photography

I love how beautiful deciduous trees can look during the cold winter months. They stand there, bare, naked and exposed in a deep sleep, patiently waiting for the days to grow longer and warmer.
I can’t quite pinpoint what it is that draws me to them but stumbling across a scene like this this, I couldn’t help but pull over to stop and admire these Aspens. With a faint glow from a dying Aurora in the background, it really made for a magical scene. A place I will definitely be returning to, hopefully next time with an active Northern Lights show.
Nic

I am so stoked that one of my pictures from Beakerhead was picked up by one of my favourite websites/blogs of all time, My Modern Met! I have religously browsed through this website almost every day when I have a bit of downtime and to have one of my photos on that site, is truly an amazing experience!

Check out the article below;

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/most-spectacular-photos-from-beakerhead-2015

If you ever want any inspiration or just want to look at some amazing work from around the world, check out their website. I absolutely love it! I will have more Beakerhead photos up in the next little while… and if you have no idea what the hell I am talking about, I will give you a little background on it too 🙂

 

Nic


If you have been to Lake Louise, no matter what time of year it is, then you know just how busy it can get. For something different, I thought I would check it out at night, as in past midnight and what a different place it is. Quiet, peaceful, serene, still, hauntingly beautiful… how many more words basically meaning the same thing can I use to explain it. With the exception of a couple of other photographers with the same idea as me and a couple of night owls strolling around the pathway from the chateau, the difference literally was night and day.

The stars were out in their millions and the was a perfect crispness in the air without it feeling too cold. Once of those beautiful mountain nights.

Lake Louise - Night


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


I had a weekend to myself this past one that went by and after the craziness of the holiday season, I have to admit I was looking forward to spending it doing absolutely nothing… Those of you who know me well will agree that being lazy comes a little too naturally for me and that it shouldn’t have been too much of a stretch for me 🙂 The problem for me though, is that over the past year or so I have developed somewhat of a condition;

Wanderlust!

Yes, yes I know it is one of those overused words that everyone throws out there and one that everyone, especially in 2014 probably saw splattered over a photo of the PNW but I have to say that it’s real. The main culprit in my case that causes it is Instagram, my new obsession! I find myself browsing through photos as I did this weekend and I start to feel an urge that I need to get outside, get off my damn phone or computer or away from the TV and explore my backyard here. People say how much damage social media is doing to our society but for me, in particular Instagram I have found to be so incredibly inspiring. People who go on the most amazing adventures and share with us a little square of these breathtaking places, for me personally it makes me want to get out and choose my own adventure. Hence, my wanderlust.

I headed out to Elbow Falls on Sunday afternoon. Quite a popular spot for Calgarians wanting to get out of the city but not willing to go too far. It is only about 30-40 mins out. I have been there once before, the link to that post can be found here. If you take a look at that, or even Google Elbow Falls, most likely you will find an image similar to my older post as far as perspective and composition so I wanted to being a fresher angle and view. Most of the photos you see from people are from above the falls on the lookout. There is no ‘official’ track or pathway that leads down to the base of the falls so a little bit of careful manoeuvring, I was able to make my way down the gully. There were tracks in the snow I could see of other people doing it so I didn’t feel too worried. It was great to be down there all alone away from all of the crowds and so I did a bit of exploring trying to find a couple of good spots to set up my gear. There are lots of caves down there and it really was a cool spot. I decided on a couple of shots, a couple of close ups when the sun sets and also when it gets dark out with the stars glowing.

The sun set wasn’t quite what I was hoping and unfortunately I forgot to bring my spot light so I could illuminate the falls at night so I just had to wing it… I went for black and white as a change. I love B+W photography but it is not something I play around with too much. Those of you following me on Facebook or Instagram would more than likely have seen the other photo I took which I will post up later in the week.

Right now, I will show you these two. Both of Elbow Falls from the river bed underneath the oblivious tourists above. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Elbow Falls

Thanks

Nic


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.


07Dec

Frozen

Frozen

I have been fortunate enough that in my time here in Canada, I have been able to see some absolutely stunning places. Some can be seen from the road, some take a bit of work to get to but they all have the same result. A feeling I think only people who have come to these mountains would know. It’s special!

I had an awesome adventure on Saturday afternoon/night in Kananaskis Country along the Marmot Creek and Troll Falls Trail. I will leave you with this one for now of Upper Troll Falls.

More photos and story of my trip to follow later in the week.

Nic


Takakkaw Falls  is a waterfall located in Yoho National Park, near Field, British Columbia. “Takakkaw”, loosely translated from Cree, means something like “it is magnificent”. The falls are fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield. Its quite an amazing site to see with its highest point being 384 metres (1,260 ft) from the base.

Continue Reading…


The magical thing about Calgary is by far the sunsets! They are absolutely stunning as the sun set sets over the Rocky Mountains.

The photo above though is looking east. Sometimes it pays to step away from what you initially set out to capture and take a second to stop and look around. I just love that big fluffy cumulus cloud peeking over the powerlines on the valley ledge.

Below – Looking west, Calgary.

IMG_2410-1


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


Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park in California. I flew 3 hours in a plane to Las Vegas, and then drove another 5 hours through the desert just to get there, sleep in a car, see some stones on a dried lake bed and then turn around the next morning to get back home… That’s over 14 hours of travel for a 12 hour stay. Crazy?

