#explorealberta

One thing that I have always loved since being a kid, was exploring. Living just a 5 minute walk down a hill from my parents house along the fence-line of a golf course and down to what we called ‘the creek’ (it was in fact the Lerderderg River, in Bacchus Marsh), I would make my way through all the overgrown bushes and tall gum trees and follow the trails, swim in the pools, look for frogs and tadpoles and build tree houses and forts.

A big part of that little kid inside me comes alive when I head into the mountains. I love all the big attractions along the highway but I really finding new places, a little further away from the main roads.

This photo is from the old coal mining ghost town in Banff National Park called Bankhead. During the summer months when the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive circuit is open, its extremely easy to get to there is even a car park right there. During winter though, it is about a 2km walk along the ice/snow covered road, used as a wildlife corridor (from November to April) to get to the site of the former town.

What drew me to this spot was it being a new and unique view of Mt. Rundle. I hadn’t seen too many photos of this place in the winter either so I thought it would be a great spot to check out.

I arrived just before the sun started disappearing behind the surrounding peaks and stayed a few hours until the stars really came out and shone so brightly. I think it would be a great spot to come to out to at night during the summer months when the Milky Way is at its best.

Above is a shot as the sun is setting and the photo below is as the stars began to show. The subject in the foreground is a fireless compressed air locomotive used to bring the coal out of the mines.

Mt Rundle


A couple of weeks back I posted a picture of Upper Troll Falls. A frozen water fall that I hiked out to for the first time. I had previously been out to see Troll Falls in the summer but that was as far as I went. Check out the link to see the difference a season makes. Its a complete other world.

After shooting at Upper Troll Falls I stopped off at Troll Falls on the way to set up a couple of spot lights behind waterfall and take a few shots. There were huge icicles that ran from the top of the canyon all the way to the bottom next to the actual frozen waterfall. You could hear the water rushing inside the ice, its a daunting figure to look at, especially at night with it lit up.

I got some great locations mapped out that I want to check out in the upcoming weeks. Come back and check them out. In the meantime, there is also my Instagram account that I upload to frequently from my phone.

Nic


The Northern Lights proved to be elusive last night, dancing between the clouds and keeping to the horizon. I headed out with the talented Zack Splaine (Check out his work here) a fellow photographer from Calgary. Our chase took us 2 hours north east of Calgary until we eventually decided to call it a night at around 3:30am.

Here’s a photo taken at the old bridge that crosses the Red Deer River at Big Valley. Will have some more pictures coming during the week, got lots to show you all.


Sometimes, you’ve just gotta pull over and appreciate what’s around you…

Castle Mountain stands a tall, lonely figure while the stars majestically waltz overhead.

It was a beautiful night last night in Banff National Park with clear skies, millions of stars, a meteor shower and the aurora. Well worth the 2:00am start.


A pine grows on a rock out on Arnica Lake in Banff National Park. It was quite interesting to see it growing like that. Truly remarkable.

I am not entirely sure what type of pine it is but if you know, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Thanks


It has just occurred to me that I seem to have an obsession with clouds, fog and lakes… Here’s another one of Peyto Lake and Mistaya Valley. With the sun rising, the clouds retreat north up and along the valley.

Such a magical morning.

Nic


Sitting, waiting patiently for the sun to rise and the clouds to disappear… What lays hidden beneath? You will just have to come stop by again to see for yourself.

 

Life is good!

 

Nic


Just an hour out of Calgary, on the outskirts of Kananaskis Village and Nakiska Ski Resort is a short little hike to this absolute gem of a spot, Troll Falls. I got there about an hour before sunset and had the whole place to myself. I saw a couple of people on my way out there walking back but that’s it. It was magical.

You can tell the place got hit fairly hard in 2013 from the floods, with trees still arched from the impact, while others were not so lucky and have been uprooted. Despite the damage, it gives it a feel of a secret garden, hidden in amongst a large rocky canyon that wraps around and protects the whole area. I felt like being in a rain forest.

There are more falls along Marmot Creek that I am looking forward to checking out… possibly in winter when they start to freeze. Would be great to return and give a different perspective.

Nic


What would you say if I told you this photograph is actually upside down?

I initially dismissed this image and didn’t think it came out too well. I was bored one night and went back through my photos to take a look through my folders from the past couple of months. The reflection came out incredibly! There is one little flaw I kept in there to tell them apart… on the bottom right you can see tree branches stretching out that didn’t make it in the reflection.

Came out quite well in the end, especially upside down.


10:30pm on a Tuesday and my phone goes off. I am already in bed, about to turn the lights off when I get an email from Aurora Watch telling me there is a 98& chnace of seeing the Northern Lights. Tempting, very tempting! After much thought, lots of checking of weather forecasts and other aurora forecasts I decided to hop out of bed and head out. I had never seen such a high probability before.

I jumped in the car with no real idea where to go as it was quite overcast but I was determined to find a spot where the clouds were broken up. Logic told me they are called the Northern Lights, drive north so I did. I drove up to Airdrie took a left at highway 567 and just headed east. The clouds were breaking up from what looked like a chinook and then I got my first glimpse of them. I was so excited! I finally get to see them again after the first time last summer.

Aurora Feb 2

To be truthful, I had absolutely no idea where I was going but found a cool road with plenty of little ponds and trees. It really would be a great place to shoot Auroras in the summer trying to get reflections on the water.

IMG_0865-1

I wasn’t just battling the clouds, the moon was extremely bright also which was a bit of shame as it took away some of the colour of the show but I didn’t care.

Aurora Feb 3

I played around in a few spots, mostly capitalizing on the silhouettes of the trees. I apologise of most of these have a similiar foreground but I really loved trying to incorporate them into my shots.

It really was a beautiful night. It was around -6 but believe me, that doesn’t feel bad at all, especially with no wind. It was just me out there, just really appreciating my surroundings; the sights, the smell of fresh air and the sounds of owls in the trees and Coyotes howling.

Aurora Feb 4

The shot above you can see the Aurora through the trees with the orange glow of Calgary reflecting in the clouds above the city.

Unfortunately for me, I had to work the next day so wasn’t able to stay as late as I would have liked to but did stay out till 2:30am. They just seemed to be getting better and better but I knew I would regret it for the whole day if I stayed out longer. Fingers crossed the next one comes on a weekend so i can stay out longer and appreciate it that much more. It is so beautiful to see the light flickering around, dancing in the sky and pulsating above and around you. These are only tame to the shows you see up north in Alaska or North West Territories which I plan to check out at some point but they are still spectacular to see.

Aurora Feb 5

I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed being out there taking them.

Love, love

Nic