The (relatively) warm weather continues this week so it was back to kananaskis today for a few more shots of the ice and snow. I had hoped that melting might have revealed more ice but unfortunately, fresh snowfall in the mountains last night ensured most of the ice remained covered.
There were storm clouds around all day and no chance of sunset as a result, but it was great to see the kananaskis elk herd beside highway 40 between my usual haunts of barrier lake and both the upper and lower kananaskis lakes.
There's no doubt that repeatedly plunging through knee deep snow for a few shots of wind softened ice is not everyone's idea of a good time but today I loved every minute. At the lower lake with an icy cold wind whipping up spindrift in all directions I stood in the vast open spaces between mountains and basked in the beauty of this incredible place.
There are no captions in the gallery (again) the upper row images are from barrier lake and after the elk shots, the remainder are around kananaskis lakes, as is the main image.
Cecil and I headed out to Kananaskis again today to enjoy a sunny afternoon and get some photography practice. We found the usual array of sun stars over snowy scenes, reflections in calm waters and ice protruding through the snow, all beautiful scenes but incredibly common in the Canadian Rockies. We even came across a couple of dog sled teams yapping their way across Spray Lakes Reservoir but there were few topics to get excited about.
We had hoped for a sunset later in the day but again the cloud came in and stole any chance of that, however, while heading south on highway 742 we came across this lovely coyote just curled up in the snow at the roadside. I turned the truck around and crept back slowly to a point opposite him always expecting that he would scoot away before we got there, but he didn't and we made lots of shots until a less cautious approach by another vehicle saw him get up and wander off.
All of the shots are taken in, on or around Spray Lakes Reservoir so there are no captions with them today, I've included a few of the coyote at the end of the gallery as I really enjoyed the short encounter.
After a week of significant cold (down to -39) it was nice to see the mercury rising to -12 today, and even better to be able to get out and stretch the legs in kananaskis. My friend Cecil was available for some photography practice (albeit with some reservations about temperature) so we met up at 11:30 having allowed the day to warm up a little.
We opted for a nice sheltered walk through snow covered pine forest to Troll Falls. Regular readers will know this place as it is another winter favourite always worthy of a revisit. On the way along highway 40 we stopped off at Mt Lorette ponds and made a few shots of the reflections there before making the short winter hike to Troll Falls. It was well frozen as you would expect but unfortunately a little dismal due to overcast skies. We still had a very enjoyable couple of hours out in the chilly air and made a few shots.
There are no captions in the gallery today, the main image is from Mt Lorette ponds area as are the first two rows in the gallery and Troll Falls makes up the rest of the shots. For those seeking the location you can find a more detailed description and rudimentary map on the hike description page from spring 2014
Grotto Creek is something of a regular haunt for us in the winter time. The creek runs through a narrow canyon close to the town of Exshaw on highway 1a east of Canmore. The huge ramparts of Grotto Mountain guard the entrance and are clearly visible from any location in the surrounding area.
The canyon is well shaded and as a result the cyan blue waters of the creek freeze solid at this time of year allowing easy passage to the ice falls about 1.5 km upstream. As you reach the tight narrowing of the canyon close to the falls, ancient petroglyphs adorn the walls (though they are faded and easy to miss) There's a seat at the entrance to the canyon where you can sit and watch the clouds snagging on 'The Windtower' and 'The Rimwall' (just two of the impressive mountains that dominate the skyline across the valley).
No matter when you go, there are usually a few ice climbers practicing their early winter ascents on the falls toward the end of the canyon, so all in all Grotto Creek is a lovely little afternoon wander and is suitable for any age group, just remember the take the microspikes along as it is almost impossible to enjoy the hike without them.
Trying to find a 'bit of something different' for the blog I returned to Calgary last night to shoot the north side of the city skyline again. This time I had Cecil for company as we explored the 2.5km section between 10th street NW and the Centre Street bridge along the north bank of the Bow River. We spent 3 hours walking up and down the section making shots along the way and enjoyed being out in the quieter hours of the city. I like most of the shots and it's good to find a bit of something different to capture once in a while besides the snow covered mountains.
