At first glance, you might not look at this photograph and realize something is terribly wrong. Something is killing the lodgepole pine trees in Western Canada. Do you see the “red” trees? They are dead lodgepole pines, and the blight has engulfed nearly half the forest in Jasper National Park.
The villain behind this vast arboricide is a tiny insect called the mountain pine beetle. It lays eggs under the bark that leads to fungus, blocking the circulation inside a pine tree trunk, killing it. With the warmer weather of climate change, the pine beetle has flourished, unchecked by mild winters.
What is Parks Canada going to do? For a long time, the answer was “nothing,” because the philosophy was not to interfere with the ways of Nature. Recently, however, workers have begun cutting down some of the dead trees to reduce fire risk to nearby communities.
Botanists have discovered that the lodgepole pine cones, containing the seeds that would start regeneration only open in the extreme heat of a forest fire. After a natural forest fire has swept the acreage, then the seeds will begin to grow the next generation of lodgepole pines. To me, it seems like a harsh path of evolution wherein the pest thrives, the verdant hillside dies and waits for lightening to strike.
To read more about the pine beetle crisis, you can click here.
Gazing at the clarity of the rocks under water and the clarity of the reflection on the lake, I’m not sure what would happen if I stepped into this lake… Would my sneakers get wet as I balanced and slid on those round rocks? Or is the lake surface really reflective glass that would allow me to walk across?
I have to give my husband Charlie all the credit for suggesting that we walk a few miles back from the town of Jasper to the Jasper Park Lodge. We approached the Lodge along the lake and golf course on a perfect September afternoon.
Looking for wildlife in Jasper National Park one evening, we stopped to admire the view at Maligne Lake. The wide vista offered a tapestry of blue and green hues, stretching from the clouds in the sky to the ripples in the lake and the evergreens on the lakeshore.
This image will be included in my 2020 Landscape photography calendar. If you would enjoy a new collection of Cathy Kelly’s images for the low price of a calendar, email Cathy to put your name on the list!
Driving the Icefield’s Parkway in Alberta Canada and watching the constantly changing panorama of peaks and glaciers, rushing streams and ever changing sky is like watching a fire in the fireplace. It’s mesmerizing. The peaks are always changing shape. Sometimes the sun pops out to illuminate a small area. Sometimes a green-tinted glacial creek emerges into view, rushing over rocks behind the fir trees. Glaciers hang in the high valleys. Yellow trees punctuate the green space. We passed bridal veil falls and Mirror Lakes, but we sped past, not stopping.
The view changes every few seconds along one of the most scenic drives in the world. It’s a long ride from Jasper to Banff. Imagine how long it would take if I were stopping for photos. As we sped along, I felt like a sports photographer, keeping my ISO high, my shutter speed at 1,000 of a second, and hoping I would click the shutter at the right instant without a tall pine tree obstructing the view.
Those who enjoyed the view, listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, had the right idea. I recommend the drive to you.
I hear there is much more traffic during ski season, so September/October might be ideal.
This time of year, it’s mating season for moose. Male moose that have grown a big rack, let the younger, less developed males know they are superior. They attract a “harem” of females with which to mate. They may sow their seed and impregnate several females. Female moose, I’m told by Derek of Sundog Wildlife Excursions, are attracted to the males with big antlers, by instinct. Perhaps they project that their offspring will be alpha males as well some day.
Along the roadside near Jasper, Alberta, Canada, we spotted 5 moose — a female, a calf and 3 males. It was tough to get a clear photograph of the male with the fully developed rack since he walked behind the brush. When he did come out to walk by the road where we had a clear view of him, the Parks Canada truck cut in front of us, blocking our view and presumably shielding the animal from spectators in cars. Personally I think the alpha males working for Parks Canada wanted the best view to themselves, as we stayed respectfully inside our vehicles. Anyway, I got one exposure of Mighty Moose in the dwindling light through an open window, and here it is.
Just to show you a comparison, here is my photo of a younger male moose with newly developing horns. Hopefully one day, he will attract a harem of females and enjoy his mating season as the Big Cheese.
For me the American photographer, I was pleased to have five chances to photograph these enormous wild animals on a random evening in September. Word on the street is that most visitors aren’t as lucky. Derek’s record as a regular guide is six.