This remote, dried up, ancient lake bed sits 3,700 feet above sea level and is so damn flat. Towards the middle of the lake bed sits what would be an island, named ‘The Grandstand’. A stack of tall, jagged rocks that stick up and stand out in contrast to the bright surface of the dried up lake. It gets windy out there, I can attest to that, it was absolutely howling the whole time I was there but it has been known to get up to 150 kilometers per hour!

Sailing Stones, Racetrack Playa

That picture above, that is exactly what I came for. They call them Sailing Stones, rocks that mysteriously move along the lake bed. I’m not talking about little pebbles that skip in the breeze, these rocks or ‘stones’ can range from anywhere between 25-30lbs right up to 700 pounds! You will notice in the photos, the trails or ‘racetracks’ (which gave the valley its name) out the back of the stones. It has been said that the stones only move once every two or three years and most tracks last for three or four years. If it wasn’t for these marks in the mud, we wouldn’t even know they were moving.

Sailing Stones, Racetrack Playa

Since discovered in 1915, no-one has actually seen them move and so all we can do is speculate. The most likely theory is that with the playa surface being made up of very fine clay sediments, it becomes extremely slick when wet. When you put together the information I mentioned earlier about it being quite high in elevation, mixed in with the strong winds surging through, you can imagine that this would be the most likely scenario.

So as you can see, it really a fascinating phenomenon. I will leave you with one last shot I took with the stones off on their trail heading towards the Milky Way… Being so remote, the stars were absolutely incredible out there!

Sailing Stones under the Milky Way, racetrack Playa

I absolutely loved it out there. I got to see something that I have admired and marvelled about for quite a while and I would definitely recommend everyone to try get out there if they can. It is such a great feeling to be out in such a remote part of the world and knowing you are the only person there. Truly amazing.

Nic


Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to receive notice that my new working visa had been approved. My previous visa had expired at the end of April and so I had been eagerly awaiting this new one to come through. The timing couldn’t have come much better. It was the end of the week and so I was able to sneak away for a weekend and make the most of having to leave the country.

I had been doing some research the past few months on a place called Racetrack Playa, a remote area in Death Valley in California and after checking flight loads and times, I decided this would be my destination. I flew into Vegas on the Saturday and rented myself a 4WD as I knew I was up for some long, rugged driving but I knew what I was getting myself in to so I just enjoyed being out on the road, busted out to some tunes and was looking forward to getting out to my final destination. The image below will give you a bit of an idea of the territory I covered…

map

The drive was amazing. It was as if I was driving through Mars. The mountains out there are dry and desolate and were always there on each side of the highway. The elevation was quite interesting too along the way. About halfway there at Furnace Creek I was driving through the lowest point of the country which was 200 feet below sea level. On the flip side as I was moving closer to the Playa the was sitting over 5,500 feet ABOVE sea level. Saying that though, I wasn’t scaling or driving over any mountains, the road just kept slowly ascending and descending without it being too noticeable.

After travelling for about 3 hours, I came to my turnoff off the highway and on to the back roads. As I said, I had done a bit of research and knew I would have to do a bit of driving on gravel roads but to my surprise, the roads were paved… That lasted only a few minutes though and I found myself driving through some pretty rough gravel roads before too long.

Death Valley

It was a long drive and due to the condition of the road, I didn’t find myself driving much faster than 20 mph. I passed a couple of cars coming back the other way but I loved the thought that I could possibly be out there all by myself. I had planned on sleeping out there in my car so I did secretly hope no one else would be out there and I was fortunate enough to have that come true. It was just me and my camera in the middle of absolute no-where.

A view of the road ahead of me…

Death Valley

I kept driving along and just when I thought it had to be around the next corner, the road just keep weaving through the mountains and valleys. There were certain areas with nothing but sand, there were others with small shrubs and cactus’ and then an area in a valley that was just full of Yuccas or Joshua Trees. It was always changing and some of the plants, cactus’ and flowers truly were beautiful to look at. Finally after driving for some time through the back roads, a sign caught my eye…

Teakettle Junction

Teakettle Junction! On that sign I saw something that made me a very relieved man… No, I wasn’t thirst and in need of some tea but now knowing that Racetrack Playa was 6 miles away was extremely good to know. Weaving through those roads, it was still a fair way off but at least I now knew for sure I was on the right path and knew how far I had left to go. It made me a little at ease too as the sun was preparing to set behind the mountains and I knew I would now at least get to my destination in light so I can scope it out a bit, find some locations to shoot at night and pick a spot to park the car and camp out.

Finally, there it was. I was confident that was it in the distance and I was right!

Racetrack Playa, Death Valley

As I was approaching Racetrack Playa, a dust storm was coming in behind me. I was hoping it wouldn’t be coming in my direction and that it was going in the opposite direction but I wasn’t so lucky. It hit just as I got to the Playa but having been through 2 dust storms in Palm Springs both times I had been there I knew at least what I was in for. Saying that though, the wind was incredibly strong and it was coming in quite thick. I just hoped it wasn’t going to settle in all night and the next morning.

