The sun rises very early in Banff at this time of year and it was quite painful to be up early enough to make this image. I was there as part of a massive group of photographers assembled for Darwin Wiggett’s edition of the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk last Saturday. We started out with an unofficial sunrise shoot at Vermillion Lakes. If the light and the atmoshperic conditions are just right then iconic images of Mount Rundle reflecting in the pools of the Vermillion Lakes can be made, and almost 50 people showed up to do just that!
There were many more people there than I expected for such an early start and it was quite a spectacle. Everyone spread out all along the road in front of the three lakes to try to get their own piece of the reflection of the mountains at sunrise. The light was good, but not as spectacular as I had hoped. I managed to make a few good images despite the early hour and the lack of sleep.
The official photowalk didn’t start until 8:30 so there was plenty of time to kill between the sunrise at 5:15 AM and the start of the walk. I took advantage of the time to enjoy a very large cup of coffee!
I spent the majority of my time during the walk shooting in the downtown core in Banff. This was quite a different experience from the photography I normally do. In fact I specifically chose to wander around town (instead of the other, more nature oriented, options that were presented to the walkers) simply because it was different. It took me a little while to get inspired but once I got going I got into a nice groove and I really enjoyed doing something a little different!
Here are a bunch of my favorite images from the day.
I’ve been happily watching the canola fields gradually turn yellow as the summer slowly passes by, but I’ve been waiting for just the right opportunity to make some great images. I love to see dramatic skies hanging over the prairie landscape and so I had to take advantage of this great combination. It’s amazing how vibrant the yellow Canola flowers really are and the contrast between the dark skies and the bright fields is even more amazing in person. The flowers are already starting to drop so the show will be over in the next week or two. If you live anywhere near the Prairies and you haven’t had a chance to see the Canola yet this year you really should try to get out before it’s gone!
Most people that I talk to in Calgary know about the Pelicans that live on the Bow River, but many of them have no idea that there are some other common residents on the river too. For example there are always Cormorants swimming in the churned up water below the weir alongside the Pelicans. These beautiful birds are incredible swimmers and they often disappear below the surface for minutes at a time. You’ll never know when or where they might come back to the surface.
Weird fact: Cormorants don’t have water repellent plumage as most other ducks and water birds do, so they must dry their wings after going for a swim or a bath… They can often be spotted perched on the wall at the East end of the Bow River Weir with their wings spread wide to dry in the breeze.
Many species of ducks can also be commonly spotted in the churn below the weir. Mergansers are very common, however they are normally quite elusive. It was very fun to see this juvenile bird completely oblivious to the people nearby as it splashed and hunted for minnows in the shallow waters near the shore.
I drove by the weir on the Bow River in Calgary several times over the past week and each time there have been hundreds of Pelicans floating below the weir. There were many more than I’ve ever seen there at one time before so I was pretty excited to get out to see them. I finally had a chance to go after dinner tonight, and it was quite a sight. There were only about 60 there tonight (compared to easily 200 earlier in the week), but even that is a whole lot of birds!
The best thing about going down to the weirs in the Calgary area (there are 2; one at Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park and the other at Pearce Estate Park in SE Calgary) is that you can get right down on the rocks at the rivers edge. The Pelicans are so focused on fishing that they generally ignore the people nearby. Unfortunately that has all changed at the Bow River Weir in Calgary due to the ongoing deconstruction of the weir (part of the Harvie Passage project). It is now quite difficult to get close to the water because of the equipment and materials that have been abandoned there for the summer. The good news is that there are so many birds hanging out that it is still pretty easy to make some good images!
Here are a few shots of the Pelicans from tonight.
After a long day of rain at the cottage the weather finally broke in the late afternoon. We all rushed outside to get some fresh air and to take advantage of the break from the soggy drizzle that was becoming all too common. I went straight to the flowerbed to make use of the high overcast clouds that provided some beautiful soft light for making closeup and macro images.
Although these Daylilies are growing in the flowerbed, they weren’t planted there. This species was introduced to North America from Asia in the 19th century and now grows wild all over Eastern North America. It is considered to be an invasive species and it is very hard to control or remove once introduced to an area.
Regardless whether they are wild or cultivated, they are extremely beautiful and I could spend hours or even days making images of them!