Posts tagged “year in review

My favourite wildlife photographs from 2017

It took a little longer to find time to complete my review of my wildlife images this year.  Due largely to general busyness and some measure of procrastination.  So I appreciated the irony that one of the areas I have put a lot of thought into, and work to improve, is patience.  Looking back, this focus on waiting is helping me to get closer to the wildlife imagery that I want to be creating.  Waiting for the animals, waiting on their schedule for something to happen, can be a challenge – sometimes, like in the cold, a significant one.  I’m happy that I laid down on the snow, crouched in marshes, hiked into valleys and froze my fingers to find those opportunities and try to do something with them.

The 2017 gallery can be viewed at this link or by clicking on any of the pictures in this post.

A comparison with my 2016 wildlife gallery suggests some subtle changes.  I see exploration into some ideas, blurs for one, that is interesting.  I’ve been trying to bring more imagination into my wildlife images.  Lot’s more to work on there.

Comparing years past with the last one, I like the direction and that stirs up the motivation coals.  The latter always being a good thing, I think.


My favourite landscape photographs from 2015

Mount Athabasca in the first light of dawn in the Jasper National Park

I had fun pulling together this list of my landscape images that stood out to me.  Last year I spent time in some beautiful places near and far which certainly helps towards making pretty pictures.  Within those moments, I really enjoyed composing the images to try to create something more compelling than just pretty pictures – although I like those too!

Fireworks in Redwood Meadows to celebrate Canada Day

I felt like I put more effort into my wildlife photography last year but am happy with the progression with my landscape images.  The sky makes up so much of what makes or breaks a landscape image for me and I see my exploration of that continuing in 2016.  If you are interested in seeing these of images, please click on any image or this link to open the image gallery.  Thank you for visiting now and throughout the year.

A quiet prairie landscape before dawn near High River, Alberta


My favourite wildlife photographs from 2015

 

Bow Valley Grizzly Bear - © Christopher Martin-2372

The past year was an interesting one for my wildlife photography.  I stayed largely in Alberta for the year and the animals presented in this gallery are almost all from close to my home.  Reflecting on that, I’m reminded what an incredible place I live in. Owls were prominent throughout the year with Snowy, Great gray and Great horned owls all sharing time with me.  Black and Grizzly bears were less seen for me but what I had were memorable for me.  I continue to deeply appreciate the more common animals and enjoyed revisiting some of those images when I was putting together this set.  The gallery is made up of 40 images and can be visited by clicking this link or the link above.

Bragg Creek spring owl - © Christopher Martin-5762

Looking back over the year, I pushed myself to create more dynamic images with a goal to show more of the animal’s power, grace and general movement.  I wanted to bring more patience to my time in the field and that has paid off with longer encounters and more enjoyment of the beautiful places I am in while I wait for something to fly, walk or run past.  I have continued to learn more about the animals that I spend time with and that knowledge benefits me in many ways beyond photography. This year I began connecting on a spiritual level with many of the animals that I encounter.  That continues to be an amazing journey whose benefit to my photography is significant but is a distant second to feeling the awareness of these beautiful creatures.

Bull Elk Rutting - © Christopher Martin-1945

I’m excited for the encounters that will come in the new year, the connections I will seek to establish and the places these intentions will lead me to.  Thank you for following my imagery through the year – I am honoured by everyone who chooses to spend time looking at, and hopefully enjoying, my photographs.  Let’s see where things go in 2016…

Jasper Black Bear - © Christopher Martin Photography-9739


Landscape images in 2014

Lightning along the storm's edge, Redwood Meadows, Alberta

I have created a gallery of scenic images that I curated from a recent look back at 2014.  If you are interested in seeing these landscapes, please click on any image or this link.

El Tule cloud comet, Los Cabos, Mexico

In 2014 I spent much of my time waiting for wildlife when I was out with my camera.  That came at the expense of some time I may have used to search for interesting landscapes and compelling ways to interpret them in my imagery.  Far from being lost opportunities, I treasured the time when I was focused on the land a little more than I have previously.

Moonrise over Mount Rundle, Banff National Park, Alberta

Reviewing last year’s images, I see growth and feel like I am successfully bringing more of my emotion in the moment and some of “me” into the landscapes I am photographing.  It is that interpretation where I am happily expending energy focusing on.