The photo below is the dried lake bed of Racetrack Playa with the dust clearly visible in the background. The reason I came all the way out here was to see the Sailing Stones which I will talk more about in my next post but these stones move along the lake bed most likely due to being pushed by the wind… Having a dust storm and 80-100km/h wind push through shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise.

Racetrack Playa - Death Valley

I will leave it at this for the moment but I will be post more pictures in the next couple of days of the Sailing Stones and also some amazing pictures I am extremely happy with of the Milky Way I was able to get in the middle of the night once all the dust had started to clear away.

Thanks for following my adventures, I am very excited to bring you the rest of the photos.

See you all soon.

Nic


I went out late last night around midnight in search of the Milky Way. It was a clear night in Calgary but as I got further west into the mountains the weather started turning. It was late and I was tired so I decided to keep going and head up to Bow Lake, camp out for the night and get up for sunrise in the morning.

I woke up in the morning to snow… a lot of snow! and it was coming down hard! I got my things together, headed out on to the lake and patiently waited for the sun to rise and the clouds to clear. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and the snow came down harder and harder.

This is the pick of bunch from this morning at Bow Lake… Let’s call it a poor man’s homage to Ansel Adams or Olivier Du Tre I did some more shooting at another location on the way home which I will get to later but now I think it’s time for a nap. I’m buggered!

Enjoy.

Nic


I am not too sure if this really was a good idea but this photo was taken with no casing or any form of protective equipment whatsoever. A storm had just passed through so the water was calm and still with nice little clean waves coming through and breaking. I was out there with the strap around my neck, a cloth in one hand and my camera in the other. There was no-one else on the beach apart from Ash and I thank goodness as here I was out in the water with my DSLR in the ocean trying to set everything manually, running right out in front of the waves before they broke, taking the shot then quickly lifting the camera over my head and jumping as the wave was breaking. Not my smartest moment but hey, I escaped without getting my camera too wet.

Out of all the photo’s I took, none came out much better than this! This is the shot I had envisioned and what I had set out to achieve so to come out of it with my camera unscathed and getting my shot, I could not have been any happier.

What can I say, sometimes you have to put yourself out there to get what you want. That goes for photography and life in general.

Thanks

Nic


I took Ash for a drive on our last day to Werribee Gorge down the road from my home town of Bacchus Marsh for some fresh eucalyptus air before we left for Canada. I was surprised to see so much water in the river as we checked out the Lerderderg River the week before and it was bone dry. Here is one of my favourite pictures from being out there complete with a huge gum tree in the foreground, the gorge in the back ground and calm river in the middle.

Hoping to upload a few more in the next week… Stay tuned.


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


I had the most amazing thing happen to me the other day where someone told me they saw my billboard on their way to work on Friday. It really was an awesome feeling, just knowing that my work is being displayed publicly around Calgary. I finally got a chance to see one of them this weekend. This one is downtown on 9th Avenue and 4th Street SW. Ash and I drove out there after dinner and patiently waited for the other ads to cycle through and then BAM! there it was. I could not get the smile off my face. I wouldn’t mind heading out there again and getting a better shot with the cityscape in the background but I really am glad I got to see one of them and get my photo with it. I doubt anything like this will ever happen again so I won’t to savour it as long as I can.

Of course I can;t post without mentioning the Exposure 2014 Emerging Photographer competition. There are still a couple of weeks left to vote so please do so at the link below if you haven’t already. Also, for those of you in Calgary, the winner will be announced at the festival closing party on Feb 28 the Endeavor Art Gallery from 7 – 10pm. I would absolutely love to have as many of you there as possible for what should be a fun night.

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

Thank you all for your love and support.

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 am extremely honoured to be selected in the top 10 of the 2014 VISTEK Emerging Photographer Showcase as one of the best emerging Alberta-based photographers under 30. Please take a couple of minutes to click on the link and vote for me.

I have appreciated everyone’s support and following on this site. It has really meant a lot and has driven me and got me to where I am now.

Please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to vote!!!

Thanks
Nic


I headed downtown for a bit of shopping this afternoon and thought I may as well pack my camera with me. I finished my shopping around 5pm and was on my way back home when I caught a glimpse of the most amazing sunset in my rear view mirror. In Calgary we get chinooks and when they come in, it forms an amazing looking arch that if you are to the east of the Calgary, looks like it arcs right over the city. With the formation of the clouds and the intense orange sunset, I tried to get to a vantage point as soon as I could to the east of downtown to get some shots but I missed the incredible light show. Instead I was only able to capture the chinook arch as the sun was well and truly set… It was still a great site to see.

Below: A shot from closer downtown with the chinook arch in the background.

Calgary


Another attempt at HDR photography. I headed out into the mountains again, this time in behind Canmore along the Spray Trail in Kananaskis. It was -22 when I left in the afternoon and it didn’t get much warmer! This photo was taken half way up the mountain and the wind was absolutely howling! It read -24 on my car thermometer but with wind chill it had to be close to -35. I took my glove off a couple of times on my right hand to make adjustments on my camera as I was shooting and I got absolutely punished for it. I don’t think I got feeling back in the tips of my fingers for 10 minutes. I think it was worth it though…

What do you think?

