…also called “The Land of the Living Skies” has not disappointed this month and we still have 10 days to go… I posted about the summer solstice last and just realized that a full month has passed since! July 1st, Canada’s 149th birthday, arrived with the most glorious sunset I have witnessed for a while. Could it be that I have not ventured out much lately, perhaps! About an hour before sunset a friend sent me a text message warning of a severe storm heading in our direction.
Most people batten down the hatches, secure the patio furniture and remove awnings – we grab our cameras and tripods, jump into the car and head toward the clouds. It was a show that did not disappoint! The image above was captured along Hwy. # 2 going north of Moose Jaw, SK looking west before dipping into the western Qu’Appelle Valley.
We drove only 2 miles and found the perfect look out point. Immediately after the causeway over Buffalo Pound Lake we pulled into the parking lot: water, escarpments to the north and ever changing dark clouds – the perfect location if there ever was one. Breathtaking imagery… but there is more!
The sky was continually changing as the sun steadily disappeared on the horizon. The clouds took on the appearance of an oil painting and anticipation grew. So often the best show happens after the sun sets!
Could this be a funnel cloud at the far end of the lake?
Clouds like these in painting would be considered artificial and unrealistic – it cannot get more realistic than this!
Sheet lightning was illuminating the sky and every time I engaged the shutter I was not sure if I captured this phenomena. As I was processing the images today I realized that July 1st was the day I captured lighting for the first time! What a way to celebrate our country’s birthday!
These are the two best images I captured that evening. I hope you enjoyed this short weather report from three weeks ago. It’s all about the sky, the clouds, the reflections and nature in this province!
I never thought I would venture out looking for winter in Saskatchewan at the end of January. That is exactly what I did today. After several sunny days in a row and temperatures well above 0 C Buffalo Pound Lake is beginning to thaw. The water is open at the causeway, something we don’t usually witness till March. We took a drive and ended up at the Arm River Valley near Findlater, SK. It was already later in the afternoon and I just had to capture the lack of snow. Walking through the dry grass as I made my way to the crest of hill isolated snow patches crunched under my boots and the grass rustled in the gentle breeze.
It is difficult to believe that this is January 30th: A cloudless blue sky, golden light that bathed the dry landscape and were it not for the occasional snow patch I would think it is late fall.
My focus was directed to the trees. Without foliage the gnarly branches and rough bark make for wonderful contrast against the blue sky.
Near the frozen river’s edge this tree beckoned to be captured with its live branches opposite to the dead branch still reaching toward the water source.
Could it be a foreshadowing of what is to come?
The search for winter was rewarded with small snow patches that showed evidence of melting and freezing to create multiple layers that were illuminated by the setting sun.
I only carried my 17-35 mm lens with me wishing I had also brought my 105 mm macro lens. With the car too far away I would have lost all the light so I crouched down to capture the ice crystals only to discover them painted in a peachy gold by the late afternoon sun, beautiful and not visible when I stood above.
Another image that captured the sun painting along the edge where the ice met the path.
Back at the car I quickly changed lenses to make one last image of the peeling paint and rust on the locked gate to the park. Great inspiration and a great first shot with the new macro lens… I am going to use this Sigma 105mm macro lens a lot – love the tack sharp quality and excellent color rendition.
Thanks for coming along on my winter 2016 search – what a difference a year makes!
Cormorants scanning Buffalo Pound Lake
I am proud to announce that I will be hosting this year’s World Wide Photo Walk. If you find yourself in the Moose Jaw area and want to participate, visit the registration page for the walk and join the group. Here is the link to register. I have scouted the location yesterday and was pleased to see cormorants, a Kingfisher and bison. Fall colors are in full force and will provide wonderful opportunities for landscape images.
Please note: the address on the map on the Kelby site is a Moose Jaw address. We will meet at 3:30 pm at the entrance to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. To reach the entrance use Hwy 202 from Tuxford or Hwy 301 from the Weyburn junction. We will then proceed to the the Bison Corral. Watch for the road signs in case you miss the group leaving at 3:30 pm.
