Specific theme or photographer’s choice – which is more challenging?
A set theme for the month prompts careful consideration, calls for creativity and may demand a lot of effort in terms of getting to a specific location at a specific time of day. while the easiest approach to photographer’s choice is to sit down at the end of the month and choose your favourite shots. A more difficult option is to set your own theme, triggering all the same challenges that come with a theme assigned by PJ, organizer of the monthly Photo Blogging Challenge.
Autumn is my favourite season, and it comes early to this part of the world. Peak colour usually happens in September. But in October, later sunrises and earlier sunsets make it easy to get out at just the right time to enhance lingering fall colours with golden hour light. Since Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, I chose “Thanksgiving” as my theme. These photographs, all made over the Thanksgiving long weekend spent in Canmore, showcase my heartfelt appreciation for:
- living so close to the Canadian Rockies,
- Mother Nature, and
- the freedom to be outside every day, for my physical and mental well-being.
1. Moon and Mountain Reflection
I still find it challenging to get a great shot of the moon at night; a tripod and manual focus are essential and the extreme dynamic range compounds the difficulty. So when the moon is still up when sunrise is just a few minutes away, I gratefully take advantage of the situation. Here, the moon and mountains (Ha Ling and Miner’s Peak) are reflected in a quiet side channel of the Bow River in Canmore.
2. Sunrise Flare
The pond in the big meadow along the Three Sisters Pathway varies in size – from nothing at all to four or five times bigger than shown here. The fact that it changes so much with seasonal precipitation makes it a good recurring location for photography. Shooting directly towards the sun once it rose above the horizon was only possible because of heavy cloud and a band of trees that turned an otherwise blown-out bright spot into a flare. Holding the camera overhead to get the entire frozen pond into the shot diminished the scale of Grotto Mountain on the left and Pigeon Mountain on the right.
3. Canmore Lamp House
While not immediately apparent in this shot, I am thankful there’s a sturdy, tall fence up around the century-old lamp house. This is where coal miners used to pick up their lamps before starting work; when they were returned at the end of the day, management could be sure all the men were safely out of the mine. A handful of determined individuals are working hard to raise funds to restore the decrepit building and have the building recognized as a provincial historic site.
4. Shoreline Still Life by Mother Nature
Even though there’s no chance of finding ocean glass or salvage from a shipwreck or tsunami, I still like to study the detritus along the shoreline of the Bow River – especially the sandy stretches. Mother Nature is the artist behind this autumn-themed still life.
5. Three Sisters Parkway
This short, scenic and sinewy parkway runs roughly parallel to the TransCanada Highway, from the Three Sisters exit a few kilometers east of Canmore to the main exit into downtown Canmore. Since it’s heavily traveled most of the time, I am thankful I happened along at a quiet moment that really shows off the gentle S-curve.
Thanks to PJ’s photo blogging challenge, I have the opportunity to showcase Canmore in autumn, as well as a carefully selected set of photos through which to explore other parts of the world.
I really appreciate that PJ keeps this challenge going month after month. The time frame makes it a low stress “photo assignment” that motivates me to keep working on my photography skills. New participants are welcome any time, so please join us! The next theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa on November 1st, so come back then and check it out!