Nic


First of all, happy new year to everyone. 2013 was another fantastic year for me and I feel extremely grateful I got to share it with family and friends from Canada and Australia as well as my beautiful girlfriend. It was actually the first full calendar year I have spent abroad. 2014 is going to be even better and I am excited for what is to come. I look forward to sharing it with you all on here.

I got to finish work early yesterday and took advantage of actually coming home in daylight rather than normal when I leave work in darkness. I headed straight home, got changed into warm clothes, loaded up the car with my camera gear and headed out to Elbow Falls in Kananaskis Country. I hadn’t been there before but was keen to check it out to first of all see if it was frozen or flowing which to my surprise it was and also see where I would be able to get some shots.

There was a pathway which was closed due to it being pure ice which I still decided to take that came to a look-out but I wanted to get down on the river bank for a better position. I walked through the trees, along the cliff and fell on my ass a couple of times but just couldn’t find a way down that wasn’t going to end with me being airlifted out of there. Getting down would have been the easy part but as I was there for sunset, I wasn’t sure how long the light would hold out for and I was envisioning me trying to climb the cliff in the dark which didn’t sound too appealing to me. I settled for the look out.

I tried setting up my exposures for HDR (high dynamic range) which is 3 photographs combined in to 1. One photo is at normal exposure, one is underexposed and the other is overexposed. You can actually take photos with that function on an iPhone believe it or… Above is the result and I have to admit I was extremely happy with what I ended up with.

As always, thanks for checking out my photo and blog and I hope to see you coming back through out 2014 along with many more new faces from around the world. I was amazed to have so many people view my humble little website from 41 different countries around the globe. Absolutely amazing.

Nic


I have been itching to take out my camera since my night shots near Banff a couple of weeks back but I just hadn’t had the chance until this weekend. Ash was away for work so I decided to head out early on Saturday morning and try my luck at some more night shots out in the mountains. The forecast said there was going to be variable cloud cover but it seemed like it was going to clear up. Not only could I take shots at night of the stars, I wanted to hang around for sunrise too so I was happy to have a back-up plan in case it was overcast.

I set my alarm for 3am and surprised my myself by getting out of the house by 3:45am. Those of you who know me well, are more than aware that I am not much of a morning person but I was able to do it. Driving out there, I noticed it was incredibly dark and that I couldn’t see any stars, not a good start but I wanted to keep going anyway because I knew I would regret it if I turned back. I decided to head to Lake Minnewanka which is near Banff, I hadn’t been there before so i was keen to check it out. All I knew was that it was a long narrow lake surrounded by mountains. I got out there and it was pitch black. I could just make out the mountains but took a few long exposure shots around 30 seconds to check out my surroundings. It was not ideal at all, no stars, overcast and windy. I jumped back in the car and decided to get some sleep for a couple of hours until sunrise. I missed out on the stars but I was sure I would get a nice sunrise… Wrong! About 45 minutes before the sun was scheduled to come up, I scoped out a couple of locations and set up at the first… I took a few shots here and there and eagerly awaited the sky to light up in pinks, purples and and oranges as we normally get, that didn’t happen at all. it was like someone flicked a switch and suddenly it was daylight. The cloud cover was too thick and the sun at this time of year is too low so I got nothing I came for at all.

I took a few shots still and these two are all I had worth sharing. It was so quiet and peaceful out there, the only noises I could hear was the wind whistling through the pines and the sound of ice cracking. I wasn’t out on the ice on the lake even though it was so thick (in some places I could see it was about 10″ thick) but that sound of it cracking was a little too unnerving for me. Due to the dull light, I decided to convert them to black and white just give them a little bit of character and moodiness. A bit of a disappointing outcome (photography wise) but you can’t win them all. I did enjoy getting out there though.

Lake Minnewanka


On Friday night, I drove up to Canmore for a book launch for a photographer I have really looked up to and admired. Since moving over here, there are a number of photographers that I have followed who live in this region and I have drawn from their blogs and portfolios for inspiration. The book launch was for Paul Zizka (Summits & Starlight), which features his photos, mostly from Banff National Park and the Rockies. These are not just your ordinary photos from the side of Highway 1 though, they are images from some of the most remote, untouched and pristine areas of the region and as the title suggests of the most amazing mountains and peaks along with some of the truly amazing starry nights. Check out this blog post from his website for more information on the book and also check out his images on there. They truly are spectacular.

I brought my camera along with me as I bought myself some new glass during the week and I have been dying to use it. Apart from shooting the Aurora a few months ago, I haven’t really tried night time photography and with my new 14mm wide angle lens I was exited to give it a shot. If you take a look at the link in the paragraph above, you will see the cover is my inspiration for this shoot. Mount Rundle, as I told Claire, Justin and I think Mark aswell when they were all here, is the mountain they filmed the Lion King on. It is such a spectacular looking peak. As you can see though, the lake in that very same photograph on the cover of Paul’s book is fully covered in ice and snow now but I was lucky to find a little spot where you could see the ice. The rest of the lake is covered in about 30-40cm of snow. The shot above is the pick of the bunch. There was a little opening through the clouds so you can see a few stars shining through. If I arrived around 15-20 minutes earlier, I would have been lucky enough to have seen a nice starry background behind the mountain. Looking above and behind me though, there were some great sized holes in the clouds. Being out in such a remote place with only a couple of small villages around, the sky is pitch black and there are millions of stars!

