My in-laws live in Parkland County, a short distance west of Edmonton. We visited them a week ago and I took the opportunity to head out before breakfast and well before the sun awakened. I usually head towards the Chickakoo Lakes Recreation Area which has wonderful trails and some great scenery. On my way I came across this scene which I have seen innumerable times. I have often thought it would make a great image if there was ever a horse in the right spot, but it hasn’t happened in over 20 years! That is, until last weekend, and we happened to have a nice snowfall to add some great ambience to the scene. I pulled over and got my camera all set up and then just had to wait for the horse to cooperate and stand nicely. Being early on a Sunday morning, there was nobody stirring and it was almost dead silent. I waited maybe 5 minutes enjoying the beautiful silence. The horse was also moving it’s head, and as there was still very little light it’s head would blur due to the long exposure. After a few more images however, I got one where the horse was standing just right and didn’t move perceptibly for the length of the exposure.
Parkland County, Alberta
10″ x 8″ – Open Edition Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/45
30″ x 24″ – Edition of 9 + 1 AP Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/350
40″ x 32″ – Edition of 4 +1 AP Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/750
Otherwise known as a pika, this adorable little guy entertained me and my friend Ron Yachimec while we were hiking in Yoho National Park. We had traversed many of the trails around Lake O’Hara, but hadn’t headed up to McArthur Lake. We decided to climb up Mount Schaffer, me only nearly to the top, Ron all the way, but then he has some good training in climbing skills! Such beautiful views from so high up but there were some rain showers starting up, and so on our decent we decided to scramble down a very long scree slope, which felt a lot like skiing moguls. Near the bottom where we joined up with the trail back to our campground we heard the unmistakeable shrill chirp of a pika. It didn’t take long to locate him as he scrambled among the boulders rounding up all his grasses etc. he had set out earlier to dry in the sun. He would grab a mouth full and head under the rocks only to pop his head out and check to see if there were any risks about before getting his next mouthful. I simply watched where he would stop and snuck up on the spot when he wasn’t looking or had dived under a boulder. When I was close enough to get a decent shop, I got my camera to the appropriate settings and waited. Within a few moments he was back. He spotted me and stopped to be sure I was an OK kind of guy and click, the memory was preserved an a small piece of Fuji Velvia film. I entered this image into the Canadian Geographic magazines photo contest at the time and it won the animal category and was published, which then resulted in a few print sales. All in all I was a pretty happy camper! (Pardon the pun)
[ Nikon F3HP, Nikon 80-200mm f/4, Fujichrome Velvia ]
I spent this past Monday travelling Alberta’s forestry Trunk Road with my friend Gary. We started southwest of Sundre where the Red Deer River crosses the Trunk Road. From there we headed north. Our goal all along was to try and spot a Great Grey Owl. We failed miserably at the task, but we were fortunate to come across a few of the wild horses to be seen along the Trunk Road. I had never seen these horses before, so it was a real treat for me, and I managed a few images of them. This one is my favourite.
[ Olympus E-M5, Panasonic 100-300mm ]
I wandered around Red Deer County south of town for a bit this morning as it has been so cold and I haven’t been out for quite awhile. It was good to practice seeing again, not that I really stop anytime, but to go out with the full intention of giving my eyes a workout was great.
[Olympus E-M5, M.Zuiko 40-150mm]
A great bonus yesterday was seeing a momma grizzly and her two cubs. The cubs ran off into the bush right away, but momma hung out for a bit. I was only planning to go to IKEA today, so had only a slightly wide-angle lens with me for a quick snap if need be. Well, off to the Forestry Trunk Road we go (slight detour – 😉 )and wouldn’t you know, here are the grizzlies! I thought about cropping the image to show off the bear a bit better, but then had second thoughts. Most of us know what a grizzly looks like close-up from magazines/books/television, etc. I thought I would leave this one alone and show the beautiful creature in it’s habitat. I like it this way!
[Panasonic GF2, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7]
An early morning today to the far east end of Red Deer County and I came across this nice buck in velvet.
[Olympus E-M5, Olympus 300mm f/4.5]
[Canon 5DmkII, Canon 100-400mm L]
This image goes back almost a year. My family made a trip out to B.C. last fall and on one of the days we visited Polson Park in Vernon. The day was a perfect, for me, fall day with high clouds, so no harsh shadows, and just slightly on the cool side, enough that you wanted to wear an extra layer over your t-shirt. One of the ponds alongside Vernon Creek had many many mallards, and some swans, swimming about waiting for someone to throw them some feed. The fall colours were near perfect and were reflecting in the pond beautifully, making for a very abstract background, looking a lot like good camouflage. I made many images, mostly of the females with their gorgeous brown colouring. I could spend a day at this small park quite easily photographing and people watching. I would imagine just sitting alongside the pond watching the ducks slowly swimming about, creating endless new abstract patterns in the water, could make for a very relaxing afternoon. Maybe bring along a nice warm cup of coffee and a good book.
I had a great opportunity this past weekend to get into the mountains and do a bit of photography. Dwight Arthur and myself took a small group along and did a bit of instruction(more so Dwight, but I did help some). Anyway we started out Friday evening by photographing along the Vermilion Lakes from 9:30 pm until about 12:30 in the morning and I managed to get quite a nice 3 image stitch of Banff’s lights and Mount Rundle.
We then retired to our room in Banff for about 4 hours sleep and got up at 5 am to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately the day dawned with a bright blue sky and no clouds to speak of. We travelled up to Moraine Lake to witness what many people travel from the far corners of the world to see. I have never seen Moraine Lake this low. It was like someone pulled the plug and drained it. I suppose it will fill up again once the high-up snow melts and turns a gorgeous green colour. This is a 5 image stitch made with the Canon 5DmkII and the 16-35mm lens. Click the image to enlarge it a bit as this blog cuts off at 800 pixels in width and the image here is 1000.
There were many opportunities for making abstract images – well at least for me. I tend to see many images in even the everyday mundane. Here is a close-up view (3 image stitch) from the same vantage point, except made with a 70-200mm telephoto lens.
We even got to see a hoary marmot (Marmota caligata) right near the top of the rockpile. He turned his head nicely allowing me to capture a nice catchlight in his eye.