Winter is not complete without a few pictures of the Crowfoot Glacier, this year even in April the nights are like winter. My favourite season is winter. Now, no one gets upset at me. The bonus winter we're getting into the mountains is out of my control, all I can do is enjoy it. Even with lots of snow remaining in the valley, I have been out hiking as if it's spring like conditions. It was a few weeks back, I last got to see the Crowfoot Glacier, I was the only one out there as the sunlight started making contact with the mountain. I zoomed in with my camera, looking at the composition that would give me the best picture. There's something about the rock, snow and ice, it has a calm, peaceful effect, the way they work together to form nature's art.
Spring is here but so is winter, during the longer days snow is melting and providing support to many animals dealing with the outdoors. For last several days, the nights have been cold, but by midday there is some warmth, enough to remove some snow and opening up hidden vegetation for the wildlife.
Nature photography is lot about timing, always looking for the right combination of light and shadow. I was around the Vermilion Lakes, still a couple of hours before the Sun would be setting, when the golden light would be hitting the peaks. But I noticed the clouds were moving in from the west, they would soon block direct light to the peaks. I looked at the scenery before me, thanks to the broken up clouds, the combination of light and shadow was appealing and as an added bonus, the water was still. I took the picture and converted into a black and white for the added drama effect
Another picture from one of my visit to 93 North. Spent much of the first half of the day taking pictures of various locations before going for a hike.
I got this picture when it still felt like winter, the morning Sun was hitting the south side of Cascade Mtn.. Now I have to wait until next winter to get a similar picture as Earth changes it relationship toward the Sun. The Sun, the clouds and other weather factors play a big role determining what the picture I'll get and what it will look like. As so often said by photographers, you can never get the same picture twice. Even the mountain is changing, might be hard to see from a distance, unless something dramatic happens like it did in 2013 when large amounts of rain fell and at the same time heavy snow pack melted. Get close enough to Cascade Mtn or sit on top of it and listen to the sound of small rocks and sometimes larger rocks making their way down the mountain every now and then. Nature is dynamic, at smaller and at large scale.
We just passed the first day of spring, birds are making their way back or passing their way through as they head north. A few days back I spent several hours birding, the highlight was coming across about three hundred waterfowls. which included 21 swans. There beautiful large birds only pass through the park during spring and during the fall. Often they are too far away to get good pictures of, but this spring luck was on my side.
As the temperature rises, snow an ice has started to change to water, but last week there was still lot of snow and ice to enjoy at the Lower Falls in the Johnston Canyon.
I was driving in Kootenay National Park, looked to my left and saw the moon setting behind a peak. Pulled over, the road was clear of traffic in both directions. Turned around and went to the location which would give me the best picture. Took the picture and off I went.
Out here we normally see three types of chickadees, boreal, mountain and the one in the picture, the Black-capped Chickadees. We see them year around, even during the cold Rockies winters. How can this tiny 10 gram birds survive during a period when many of us humans complain. They start getting ready during the fall, storing much of the seeds they come across in various locations, to come back to during the cold winter days. To remember all these location, their brains grow when it's time to store food, increasing the volume by as much as 30% and when the winter comes to a close, their brains shrink. These birds are more than just a pretty little things.
A picture taken during one of the cold evening this winter. Standing along the Bow River, where I had found some open water. Lowered the camera enough to get the rocks and snow covered with frost. The clouds were lit up and top of the Castle Mtn with warm light. Lot easier to handle the cold when you get the picture.
This morning before the Sun rose I hiked into Johnston Canyon for a hike and to take pictures of the Upper and Lower Falls. I started with the Upper Falls, the ice was amazing to look at, did just that before I started to pick the spot where I wanted to take pictures. Just as I was making my way to the top to take the posted picture, ice climbers were moving in. After taking pictures from the top of Upper Falls, I then headed back to the Lower Falls.
I was looking around with my camera in hand, when I heard an alert call by a chickadee. I turned around and looked up, the chickadee flew away and on the top of a branch of a dead Douglas fir was a Northern Pygmy Owl. It was perched right over my head, I quickly grabbed a few pictures before it flew away, but it had no intention of doing that. It had been a clear, cold night, the Sun brought warmth as the owl preened itself in the sunlight. I moved back and watched it while looking for other photographic opportunities. A good start to the day.
When I first spotted this mule deer, she was off the road on the right hand side. I watched her slowly make her way into the middle of the road listening for something ahead of her. Not sure if she was listening for other deer or possible predator. She stood at this location for a few minutes before she decided to cross the road. I saw and heard nothing.
I headed to 93 North in the morning, with the plans to do some exploring on snowshoes. The temperature was minus 17 in the Town of Banff, when I reached Lake Louise it was minus 23, by Hector Lake pull-off it was minus 16 and by Bow Lake it was down to minus 24. The temperature was too cold for slow walking and exploring, so I decided to go for a drive toward the Columbia Icefield, with the hopes of exploring on my way back with warmer temperatures. It was a beautiful drive, lots of snow on the mountains and the sun shining. I got into black and white landscape mode, stopping and taking pictures from several locations. This one was my favourite from that morning.
I came across this fox during a cold morning, a very cold morning, the temperature was minus 35 degree Celsius. The fox was hunting for voles, here it's standing still listening for the vole under the snow. In the end nothing was there, it moved on looking elsewhere for its breakfast.
Life would be different if there was no Moon. There would be no eclipses, well Venus does get between the Sun and Earth, but just not the same. The nights would be much darker, we would see more looking up in the night sky. The tides, would be very small with the Sun causing them. With no tides caused by the Moon, there would be no tidal friction, which would mean the Earth would rotate faster. That would provide us with much shorter days, 6 to 8 hours long. The Earth's axial tilt would change greatly, which in turn would have a major effect on weather. With these and other effects on the Earth without the Moon, life would evolve differently. But thankfully we do have the Moon looking after us and can enjoy chocolate on the only planet that it grows on, as far as we know.
It was the morning after a good amount of snow had fallen onto Banff National Park. I had the day off and I was out taking pictures of beautiful winter scenery. I have taken many pictures of Castle Mtn from the road, I never get tired of it. For a while it was just me on the road, the few times I stopped along the way to take pictures of the morning light.
Birds bring colour to any day, no matter the season. In this case its in the form of the Bohemian Waxwings, a bit of a colour on their face, on their tail wings and on their sides. All highlighted by the light on a sunny winter morning.
This bull elk is facing a few challenges throughout the winter, main ones deal with the winter season, the cold temperatures and the amount of fallen snow. Using more energy if it's colder and more energy to get at the low quality food through the fallen snow. This bull like other elk may lose 20 to 25 percent of their weight over a winter and if he loses more than 30 percent, very likely he will not survive the winter. The winter might take it or if it's so weak, predators the likes of wolves or cougars will take it. It helps when the days start getting longer, it means shorter cold nights to deal with. Using the dense forest as cover, it can be few degrees warmer in the forest and protection from the wind. It may not make a difference for one day, but over a whole winter, every bit adds up. For wildlife it's the survival of the fittest, literally.
I had popped into Kootenay National Park to look for Mountain Goats high up on the mountain side. I lucked out, spotting five goats, then I was off to Marble Canyon. There was lots of snow in Kootenay, in some areas hip deep. After looking around I decided I wanted to take picture of the mountains to the East. I did a quick ten meters walk in the deep snow so I could get the water in the foreground and took the picture.