The shot below is what was immediately behind me when I was shooting Rundle. You can see in that little pocket of open sky just how many stars are visable out there on a clear night. I really would like to head out there again on a night that is a little more clearer and try my hand at shooting the Milky Way.

As I said in my last post, I am looking forward to getting out there a lot this winter. Don’t forget to stop by check out what I have been getting up to. I have really appreciated all of the support and been amazed with the page views I have had. It really inspires me to get out there more and more.

Thanks for the support.

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


16Nov

Snow day

Snow day

I have been a little absent from my blog as of late due to it being quite a busy couple of months. New job, new neighbourhood and new living arrangement. I have to say though that everything is lining up quite nicely and things have really been working out for me over here.

The snow has arrived and over the past 3 weekends we have had a few flurries. None more so than last night where we got 15cm overnight and early today. It was absolutely beautiful outside so I thought it might be nice to get out of the house when the snow died down a little. I headed over to Fish Creek Park which is only about 5 minutes away from us now and loved the fact that I was the only person down there. Well, I brought Maggie along with me so it was just the two of us. I brought my camera along and we went for a nice little walk along the pathway walking on untouched snow. It really was a beautiful afternoon down there.

The image above is of the creek which is just about entirely covered in ice and snow and the image below is of the pathway with the untouched snow.

Thank you for reading, I am looking forward to getting a lot more shot this winter.

Nic


Just a few photos of us fooling around in front of the camera out in the mountains by the rail tracks. Not normally a fan of using too many filters but I could’t resist for these.


4:25am, Friday morning my alarm goes off. I turn over to Ash and tell her it’s time to get up. Let’s go to Moraine Lake for sunrise. This is my 4th or 5th attempt to wake up early and head out there but this time I was determined to make it happen. Every other time, I reached straight for the alarm and turned it off, this time I jumped straight out of bed and into the shower. I know that if I did that there was no turning back. I didn’t really hold any hopes for Ash coming though as she didn’t seem to happy when I woke her up. I was surprised to see her up and dressed once I was out of the shower. This is happening!

It was pitch black the whole way out to Lake Louise, not much traffic and a nice easy drive. Ash slept the whole way and Maggie May chilled out in the back. After a couple of hours of driving we finally got to Moraine Lake around 7:30am. The sun was slowly starting to wake up but it was still a little dark when we climbed the hill at the foot of the lake and I found a spot to set up.

We sat down and played with Maggie while waiting patiently for the sun to rise. It was absolutely beautiful out there, taking in the magnificent Valley of the Ten Peaks and the bright blue lake. As well as the sheer stillness and peace. There wouldn’t have been any more than 5 or 6 people out these in comparison to the thousands that are normally there and when we left the tourist buses started rolling in. We counted around 15 from the time we left the lake till we got to the main road.

I strongly recommend that everyone try their best to go out there for a sunrise if they get a chance. It truly is a magnificent sight to see and well worth the early start. We are lucky that the snow has been falling on the peaks as we came out here last month and there was not a single flake of snow on them. It is a different story now though with them really starting to get covered and the lake, as you can see above is starting to freeze over. It was fresh, but we came dressed for it. Truly an amazing day.

I hope you enjoy.


There is nothing quite like a sunset. It doesn’t matter how many times you have seen the sun go down, it always feels like it is for the first time. Everywhere I travel, no matter where it is, I always do what I can to see the sun set in that city, town or village. It is by far one of my favourite things on this earth.

Above – A large cluster of annual sow thistle catch the last light of the day as the sun slowly makes it way below the horizon.

Below – The sun sets over the wheat fields out in the Alberta prairies. The mixture of soil and dust in the air from all of the machinery out harvesting along with the colours of the sun setting make it a really beautiful site. The photo does is absolutely no justice at all.


Last weekend I have to say, I experienced a first… Eating dinner out in the middle a wheat field. My parents are here in Canada with my uncle still and we have had a lot of fun but this was definitely the most unique thing we have done. I brought my camera along and took a couple of snaps.

We were up in Camrose, 3 hours north of Calgary with Ash’s family for the weekend. On Sunday, we headed to her Auntie and Uncle’s farm with the rest of the family for dinner. The guys have been working out in the fields swathing and combining in rotating shifts over 24 hours in order to get everything done. It is a hell of a lot of work!

We all drove out at 6:30 in a convoy of trucks loaded with food, drinks, coolers and chairs and met the guys in the middle of the field. The ladies did a great job getting dinner together! We had chili which I don’t think could have been any more fitting for the occasion. The weather was beautiful and w were all surrounded by amazing company. I don’t think the Mitty’s and Broughton’s any more welcome.

After a great dinner out in the field, it was time to get back to work. We packed everything up and my dad and uncle took in turns to ride around in the combine to see what it is all about. Just like a couple of kids.

Thanks to the Broughton’s for having us over. It really was a great day!


I jumped in the Jeep late Sunday afternoon and decided to head out with my camera out east, through the prairies to the Badlands. I had seen some pictures of an old ghost town called Dorothy that had an old wooden church that was falling apart. I thought it would be great to check out and get some photos and so with Maggie May keeping me company, we hit highway 1 and started our 2 hour journey to Dorothy.

