Evening sun at Maligne Lake

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.

A serene September evening at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park by Cathy Kelly.

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!

Vibrant Moraine Lake

Even in a steady rain, the vibrant color of Moraine Lake in Alberta Canada is striking. Add some fall color for contrast, and include some fallen tree trunks for foreground elements, and you the viewer are right there with me, walking along the lake’s edge.

Walking along Moraine Lake in the rain, we admired the Canadian Rockies and their glaciers.

Big Daddy Moose

moose, canada, Alberta, jasper, horns, wildlife, safety, male, woods, sundog, sony
Evening light was low, and the moose was in motion. With an ISO of 4000 on the Sony mirrorless camera, I was able to capture this image of a powerful male moose with a well developed rack.

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.

This bull moose is large, heavy and dangerous, but no match for the bull moose with the larger horns.

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.

Full Moon Photography

For the next full moon on Saturday September 14, I will be alongside Lake Louise in Canada. Lucky me! I have never been to the Canadian Rockies before, and I won’t have access to a car, so it’s pretty hard to plan ahead for this photo opportunity. But I will pack my tripod and check the PhotoPills app for the timing of moon rise and moon set while I am there.

Last year, I was lucky to be in Grand Teton National Park for the Full Moon on a photography workshop. I had lots of moral support in the frosty early morning while I photographed the moon set against the amazing foreground of Mount Moran.

As the sun rose behind us in the East, the moon set in the West in Grand Teton National Park.

Here’s hoping I will manage to make some good images at Lake Louise!

I Wish I Were There

I know: the typical line on a scenic post card is “Having a great time, and wish you were here.” This weekend the opposite was true. My daughter Erin was hiking and loving the scenery in Grand Teton National Park, and I wished I were there!

My memories are fresh and sweet from Grand Teton National Park, because I was there recently in late September 2018 for six days of photography from before sunrise to after sundown. I’ll look up an image that I haven’t already shared with you.

The majestic Grand Tetons in early morning light. A patch of golden trees reveals the season: Fall.

Jackson Hole, I will be back! While some of roads are inaccessible in winter, I’m sure the Tetons are beautiful in all four seasons.

Secret of the Aspens

The shimmering golden aspens of the Rocky Mountains are known for their white trunks and brilliant fall color, but did you know their biological secret? Clumps of aspen trees are actually clones of each other. Yes! They share the same DNA.

The National Forest Foundation explains it this way:

One aspen tree is actually only a small part of a larger organism. A stand or group of aspen trees is considered a singular organism with the main life force underground in the extensive root system.”

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Stands of golden aspen trees flourish in Grand Teton National Park. September, 2018.

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Black Bear in Grand Teton NP

While Black Bears are not considered as dangerous as Grizzly Bears, they are still no match for a human, so we need to keep our distance and take care not to attract or provoke them. I spotted this bear quite a way up the hillside above the road, and I was able to use my 400mm lens, steadied with a tripod, to capture this photograph. (I was not as close to it as it appears.)

#bear, #grandtetonnationalpark, #grandtetons, #nationalpark, #wildlife, #sony, #RRS, #tripod, #staysafe, #keepyourdistance
Black bear grazing in Grand Teton National Park, observing a cluster of excited humans with cameras.

I have read that the Black Bear’s eyesight and hearing are better than a humans. Its sense of smell is WAY better, seven times better than that of a dog. Signs warn national park visitors not to leave food in a cooler inside a car, for a black bear might smell it and destroy the car to reach the food. Food lockers are available, but you better hope that everyone locks the locker well, or everybody’s supplies will be gone.

A human is no match for the speed and the strength of a bear. Take your photo, and then get back in the car and move on!