Photo Blogging Challenge – Summer (August 2013)

My experience is that August triggers a wide range of emotions. The start of the month is the peak of summer, laden with so much potential for amazing hikes, challenging bike rides and lazy days on the deck or the beach. But as the days tick past, time seems to accelerate until we’re in that mad rush of preparing for back to school and back to work and we are faced with resuming all the usual routines that govern life come September.

After heavy rains in June (massive flooding) and regular showers in July, summer finally arrived in our part of the world this month. We enjoyed lots of time in nature, so all of my photos for this month’s challenge were taken outdoors. There were two unusual aspects to our August. First off, Mr. GeoK was recovering from a mountain biking injury, so we opted not to do any hiking. Instead, we racked up lots of distance on our mountain bikes. Second, we took part in the 31 Days of Geocaching challenge. Since we haven’t done much caching over the past few years, we had lots of potential finds in both Calgary and Canmore.

1. Geocaching Walk in the Woods – I took lots of geocaching walks in the woods this month…lots of geobike rides, too. For me, the colours of the green leaves and blue sky in this photo are the official colours of summer. Only a high-in-the-sky, bright summer sun can create those particular hues. This image was created along a pathway in west Calgary, but because it was through an urban woods with a hard-packed gravel (rather than a paved) pathway, it’s a scene that also evokes memories of geocaching walks in the countryside around Calgary and of some of the trails in the Canmore area. I opted for an intentional camera movement (ICM) image because I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with this technique over the summer.

Geocaching walk through the woods

Dragonfly2. Animal Life – We’ve spotted coyotes, bears, elk, deer, birds, insects, squirrels, jackrabbits this summer. In fact I had a relatively close encounter with a couple of coyotes earlier this week, when I was out searching for a geocache in west Calgary. While great photos of bears and bucks are usually considered the “money” shots, my decent Ursidae and Wapiti photos are from earlier this season. Instead, here’s a colourful dragonfly. I’ve seen lots of blue dragonflies and golden brown dragonflies in the Calgary area, but this is the first turquoise/green one I’ve seen. It only paused long enough for one photo before taking off in search of more mosquitoes and aphids for lunch. Dragonflies are a positive contrast to the thriving populations of hornets, ants and mosquitoes we’ve been battling most of this summer.

Bow River just east of Canmore, Mount Rundle in the distance3. Bow River – Water is a key ingredient when it comes to enjoying summer. Rafting, sailing, SUPping, swimming, wading, fishing all offer up the potential for great summer memories. The June flood along the Bow River created some horrific memories this summer. Many lives and the river’s channel are irrevocably changed by the most recent flood. Here we are, two months later, and the Bow River is back to regular water volumes and its usual turquoise colour. Photographed where the Bow River flows under the 4-lane TransCanada highway bridge just east of Canmore, this image represents the positive attitude and big hearts of all the members of Alberta communities flooded at the start of the summer.

Late August afternoon root vegetable harvest4. Vegetable Harvest – I remember picking fresh peas and raspberries and digging potatoes and carrots from the large backyard vegetable garden my parents started as soon as they could afford to buy a house. Funny thing is, I did the same thing as soon as Mr. GeoK and I bought our house! For the most part, I try to plant vegetables that don’t need a lot of care – just the occasional weeding and a couple of dousings by the sprinkler system each week. Even so, I spend at least a few hours a week out there – preparing, planting, weeding, harvesting, checking for pests and diseases, etc. I recently devoted an entire post to the mixed results from this year’s vegetable gardening efforts. The Ruby Gold potatoes are the highlight of our 2013 harvest (at least so far).

5. Amazing Skies – August skies seem to be Mother Nature’s favourite canvas. Every day brings the potential for a colourful sunrise, amazing sunset, summer storm, intense blue, and/or puffy white clouds scudding overhead. As the days grow shorter, the sun sets a little farther south each evening. Add some smoke from a forest fire just over the border in British Columbia and from wildfires in Idaho and California and we witnessed some spectacular sunsets this month. I created a lot of intentional camera movement sunset images this month, but opted for a conventional skyscape for this challenge. Smoke in the atmosphere made a red ball of the sun as it sank towards the mountain horizon.

Amazing sunset

This post is thanks to P.J. over at a ‘lilhoohaa for hosting this monthly photo blogging challenge. Click here to see P.J.’s photos of summer and to access a list of other photo blogging posts for month six of this challenge.

9 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Summer (August 2013)

  1. I like the ICM shot. I have fun with those at times, too. Great colors. A great series of shots this month and I like, as always, the descriptions with them. Calgary is a place I’d like to visit one day as it seems like endless possibilities for great shots!

  2. These are some really great photos, and I love the story behind each photo. I bet it takes some practice to get the ICM to look that good!

    1. I have a love/hate relationship with ICM – for every photograph I share, I send at least 8 or 10 to the digital trash can! Sunsets and skies are least challenging, flowers are not too bad, but landscapes that are still a bit recognizable are quite a challenge. I can’t even begin to imagine tackling the ICM portraits and street photography that I see done so well in the flickr ICM group!!

    1. I am lucky to have an amazing view to the west, where we see so many dramatic sunsets every year. Always happy to share them – here and on flickr. As for the potatoes – so good! Just a little butter, salt and pepper and I’d be happy to have nothing but baked Ruby Gold potatoes for supper!

  3. These are spectacular shots! The first one looks like a watercolor and I love the effect. The rest are equally fantastic. But that last one takes the prize (if there was one)! Stunning colors. I really liked your commentary for each one as well.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I’ve had really mixed results from my attempts at intentional camera movement photography. Sunsets seem pretty easy, but landscapes are pretty challenging. Some of the photographers in the flickr ICM group use ICM to shoot people photos, too! I can’t imagine how much practice that must take.

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