My good old iPhone GPS was in fine form as it always is taking me through back roads and dirt roads and just when I thought all was lost I came across the the little town of Dorothy. The final part of that drive was pretty awesome driving through the canola fields and at the end scaling down the valley on the dirt road and across the Red Deer river. To my absolute disgust though, the church had been fully renovated! No longer was it leaning to the right or were its weather boards showing its age. It was just sitting there, all perfect with its new windows, coat of white paint and standing upright. I was shattered! All wasn’t completely lost though. I did come across this grain elevator. Most likely built in the early 20th century, showing its wear from long winters and hot summers out here in the badlands.

Next I headed towards Drumheller. I thought since I was out here I may as well make the most of it. The day was coming to an end and I had always wanted to check out an area out there called Horseshoe Canyon. On way way though as the road ran inside the valley along the river, I came across the site you can see below… They are called the Hoodoos. Rock formations shaped by centuries of wind, rain and snow. They are quite an awesome sight to see.

Further along I went until I reached the canyon. The road that took me out there was the one that headed back to Calgary and it was quite a while out of Drumheller, I just about gave up hope as when I looked around all I could see were crops and flat land. It didn’t look like there would be any canyon in sight. Finally I saw the sign and was relieved that I hadn’t missed it. I spent a bit of time there, walking around, admiring the shapes and colours and watching the sun say its goodbyes for the day. I found a really cool spot where I set up my tripod and took a while lot of shots but coming home and checking out my photos more closely, it made me realise just how much I need to invest in a better high quality lens. Unfortunately, alot of my photos either were too grainy when I tried to lighten them up which had the perfect sunset or were too light and didn’t do the beautiful sunset any justice at all. This is the only photo I could really salvage.

Saying that though, I was lucky enough to be the only person there and loved just taking it all in. Sometimes photos, and in this case in particular, really do no justice to the beauty that is in front of you.

As always, thanks for reading.

Nic


This afternoon, I headed up to Edmonton to help out Ash’s brother Jeremy, whose car was stuck down here in Calgary. I was there for no more than an hour, 45 of those minutes at the airport and then flew back home. Just something to do on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to share a couple of pictures showing the contrast of the two journeys. It is roughly 300kms so it takes a good 2.5 to 3 hours driving without stopping. Coming home took me 45 mins flying in my WestJet bird. The latter was definitely a lot easier.

Above you can see what the drive is all about. Just one long straight road, through the prairies. Flying back is not only quicker but just that little bit more scenic. See for yourself and let me know what you would prefer…


Heading out for a stroll on a beautiful night during the week, I came along this amazing talent. She started off on the accordion with one foot tapping on a tambourine and the other on a pedal knocking the box she was sitting on.

Such a sweet soulful voice. I must have sat for an hour all by by myself just enjoying the beautiful evening and sweet sounds. She told me she is recording some stuff at the moment… I will definitely let you all know when it is out.


Every morning and night, I cross over this bridge to go to work and back home again. It is such a narrow bridge, so narrow in fact that my passenger mirror is permanently adjusted so I can get close to the side without hitting either cars coming the other way or the barriers. It is beautiful old bridge and I have to admit I love my commute everyday along the river.


I have to admit, it was really a daunting image to see as you are about to take off in a plane. Disasters seem to be following Ash and I around lately. First the flood and now a plane crash a couple of days before we left San Francisco. As you can see, everything is clearly out in the open as the airport is re-opened and they investigate the crash. A sight I will never forget.


A couple of weeks ago, I got the pleasure of seeing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights as they are more commonly known as. I have been inspired to go see them after coming across some photos from a photographer here who is located just out of Calgary. You can check out his amazing photos here. His name is Christopher Martin and his photos are something I have really looked up to. Hopefully I can at some point take some photos half as amazing as those. He recommended a website called Aurora Watch based up in Edmonton that monitors solar activity and sends alerts if you sign up for it. I had received alerts before but foolishly not gone out as I thought I wouldn’t see them but after checking out Christopher’s site each time, he would post up his photos from those nights. I told myself I am going out next time I get an alert, no excuses! Ash and I had been in Bowness all day helping clean up flood affected homes and got home around midnight. We were still a little wired for god knows why, so we decided to stay up and watch some tv to get sleepy. At 1:30am, I received an alert telling me there was 95% chance of activity. I turned to Ash and said “let’s do it”. We left home at 2:00am, with no real idea where to go so I thought lets just head out of the city away from the lights up north since they are the northern lights and see what happens. We did just that and drove north till we couldn’t see the city lights and took a back road just to get away from any cards that may come. All of a sudden, BAM!, there they were! They were absolutely amazing to watch. The colours, the flickering and dancing, it truly was a beautiful thing to see. I was happy to say I had the pleasure of ticking something off my ‘to do’ list! It took a bit of playing around on my camera to get some decent shots but it was my first time shooting them so I am fairly happy with what I got. We stayed out till 4:00am when the sun started to rise. It had been an extremely long day, it was time to go. I could have stayed out there until the sun came up, I was on such a natural high but we made the right decision coming home when we did though as I already paid for the late night for the next week trying to recover. It felt like I had come home from a bender! When we did get home though, we could still see them glowing from our backyard. Truly amazing! I can’t wait to head out there again. I hope you enjoy what I got.


