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Aurora Borealis over black spruce

A towering curtain of northern lights hangs over a dense boreal black spruce stand in northern Alberta

Auro­ra bore­alis over black spruce for­est

Final­ly — a pho­to­graph of the Auro­ra Bore­alis on borealisimages.ca! (Although, for the record, the title I’ve giv­en these gal­leries — ‘Sil­vi­co­la bore­alis Images’ — is derived from latin roots, and rough­ly trans­lates to ‘inhab­it­ing the north­ern for­est’. The pre­fix ‘sil­vi’ (or ‘sil­va’) relates to the for­est, as in ‘sil­vi­cul­ture’ which is the prac­tice of grow­ing and tend­ing a for­est. ‘Bore­alis’ refers gen­er­al­ly to things north­ern in nature, and is from ‘Bore­as’ — the Greek god of the north wind.)

This is def­i­nite­ly the dark­est pho­to that I’ve ever print­ed, and I’m quite hap­py with the way it turned out — the print lit­er­al­ly felt heavy with ink! On-screen, I could see a lit­tle bit of detail still in the spruce trees, but I can’t see any of that in the print yet. We’ll see if view­ing it in bright day­light will reveal some of those dark­est details, but oth­er­wise I think they look fine as sol­id sil­hou­ettes too.

I took this pho­to in north­ern Alber­ta while doing owl sur­veys this past spring. It was the first time I’d pho­tographed the north­ern lights, and it was a lot of fun to try out a whole bunch of dif­fer­ent tech­niques, equip­ment, and of course, patience… I’ll be doing a round of bat sur­veys in the next lit­tle while, and I hope to get the chance to apply some of what I learned this spring to mak­ing more images of these beau­ti­ful north­ern lights.

(Click to enlarge the image — you should be able to see the stars in the full-size image too!)

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Summer evening at Jasper Lake

Fluffy cumulus clouds are reflected in Jasper Lake on a warm late summer day in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Fine sum­mer clouds over Jasper Lake

In August 2008 I was work­ing for the Cana­di­an For­est Ser­vice, doing research in pine stands west of Edmon­ton. I made this pho­to after leav­ing from work for the week­end and dri­ving through Jasper on the way to a friend’s wed­ding in north­ern BC. I could see the light get­ting good as I got clos­er to the park and, after a speed­ing tick­et in Edson (d-oh!), I had a ter­rif­ic evening mak­ing many images that I was real­ly hap­py with. This Dai­ly Print project that I’m try­ing out is a great excuse to look back into my archives to find these images that I’ve kind of for­got­ten about. Watch for more pho­tos from this August evening in the next few weeks…

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Rain at sunrise at Beaverhill Lake

The rising sun adds colour to banks of rain clouds moving in over Beaverhill Lake, Alberta

Heavy clouds over Beaver­hill Lake

I made this pho­to­graph back in August of 2008 on a beau­ti­ful, calm morn­ing at Beaver­hill Lake but which didn’t last long — by mid-morn­ing the clouds had com­plete­ly rolled in, and I pro­ceed­ed with get­ting soaked (all part of the expe­ri­ence).

I print­ed this pho­to today, as the first two prints (here and here) in my Dai­ly Print project (explained here) were both high­ly-detailed, fine­ly tex­tured images with bold colours, so I thought I’d try some­thing dif­fer­ent, and a lit­tle out of the ordi­nary for me. It was inter­est­ing to see the fin­ished print — the colours turned out great, but let’s say I need to prac­tice print­ing more soft-tex­tured images… (that’s what this whole exer­cise is about though, I guess, and I’m hav­ing fun doing it too)

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Spring rain over Devona Flats

A late evening spring rain falls onto the dry lakebed of Jasper Lake at Devona Flats in Jasper National Park

Spring storm over Devona Flats

I recent­ly had the chance to get away for a few days, and had the plea­sure of being able to do some pho­tog­ra­phy in Jasper Nation­al Park. The day that I took this pho­to­graph start­ed out clear and sun­ny, and as the day went along these large clouds spilled out of the Athabas­ca Riv­er Val­ley to the west, com­ing east towards Pocha­hon­tas where I was stay­ing. And while the clouds made it less appeal­ing to sit out on the deck in the after­noon, they sure made for much more dra­mat­ic pho­tographs lat­er in the evening — well worth the trade-off.

I real­ly like the con­trast in this image of the heavy, wet sky and the falling rain streak­ing down — con­trast­ed with the dry riv­er flats still await­ing the melt of high­er ele­va­tion snow and the start of spring and sum­mer weath­er pat­terns.

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Super Harvest Moon at Ministik Lake

A full moon rises in a clear sky on the night of the autumnal equinox.

Har­vest moon ris­ing behind aspen

I went out to the Min­is­tik Lake this evening with the fam­i­ly (& my cam­era, of course) to cel­e­brate the autum­nal equinox, and to wit­ness the “Super Har­vest Moon” that occurred tonight for the first time in 20 years (click here for more info on that). For those of you who missed it — (it wasn’t much dif­fer­ent than any oth­er nice full moon-rise) — I thought I’d quick post this pho­to­graph that I made of the moon tonight. It was a love­ly evening — geese & ducks whistling by over­head, a few qui­et bird­songs (White-throat­ed- & Lincoln’s Spar­rows), beavers on the lake, and coy­otes & bats as the moon came up. Wel­come autumn.

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Sunrise at Beaverhill

Altocumulus sunrise and willow

Altocu­mu­lus sun­rise and wil­low

Here’s anoth­er pho­to that I’ve pre­pared for the Gold­bar craft sale (see pre­vi­ous post for details). I made this expo­sure in the sum­mer of 2008 while work­ing band­ing birds at the Beaver­hill Bird Obser­va­to­ry near Tofield, AB. I saw many beau­ti­ful sun­ris­es that sum­mer, although I didn’t always get the chance to cap­ture them in a pho­to­graph.

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Spectacular sunset over Edmonton

Fiery altostratus sunset

Fiery alto­stra­tus sun­set

This after­noon I went out for a walk at the Cook­ing Lake-Black­foot Provin­cial Recre­ation Area. I spent sev­er­al hours hap­pi­ly walk­ing the Lost Lake/Islet Lake trails in unsea­son­ably warm weath­er, but with a flat, grey lay­er of drab alto­stra­tus cloud over­head. That is to say, there weren’t many good pho­to­graph­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties. As I was dri­ving home, how­ev­er, the sun snuck through a gap in the cloud just above the hori­zon – with stun­ning effect. I had to pull over to watch the – all too brief – colours spread across near­ly the whole sky, and of course, take some pho­tographs. I find this type of sky can be very hard to get a good expo­sure, where it’s not too dark but the high­lights (espe­cial­ly the yel­lows) aren’t blown out or over-sat­u­rat­ed, leav­ing detail-less areas with­in the wispy strands of cloud. I think this one turned out quite well, and I real­ly like how the pat­tern of the cloud could be eas­i­ly mis­tak­en for fire, which is just what the sky looked like for a few min­utes – aflame. I hope you enjoy it too.

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