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Posts tagged “landscape

Day 3 Views from Windy Point

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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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Take the Time

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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.

Close-up of Field Flowers

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Since the flowers in my field guide are not always as clear as I would like, as are my photos,  I am guessing that rather than lupine, this might be Tufted Vetch. Gosh, I could start another blog on this topic of wild flowers alone, but not sure that I have the patience.

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.


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By the light of the Moon

Now that the hullabaloo over the fireworks has passed as has the opening night of the show of lights of the High Level bridge, I returned to a park where I could take some photos of both the High Level and the Menzies bridge which serves as a way fare for both pedestrian  traffic and Light Rail transit. Usually I like my lights sparkling but not the moon. Will have to work on that.

I used my tripod, put settings on “Bulb” and kept the shutter open for 5-10 seconds with the ISO at 100.

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Bridges-Filling the Gap

Bridges are playing a major theme in our city lately. Two are being torn down to make way for new ones.Another, the High Level Bridge, has been adorned with over 50,000 lights to entertain us in the dark of night.

Today’s post focuses on the 102 Avenue bridge that joins the west end to downtown and stands  beside the Royal Alberta Museum. It is more of a functional bridge than “pretty” but that does not make it any less important.The 102 Avenue bridge is over a hundred years old and spans a deep ravine.It has flaws and weaknesses and needs to be torn down. The road under it is a major road as is the the one that runs over it. so that means temporary detours for Groat Road as well as the bridge road for  the next 15 months.

It has some flaws but as you can see in these photos , the structure still has strength because it didn’t fall apart as easily as expected. The clean-up is going to take longer than first estimated.I felt it important to record some of this moment in time.

I am looking from the museum side to the High Street shopping area off of 124 Street.

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Ellis Bird Farm

This farm is a bird sanctuary originally for bluebirds but this farm land and its many birdhouses have become home to a thriving colony of purple martins, house wrens, Robins, Cedar Waxwings, tree swallows, barn swallows, and American Goldfinches.We arrived to the sound of hammers pounding while a school groupmade bird boxes. There is a tea house here that tantalised us with delicious home made Rhubarb pie and ice cream and a bottomless cup of coffee, also delicious.We sat out on the patio then were jumping out of our seats to capture images of birds that would come to visit at one of the many feeders.

Bluebirds require a large territory and were the main thrust of the farm originally run by Winnie and John Ellis, now supported partially by the huge Union Carbide plant across the road. The bluebirds are off site but  350 boxes are maintained by the farm staff on a nest box trail in 100 square miles surrounding the farm. The population was decimated during a heavy snowstorm in April of 2008 but is slowly building up again.

There were two Great Horned Owls that hung around the wood lot but one was killed and the other moved off. There were rumours of anew resident but it is no longer here.This is the place where the Purple Martins are loaded with radios that record their flights from Alberta to the Amazon rainforest and back.

Other than eat pie and ice cream we roamed the gardens for hours and took lots of photos of the birds that we did see.


One of many of the Purple Martin houses on the property with two male residents.


A gazebo built by Union Carbide Ltd. where many Barn Swallows nest.


A busy Bee pollinating the Lilac bushes beside the Tea Room patio.


I found a female Goldfinch at the feeder beside the store.


The male American Goldfinch came for a visit at tea time.


There are a few Cedar Waxwings hanging around.


The air is full of the songs of House Wrens singing. They nest in the blue bird boxes on display around the yard.


The Tree swallows also nest in the bird boxes in the yard.Flowers have been planted everywhere, attracting butterflies and birds, including hummingbirds.Here are a few examples:




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Ellis Bird Farm is on the net, http://www.ellisbirdfarm.ca and located south east of the City of Lacombe, Alberta. This is an educational and fun place to visit . I always plan to visit for the whole day, and have come back for more than one visit.Will post more photos from here tomorrow.

Birding Heaven

Had a brief but refreshing respite from the city and enjoyed the company of a friend as we went on a photo-shooting and birding binge. Here are some of the things that we found in Central Alberta on our first rainy day.

Lacombe 006-2Alberta Rose-the flower of the province of Alberta

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Wolf Willow Bushes

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Osprey Tending to Her Young

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Male Yellow Warbler

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Female Warbler

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Catbird Feeding the Other-fledgling perhaps?

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Song Sparrow

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Cedar Waxwing

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Rainy Green Reflections

Winter Revisited

Last night while at the library the snow started again. We have had a few “flurries.” This time the weather forecast was for 10-15 cm.


Today it was not as heavy as forecast but it did cover the ground.


Some creative women from an apartment got creative and made the most of it.Image


The golfers may have to wait a little longer to “tee off ” at the golf course below.


