I was wandering around downtown Ottawa waiting to photograph the lunar eclipse. It was a very cloudy night and it gradually became more and more obvious that the eclipse was not in the cards for me. On the way out of town I stopped by Parliament Hill to create a few images of the Hill with all the Christmas Lights in full display. It’s a beautiful scene and obviously very photogenic!!
The entire region surrounding Calgary has been blanketed by a heavy ice fog for a couple of weeks now and I really wanted to make some images to capture the look and feel. It has been very surreal and haunting, and downright scary at times with the fog being so thick. I had visions in my head of images that show off the thick snow and ice that was coating everything. I’m not entirely sure I succeeded in that goal with these images, but I am really happy about them anyway.
These are Long Exposure night shots from Centenary Park, which is just East of Downtown Calgary. This is the GC King Pedestrian Bridge that connects St. Patrick’s Island to Fort Calgary and downtown. I’ve wanted to shoot the bridge for a long time, but I never quite got around to doing it. It’s a beautiful old bridge and the glow of the city lights against the clouds and the frosty trees really made it pop. This bridge is due to be replaced by a new and fancy designer bridge at some point in the next couple of years, so I’m really glad that I was able to make these images.
I went downtown the other night to try to make an image of the cityscape while the Olympic Torch on top of the Calgary Tower was burning. The flame was lit in honour of the Olympic Torch relay run passing through Calgary while enroute to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Unfortunately I only had time to make a couple of close-up images of the Tower itself before the flame went out. Since I was already there I took the opportunity to make a new panoramic image of the skyline.
I’ve made quite a few images from the same spot over the last couple of years. I really love the look of the city lights reflecting on the ice covering the Bow River, so I really prefer to make these images in the winter.
I’m visiting with my family in Kelowna for a week and while I’m here I want to get in a few photography outings with my Dad. The weather here is at least 3 weeks further into the spring that it is at home in Calgary, and the migrating birds are much more plentiful. I read several reports on bc.birding.ca that lots of waterfowl have been seen at Robert Lake recently, including sightings of over 600 Northern Pintails.
We made plans to be at the lake shortly after sunrise in order to be there in time to make some nice images in the soft morning light. Unfortunately when we arrived we found that the lake was practically deserted. Other than a few geese the only birds we saw were a few Red-winged Blackbirds near the parking lot. We watched them for a few minutes before moving on.
We decided to make our way over to the Kelowna Airport which is a known hotspot for Hawks, Eagles, and Owls. Instead of driving directly there we took a meandering route through the scenic countryside. The Kelowna area is littered with Orchards and other beautiful agricultural property which is home to many species of birds and animals. Without really even looking for them we managed to find plenty of California Quail, Blackbirds, and Northern Flickers. While we were stopped to watch a large covey of Quail, we could hear the very distinctive call of a Pheasant down the road and it was being repeatedly answered by another bird in the woods behind us. We slowly made our way towards the sound and quickly found it near the side of the road. It launched and flew off to the edge of the adjacent orchard, and I only managed to make a few images from the truck. Dad was driving and didn’t get out in time before it wandered into the trees…
We continued on towards the airport and had a very cool visit with a Yellow-bellied Marmot. While we were driving I looked over into a farmyard and saw several large furry critters scurrying off of a woodpile beside the road. Although most of them disappeared, we found this animal sunning itself on the woodpile.
The Marmot was actually very close to a tall wooden fence beside the road and I was able to shoot through a crack in the fence to make some close-up portraits.
There are Hawks all over the place near the Kelowna Airport. We were actually watching a Red-tailed Hawk that landed on a power pole beside this Rough-legged Hawk. I have always found Red-tails to be very skittish and this one was no exception. It launched as soon as we got close. The Roughie didn’t seem to mind us very much and it sat on the pole until we got quite close. It eventually launched as well, but it just did a slow fly-by past us before landing on the next power pole up the road.
We continued on our way looking for Hawks. Although there were lots of them, none were really close enough to make good images of. I was quite surprised to find a pair of Great Blue Herons in a farm field. I’ve never seen them in that sort of environment and in my experience they are more likely to be in a swamp or a slough than in a wide open field. Dad tells me that he sees them in a nearby field all the time so I’m sure it must be quite common. One of the birds flew off almost immediately after we stopped but the other one ignored us and continued to hunt in the field. I’m not sure what it was hunting but I saw it stab its beak into the ground several times.
Huge thanks to my Dad for being a great companion, and especially for driving the truck while I got all the great shots!