickly towards noon, I chose the short walk back and the lunch I had waiting for me.


Dawn at Elbow Falls

Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-9682-2

The early light worked well with a few interesting clouds hanging above Elbow Falls on the day I was up there this weekend.  The soft pink ahead of sunrise shared the sky with the waning full moon early.  As the clouds turned to a deep peach color I moved just above the waterfall.  From there the reflections of colour on the excited water were beautiful and I watched the morning open up.

Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-9699-1

Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-9722

 


Elbow Falls under an alpen glow

Elbow Falls under an alpen glow - © Christopher Martin-1388

A cold morning greeted me at Elbow Falls yesterday.  I set up from a rocky perch above the river and enjoyed watching the day come in.  The clouds above caught the early pink light while the land below was gently brushed by the alpen glow that preceded sunrise.

Elbow Falls - water through the rocks - © Christopher Martin-1379-2

 


A blizzard at Elbow Falls

Elbow Falls - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 24-105mm lens at 65mm: 2.5 seconds at f/16 on ISO 200

I went back to Elbow Falls for the third time in the last couple of weeks.  With the snowstorm that blew in on the weekend, I was drawn back to see another face to the area.  Heavy snowflakes had piled up in the trees and across the rocks with more falling rapidly when I was up there.  A slip on the ice was my payment for passage but I liked the scene I slid into.  The falling snow gave the trees a charcoal sketched look while the rocks and water in the river had texture and character that seemed to suit black and white processing.


Elbow Falls in winter’s clothing again

Elbow Falls in winter's clothing - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 17-40mm lens at 17mm: 1/3rd of a second at f/16 on ISO 200

With fresh snow on the ground, I went back up to Elbow Falls to see how the valley would look in a return to winter clothing.  I was there only a week ago and the change, beyond the cold, was significant.  I love snow-covered landscapes so I found this visit to Kananaskis to be a very beautiful one.  I think spring is coming soon but when winter is this pretty, I don’t mind a little delay.

Early morning blues - 2014 © Christopher MartinThe blues before dawn…
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm lens at 26mm: 3.2 seconds at f/11 on ISO 200
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2014 © Christopher MartinFirst light in the mountains
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm lens at 25mm: 1.3 seconds at f/11 on ISO 50
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2014 © Christopher MartinSunshine into the mist
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm lens at 17mm: 1/8th of a second at f/16 on ISO 50

 


A return to Elbow Falls

 Elbow Falls Dawn - © Christopher Martin-7467

Since the floods, I have been eager to drive up Highway 66 which runs in and out of the valleys where the Elbow River unwinds out of the mountains.  A few weeks ago, the road reopened and I have been back into this quieter side of Kananaskis Country a couple of times since.  On the first trip I went straight to Elbow Falls to see what remained.  Rumours through June and July ranged from the Elbow Falls being reduced to a set of rapids through to vast swathes of land disappearing, replaced by river rock spread over the lost forest area.  The former is not true – the falls remain, as seen in the image here from that first visit after the floods, and are still beautiful.  The latter is very true in many places – many favourite spots, including the winding river path above the falls, have been drastically reshaped.


Gold at Elbow Falls

(please click on this image to link to a higher resolution file)

Clouds blocked the early pink light at down this morning but as the color went to gold, nice breaks higher off the horizon let the sunlight in.  The light reflected on the water and the look of the rocks under the water made a very pretty scene.


A Quiet Morning at Elbow Falls

I have not been up to Elbow Falls in a couple of months so I went for the sunrise on Sunday. The sky wasn’t too cooperative – the clouds hid behind the K-Country mountains instead of catching the morning light while anchored above them, but there was a skiff of snow from the night before that was a nice element to work in.

With the low water and lack of snow around the waterfall, the rocks took center stage and looked beautiful.

Here the snow can be seen in the branches and dusting the rocks.  I enjoyed the palette of colors and the softening effect, here and there, of the snow in these scenes.

When the sun first cleared the eastern ridges, it was softened by a bit of haze and the veins of the falls seemed to glow under this gentle light.

A short time later it rose above the haze and this was the last image I made with the sunlight still playing really well with this landscape.

It was another good morning at Elbow Falls.  One of many special places in Kananaskis and a favourite place for me to spend time.  I created a small gallery on my website from this morning which includes these images and a few more, check them out if you are interested.


Late Spring Runoff at Elbow Falls

I went out for a photo shoot of the Elbow Falls in Kananaskis, Alberta with a couple of fellow photographers last week.  The flow of the water and the textures created by the currents and the rocks were mesmerizing.

The river is still rising from the spring runoff from the snow. Spring was late and so is the peak of the high water from the melting snow and ice in the mountains. The flow is very different from the rest of the seasons. The waterfall is engulfed right now so that the normal lip is overrun. This creates a very different face for the falls which is great to explore with a camera. Here are a few from the edge and around.

As night took hold, blue colors were accentuated creating a cool, dreamy feeling to the long exposure images.  This is one of my last from the evening.


Elbow Falls: stars and starlight

I went up to Elbow Falls to see if the aurora borealis wanted to come out and play.  Recently I have been dreaming of images of the falls with the northern lights reflecting off of the water and casting an unusual glow on the land.  So, I sat on a snow-covered boulder for a couple of hours after sunset waiting.  The ionosphere was quiet while I was there and I didn’t see any trace of the lights (I checked AuroraMax the next day for the night’s activity and things picked up around 11:30, an hour after I left my perch above the river).  However, the sky fading into night was beautiful to watch and when the stars emerged from the thin haze above the valley they were brilliant.  Here, Betelgeuse is the orange star above the three stars that form Orion’s Belt and the large star above the ridge is Canis Major.

With time on my hands waiting, I kept busy photographing the river from a couple of spots and shooting the sky.  Two great subjects to work with.  In the image above, a high ISO and wide aperture setting allowed for a relatively short exposure in the darkness which kept the stars from tracing their march across the sky while allowing the water and clouds to stretch and blur.  The grain in the image doesn’t work for some people but I like it here and I chose to leave most of it in during the processing.

Turning my back to the falls, I was facing east out of the mountains towards Calgary.  The urban glow was faint to the human eye but I tried a long exposure and was struck by the colors and textures captured by the haze and wispy clouds.  I played around with settings trying to get as many of the stars as possible to be visible as they created a great pattern amid the colorful sky. 

So, I’ll be back up at Elbow Falls again to watch for the northern lights soon.  The peak of the sun’s current active phase if forecasted to be in 2013 so there should be great opportunities to realize at least a few of the visuals rolling around in my head.


The Chief of Elbow Falls

(Click the image above to open a larger and more detailed version)

The flow of water above, over and below the layers of rock that create Elbow Falls is a beautiful photographic subject at any time of the year.  In winter, with the ice and snow draped around the waterfall, I find the magic a little easier to work with and creating some compelling images a bit less elusive.

For as long as I have been photographing this spot, I have always seen the face of a chief in the rock outcropping that sits just below the waterfall.  Not only a face in the rock, the lines that draw the lips, the cheeks, chin and nose outline a sketch of the man who watches over this stretch of the river west of Bragg Creek in Kananaskis Country.


Winter’s Art: Ice, Water and Snow

 

An early morning at one of my favourite places in Kananaskis, Elbow Falls.  With the stretches of deep cold this winter broken up by the occasional warm chinook arch, the layers of ice along the river and the waterfall that shares its name are really beautiful right now.   The color didn’t build in the sky this morning but that allowed me to stay focused on the ice.  A very nice morning to spend outside with a camera in hand.