2014 Favourite Wildlife Photographs

Bald Eagle in the Prince Rupert harbour - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Eagles, owls and bears were chief among the highlights when I look back over my wildlife photography in 2014.  I spent time with Grizzlies in the Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country and the Banff National Park.  Eagles were often elusive, spiralling far above or banking around a corner, but I had great encounters in Prince Rupert and in the Great Bear Rainforest.  Closer to home, Great Gray Owls and Great Horned Owls let me find them now and then in the foothills and out on the prairie.

(Please click on any image to open the gallery of 2014 wildlife images)

A flight over wildflowers - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Beyond these animals, interesting and beautiful wildlife in Mexico, Arizona and around southern Alberta also grabbed my attention.  Taking a bit of time to enjoy recalling all of these highlights, I created a gallery with 45 images that meant the most to me.  If you are interested in having a look, please click on any image or this gallery link to open a new webpage with my collection of these photographs.  It was a good year and I’m looking forward to more exciting encounters, taking more opportunities to learn more about the animals I photograph and to keep learning to see deeper and to create interesting imagery that tells some of their stories.

Banff Grizzly Bear - © Christopher Martin-8215


2013 Favourite Landscape Photographs

Autumn sunrise on Lake McDonald - Glacier National Park, Montana“Autumn sunrise” Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana
Canon 5DIII + 24-105mm lens: 6 seconds at f/6.3 on ISO 800

Throughout last year I had a great time working in a wide range of weather, time of day and places.  I put together this set of the landscape images from 2013 that stood out for me.

Moonlight over Rundle - 2013 © Christopher Martin“Moonlight streaks over Rundle” – Banff National Park, Alberta
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm lens: 658 seconds at f/11 on ISO 400

The link to the gallery: http://www.chrisphoto.ca/2013landscape/index.html

Thanks for checking out the images and I hope you have a great 2014 – photographically (if that’s what your into) and otherwise.


2013 Favourite Wildlife Photographs

The tail-end of lunch - 2013 © Christopher Martin
“The Tail-End of Lunch” from the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Provincial Park
Canon 5DIII + 500mm lens:  1/1250 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1250

Last year was a good year for wildlife.  I had some really great encounters with animals in Brackendale, Cabo San Lucas and the Khutzeymateen on British Columbia’s west coast.  Closer to home, I enjoyed a lot of time on the Prairies and in the mountains photographing .  These hikes and drives were rewarded with nice images of birds, bears and a moose that made it into this collection.

If you are interested in the list of 32 selected photographs, please CLICK THIS LINK to open the gallery’s webpage.  Continue reading below if you want to know a bit more about my goals in 2013 and how they are evolving for the new year.

"Wapiti Water Shake" in the Banff National Park
“Wapiti Water Shake” in the Banff National Park
Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens: 1/640 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

Water launch - 2013 © Christopher Martin
“Black Water Launch” from the Khutzeymateen Inlet on northern British Columbia’s west coast
Canon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/1600 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

When reviewing my wildlife images from 2012 last January, I said my goals for 2013 would be the same.  At that time, I said my goals were to improve my approaches to wildlife (to minimize disruption and increase the chance to observe natural behaviour), improve my technique (better sharpness and quicker response to animal movement) and create images that tell a more complete story about the animals (more engaging and interesting).  I did work on those throughout the year and I can see improvements in my imagery as a result.

A Bald Eagle's winter flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin
“Winter Flight” along the Squamish River in Brackendale in British Columbia
Canon 5DIII + 300mm f/4 lens: 1/1600 of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

Increasingly I am also trying to bring more artistry into my wildlife compositions.  Overall, I have been happy with the results of that effort.  I’m excited about this new year.  Drawing more creativity and beauty into the photographs I make is the path I will stay on for now.  With our children growing up and more willing to occasionally head out early and stay late, I am really looking forward to enjoying more and more of these encounters with my wife and our son and daughter.  That is the most important goal for me in 2014.