I came across this photo contest for National Geographic while checking out My Modern Met. I have never entered one of these contests before so I thought why the hell not?!

I submitted the photo above. A picture I went and took one very snowy Sunday afternoon at Sandy Beach here in Calgary. Every time I have returned to the same spot since, I have had this image burned in my mind. It is one of my favourites. I truly love this photo, I hope you do too.

Please show your love, click on the link below and either like or tweet. Go on, you know you want to…

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2013/entries/219555/view/


Yesterday, after a week of consistent rainfall we had a break from the downpour. The sun came out and hell, I even got sunburnt on the back of my neck! After much debate with myself and my morals I decided to leave the top of the valley where we had safely been for the past few days and head down into the valley to check it all out for myself. I started at McHugh’s Bluff where most of my photos have been taken from and headed down the bluff to the community of Sunnyside, one of the communities affected directly from the overspill of the Bow River. I felt guilty being down there taking photos as some people had returned to their homes to assess the damage and move into recovering what they could and trying to figure out to get all of the water out of their houses and basements. I asked if there was something I could do to help, I was more than happy to do what I could but they simply replied they have no idea what to do themselves but thank you anyway.




Walking through the neighbourhood, I chose to be as respectful as possible and keep to the trails rather than wander through the streets. The smell of gasoline was so strong walking through. I am not sure if it was just from peoples generators or from pumps pumping out water or simply from spilt fuel but it truly was strong walking through there.

I made my way to Memorial Drive, one of Calgary major roads that runs along the Bow River and connects the city’s inner north east to north west. Roads were under water still and pathways along the river had collapsed into the torrent just pounding the banks. I saw a couple of YouTube clips last night of trees along Memorial giving way into the city. There wasa huge tree pinned to the Centre Street Bridge. I was certain this was one of the trees I saw collapse.





The state of the Centre Street Bridge underpass was in shambles with debris all over the road as the water level which is basically at the level of the road pounds against the side of the bridge and slip under to the other side.


I crossed the bridge and decided to head downtown to check out the damage. As I started to walk into the centre of the city the army pulled in. They have been here for the past couple of days crusing around, assessing the damage and deploying troops to places that most need the help.

Walking downtown was a surreal moment. I felt like I was in a movie. The streets were empty but it was so load as alot of the buildings had their generators pumping. It was such a loud drone of background noise and like Sunnyside, the air was filled with the smell of gasoline. The water had receded but the evidence of the flood was present with branches, pieces of wood and mud everywhere. I took some photos of some of the most busiest sections of downtown. Well, normally the busiest. These ares were dead.

I headed up Macload Trail, another one of Calgary’s most busiest streets. It is one of the main roads that lead from north to south. Traffic was non-existant! The reason, well the underpasses that go under the train lines not just on Macload but all along 9th where the crossroads head south under the train lines these underpasses were filled to the brim! I have some images below but take note of the 3rd image. The water is well and truly above road level as it is but the whole underpass is flooded to the pint where it goes all the way up to the bridge and touches the train lines.



I kept heading along 9th to Inglewood. I had covered a few miles already but I thought while I am walking i may as well see how the Elbow River is doing. The Elbow is the little cousin of the Bow. It too comes from the mountains so there was a hell of a lot of force coming through still. I was interested in seeing how the Elbow, the very river that could possibly force the organisers of Calgary’s biggest event the Calgary Stampede to cancel! The show grounds are flooded! Race tracks, grand stands, the Saddledome which is our largest indoor arena that seats 20,000 people and hosts concerts, hockey, rodeos and any large event was filled with water and flooded to row 14!
It was certainly pumping through but not at the force of the Bow.


Although the water was still pushing through at a frantic pace I was happy to see that the levels had gone down. This may just be the last of it…

There is a new footbridge in the area that they have been building over the past few months. The force of the river has totally torn through the structure. It isn’t going to be easy fixing this up.




I finished off walking along the Bow back to Centre Street. It was a big day, tiring, confronting and so surreal. Here are a couple more photos from the way home…





I posted a few photos up last night of the water surging through and we headed down to Centre Street Bridge once again to see just how things have changed over night. There are so many people out there who have been forced to evacuate here. The last I heard it was well over 100,000 people. one of those people being Ash’s cousin Jen who lives just down the road from us but down in the valley. We checked it out today but luckily the water hasn’t risen high enough to really affect hr house although the water is flowing all around it.

Some people aren’t as lucky and some aren’t really that smart as you can see below on Memorial Drive. One of the busiest roads down town that run along the banks of the river. Unfortunately, people simply think it isn’t high enough, risk and and this is the result…

We got a bit closer to Centre Street Bridge this time and actually walked across it. The sound of the water gushing under the bridge and under the road that is under the bridge was so loud. Trees were floating down the river and so you could hear those clunk into the road down there as well as the structure and it makes you think just how much damage all of this is doing. Here are a few photos from around that area…



It seems like everyone is out to have a look and get photos of the craziness going on around here.