The temperatures are erratic, going up and down , above and below freezing. It may continue for a while so just grin and bear it.

Happy Easter to those who are celebrating!

Looking at last year’s Gardens

Admittedly it is a little dull right now with dirty snow and brown turf just before the onslaught of glorious Spring. I like colour in my life and I am sharing past images of gardens. Most are close-ups and I admire the skill it takes to first of all design a garden and secondly to take a good photo of one. Master gardener  Donna from Garden Walk Garden Talk  blog has inspired me with her knowledge and skill with designing as well as photography. It takes some thought and planning to take a good image of flowers and gardens. 

Below are two photos from my friend Lindsay’s garden.


Here are some photos from the Alberta Legislature grounds.





Thank you Donna, for inspiring me,  I want to make photographing gardens one of my projects for the upcoming year. It will be good for me to go for the walks , practice shooting and share the results. My other projects will include my passion for the birds and landscapes.That will keep me happy and busy.

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.

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Skyline in Early Evening

Went out on a photo club outing on Sunday evening and caught the rays of the setting sun just before and after sunset which took place at 7:46 p.m. The days get shorter by 3 minutes a day.

I used a variety of exposure settings, manual, aperture priority, shutter priority…nice to be open  and I found that I was wishing that I had checked my notes on fireworks about what exposures to use to get those cobalt skies. It wasn’t a blue sky, there was more grey and yellow so I will have to get out there again. There was good conversation with others about what people were using and I enjoyed being out there.


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First Blush of Spring

It is refreshing to see the grass turning green and the leaves unfurling from the buds. The temperature is warm and hearts are light.It seems like spring is late but photos from a couple of years ago tell me that the ice was on the pond until the end of April. Perhaps it seemed like such a long winter because it always is here in Central Alberta with six months of snow.

Today is a celebration of spring. The birds are mating, including a pair of red-necked Grebes  and during an early morning walk at the pond I heard my first warbler and saw it too, although way high up in the trees.My heart sang to hear the call of the Yellow-Rumped Warbler, though this was a “Myrtle rather than the usual Audobon’s variety.




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A Visit to Elk Island

I had finished church and was going to join the others at a restaurant though I had made no plans to join anyone. I was almost there when I saw a road that leads to the highway. “That is it”, I said to myself, “yes, I want to go to Elk Island”. I  picked up coffee and a rice crispy square on the way and started to wonder what the weather report was, since I had no snow tires on but decided to be careful and drive a little slower. There was a nasty accident on my left where a truck had slid off the road and I slowed down to the 60 km speed limit as I passed the vehicles with the flashing lights. Another reminder to be careful.

When I turned off the highway to the National Park, I sighed and thought, “I feel like I have come home.” I felt all my tensions and worries slide off my shoulders.There was a bison herd on the left and thought that I would stop on the way back. Silly me, I know better, of course they were gone later. They just look like they will  lounge forever.

Continued on to the main picnic area and got out for a walk . The snow drifts around the parking lot were beautiful and I examined the shapes and lines.

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I looked around and saw ice crystals in the air, or perhaps it was beginning to snow.

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Down the road a truck had pulled up to the gates and there was a flurry of activity as deer scattered in different  directions  and I snapped a shot although they were in the distance.

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Then I saw the reason for their flight and self-righteous anger welled up within me. Look below the stop sign.

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Their dog was loose and running after the deer. This is a national park folks and harassment of wildlife brings a serious fine.

I looked around some more and in the other direction but not far away from the dog I saw a bison lying down. I took a photo from a long distance without getting closer because I chose not to disturb the animal or bring attention to its existence.This photo shows the example that there may be wildlife close by and if you slow down and look you will see what is not immediately apparent.

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As I drove away from this area I stopped to take a photo from the car of one of the deer that was hiding on a wooded hill. Enough stress, it was best to SNAP and move on.

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I travelled back toward the highway from where I had entered the park but saw no coyotes, elk, bison or birds that I could spot. I stopped in a parking lot at a trail head to look and walk  around and tried to take a photo of the snowflakes on my car.As well,  there were lines that fascinated me in the environment.

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Further on, I  stopped and pulled over to the shoulder of the road  but the slant was unnerving-bad idea- and I couldn’t move forward but quickly backed up to get out before I couldn’t. A passing truck slowed down , perhaps to see if I spotted something or to help out if I was stuck but moved on when I got back on the road. Not something I want to do without snow tires.

The sky was getting darker and threatening snow so  I decided to head home, having enjoyed the respite.