Shadow Pelican - 2013 © Christopher Martin“Shadow Pelican” before dawn in Los Cabos, Mexico
Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens: 1/8000 of a second at f/4 on ISO 3200


2012 Favourite Landscape Photographs

Storm across Mount Rundle

That went by quick.  Seems like things are speeding up and 2012 went by in a flash.  I reviewed a large set of landscapes from the past year and it was fun to recall those moments.  But, I was a little surprised that a year has gone by since I pulled together a list of my favourites from 2011.  I suppose I have little control over how quickly time rolls – I will just continue to try to stuff as much into it as we go.  Before I move with my camera forward into 2013, here are some images of mine that stood out for me from 2012.

Mount Kidd Reflected

The mountains in the Albertan parts of the Rockies pulled me close many times over the year.  I really enjoyed photographing Mount Kidd from a new location in the fall.  Above, the reflecting pools along Highway 40 just past Wedge Pond were a new place for me.  And I enjoyed a couple of mornings down along the shoreline of Wedge Pond with the image below resulting from one beautiful morning.

Dawn in Kananaskis - © Christopher Martin-9344

I also was pleased with the images I put together from Banff, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Jasper as well.  The photograph of Lake Louise’s canoe cabin is subtle and is a vein of imagery that I am continuing to work in.

The cabin on Lake Louise - © Christopher Martin-0530

The view of the Valley of the Ten Peaks from the top of the rock moraine at the near side of Moraine Lake is spectacular – particularly the alpen glow in the morning.  This summer I went up in the evening and was rewarded with a different, and equally beautiful, look at sunset.

Moraine Lake on a quiet summer's evening - © Christopher Martin-4648

This hoar-frost on branches stretching out of a small pool in the marsh west of one of the Vermilion Lakes in Banff provided for a nice abstract composition.

Water - states and symmetry - © Christopher Martin-8341

I spend a fair amount of time photographing wildlife and landscapes on the prairie.  The storms in the summer can be incredible but the clouds this winter have been really inspiring.  In the photograph below I watched a dragon form and stretch towards the east to meet the sun.  Beautiful colours and great to let imagination have the reins.

Pink dragon at sunrise - © Christopher Martin-0697

Before the snow flew, I was working to photograph the warm autumn sunrises on the fields.  When I had these horses approach as the sun cleared the horizon, the image really came together.

An approach of horses and sunshine

The sunrise photography extended west in Bragg Creek and the image below was made along the Cowboy Trail (Highway 22X) just east of the town.

Sunrise along the Cowboy Trail - © Christopher Martin-9327

In the summer I joined Bobbi on a journey to Sedona in Arizona.  It was my first visit and is a place I was excited to return to as soon as I had returned home.  The variety of landscapes in the Coconino National Forest and the time to hike into a few places were great luxuries I enjoyed on the trip.

Sunset at Cathedral Rock - © Christopher Martin-1077

Cathedral Rock is an iconic subject and it deserves its high standing with artists.  Our first day in Sedona we walked along the river to the base of the rock and watched the shadows climb up the red rock.  On a hot afternoon, I escaped to the West Fork Trail which meanders up the Oak Creek Canyon.  The calm water, lush forest and red rock made many bends in the creek picture worthy and this was my favourite from a productive hike.  And there were wonderful butterflies flitting around in one meadow of flowers too.

Forest and canyon reflected in Oak Creek - © Christopher Martin-1474
One of the evenings, I went out to the top of a mesa and photographed the night sky.  It was a bit remote so I had the trees, the stars and a few strange sounds in the desert night all to myself.  That was another side to Sedona that I was very happy to have experienced.

Desert night - © Christopher Martin-1551

There were a few other nightscape photo outings through the year but the highlight was photographing the Northern Lights in October.  I had missed several good Aurora nights through the summer so I was excited when I got to watch them rolling down from the north for almost two hours.

Aurora flame - © Christopher Martin-3034

Later in October I was in Jasper on a wildlife photography trip.  The animals were the focus of the week spent driving and hiking along the Icefields Parkway and around Jasper but this gentle scene where snow had just blanketed the valley along the Athabasca River demanded to be photographed (despite some good-natured heckling from my companions).