This once again is Prince’s Island Park. As you can see it is absolutely submerged now. It wasn’t looking too good yesterday but it is well and truly under the Bow River now.

Roads downtown are all blocked off and as you can see, everyone is trying to get out of there and up to higher ground. Centre Street Bridge, one of only a couple of bridges stilled deemed safe to remain open is jam packed with cars of people trying to evacuate the city.

This is Sunnyside. A beautiful little neighbourhood that I have always wanted to move to. Now I am thinking it isn’t such a good idea.

As you can see, huge crowds are gathering to take in the tragic but truly remarkable sight.


The long, lonely walk to higher ground…


Absolute crazy scenes here in Calgary today and tonight. We have been absolutely pissed on with rain the past couple of days and have had more than we normally would in a month. Ironically, a place called High River has been hit the hardest. Many communities, even here in the city have been told to evacuate as the river that flows through the city, the Bow River comes straight from the Rocky Mountains an hour away. Not only are we dealing with rain coming down here, it is also the rain coming down in the mountains, which is then melting the snow and basically doubling and tripling the volume of water come down the river.

Luckily, we are up in the safely on of the top of the valley but we took a drive around to check out the huge volumes of water coming through the city.



That is Prince’s Island Park or should I say, was. There is an unbelievable amount of water shooting through!

8

 


After an amazing night at Tom and Yolande’s on Saturday night, I decided to stay the night on the couch. With the sun rising so early this time of year and no curtains in the living room where I was sleeping, I thought enough is enough and I got my ass up and out of bed. I decided I wanted to to go for a drive and take some pictures and was up and out of there at 5.30am on a Sunday morning!

I headed towards the mountains. There is a road I heard about that isn’t eaxactly close but I was keen to check it out nonetheless called Highway 40, the Kananaskis Trail. I had about 1.5 to 2 hours worth of driving to get there and then it would be a good 2 hours back up to highway 1 to head back to Calgary. Ash got called up the night before and I had nothing else to do so I thought why the hell not. What I was most hopeful about and what I really wanted to see were some Bears. I read that there have been quite a few spotted lately on the side of the roads munching on dandelions so I was hopeful.

It was a little foggy to begin with but it was so calm and tranquil at that time of morning. It was a beautiful drive!

As I got further out of the city, the cars got less frequent and I found myself for quite a long time being the only car out there. With the sun only just coming up and very little traffic on the road, the animals started coming out. I had my eyes peeled the whole time as I had heard Deer are like Kangaroos and are spotted more often than not when the sun is rising or setting so I was a little cautious. I was lucky enough to see a large group of them crossing the road up ahead so I quickly pulled over and got out my camera. I was able to get a few snaps in.

Further down the road, I came across this big fella. A Moose! He had no antlers unfortunately but it was extremely cool to see him nonetheless.

It was so cool to see them out in the wild. I was feeling good about coming across some Bears. Things were looking promising.

Further along, I came across this cool train engine just sitting in the middle of a field by the road. The one thing I have loved about driving around Canada has been the random stuff I have seen. Driving through the country, there are a tonne of abondoned houses and barns and building. I saw a tram in the middle of the desert driving through the salt flats in Utah which was awesome to see but this was just as amazing. I had no idea what it was doing there, how it even got there but it was really cool to see it just sitting there in the middle of nowhere.

After driving for a couple of hours, which included a few stops along the way to take some photos, I finally made it to Kananaskis country. Not long now till I get to drive through the valley with mountains on each side of me, still being early with no other cars out there and being able to enjoy it all to myself. I got to the entrance of the park and the gates were closed. This couldn’t be true! I wish I took a photo. It was true, the gates were bolted shut and the highway which closes each year on December 1st wasn’t going to open up again till June 12th. Just 3 days later!!!! Talk about shit out of luck!

I was disappointed, I won’t lie but I really had a great morning out there. It was such a beautiful drive and I know the Kananaskis Trail is going to be even better but I am looking forward to going out there with Ash and discovering it together.

I thought I may as well make the most of it and take the long way home. Rather than go the same way I came, I took some back roads. Probably not the best idea taking that route while out on my own, no phone reception and no-one knowing where I was but I liked being out there with no-one around. Just me out there in the Jeep soaking in the great outdoors!

I liked it for about an hour until I started to freak out that I hadn’t see anyone and scared myself a little, I will admit. I thought if my car broke down, I might find myself in a bit of strife. Then finally, I saw a car and some hikers and I could finally enjoy myself again. It was so great being out there with the clean fresh air out of the city. Deer, Moose, more Deer and even a Bald Eagle. The only thing that eluded me was seeing a Bear. There were so many Deer out there, it was cool to see. This next picture was probably the best shot I got for the day. It came out a little grainy but if you look to the bottom right you can make out the Deer next to the road. I wish it came out a little clearer but I loved that I got this shot in the spare of the moment. It couldn’t have been in a more picturesque location.

So that was my day, well my morning anyway. After all of that, I was back home by 1pm and took the rest of the day to chill out and relax on the couch. I am definitely not a morning person but I have to admit that I enjoyed getting away early in the morning, doing so much and still getting to bum on the couch to finish off my weekend. This may just become a new little hobby of mine.