A rare excursion to the front of the house today to catch the beautiful sunrise. The sun is so far south at this time of year that it rises directly south east from us (straight out of the front door). As you can see, the warm chinook wind is still with us and the snow has almost cleared out and better still, it looks to be staying that way for another week at least.
The chinook wind that brought the warm temperatures yesterday is still around, surprisingly it brought rain at sunrise today. The very first time we've seen rain here after October and for me the very first time I've seen a rainbow at sunrise. Usually any precipitation we get this time of year is snow so it's a little strange to see rain but if it means seeing things like this I guess it's not so bad.
With temperatures soaring thanks to a warm chinook wind I set out today to make the short hike to Elbow Lake with Cecil. There was more cloud than predicted but that actually played into our hands as we made the 5.5km hike. The thawing of the ice saw a few wet boots along the way and with snow over knee deep in places we had fun negotiating the route around the lake. At one point a wolf with a wonderful deep tone howled out of the forest and it echoed around the lake, when he stopped I howled back a couple of times and got a response which was awesome (though Cecil was not so keen on the idea) Unfortunately we didn't catch sight of the wolf but we did catch some nice shots including a bonus sunset as we drove home along highway 40. There are no captions today as all of the shots are around Elbow Lake except for the sunset.
At 4:30pm this evening Sarah discovered that our hometown of Cochrane was turning on the christmas lights. There was going to be free hotdogs, hot chocolate, coffee, and fireworks, who's going to miss that?
By 4:40pm we were heading down to the town centre and the main street. We had a lovely couple of hours (and a number of free hotdogs and hot chocolate with marshmallows) before heading back to the house to watch the fireworks from the balcony.
It was a really enjoyable evening and a good reminder of why life in a small town often beats the city, small crowds and a real family atmosphere at events like this genuinely do make a difference.
With a break in the snowstorms this evening I thought I would head out and try to catch a sunset. Unfortunately the elbow valley campground is still closed for construction so I had to find a secondary venue. I drove back to the river beside the highway looking toward the campground. I had just got set up when another snowstorm blew in and obliterated the setting sun. I moved again, walking upstream on the rocks and grabbed a few shots before the cloud moved in and shut me out again. I decided to call it a day but as I drove home past Elbow Falls the sky was still clear so I decided to grab a few shots there too. I did some 'wool spinning' 'light spinning' and a milky way image as well as the main 'watching the stars' shot.
When setting up by the river today I knelt down very close to the water and a lovely small brook trout darted from the rock beneath my knee so fast that he beached himself in the rocks to the side of the water. Obviously I picked him up and put him back in, he was a beautiful little guy with dark red spots on his deep green back and a red underside, everything about him was absolutely pristine.
After leaving Elbow Falls and heading home I saw a moose in my headlights, he was just getting up and seemed as if he was settled down to sleep on the roadside (cleared of snow and holding a little residual heat from the day it probably made a nice warm bed) He was startled and tried to run causing him to slip and fall down again, I felt bad about disturbing him but I turned around to see he was OK and he was just standing by the road until I started toward him. At that point he trotted off into the trees raising his head high with a last glance back toward me looking incredibly aloof as he disappeared into the darkness of the forest.
How wonderful it is to interact with nature in it's smallest and largest forms just by being out there with the camera chasing shots.
Temperatures have warmed to a balmy -2 today and Sarahs pet squirrel has been taking advantage of the warm up by restocking his larder. He now comes direct to the window when looking for the huge chestnuts that Sarah buys specifically for him, once in hand (or mouth) he scoots back to the forest to hide it away before returning for more. After a few trips he takes a moment to raid the bird feeder and refuel on sunflower seeds to enable him to keep on running back and forth for a good few hours. It's actually both interesting and funny to watch him making the long trip through the snow repeatedly. I thought I would capture a few shots of the little guy for the memory banks.
With temperatures at -10 and steady light snowfall today, the blue jay that visits the garden was making repeated trips to the feeder trying to steal a few peanuts from the 'squirrel circle'. He is alway a shy bird and flies away at the slightest movement inside the house but I set up a chair beside the window and stayed quite still until he got used to the idea. I put my 400mm lens on the 5DIV and shot a whole bunch of images of this lovely (but noisy) bird.
There were lots of other birds at the feeder too, but the gallery below is reserved for just a few of the images I made of this guy doing his best to raid the peanut circle.
The woodpeckers are back now the cold weather is closinging in and it was nice to see this Hairy Woodpecker on the stump this morning. He does look a lot like a male Downy Woodpecker but this one has a much longer beak (and a taste for seed filled fat it seems).
We made the usual circuit beside the Bow River today in glorious sunshine, temperatures were a cool 5C and the air was so clear it made my images twice as sharp. The low winter sun makes for wonderful blue skies and soft light even at it's peak. It is getting harder to find topics to shoot along the way but I can't resist making a record so we can revisit it years from now and feel the ground under our feet.
Just a few shots from the usual riverwalk trail today and a cloudy sunset to serve as the main image. There are also a couple of shots of Sarahs 'pet' squirrel tackling the peanut circle I made using a wire coat hanger, he seems to like it.
The colour has really dropped out of all of the foliage now and little remains to brighten the shots. Temperatures are dropping to freezing most nights and rising to 10 or 15C during the day as we head toward winter.
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