Storm above the Athabasca River

And in late November our family headed to Kaua’i the northernmost of the populated Hawaiian islands.  Time dripped by and we had a great vacation.  I had almost too much fun photographing creatures above, on and under the water and those are the images that first came to mind when I was looking back at our visit.  However, once I worked through the catalog over the Christmas break, I realized that the landscape images from this year’s trip to the island were solid additions to my Hawaii portfolio.

Waiting for dawn on Nukoli'i - © Christopher Martin-3851

We stayed a stone’s throw from Nukoli’i Beach on the east shore so the sun rose directly in front of us each morning.  I spent a few mornings down on the beach photographing what the ocean delivered with morning sun.

Red sun over black rocks - © Christopher Martin-4660

The warm light following the sunrise provided beautiful illumination on the beach and through the waves.  One of those places that is easy to spend a whole day shooting, painting or playing at.

Nukoli'i golds - © Christopher Martin-4740

We covered a lot of ground during our time in Kaua’i and one of the favourite places for seals, snorkelling, swimming, waves to watch and coastline views was Ke’e Beach on the northern edge of the Na Pali Coast.  The last night in Kaua’i we spent at Ke’e and at one point there was a rainbow over the beach when I looked to the east and the mists and violent waves of the Na Pali in winter to the southwest.

Na Pali waves - © Christopher Martin-5900

A couple of days earlier, the spray kicked up from the waves hitting the rocks rolled up the forested mountainsides to create another magical scene.

Mists along the Na Pali - © Christopher Martin-2-2

An amazing lightning storm over the Hanalei Valley provided the last image for this collection.  The rain held off for almost three hours before forcing me into my car and back to the apartment.

Lightning over Hanalei - © Christopher Martin-0002


2010 Favourite Photographs – Wildlife

I’m running through my 2010 image library and pulling out a few favourites from the year.  In addition to wildlife, I will likely do a couple more themes.  Before diving into the new year, it’s fun to have a look back over the last one.

This year I found my photographic interests often moving towards people and landscapes with wildlife taking a backseat compared to other years.  That said, I still got out a fair bit and had some really great encounters with wild creatures on their terms.

I spotted this owl in West Bragg Creek as I was looking for moose.  It was in the middle of stalking some small creature under the snow and continued its hunt as I watched.  The advantage of longer lenses as I didn’t need to get very close to this beautiful bird so it was not disturbed.  Here is my original post.

On a drive along one of Bragg Creek’s back roads on Christmas morning, I found this moose.  He is one of three bulls that have been sparring over the last few weeks of December.  So far, I have not been able to photograph them while they are locking antlers but friends have told me all three get right into it pretty frequently.

I photographed this bull in a boggy field in Bragg Creek in early October.  He may be one of the three bulls but I haven’t been able to confirm a match with the photographs I have so far.  He was mildly curious about me but never lowered the ears so I felt relatively comfortable sharing the same meadow with him.  Here are some other photographs from that encounter.

This young bear walked out of the forest and around my house at about 7 am on a weekend.  It ran across the road and disappeared back into the woods.  I walked out to the path between my house and the river and waited figuring that the bear may nose around for a while but then decide to return to forest along the river.  It did but not before tearing into a neighbour’s garbage cans that had been left at the side of the house.  That’s how I spotted the bear again, I could hear the garbage cans and their contents banging around.  So, it got spooked, probably by golfers on the nearby tee-off and sauntered across the road back towards the river.  I was in a great spot to photograph him running across the grass and up into the forest.  Here is my original post with more shots of the bear.

These whitetail deer were wary but not overly concerned as I watched them move out of the deeper forest towards the road I was standing on.  Here we were watching each other and after a couple of minutes, I carried on down the road and they moved in the other direction along the fence line.

We were in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in April and one of the joys of the trip was seeing brown pelicans.  They are numerous around the marina and shoreline in Cabo, considered pests by some.  Where we stayed, there were a number of birds which started their day at the beach arriving at first light and soaring off well before the heat of the day settled in.  I walked down to the water’s edge several mornings and enjoyed watching these giant birds start their day.  I had a great time photographing the pelicans and this one was no exception.  It strutted along the beach, stopping to preen, squawk with other pelicans and then glide over to another piece of beach.

Watching these birds and learning a bit about them made it very frustrating to see the damage they suffered in the Gulf of Mexico this summer.