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
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.
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.
It is tiny, I prefer to use the term “cosy” and i have my phone and computer set up-that is a relief. i have kitchen table and chairs, couch and living room chair, craft table that fits perfectly in the closet-YAY!
I have made a lot of progress but still a ways to go before I can call it settled in. Unpacking is like packing, it gets harder as you go, particularly with the last few boxes. At first there is room to put things away, then it gets tricky. A lot of contents are probably going to Good Will, Value Village or some other charity.
my first meal:Horrible quality of photos, must have been tired.
view from my balcony-yay, trees!
night shot looking northwest
Soon I will pull myself away from this and get out for some real photography
It has become chilly out, only temporary but a reminder that the hot weather won’t last forever.My thoughts are with those who are suffering from the effects of the many forest fires across our lands. It is green here in the city but many trees are chaging colour due to stress from lack of moisture. the leaves look wilted, too.
I am moving to a new neighbourhood and my computer is full to almost bursting so I will upgrade but not until the next month or month after. It makes it hard to go out and shoot away so am slowing down photo ops and replacing them with packing.Not as much fun,I tell you!
in the meantime, here are some photos from the summer months.
Belly dancers at the Heritage festival
scenes from EdmontonFolk Music Festival
A Visitor on My Hat
Main stage- Edmonton Folk Music Festival
bark abstract from a walk in the woods
When the bright spring green disappears, and summer arrives, there are other colour combinations to delight the eye. I can’t believe that July is almost over. I want to get out more and capture various light conditions and the birds.
This is what I have seen lately: the changing of the colours of the grasses and shrubs, the ripe berries and the duck weed and algae in the ponds.
duck weed inthe ponds
combination of grass and leaves of trees
shrubs and bushes
There is something that captures my attention and sense of wonder as I see an American White Pelican soar into sight, gliding with its wide wings outspread and circling the area as it gets lower and lower. Then the feet stick out and foreward before it hits the water creating a large wake behind it. This one landed at the platform where other pelicans and a couple of cormorants were lounging and in one motion heaved itself out of the water onto the raft. (I missed that shot as well as the first one when I first caught sight of it to one side of me.) When they are gliding alone or as a group they are so graceful.This one stood out from the rest-it was huge.
A nod to the two cormorants who are holding their own.
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!
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.
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.
It is a delight to watch the white pelicans fishing, at first calm and upright, sometimes a slight lean forward, then leap forward and down into the water at what they see. My friend Diane and I had the good fortune to see not just one, but four pelicans today at a man-made lake in northeast Edmonton. Great fun!
I saw a lot of deer on my trip in May-it has been that long already? So here is a sampling of what I saw. There is still a lot of the winter hair evident, especially along the neck.The coat underneath will be much redder.
A parting shot. I did not realize that there were deer here until I pulled off the road.It is evident how they got their name.
This was a sad day.Today was the funeral and procession for Const Daniel Woodall who was killed in the line of duty on Monday, June 8th. He and his partner Srgt Jason Harley were shot down by a man while attempting to arrest him.Srgt Harley survived but Const Woodall succumbed to his wounds.Many police officers came from all over this continent as well as overseas. Thousands of blue ribbons and Edmontonians lined the streets to pay tribute. Although I missed the front of the procession I caught a lot of it.
Today there was a march and bands played. As well, the parade of officers came to a standstill a number of times and the streets were silent.
It is hard to describe the fellings that arose in me…thoughts of Claire Woodall, their young children Gabe and Kalen, and Daniel’s parents David and Denice. This is when the grief gets tough, when everyone else gets back to their lives after the ceremony and you are left with a big void within. So my thoughts are with the family. Although I took photos I also stopped to be still and reflect, to be grateful for the service that these men and women give of themselves, to pray for their safety and healing. I don’t know these people but I felt like I got to know them as I heard the eulogies given by the chief of police and friends at the funeral service that was streamed on-line and at big screens in the city square.
A sight that I saw that filled me with awe and touched my heart, was at the intersection before the Shaw Conference centre. Two fire trucks had ladders extended over the street in an arc and from one hung a huge Canadian flag and from the other hung a huge British flag. Costable Woodall has lived here for a number of years but he started his service with the police in Manchester England. That display was beautiful and a class act from Edmonton firefighters.
I listened a while to the funeral service before going to work. Ironically, on the way home tonight, I saw flashing lights at an intersection and two officers were directing traffic. I saw a car and on the other side of the car was a bicycle lying on the road. My heart sank. As well as with the Woodall family, my prayers are with the members of the Edmonton Police Service and first responders. Thank you.