Once the walk concludes we have the option to gather informally at Carol’s Catering and Cafe on the north service road. This gathering is optional. It will provide us with an opportunity to share experiences and enjoy some refreshments.
I look forward to seeing you Saturday, October 3rd, 2015.
I live “at the lake”, Buffalo Pound Lake, Saskatchewan that is. And this year the lake has not been the most inviting to swimmers.
Yesterday my friend Jean stopped by. She is an artist who incorporates natural materials into her sculptures, and this time of the year is her busy time. A sense of urgency sets in and propels her out the door on a daily basis to look for roots, dried grasses and other useful things. We decided to head to Loney’s Beach first to see what we could find in the sand. While Jean was ecstatic about sun bleached craw fish heads and claws, tiny snails and various roots I decided to give my macro lens a good workout.
After my initial shock about the green sludge lining the shore almost lending it a neon-like glow I made a couple of images of the slow moving slime. I have never been very fond of green and this phenomena didn’t make me change my mind…
Time to turn my attention to the sandy part of the beach and there a brilliant green flash captured my attention. This jewel tone was more to my liking!
Two lady birds on a green leaf, at first passive, became quite animated. While watching their sluggish movements in the bright sun the top lady bird suddenly pushed forward and reached out with its front legs to give the other lady bird a definite push. A power struggle? There was plenty of space for two on the leaf!
A Painted Lady was also enjoying some time at the beach. It was more difficult to capture but with some patience I was finally able to get a few good, non blurry images. This image was cropped to showcase the bright colors.
Even burrs are beautiful as long as they don’t somehow fasten themselves to my dog’s fur, my shoe laces or other clothing…
…and leaves turning colors. Autumn is definitely on its way! Thank you, Jean for the excursion yesterday! Nature is such a wonderful harbinger of peace.
*** *** ***
Images captured with Nikon D610, Sigma 24-70mm lens (top 2 images), all macro images made with Sigma Macro 150 mm.
iPhone image made on April 14th, 2015 along the shores of Buffalo Pound Lake, SK
iPhone image of holding crystal clear shards of Candle Ice sparkling in the sunshine. Nature’s Art can’t be surpassed!
I consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed this one day phenomena this year. During an early morning walk I was pulled to the shore by the surreal noise the ice shards were transmitting. I had no other camera on me, so the iPhone “had to do” and it did nicely! I love the way it has captured the clarity of the ice. With the capability to make a short movie I didn’t hesitate to capture the movement of the ice, the noise it produced and the strong wind blowing across the water.
Several hours later I returned to the same location along Lonie’s Beach on the southern shore of Buffalo Pound Lake. The scene was much different. The wind had increased to speeds of up to 60 km/hr. Balancing in the strong wind gusts that brought tropical warmth across the waves I was able to make these images.
Close up and six hours after my morning encounter the ice was deteriorating quickly.
A few pockets of dense ice columns tried to weather the storm… literally!
Wave after wave broke down the avalanches of icy columns along the shallow shore.
The ice soon mingled with the murky waters. Twelve hours later the rich sparkles had dissolved into the lake. I consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed this natural event this year. Many times we miss it as the ice breaks down over night.
Our Canadian Prairie is full of such natural events – who says Saskatchewan is boring. Make sure to get off the Trans-Canada Highway now and again and ask the locals what might be happening nearby!
A walk around the neighborhood yesterday revealed unexpected sites: Run off on the south side of Buffalo Pound Lake this spring has resulted in the destruction of roads and years. We live here year-round, I can’t imagine how the part-time residents feel when they come out over the next month.
Here is a short video of what I witnessed yesterday:
This morning the water was frozen, but I am confident that the flow will start once more later in the day when the sun becomes stronger.
(Note: I am taking an iMovie class online. Be patient and not too critical as I learn how to select clips, add text and transitions.)