It Was a Good Party
Out of a lot of choices for Canada Day celebrations, I chose the activities at the Alberta legislature since I could ride my bicycle and meet my friends there.
My friend Nolan liked splashing in the pools, as did his mom and I, and got some wicked splashes in though because of the camera couldn’t indulge more fully.We listened to some music at two different stages.One stage was beside the legislative building where we could sit in the shade of some trees, and get up and dance, a beautiful spot for a concert.
Nolan checking out the waterfall that goes under the bridge.
Booming Tree Taiko
In the shade listening to The Royal Foundry
We filled our water bottles at my favourite fountain that had three heights, one for filling bottles, one for kids and adults and one a few inches off the ground for dogs. What a great idea!Whenever I saw people with thirsty dogs, I told them about it.
I felt very grateful for our freedom to gather in this space designed to be public-friendly, for the presence of the police who keep us safe, and the openess of the government that allows for the public to swim in the pools, walk the grounds and celebrate out country’s birthday.
We were hot and tired so all went home after some good fun, then after my nap (yes, I had a nap) I went down to the river valley above the golf course to watch the fireworks. I don’t have a phone so couldn’t listen to the music that accompanied the lighting of the bridge but will say it was a great display of pulsating and running lights of all colours.I enjoyed the fireworks too, happy with my photos but slightly disappointed in my focus. I put the camera in Manual setting,same with the focus, and set the shutter on bulb for longer exposures, f18-22 for larger depth of field and ISO was 800 and 400 respectively. A bonus that I wasn’t expecting was the full moon! Live and learn!
Evening Visit to the National Park
Not coping with the heat too well, it was a great choice to visit Elk Island National Park in the evening. We arrived at a hiking tail in the dusk armed with water and Au de Doctor Doom and Deep Woods Off. We could hear the mosquitos around our ears and the coyotes in the hills. On this trail is a boardwalk where we could walk across a swampy area and the light and reflections were amazing. A beaver swam back and forth creating an impressive abstract of reflected ripples. It was a typical June day, with lush greens and golds which were a feast for the eyes. Enjoy.
The Oohs and Ah-hhhs of Sunset
There was a bright shining red ball lowering in the sky as my friend and I raced for the beach at Astotin Lake. People were in the way so I used them as impromptu models because the sun was sinking fast and I didn’t want to miss it.Yes, their heads are merged with the background islands but I felt there was so little precious time. We stuck around after the sun set to see the more sublte colours in the surrounding sky.
i explored further than Windy Point and stopped at Preachers Point and though I took a photo with my zoom lens, i recognized the mountains that I had shot in the winter a couple of years ago. Ironicly , my friends were coming back from Vancouver and were in this same area the same day. We may have even passed each other!
Here are the photos from the winter when i was here at sunrise, obviously with a wider -angle lens.
I dropped into Two-O’Clock Creek, so named because the creekbed will flood with water from the run-off from the mountains in the afternoon. I noticed there are notices on the signs to submit ticks because Alberta health want to test them for evidence of Lyme disease. This is new to me so had me worried about more than bears. Thiss campground is a beautiful spot with an energy that draws me back ever since I first discovered it. i was thrilled to find a Western Tanager here although I apologise for the lousy shot.
i did some walking and stopped to say hello to the campground managers. See why i like this place so much?
The weather changed again and it FELT like snow was coming. up to then I was in a t-shirt and light jacket. The clouds rolled in and the mountains were almost covered completely. Time to go home.
Day 2 Abraham Lake-Windy Point
Luckily it cleared up after a nap so I headed to Abraham Lake. The first photo isn’t of the lake but I was getting close and the light was such that I couldn’t resist a stop.
It was cloudy and made for great mood. I went to Windy Point which miraculously wasn’t windy at all. Often I have to brace myself against a rock and hang on to my equipment for dear life in fear of being blown away.All the ensuing photos were taken from this one area. The lake was a light turquoise which is a feature of this body of water (in the summer it becomes a bright turquoise) and the low levels at this time of year lent to some interesting shapes and textures of the exposed gravel and sand.Interesting knarled trees spot the landscape, there are a variety of subjects.
After driving above the the parking lot I realized that I wasn’t alone as I had thought. There were a few Rocky Mountain sheep below me. They all stopped and checked me out then resumed grazing but had probably been watching me some time before I realized their presence. Nothing like being aware of my surroundings, especially in bear country.
There were small groups of White -crowned sparrows.
I did not regret making this trip in the late afternoon, probably only drove 40km to get here. the first time here I missed the entrance because it is just before the highway goes through cutrock. Keep your eyes open for oncoming traffic.After ascending above the parking lot I realized that I wasn’t alone as I had thought. There were a few Rocky Mountain sheep below staring up at me. They all stopped and checked me out then resumed grazing but had probably been watching me some time before I realized their presence. Nothing like being aware of my surroundings, especially in bear country. I love this country where the time goes by quickly because there is so much to see and it never gets boring. My preference was to stay close to the cabins and spend time walking rather than be in the car most of the time. I returned to home base later in the day, with quick stops at Fish Lake and Goldeye Lake to see the changes, and the deer, which were plentiful and vowed to use the electric heat rather than the wood stove mostly because of my asthma.
One Day at a Time in the Mountains – Day One
Although I started my little vacation on Monday of last week, visiting with friends in Lacombe, I did no shooting there, it was visiting only, which I really enjoyed. On Tuesday morning I set out west after picking up groceries and filling up my gas tank. I got to Nordegg in the early afternoon and stopped at the museum which was closed and being renovated for the tourist season which starts later this month. The May long weekend sees thousands head to campground and the back country so there was no homemade pie or bowl of soup at the Miner’s Cafe, but I will get back there later. I didn’t mind being ahead of the crowds.
I was too early for check-in time at Cheechacko Cabins where I was staying two nights so went a few miles down the road to Fish Lake. Previously called Shunda Lake this lake that has five loops of camping stalls, resident loons and an Osprey. As well as the visual treat it provides, I also like listening. I heard the loons calling, the coyotes yipping and the wolves howling. The song birds! There were so many songs, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.I was a big chicken which is a hindrance to hiking. I wasn’t sure of bear activity and although I would have loved to see one from the car, I didn’t want to run into one on the trail. I made noise as I walked then stopped many times to be still and listen. So quiet and so relaxing.
The lake waters were calm and good reflections were to be had.
The feel of the springy ground beneath my feet was so comforting.
i looked at the larger views as well as the smaller things. Getting Cloudy and a breeze is picking up.
Bark and Moss
Old Man’s Beard
The birds were plentiful but elusive, always flying ahead of me. I spotted a large bird slowly winging through the tops of the trees- the Osprey? I managed to capture a couple of images.
Yellow Rumped Warblers
After a few hours at the lake I back-tracked a few miles to Grouse Mountain Road just off of Shunda Creek Road north ofthe town of Nordegg and settled into my cabin, a spotless home with all the comforts. At the end of the first day, I took a quick shot of my surroundings., the trees in the yard and the sculptures on the trees, the Wood Spirits. It was just starting to snow.
Looking and Seeing
I often look, but don’t see what I am looking at, even with my camera in hand. I like to remind myself to slow down and explore different angles, shoot from worm’s eye or bird’s eye view, shoot into the light so my subjects are backlit.So often I rush to capture a bird before it flies away but when I slow down and think of different viewpoints from which to shoot, I can surprise myself with the results.
I think it is good to practise, to exercise my creativity with anything that is in front of me, not just what I usually take photos of. There are endless ways to do this, probably why I have not tired of photography.The practice of looking and slowing down helps me see the regular objects around me in a slightly different way.
There are other benefits, such as being in the moment, relaxing, and the feeling of gratitude.
After a few tentative steps into my old church starting last Christmas, I have been slowly immersing myself into the culture and worship and indeed feel like I have “come home”. It has been, for the most part, busy at work at the store, and I have been taking time to experience the journey through Lent including this Holy week via prayer, meditation and spiritual practise sessions, services for Good Friday, a vigil on Saturday, and finally , a celebration of the living Christ today. Life is good.
Some things never change as I am not a morning type, so dragging my butt after getting up for the sunrise service this morning and a “little” wired on coffee.
Going out to shoot some birds, soon. Of course I will be using my Canon.
This is why I had to shovel the snow from my car, so I could get to work and to my favourite places and see this Winter Wonderland.
it was pretty this morning with the fog and hoar frost on the trees. I got out for a few snapshots before going to work. Can’t wait to get outdoors when I have more time. I got some photos of the female grosbeaks that I will post tomorrow. Stay warm.
Capture the Morning Light
Got up earlier than normal to work on a project and it was so lovely outside that I was inspired to take a trip to the park and was happy with the early morning sun and reflections at the pond , as well as the colours that are still left on the leaves which are coming down quickly with the gusty breezes. I used a polarizing filter today, did not drop it (too loose) nor get it stuck on the lens (too tight).
Autumn is Definitely Here
With cooler winds it is initially difficult to go outdoors but I am rewarded with bird sightings of Pileated Woodpeckers and Blue Jays and I get the stiffness and cold out of my bones as I walk my friend’s dogs on the trails.When I saw the birds I did not have my camera in hand but did take it with me to capture images of the changing scenery.
Take the Time
18 mm, 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 800
Take the time to go for a walk. You will never know what is out there if you don’t. After the sun sets, take the time to see what happens next. it is worth the wait.
I had a visit with a friend the other evening to welcome her to Edmonton and we both got something we will not forget. As we came up out of the river valley, the sun was setting and rain was drizzling. There was a glorious double rainbow in front of us , in fact we could see the end of the rainbow right in the bushes below us. That prompted a lot of comments from passers by about finding “the pot of gold.”
My friend couldn’t get the entire rainbow in the lens of her point-and-shoot and my camera was at home a couple of blocks away so I ran as best as I could knowing that I might miss it all.The light had changed as had the position of the rainbow that had mostly faded out I still got some images of wonderful colour and light.
