Maligne Lake on a Cloudy Day
It was a dark and cloudy day…snicker, snicker. Couldn’t resist starting this way, though it is not recommended in writing class.There was a deer beside the parking lot at Maligne Lake that I took a photo of with my long lens, then a line-up of tourists followed it from about 20 feet away.
Also a Grey Jay stopped by, begging.They are not nick-named “camp robbers” for nothing.
This is a no-no. C’mon, people, the garbage can is only a few feet away, and this is grizzly bear country. If you want to visit the National Parks show some respect.That includes slowing down to the posted speed on the highways.
It was very overcast and the tour had closed a week earlier.The usual blue lake was grey so I decided to shoot some close-ups.
I mentioned the tour, and I would recommend the boat tour. It was expensive when I went, but i felt it was worth every penny. As you get closer to the iconic Spirit Island some 2o kilometers down the lake , the water turns a deeper turquoise and is stunningly beautiful and sadly, this isn’t one of my better shots.
After the Forest Fire
There was a forest fire at Exclesior Creek earlier this year and I was very saddened to see in the newspapers that the area around my oft-visited viewing site at Medicine Lake was burned.A desire arose in me to see it first-hand. I admit that as I drove up Maligne Lake Road to Medicine Lake the moment I saw the burned area I felt overwhelmed by the devastation.I was also curious what kind of photos I could take of the burnt area and perhaps what was already starting to grow. There were areas that were thick with trees and probably needed thinning out. Yes there will be rejunenation but I felt the loss as well. I talked with a local artist in the parking lot who shared with me how he has come for many years to the area to paint “en plaine air” and we agreed it was sad as well as would be interesting to see what abstracts could be discovered…he as a painter and I as a photographer.I could still smell the charcoal as I took the following photos. Since it was fall the lake was much lower and I was able to walk on ground that normally would be under water. This lake has an under water drainage system and the level drops dramatically in the fall as the water goes underground and drains into the Maligne river and canyon.The photo in my header is of Medicine Lake .there is an eagle’snest on the left and I worried about the young until I saw a photo of the burnt tree with the healthy eaglet still in the nest.
The last photo is taken from the lake looking back at the parking lot above the stairway.there are some trees that survived as well as saplings in their fall colours
Two Favourite Locations
After going into town for a yummy muffin and Latte from The Other Paw, I headed about 20 km south on the Icefields Parkway to a most wonderful lake. There is a small parking area here and no signs except for the board at the trail head. It is just a short walk through the woods, to a creek. Cross the creek and follow the trails -there is one that goes straight ahead and one that goes left along the creek then into the woods. Both ways are short walks that take you to different parts of the rocky shoreline that has, in some spots, emerald green waters and if you time it right , amazing reflections of the water and cliffs across the way.
This is a place where I can spend hours pondering the scenery and on a warm day, soaking up the heat from the rocks.
Just down the road is the junction of highways 93 and 93A. I turned right here to go to Athabasca Falls.There are short walks to various viewpoints of the falls and the gorge. You can feel the energy as the water rushes over the rocks and through the gorge.
I have been to this spot in spring , summer and fall -never the same and always exciting.
Next was Medicine Lake where there was a forest fire earlier this season and further up the road, Maligne Lake, an almost 40 km drive. I will save that for my next post.
The View from Here-Whistler Mountain
On my first morning I took a path behind the hostel a very little way up Whistler mountain and took images looking up to the Skytram and out to Pyramid Mountain. Nothing like going to the mountains to find out just how bad the fitness level is.In no time I was huffing and puffing and feeling the strain in my calf muscles. It was a frosty morning and made for some pretty scenes.
on the path in front of me
The Sky Tram Station on Whistler Mountain behind me
Looking across the valley at Pyramid Mountain
fall leaves are mostly gone and sunlight warms the frosty air
River Valley on an Autumn Day
i took these photos from a bridge that spans a ravine that goes into the main part of the river valley, with the intent of getting photos of the Autumn colours. There were interesting challenges with light and shadow, so I took the photos using a polarizer filter and did some post photo work in Lightroom.
I got up close and personal with this red-breasted nuthatch the other day. I am sick and have no energy so this post is short but I like the photo. Enjoy.
Well my car is not really STUCK. But I haven’t tried to move it either. The parking lot is a MESS from the snow that was blown by the wind into deep drifts. Someone did some shovelling but deposited a portion of snow close to my car which will give the front of the car no space to turn as I back out. The graders plowed the alley so the windrow is one more obstacle to get past. That and the temperature. I will get the shovel out tomorrow and try to get the car on the move. Tonight the wind chill is going to feel like -40 so for now I am staying indoors, reading and staying warm. The photos show the first night of the snow, we got more the next day. Most people are out driving, some slow, some ridiculously fast and there have been hundreds of accidents.. I am sure Buffalo is having major problems but have not heard a thing on the news.
The positive side of this is the beautiful wonderland that I see when I ride the bus to work.Must take photos…
More Female Pine Grosbeaks
it is interesting to approach the berry trees with no sight of a Pine Grosbeak, but quickly they come to the tree in twos and threes. it feels magical, how they start showing up. I only had a half-hour but took the time specifically to see and photograph the birds. In this time period I saw only the females but was able to get very close.
