night photography

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


Tonight was like any other week night in good old Calgary town. Come home from work, listen to some tunes, cook dinner, watch TV then bed. The 1 difference though is that Ash and I caught an amazing light show between TV and bed. The Northern Lights.

It all came about from me checking a Facebook group set-up for people in Alberta called the Alberta Aurora Chasers. (You can find the group here.) I usually check it a few times a night to see if there looks to be a chance of an Aurora show. Most nights when there is activity, it usually tends to be a week night and I know it’s going to kill me the next day so I play it safe and stay home. The other nights that there is actually activity, it is usually overcast. This time I didn’t want to risk it and Ash was happy to come along too.

We headed north east of the city out of the city lights and just as we got off of the freeway we could see a faint arch. We kept driving until we found a place to stop, got out of the car and just stood there in awe as they danced before our eyes. They were the brightest I have ever seen them. It was amazing to share that moment with Ash.

I grabbed my camera, found my subject and my spot but the lights were a lot more faded and washed out than when we first arrived but you know what, I didn’t care because it was still an amazing show. I was pretty happy with what I ended up with. I hope you enjoy it too.

Nic


…watch out for those Trolls!


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn” – David Russell


It has been way too long since I have been able to get out and see a decent aurora show…

It seems like every time the data is looking good for a show, a good show anyway, that the clouds always want to spoil the party. Oh and of course, the day before and after, we always seems to have beautiful cloudless nights.

Here is one from February 2014. 12 months is too long between drinks!

Another shot from this night out is up in my gallery. This is another one from that same night but playing around with my foreground a little to make it look like gigantic green flames are burning the tree on the side of the road. A great night out despite the clouds trying to ruin the party and a near full moon. Fingers crossed we get some action soon. That may even mean heading up north to Yellowknife to chase them down.

Nic


I find I am getting more and more adventurous living out here in Canada. More specifically, Alberta. I guess you could say that this relates to my last post about wanderlust but I am loving getting out there and exploring new places whether it is by myself or with others, it doesn’t matter. As long as I am getting out there and seeing new things. These photo’s took a bit of work to get to, nothing crazy but a bit more than parking in the lot and shooting from the viewing platform. I got some great guide books from the area that I have been able to find some places that have caught my eye so I look forward bringing them to you in 2015.

I had a fire by the Elbow River while I waited for the sun to set last week. The shots in my last post were from this same location. The first photo is looking towards the falls, you can just make them out in the background. The second photo below is actually looking the other way, a shot not too many people take but with the stars shining so brightly towards the east, I couldn’t help but take a couple of photos. For this image below, i keot the shutter open for 1min 30secs. You can see how much the stars move in that time as the earth turns. Adds something a little different I think.

Elbow Falls - The other way


What a year 2014 was, it came just as quickly as it left. For me, personally it was a great year. I got in some travel, including a quick trip back to Australia to visit my amazing family and friends as well as for my 30th (including a surprise party!), got to spend yet another incredible year living with my beautiful girlfriend here in Calgary and met some great people along the way. I hope you all had just as incredible of a year.

I didn’t catch any fireworks as the new year rang in but instead spent it with some of my favourite people sitting in a hot-tub out in the snow with a fire roaring. A truly Canadian experience and one I would choose 10 times out of 10 over being out with the crowds.

I guess you can say this is my interpretation of fireworks to welcome in the new year. Taken with Zack Splaine of Zack Splaine Photography on a night we went out searching out the Northern Lights. The turned out to be a bit of a bust in regards to the Aurora but Zack brought some steel wool along and we had fun experimenting and shooting with it after tying it to rope, lighting it on fire and swinging it around. This is the same location as the photo I posted recently with the faint Aurora in the background.

I enjoyed shooting this bridge, located in Big Valley. It is a single lane steel framed wooden bridge that crosses over the Red Deer River. As you can see with this and the last shot I posted from here I had a lot of fun playing with silhouettes and minimalism.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 and 2015 is truly amazing for you all.

Thank you
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.


A few more photographs from my road trip through Nevada and California through Death Valley National Park to Racetrack Playa. I was disappointed that the dust storm had started to tear through when I got there depriving me of some spectacular sunset pictures but I was extremely happy that despite what felt like 100km winds pushing through the playa, that by 3:00 – 4:00am the dust had thinned out enough for me to see the Milky May arching right across the sky. It was amazing being able to enjoy it all to myself. Selfishly, it is one of the reasons I love venturing out on my own. Just that the thought of being the only person to see that particular moment in time.

In the image below you can see a shooting star to the left of the Milky Way.

Milky Way - Racetrack Playa

I could have stayed out there and just admired it all night if it wasn’t so damn windy and cold but I was happy with the couple of shots I was able to get before calling it a night.

Milky Way - Death Valley


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


As I came home from work tonight, I felt like it had been a little while since I headed out and took some shots so as soon as I got to the house, I bundled up and went straight back out again. It has been a while since I walked through downtown and took some photos and there is an art installation on Stephen Avenue that I believe they are taking down this week so I thought I would go and check it out. It is called the ‘Solar Flare’ and kind of looks like a sputnik light. It is a cool piece! You can check out more information on it here. There was a bit of snow falling and it was a brisk -15 but it was bearable. The main hurdle I had to get over was the traffic. During the day, Stephen Avenue has foot traffic only but at night they open it up for cars. It took quite a bit of moving to the middle of the 1 lane road and back to the sidewalk again as cars, mostly cabs drove through. I tried a couple of shots with the car lights going through but it was best when there were none.

Thanks for checking it out and please, if you haven’t voted for me in the Exposure Emerging Photographer Showcase, please take a couple of minutes to click on the following link and vote for me.

http://www.exposurephotofestival.com/competition.html

Thanks

Nic


I packed the camera with me today to get a few shots after work. My subject today, the Peace Bridge. It is only a year or two old and apparently there was a huge fuss when it went up about it being a wast of money and everyone saying how ugly it is. I have to say that I really enjoy it. It is such a unique shape and it is cool walking through it.

To be honest, the main reason why I went out to take these shots was for our new 2014 work calendar. There weren’t any online of the Peace Bridge that were royalty free so I thought I may as well go out and get some photos of it. I had been meaning to taking my camera over there for a while. All of the shots are from the same side as that is what was needed for it to work with the calendar.

I was also lucky enough to have a few minutes to get some shots looking into the bridge without any people running or walking through. Even with the temperature below zero, there are quite a few people running still.

Thanks for taking the time to look through my pics.

Nic