It has been an incredibly cold Christmas this year, even with my sister Jenny over for the week we struggled to get out. Heavy snow and daytime temps from -20 to -39 saw us spending most of the week in shopping malls, Calgary Tower and a short trip to Banff. We still enjoyed the week but I didn't get the camera out once.
I rectified my lack of photographic effort today by heading out with Cecil into K-Country to make a few shots. Temps had risen to a balmy -6 and we had a great time stopping here and there for images. We had hoped to catch a mountain sunset but after a cloudless day the horizon filled with clouds 10 minutes before sunset and killed off our chances. It's a shame really as now I'm left only with the 'postcard' daytime shots that are usually a preamble to better light in the evening. There are still some nice images including the main shot of the island in the upper lake touched by the low winter sun. The gallery below has captions showing the location of the shots and, though they are all 'postcard' shots, I still think they were worthy of a first post of the year.
I make no excuses for revisiting Kananaskis and the beautiful wind polished surface of the upper lake yet again. Cecil and I were out for our usual weekly photo tour and it was the first time he had seen the lake like this. We had a great afternoon chasing ice shots before going back to the lower lake for sunset. I found a few nice images today and had a great time out in the Canadian wilderness. On the way home we had to stop for a huge moose on the road then quickly stop again for 3 more (a 4 moose day is always a good day) As we got onto highway 40 we were stopped again by the local elk herd scattered around the highway in large numbers. Unfortunately darkness prevented us making any useful shots of the moose or elk but the sighting was the icing on the cake of another wonderful day in our favourite place.
With Sarah entertaining her team at our home this afternoon, I took the opportunity to chase an image I should have made on friday last week at lower kananaskis lake. There was a lovely long crack in the ice and I was sure I had captured it. When I got home I found I had not made the shot I wanted and it really bugged me, so, I loaded up and returned today to make the image. I had a little scoot around the upper lake too which is now frozen again with wonderful crystal clear ice that leaves you feeling like you are standing on water. The ice crack was now close to liquid water from the hydro power plant outlet but I managed to get down to it and make the image I was chasing (third from the end in the gallery below) I also made a landscape format shot of the crack to use as a main image for this post. The cold nights and warm winds are making for some very interesting ice on the upper lake and I think I might return there again very soon, perhaps even tomorrow.
It's that time of year again and we set off today for the Sibbald Creek area (off highway 68) to find our tree for the year. I had picked up a permit during the week for the princely sum of $5 so we were set for the day. It was a little disappointing that we didn't need the snow boots, or even our jackets as it was 15 degrees and warm as we wandered the woodland virtually snow free. We still really enjoyed the hunt as always, there's just something nice about heading out into the forest to cut your own tree.
This afternoon Cecil and I headed back to kananaskis, this time with Josh (who we met last week in Banff) I'd talked to Josh about sunset on the lower lake and he was keen to see it running along the ridgeline. Predictions were best for thursday so we met at the usual spot and hit the road at 11:30. We stopped here and there along the way, killing time and making a few images around the area until 3:30pm when we pulled into the car park at the lower lake. Loaded down with tripods and other gear we made our way down to the waters edge which was again frozen over.
Having picked our spot and set up we waited eagerly for the promised sunset to arrive. The research paid off around 4pm when the golden light finally made an appearance and 45 minutes later when the sun was gone and the light cloud shone pink in front of a perfect blue sky. I'm glad it paid off for Josh who put his trust in us to get the shots and was not disappointed. It was a great afternoon, really enjoyable and we all got some good shots to take home and brag about. The images are virtually all from the upper and lower lakes so I haven't captioned the gallery today, the main shot is one of the last of the day and perhaps one of the best.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas