Flying off a red roof

Christopher Martin Photography

Off the red roof - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We’re in Fernie with family for the Easter weekend.  We escaped Calgary’s heavy snowfall but the Elk Valley was socked in today with heavy leaden clouds.  Rain, snow and sleet took turns falling through the day which provided a great background with some of the birds I came across.  This raven was a favorite with the red roof providing great color to a potentially weary scene.

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Elk River Heron

Christopher Martin Photography

Elk River Heron flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII and 500mm f/4 lens: 1/1600 seconds at f/4 on ISO 800

The Elk River runs through a southeastern region of British Columbia’s Kootenay region.  Where the river spills out of the mountains into the Elk Valley, it widens and attracts an abundance of fish which in turn draws eagles, osprey and herons.  On our recent trip to Fernie I enjoyed several walks along the river and was able to watch all of these birds on separate encounters.  On the first evening my nephew Austin and I were out for a walk and watched a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) flying low along the river and land at a shallow stretch.

Elk River Heron - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII and 500mm f/4 lens: 1/1600 seconds at f/4 on ISO 800

There was enough light that it worked out well to photograph him flying by and landing.

 Along the banks - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII and 500mm f/4 lens:…

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ROUND ISLAND: Walrus Sanctuary in Peril

Lee Rentz Photography Weblog

Pacific Walrus male portrait showing tusks and nodules Pacific Walrus male

Horned Puffin on cliffHorned Puffin near our campsite

There are times that remain hazy and golden in my memories; times when life came to a peak of wonder that is only rarely experienced. Five days on Round Island was one of those defining times in my life.

In 2009 my wife and I flew to Alaska, then took a second flight to Dillingham on the west coast, then boarded a beat-up puddle jumper to the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Togiak, then sped by tiny boat, piloted by a man of that Eskimo village, across part of Bristol Bay to Round Island, where we were greeted by Alaska Fish and Game staff. We set up camp on the small island, on platforms erected atop campsites used by ancient peoples, then set off exploring the island. Within a minute we were watching a Horned Puffin about 50 feet away standing atop a…

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Renewal

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Please say a warm Earth Day hello to first-time contributor Jasmine Soto, a Fashion Designer from New York living with Bipolar Disorder. Jasmine is also a multimedia artist who loves photography, collage and watercolor. When she feels low, she tries to motivate herself to get up and out by taking her camera on a healing journey. She tries to focus on her surroundings and capture the moment. She has found that being in nature uplifts her. Jasmine is a member of the non-profit Fountain Gallery where she is a volunteer and a participating artist. 

About the photo: “In springtime all is made new. These are the new blossoms at Astoria Park in Queens. This photo makes me feel like the Earth is singing a new song.  After a long winter the spring season brings light and color which certainly help with mood.

_____

**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here. Currently accepting submissions.

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Spring with Robins in Fernie

Christopher Martin Photography

Perched amid the tangled branches - 2014 © Christopher Martin(click on the image to open a page with a higher resolution version)

Although Fernie is in the heart of the Rockies, it is deeper into spring than Calgary so the visit there over the Easter weekend was great.  Robins have always been a sure sign of spring for me and I found a few hunting in a field during the rain.  This one was particularly beautiful as it chirped away from its perch in a tree by the Elk River.

Over the shoulder - 2014 © Christopher Martin

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Mother and calf: Moose in Kananaskis

Christopher Martin Photography

Mom and calf - 2014 © Christopher Martin
In early April I went into Kananaskis along Highway 66 from Bragg Creek.  I was late getting out of bed and did not leave myself enough time to set up for a sunrise shoot.  I went for a short hike around Elbow Falls but returned to my car pretty quickly.  Heading back, I was scouring the hillsides and trees for wildlife.  I was lucky to catch this female just as she was stepping out of the forest.  The sun hadn’t cleared the mountains across the Elbow River so the moose was not yet in the sunlight.  I decided to set my camera up on my tripod and wait for a few minutes.

Funny face - 2014 © Christopher Martin
When the sun rose over the hill, the light was soft and warm so I was quite happy to sit quietly and watch as she moved around.

A little hidden - 2014 © Christopher Martin
Patience often pays off and it was true on this occasion. …

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Snowy Owls on the prairie

Christopher Martin Photography

Ground flight effect - 2014 © Christopher Martin
I went out several times to photograph Snowy Owls this year but found them to be fewer in number and more elusive.  The ones I did find were less interested in me than the ones I found last year ( here , here and here ) so there were no long or close encounters.  I love watching them and it was a thrill just to see the ones I did find.  I photographed this one on February 22nd and was the last one I saw this winter.

A wing over the prairie - 2014 © Christopher Martin

We’ll have to see if next year is a good one for Snowies on the prairies east of Calgary.

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A journalist I am not (R)

Butterfly Mind

Appalachian Trail sign at McAfee Knob parking lot Blacksburg VA on andreabadgley.com Appalachian Trail sign at McAfee Knob parking lot, Blacksburg, VA

Portraiture is possibly my favorite form of photography. Faces show character in every laugh line, every weathered wrinkle, in tan lines left by always-worn sunglasses, in the trickle of sweat through trail dust. In the scraggly beards of men who have walked the woods for weeks.

On our drive through Catawba valley, my husband said, “It’s getting close to peak thru-hiker season.” We were headed to Sawtooth Ridge, a portion of the Appalachian Trail between McAfee Knob and Dragon’s Tooth, near our home in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“It is?” I asked, my wheels turning. I had just checked my email and seen a photography challenge regarding culture, and I thought, oooh, maybe I can cover AT culture. Shoot portraits of rugged hikers.

“Yeah, if they left Springer Mountain [Georgia] on March 1, they’d start getting here near the end of…

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Prairie storm

Christopher Martin Photography

So far, spring has come in fits and starts.  Over the weekend we had a day long snowstorm on Saturday and then it was warm enough to wear shorts outside on Sunday!  Crazy stuff but not too far from normal in April on the prairies.

Prairie - 2014 © Christopher Martin

My son and I were out for the day and I photographed these horses when we were in Springbank, west of Calgary.  I appreciated their ignorance of sleet falling and the cold winds.

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Red-tailed Hawks have returned to the prairies

Christopher Martin Photography

Red-tailed flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) have the good sense to avoid winter on the prairies and they head south in late fall each year.  It’s always exciting when they start to return and I have been seeing them more and more over the last couple of weeks.  A little while ago, I found this one perched in a great, wild-looking tree along Highway 8, west of Calgary.

Perched but ready to fly - 2014 © Christopher Martin

I could see the hawk was getting ready to fly so I watched from the ditch for a minute until it launched.  There was a second hawk, presumably its mate, in a tight stand of trees so I figured that would be the direction it flew.

Flying through the trees - 2014 © Christopher Martin

It landed beside its partner and when I drove past them I could see a nest buried in the far side of the trees.  Photographs of the nest would not be in their best interest but I hope…

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