Scenes from Summer
From a walk in nature the other day:
Fields of Flowers
On my way to the ponds I often pass through luscious fields of wild flowers and try to capture their presence in photos . Can’t say I know what they are, some may be clover or Alfalfa but I sure enjoy them up close and from a distance as a massive blanket of hues. I share them with you as best as I can, it was a little breezy.
Early Signs of Spring
After hearing reports from south of the border and knowing better, I set out to Hawrelak Park regardless to see if there were any new birds arriving.The ponds have been fenced-in since last fall, drained and bull-dozed to make the depth of the water deeper for the Triathlon finals in August. I am sure some geese and ducks will return but whether they will stay, who knows. There will be the songbirds coming back too.It will be interesting to record in pictures but may have to set my sights further afield for good birding.
There is still snow to come and still lots in this park although there are definite signs of melt.
A couple of years ago the city allowed dogs in the park if they were kept on leash and stuck to the trails.Do not know that that is working very well there are a few people not observing the rules and I hope they don’t ruin it for everyone else. I had a photo but will spare you the graphic proof.
Heard the magpies, ravens, chickadees, nuthatches, waxwings and a real howl-fest from the coyotes across the river but none of the usual spring birds. I will keep on checking.
There are other early signs of spring that I took photos of, a reminder that some things never change.
Enjoy the Day!
When I was at the stable the other day I did take photos of horses as well as the barns. I liked the warm glow of the setting sun on this sorrel horse’s back with the grey horse in the background.
1/160 sec@f/5.6, ISO 800
Silouettes and Sunsets
You got to love the evening light in January. I went along the river valley to shoot photos around the “golden hour”. The camera was hand held while using shutter priority. I edited using HP Media Smart Photo, sometimes using the auto lightening feature which brought out the colour the way that I saw it but could make the photo “noisy”. The Sharpening feature works very well. A good basic editing program., alas, no noise removal.
1/125 sec @f/8, ISO 800
1/125 sec @f/4, ISO 800
1/50 sec @f/4, ISO 800
What Should I Charge?
After reading another blogger’s story about making a contract with a buyer, I thought , how does one like myself, a relative beginner, determine what to charge for my work? I had a woman buy a photo after endless bargaining for the right size and price. I was hesitant from the start. Originally she just wanted me to “give” her a copy, I was the one to suggest a price after asking a couple of friends what to do and they advised not to give something for nothing. I gave her an 8 x 11 image with my signature on it for $40, unframed. After a couple of weeks she contacted me and wanted a larger format in order to see the details that she wanted, promising to return the original image. I sent her the image via e-mail full size, unsigned,after haggling back and forth for a month or two.I have never heard from her again.
Personally I would rather have an image already done for people to buy. When I painted, I never did commissioned work because it is never going to turn out the way they expect. To me , it is not worth the hassle. Either like what I have done, or forget it.
Because I am a relative beginner, I checked what some pros charge for one image,then dropped it by 40 % but checking prices on websites reminded me to charge for shooting and travel time, not to mention editing. Also, behind one good photo may be a dozen rejects, a lot of time and practice, not to mention equipment. I would love feedback from my readers who are photographers about what and how they determined a price for their work. Thank you.
The first copy that I sent to her is below.The title will clue you in to what created her desire to have it in the first place. When a group of us were looking at slides, projected onto a large wall, I spotted images in the icicle. Burnt toast, anyone?
The Holy Family
It is back – the snow on this website.
As I was reading another blogger’s post, I saw movement, then realized that the snow was falling across the pictures. I like this feature on this website and had forgotten about it until now. For me, it brings a festive quality to the season. Ha ha, I don’t have to shovel it.
I have been in bed most of the time the last few days, coughing and no energy but this feature with the snow gives me a spark although I have not been impressed with the weather outside-as the songs goes, it’s frightful.It is cold and windy but must admit it is pretty. The flakes that fell last night were like crystals and glimmered in the available light. I will post some current scenes from outdoors as soon as I am feeling better. For now here are some that I have taken recently with the last photo from a past year. Just a reminder that it can be a lot worse.
Before and After the Sun Set
I went out too late to take decent shots of fall colours in the daylight but the colours looked promising for the sunset. Holding my camera on a fencepost to steady it I did my best to capture the sun as it was setting.
Then I turned my camera more to the right because I liked what was happening in the clouds.
then waited a bit after the sun went down, because then the reflections hit the clouds.
There was still more to come but more subtle.
Seeing the Smaller Things
As I walk along a trail there will be an opening in the density of the bush and one small item will catch my eye. I will see its beauty and try to capture it. Sometimes the simple things make such a strong statement.
Such a beautiful flower and there are many varieties. I thought that I would post pictures of a few since there is a decided chill in the air. Sunflowers make me feel happy , because of their brightness and the fact that they grow seeds and feed the birds over the winter. I don’t know the varieties and won’t go into that here. I am looking at ways of seeing them. Enjoy!