Yes Virginia, there are Elk in Elk Island National Park

This National park 45 minutes outside the city limits of  Edmonton Alberta is famous for its bison herds that are used to stock  herds worldwide. It is a bit of a joke about the elk because we locals often say where are they? They tend to be more shy and in the 30 years that I have lived in the area I have seen elk in this park twice.Usually the staff have a good idea where the animals and birds are and are willing to help you set out in the right direction, especially if you are willing to go a little ways off the beaten path. Once  I saw a herd when I was cross-country skiing on the trails off the roadway and the other day some were just beside the road  on both sides of the highway. That was pretty exciting and there were a lot of them..We also saw a couple of coyotes but my lens fogged up when I took the camera out of the bag and all I got was a reverse vignette effect. Ha Ha. It was still great to see the animals and we saw three bison with snow on their faces and  slowed down for a look but no stops were made as we were meeting others at a destination further down the road. It was worth getting up early in the morning with temperatures of minus 28.These photos are from three different groups.

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These were the first ones we saw, actually three that ran and joined a few others.

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When they are feeling safe, they always stop and look back at you.

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This was part of a group on the opposite side of the road.

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pictures 359-4One last glance-and then there were three. They all would run away fro a few paces, then stop and look at us, before turning and going further afield. I hope you like the photos.

We spent at least a half hour spotting them, driving a short distance then seeing more and stopping to take more photos. It sure was fun, even forgot how cold it was.

Some of you seem to have disappeared – hope you come back for a visit, because I miss you and your posts. If I don’t get a chance tomorrow, I want to wish all of you a new year of  hope, peace and prosperity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Remember, it is still fall but this is typical for Alberta with a balmy temperature of -15 degrees celsius. Expect 6 months of snow and if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes. We get long winters but have bright sunny days even if they are less than eight hours at this time of year before solstice. How do we deal with it?  Ski, skate, snowshoe…get outdoors and enjoy it! When we are indoors we play games, get our photo editing done, read all the books we didn’t get to that we missed in the warmer months. We have  festivals all year round here-both indoor and outdoor even when we are in a deep freeze.

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring © Jane Chesebrough


Whiteout is when it is snowing so hard it is just white in front of you,usually in a blizzard and people can get lost in their own yards. Now it wasn’t that bad today, but close. I needed to pick up some items between 1 and 1:30 p.m. and it started to snow just before. I went out to my car and took the brush and wiped the snow that had accumulated in about a half hour. There was a couple of inches but as fast as I could sweep off the snow with the brush it was replaced. By the time I got to the front windows of my car there was a couple of inches on the back windows so I did the best I could and backed out of my spot went down the alley and onto the street. At the church a few people were shovelling the walk in the same manner. Quickly, but to no avail. I got what I needed and headed right back home. There was a few inches on the road and it felt like I was driving through butter.

Thank goodness it didn’t last too long and there is evidence the plows were out and obviously people were out with their snow blowers as well.

Piling up© Jane Chesebrough

Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos when it  was snowing at the heaviest point this afternoon, but I went outside tonight and took some snapshots..no longer a whiteout, more like serene evening snow scenes.

After the Storm

© Jane Chesebrough

Winter Wonderland in Fall

© Jane Chesebrough

My Neighbourhood


© Jane Chesebrough



© Jane Chesebrough

Tomorrow I am supposed to go out on a photo shoot with my friend Frank  so I will share some of the photos with you tomorrow evening. I am definitely looking forward to it.

Wind Sculptures

We have had a bit of snow each day for a couple of days and with it came the wind which makes for some pretty spectacular designs. I went out for an hour and took pictures of the drifts and now am in my warm home curled up in blankets to rid myself of the chill. Hope you enjoy the moments snapped.

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© Jane Chesebrough

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© Jane Chesebrough


Today is my 250th blog! I was inspired by a professional photographer to do a blog and started to tell the story to go along with the photos and was surprised by how much I shared. The process became a “heart-to -heart” experience . By reading other people’s blogs and perusing other people’s photos,  I think that I have grown in my writing ability as well as my photography. I was surprised to notice that I have over 99 followers- thank you for that and thank you for your comments. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of you due to frequent comments back and forth-it really makes a difference when you can touch your audience and when you can ask questions and engage in dialogue.

I will continue to publish my blogs and today I thought of  “being”. I have discovered this is such an important and necessary quality in my life other than exclusively “doing.” I used to measure my worth by how much I was “doing.” Listening to the inner voice of wisdom has taught me differently but I have had to get sick in order to slow down enough to hear.So thank you for following and thank you for sharing and let’s see what appears next.

Using my Toolkit

I am recovering and feel better today. In retrospect I got busy.Real busy. Then I stopped using one of the most important tools in my kit. The daily practise of quiet time, prayer, meditation, sitting in the silence, whatever I choose to call it. The name is not important but the practise is. It is the difference between practising the problem or practising the solution.

©Jane Chesebrough

Sometimes the size of my tool kit overwhelms me and I get stuck with indecision – the paralysis of analysis. This is the time to ” just pick one. ” “Use it.”  Everything turns around from there. My  best tool is the  “take the time” tool. Next is the  “gratitude” tool. invaluable but totally useless if I don’t use them. Have a great day!

©Jane Chesebrough

Some Nice Oranges

You thought, perhaps, that I was talking about the fruit? No, I am still seeing the colours of the last remaining leaves around the city and rather than yellows and greens I am seeing the orange tones. And I am noticing the colour of orange in the reflections on the water from the setting sun  around the city. This photo shows the  rays of  late afternoon sun as it hits the trees and bushes in the wood lot. I tried getting enough focus in the foreground without such a narrow depth of field that I lost too much emphasis in the background so I could still pull the composition together as a whole.

I have been extremely busy taking courses at a learning centre in preparation for job-hunting after being on emotional and mental health leave. I am sorry that I have not been able to keep up with your blogs or even mine for that matter, but have kept up to some of you without commenting.It has been an amazing opportunity to learn about myself, regretfully some of the learning has been about self care and not knowing when to stop. I feel pressured to keep working so hard because of the fear of losing my insurance benefits but have paid the price of my health  and the bronchitis that has been holding on for weeks has now gone deeper into the lungs and turned into pneumonia. So I have brought things to a halt. Again.

I started  a short-term dose on Prednisone to take down the inflammation in my lungs so have been a total insomniac.(Absolutely everything in my apartment is so well organized now!) I was hesitant to take antibiotics because of the drug-resistant bugs but now am taking antibiotics especially since taking having  x-rays taken.

I am mending . I am growing . I am learning so much about Microsoft Word and resumes and references and cold calls and getting along with people and focusing on personal values and goals and problem-solving skills. You name it, it has been covered. Ha Ha! Maybe a little “wanting” in the category of setting limits and boundaries.

I am so grateful that Activia yoghurt has brought out the new flavour of Strawberry Rhubarb in the larger containers. That is just one of the amusing things that I am grateful for because I have been counting my blessings. I am grateful that I could take the time to get outdoors with my friends to grab images of the last bits of autumn colour.Enjoy.

©Jane Chesebrough

Golden Hour

The golden hour refers to the time before, during and after the sunrise or sunset when you get spectacular or beautifully subtle  colour in the sky and reflections off trees, buildings, people, etc.

I went out before sunset with my friend, Diane the other night which reminded me  that sunset really is getting earlier every night. We left at 6:15 p.m. and found a hilltop perch  so we could get high enough to see the skyline without trees and buildings  getting in the way and blocking the sunset effects. I still am going to scout around for various viewpoints.

She is great to go out with because we goof around and take funny or embarrassing pictures of each other and laugh a lot, plus I am inspired by how she sees things from various points of view. Being inspired is so much better than being jealous or envious.

There were some challenges in getting the blue in the sky to show  with all the orange. To solve this, I tried different exposures then settled on shooting in Tungsten White Balance. Also there were power lines in the view so I chose to evade them and in one case,did a major  crop. I find that for night shooting I get the best results using Shutter Priority or in Canon terms, Tv, which stands for Time Value. I tend to go dark because I get better saturation of colour in the sky, closer to what I actually see.

After downloading,  using Lightroom I heightened contrast to bring out the colour because I did not think the exposure gave the colour that I actually saw reflected off the trees. In other situations I did slight crops and straightening except for the high wires where I did a big crop. Had to use my healing brush for erasing dust spots which were prominent. Boo Hoo.  Someone from the photo club has suggested HDR and higher exposure to show the details in the buildings with graduated filter for the sky. Lots more to explore and have fun with in the future.

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough

Enjoying the Temperatures

We have been blessed with warmer than usual weather this fall and I am still wearing shorts most days. The colours are great and starting to see the red of the bushes as well as the yellow aspens.Maybe I will find a red maple somewhere, must admit that I miss the glorious display of colours from the east, particularly Ontario where I grew up.  I am lucky because I can appreciate the beauty wherever I am. The following was taken on my walk last weekend then added paint strokes in  Corel Paintshop Photo Pro x3 . Thinking of all of you and wish you a joyful, nature-immersed weekend.

Western Wood Lily

I took this high above Abraham Lake and like the colour of the lily with the aqua water in the background and the surrounding greens and oranges.I wanted to try something a little different from my typical snap shot. A lot of people call this the Tiger Lily and it is one of my favourites to see at this time of year.

©Jane Chesebrough