My First Snowy Owl of the Season

Perching Snowy Owl

I stopped to make a few images of a really great sunset tonight, with a couple of grain bins in a massive Prairie field. It was very beautiful and I managed to catch the indigo sky rising up out of the horizon while the pink glow remained above it. It was one of those magical skies that you really have to visit the Prairies to see.

While I walked back to my truck when I realized that I had parked underneath a beautiful Snowy Owl perching on a power pole. I’ve spent many hours searching for these elusive birds over the last couple of winters and have only rarely seen them. This one wasn’t very happy to have me there, but it must not have minded too much or it would have flown away when I first arrived. I can’t believe I didn’t see it when I first pulled up, and it’s even more amazing that it just stayed there and ignored me. I got to watch it and make images for several minutes before it got too dark. I’m still excited about it several hours later!

Perching Snowy Owl

Grain Bins at Sunset

Grain Bins at Sunset

Irrigation Pivot at Sunset

Into the Raging Fire

Bleeding Sky

The sunrise on the prairies east of Calgary is often spectacular and I’ve seen my fair share of extremely beautiful mornings. I was very happy recently when I had a chance to make a few images of one of the most amazing sunrises that I’ve ever seen.

The sky absolutely lit up with a furious red glow as the sun slowly climbed toward the cloudy horizon. There were just enough clouds on the horizon to hold back the full force of the sun, while still allowing enough of the magical morning light through to paint the thicker clouds above in a series of reds, oranges, and yellows. The result was an amazing, fiery red sky as far as the eye could see. Beautiful!

Into the Burning Sky

Moonset at Sunrise

Moonset over the Rockies at Sunrise

Every month there is one day, usually a day or two after the full moon, where the moon sets just as the sun rises. If you time it just right, and if it isn’t too hazy or cloudy outside, then you can see the moon looking huge as it drops below the horizon. With the sun coming up on the opposite horizon the moon will glow very brightly in a beautiful shade of orange or pink.

I was out for an early morning birding trip yesterday and I had hoped to be able to make some nice pastoral images of the moon dropping behind the Rocky Mountains with the open fields of the foothills in the foreground. While I did see the sunrise, unfortunately the moon dropped into a cloudbank on the western horizon long before it was low enough for the pictures I has in my minds eye.

Before going to bed last night I told my wife that if our son, who has been sleeping very poorly lately, was awake before 6:30 AM then I would get up and take him with me for another attempt at my moon shot. Of course he woke up right at 6:30, which barely gave me enough time to get get both of us dressed and out the door, get all my gear into the car, and then find a nice location to shoot from… Fortunately we live near a ridge with a good view of the Rockies to the west, and so I went straight there. I had only 5 minutes from the time I parked the car to the time that the moon had fully dropped below the horizon. I managed to make a few images, and this one is one of my favorites of the bunch.

This image isn’t quite the pastoral scene that I had hoped make, but I like it anyway, and sometimes that’s how it goes. You can plan all you want, but if life gives you oranges instead of apples then you might have to make orange juice instead of apple pie! This is only the second time in the last year that everything came together perfectly for me to get my shot, and I have honestly been trying almost every month!

Calgary Skyline

Calgary Skyline at Sunrise

There’s something about a cityscape that draws me in. I’ve got lots of pictures of the Calgary Skyline, including others from this exact spot, but I still enjoy making them. This particular image is the latest in a series of high resolution panoramas that I’ve been making recently. I was actually out trying to capture a shot of the setting full moon looming large against the Rocky Mountains in the background. Unfortunately I arrived a little late and the moon practically evaporated against the horizon. I made a similar image back in the fall, but it was more of a pastoral scene than the one I was trying for this time. Oh well, there’s always next month…

The Harvest Moon setting over a Granary

It seems odd but this is one of the few images of the city that I’ve done in daylight. Most of my previous attempts were made late at night, and usually on extremely cold days. In fact some of my favorites show the ice and snow along the Bow river, and they often feature the reflected lights of the city glowing in the river.

Calgary Skyline in the Ice Fog

Center Street Bridge