Winter Whiteout

On days when snow is pouring down it silence of the world and the enormity of open territory are quite effective.  It is an artists’ paradise, well, at least for a photographer.  Even the hardiest of watercolourists can’t keep their washes from freezing on a day like this one.  Sometimes the camera can say it all anyway.  This barn exists in the open land near Spirit River, Alberta, and has withstood many storms like this one.


Jasper Wildlife

Of course when painting en plein air, even with a group of people as with Watercolour in Jasper, wildlife is always a consideration.  On our trip in mid-September we saw plenty of large animals in the park, although none were curious about us.


Moose had been causing a stir on the route to Maligne Lake. A photography stop at a small pull out turned up these two, a mother and calf. At first we were by ourselves, having a quiet moment with nature. Before long though, the hoardes noticed us looking into the bush and descended, most in search of a great photo. We were lucky to wiggle the car back onto the road and escape; the moose had to stay and ready for winter as the paparazzi looked on.


Imagine the attraction of a gorgeous male moose! The highway was lined with people pulled onto narrow shoulders and streaming the edge of a steep hill to have a look at this guy. Camera in one hand, baby in another, a man beside me narrowly avoided being hit by a car as he got his shot. Thousands of photos were taken of this moose, in exactly the same position, in the ten minutes we were there.


This elk narrowed her chances of being photographed by hanging around Tekarra Lodge. Only the people staying there would see her. As you can see, she has also perfected the Rear View Photographic Evasion Tactic (RVPET).


Yawn. What’s the big fuss about, anyway?

Horseshoe Mosaics


Horseshoe Lake near Jasper, Alberta, has perfectly clear, still water allied with a jumble of rock in various shapes and sizes.  The resulting mosaic-like part and counterpart of the shoreline and reflection is fascinating.

The largest picture is a reflection of the dominant cliff face, not loose rock.  Click on any picture to see it bigger.

Horseshoe Lake

Our first destination with Watercolour in Jasper was Horseshoe Lake, an unusual lake with three or four completely different perspectives.  The introduction to the lake is one arm of the horseshoe that is shallow and rocky, a creek that disappears underground.  Walk clockwise around the inside of the shoe and you come across this fantastic canal-like squeeze:


Continue to follow the lake as it doubles back on itself to see Mount Kerkeslin dominating an entirely different view.  Fewer people make it to this part of the lake.DSCF3834

Here’s Carolyn’s painting set up.  It was cold: barely above zero when we arrived but warming up to 13 degrees Celsius by the time we left.  It was possible to take off the ski pants and even a coat or two.  What a thrill to be on location, in the elements, with 14 other watercolourists!DSCF3858

Using Special Effects

Smoke can make a verdant place like B.C. seem awfully pale.  To compensate for the dullness caused by the polluted air I used a variety of special effects on my camera.  This one is dramatic mode – for a dramatic waterfall! Helmcken Falls looks movie-moody in the second shot, and the odd phenomenon of the river below the falls seeming to rise up and over something as it turns toward the view is enhanced as well.


Waterfall Gem

I can’t remember the name of this lovely waterfall just up the path from a campground.  I do remember that the information book said it wasn’t much of a waterfall: on the scale of B.C. waterfalls it hardly registered.  Well it registered with me! It was a beautiful cool, misty spot with clear cold water and a beautiful cedar setting.  I think the name was something like McDonald Falls.  Sigh.

Travel Critters

We saw a few wild things on our journey to Southern B.C. through the Rockies and Kootenays.  Here are some of the critters sharing our wild lands.  The chipmunk was very wary of the kayak and the camera, but shelter was readily available should the need arise.  The young black bear had no idea we were across the river and up the hill.  The day was hot – too hot to play much, so after tossing a stick and running a bit, this guy went back to the cool shade of the forest.