I like going to this lake in the city because there are Red-necked Grebes here, but today there were a few surprises. The lake has a walkway around it and houses surround this, with a lot of the people putting up birdhouses and feeders in their yards which makes this a bird-friendly zone. It was a lovely day sunny and cloudy, but quite the glare off the water.
Another photographer and birder alerted me to this fledged magpie which is the first that I have seen. I think the term begins with “L”.
I decided to walk around this small lake and saw many sights and many feathered families.
Saw some brief displays, with the pair calling loudly , coming together and stretching their necks up with crests raised then swimming away.
At one curve in the lake a pelican circled and landed. No time to check my settings, i tried panning as it landed.
it happened too quick , there was nothing I could do about the sign but keep following.
Happy about that, a short way further along the path I saw a large bird coming into view. Not id-ing it yet, I tried to focus on it.
A great Blue heron! What a treat! It landed near the pelican and stayed to fish.
The damsel flies were prolific so got my first shot of the season.
She is a beautiful blue. Speaking of blue, there were many blue ribbons on posts all around the lake , paying tribute to fallen officer Const Daniel Woodall. His funeral is tomorrow, so I will be present at the procession.
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.
Two days in a row it was still and quiet at Windy point, except on the return the weather had changed to very windy and the clouds had socked in, with snow again. Three seasons in two days.But it was a mix of sun and cloud in the early part of the day and I used the polariser. I thought that it might be blah because I heard the water was at its low point, but the land had such a sculptural quality that intrigued me and the lake was a pretty turquoise. It was a whole new landscape from what I had experienced in the summer and fall in previous visits.
The sheep were here again and I took more photos of them but with a wide angle lens rather than the zoom.I love the trees here, they show the wear and tear from the almost constant winds as you can see on the point.
On the return trip I witnessed a herd of sheep pop up their heads as I drove off the highway to the Mount Michener viewpoint. One little fellow popped over the guard rail and stared at me. Then he started running after the car and i backed up really fast. he hopped over the guard rail and looked over the hill , probably looking for his mates.
I took one last shot of the lake to show how much the weather had changed.It got cold and turned rainy and snowy, so I headed back to home base to a nice warm cabin..
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.
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.
It started to snow last night and we had a thin coating of the white stuff this morning. It felt surreal but so was the news that the NDP won a majority in the provincial election. This province has stubbornly been Progressive Conservative for over 40 years. Wow! That message was loud and clear!
Here’s the cabin I stayed in. It had a satellite TV, microwave oven, BBQ on the porch, DVD’s, flannel sheets and a cozy bed. I indulged in popcorn, TV and reading, and lighting the fire in the wood stove, important things when you are getting away from it all. When the fire died down it got smokey. The popcorn that I popped in the microwave tasted great but it stunk. The steak I cooked was smoking too.The fire alarm went off. i worried that I would be charged extra if I made the place smelly so I turned up the electric heater and opened the windows and turned on the fans until the air cleared.
I am a city gal. I am so glad that I brought my winter coats, hat and gloves and that I have procrastinated in replacing my snow tires with all-season ones.I forgot how swiftly the weather can change in the mountains. I decided I wanted to drive up the road to Mount Baldy to get a higher view of the world. It was snowing slightly but as I got higher the snow got heavier and the road was very slippery. I slowed down and frankly thanked God for keeping me safe as I kept going upward , looking for a space wide enough to turn around. It was pretty but no thanks, I wanted to get back down.
I got down the road safely then thought it would be interesting to see Fish Lake again, under different circumstances.
After exploring here, I returned to the cabin for lunch and to see if it would clear up.It did, and I drove out to Abraham Lake, to be continued in the next post.
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.
Oh! I am getting so excited! Love to see the birds coming back. These are two more new arrivals this season. I only saw the males and the light was getting low but will get the pairs soon. Shot at the full 300mm.
Lesser Scaup Male
American Widgeon Male
Went for a drive to three locations today, two in the city and one at a provincial park to see what may be arriving.It was a pleasant surprise. I did not get a shot, but rather a quick glimpse of a small group, maybe a dozen, of white birds with black wings, they may have been snow geese. (I was driving).These sightings made for a great day and it was hot and sunny to boot.Some of these photos are not the first I have seen this year, i.e. Ring-billed Gull and Canada Geese
A Pair of Northern Shovellers (sorry I couldn’t get the female in the photo)
I stated in yesterday’s blog about a stroke of luck. I had stopped my car beside a pond and was focusing on some crows to see if I could capture them in flight, when I sensed a movement beside me.The crow shots didn’t work out, but I think these ones did. I will let the pictures tell the story.
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.