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.
Welcome back, Pine Grosbeaks!
One of the reasons that I wanted to get to the park was to check for the Pine Grosbeaks. I had seen some photos posted and was excited to see them again, especially since they did not show up last year. When I got to the park I could hear, but not see them. I greeted another photographer and we went closer to the trees that had berries on them. Soon a few females came to eat the fruit in the trees , then a couple of males. it was somewhat difficult light, but I was not disappointed.
Welcome back, grosbeaks!
Some Stolen Moments-and a “Lifer”
A “lifer” is a term used by birders for a sighting of a bird that you have never seen before. I took time after errands yesterday to visit a pond north of the city. There were a lot of geese there, some mallards and a flash of white way across the pond. A Common Golden Eye? A Bufflehead? No, there were more markings. I took some photos of this dandy from a long way away, then walked around the circumference of the pond to try to get closer.People walking their dogs paid a visit and there were some photos of close-up branches but I just did not have the footing to get down an incline through fairly dense under brush. Returning to the viewing site, I was delighted that the Mallards and this Hooded Merganser were coming to me, probably to be fed.
I may have seen a male Merganser before but only due to another person’s claim, not close enough to really see it for myself. I was delighted that he paid me a visit and can add him to my life list.This is one of the first shots zoomed in at 300 mm, and shot in manual mode when he was far away.
These shots are taken when he came closer. Two are cropped but mostly no adjustments other than lighting.
Let’s look at Nature in Her various Forms
I have been working shifts and not getting out much but I am taking the time today. First I will look back and post some shots that I like. i don’t want to take too much precious time so my apologies if I have some repeats here.
The chickadees are more approachable as are the squirrels and gulls as they gather food and seek handouts. These are favourites of a young Ring-billed Gull, a Black-capped Chickadee and a Red Squirrel seen in the parks in the city. I did not feed them, they just came to check me out and let me take their photo..
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).
Morning Walk with the Dogs-Blue Jays
I started work later on Saturday which enabled a long leisurely morning walk with the dogs. I was so impressed with their manners because when I saw some blue jays, I calmly said stay, then sit, and they did. The light was poor and I threw away a few shots but was pleased with these ones.Good dogs! Nice Blue Jays!
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.
Getting A Closer Look at Nature
I like the big scenic shots outdoors as well as the closer views that caught my attention at Elk Island National Park. I took these with my 70-300mm zoom lens. I felt sad when I saw the withered state of the once magnificent dragonflies and damsels and chose to pay tribute.
Autumn Scenes from Elk Island National Park
These shots are from a trip that I took to Elk Island National Park, just a 45 minute drive from Edmonton. It officially became autumn around 8:30 p.m. today. After that early snow we had a couple of weeks ago, the weather now is sunny, hot and the scenery beautiful.We stopped at some of the roadside ponds at the side of the main road near Astotin Lake.
Later my friend introduced me to the Amisk Wache a trail that is new to me that I would like to get back to at another time. It is a short trail, but not being up to too much walking, I was content to stretch out on the board walk on one part of the trail and just look around.Very relaxing.Here is what I saw from this viewpoint::
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.
Some More from the River Valley
To be honest, I am more inclined to stay home and read a book than go exploring outdoors. Too cold. It has been minus 25 but getting warmer today and may even go to the plus side this weekend. Here are some photos that I took last week.
Great to See the Chickadees Again
I find Chickadees to be friendly , curious and a source of wonder that always gives me a lift. They kept their distance in the summer as they were busy raising their young. Now they fly up to me on the trails, sometimes seeking handouts. I was too close at times cutting off the tails and blurring the photo. This one flew in front of me and landed on the trunk to eat its sunflower seed. I don’t think it was aware of my presence at first, judging from these two photos. I stepped back to get the shot, didn’t even have time to change my focal length and was surprised that part of it was in focus. Both photos were taken at 1/80 sec @f/5.0 ISO 800 210 mm
Moments in the Season
There are so many wonderful colours this year due to heavy frosts, warm days and lack of wind so the leaves are brighter and staying longer. I have been playing with alternate ways of viewing and having fun.
The Sky is Falling!
The sky is falling – I hear the steady plunk, plunk, plunk of spruce cones as they hit the ground. i look up and search the heavy-laden branches and see rustling motions until I focus on the cause. Oh, you again! I caught you in the act and you caught me!
I watched as you navigated down a branch that was fifty feet in the air and shimmied down to a cone.
Once you chose your favourite, you twisted or bit it off at the top, then had a nibble.
Then, after another bite, you dropped it to the ground. Quite clever! I wonder, do you gather parts of the cones and store them in your nest for the winter?
As soon as I finished my day at work on the weekend I went home to change then drove to the park and crossed the foot bridge to the off-leash area. It was fun trying to capture the dogs at play, running after sticks and diving into the water. I also went there to capture the display of colour and reflection on the opposite shore.. It was a very grey day, the first time I attempted to shoot in “daytime dark” using ISO of 800 and 1600. It didn’t come out the way I remembered until I worked in Lightroom and pushed the “contrast” button to the right.This photo shows when the light appeared, and lit up the hill .
1/160 sec @f/10 ISO 1600, manual setting