February seems to be “the” month to celebrate love. We commemorate romantic love on Valentine’s Day. Some honor how much their platonic friends mean to them on Palentine’s Day. February 13th is also known as Galentine’s Day. And then, spotlighting our love for family members, many Canadian provinces hold Family Day on the third Monday of February.

Humans also profess love for pets (celebrated on Pet Day in April), experiences, and things. For this month’s Photo Blogging Challenge, host PJ invited participants to share how love manifests in their lives.

I regularly say “I love you” to family and close friends. You never know if it’s your last chance to say those three powerful words. For the same reason, I end my text messages to that same group with XO or a string of emoji hearts in every colour of the rainbow.

Despite this daily practice, it took me a while to select the photos for this post. That’s mainly because I get so involved in conversations when visiting family and friends that I forget to take photos of us spending time together!

So here’s my set of (almost) personless photos that somehow relate to love.

1. Love Live ND

One feature of my big camera is Live ND (neutral density). At the press of a button, I have up to 64-stops of neutral density filter applied computationally, in camera. It’s fun to play around with this feature. It’s essential when photographing waterfalls. But I also enjoy trying it out on autumn leaves, bright colourful things and even the Bow River. I especially love that I don’t have to a) remember to pack a filter pouch; and b) dig out said filter pouch to attach a neutral density filter to my lens when something piques my interest to experiment.

Olympus (now OM-System) cameras have had this (and other computational features) for many years. It’s interesting that over the past few years, Sony, Canon and Nikon have added similar features – branded with different names – to some of their cameras.

These shades of blue are a representation of the surface of the Bow River flowing through Canmore on a sunny day. The water is crystal clear in winter, and that signature mountain turquoise in summer (when glacial melt introduces rock flour to the water). To get true blues, conditions have to be just right to reflect blue sky off the water.

long exposure of shades of blue water in the Bow River

2. Love Thy Neighbour (But Give Them Space)

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. I can’t help but think that if we applied this to our plant and animal neighbours, it would go a long way towards resolving the biodiversity crisis.

One of Canmore’s community values is human-wildlife coexistence. You never quite know whether you’re going to encounter wildlife when you head out for a walk, hike, bike, snow-shoe or cross-country ski experience. Bears, coyotes, elk, deer and cougars are among the larger animals on the local landscape.

A few times this month, we encountered the large herd of elk that lives in the town limits. Most times, we spotted them as we were heading away from home. So we just stopped and turned around.

One Thursday morning, I had finished the outbound part of my route and was heading back home. Less than 10 minutes from our house, I ran into the elk herd. I crossed to the other side of the highway to get around most of them. But then I was trapped…between this group of elk on the pathway and property marked with multiple “No Trespassing” signs. It was an easy choice. I trespassed, waited for the elk to pass by, then continued on my way. Three school bus lengths is the safe minimum distance from elk!

elk on pathway

3. Love is Love

Rainbows prompt me to think of the original Pride flag. Of course there are now many variants of the rainbow flag, reflecting the many identities loosely captured by the LGBTQ2S+ initialism.

Which goes to explain why the phrase “love is love” popped into my head when we spotted a rainbow cloud over Canmore this month. To learn more about these fairly rare iridescent clouds, check out this page on the SciLink website. And to see close-up photos of the rainbow cloud we spotted, watch the Relive video Mr GeoK created for our walk that day.

rainbow cloud

4. Season of Love

Most years, it’s pretty clear that February is NOT part of spring. But most of this particular February was very mild in the Bow Valley. So much so that we spotted magpies scoping out nest sites and a pair of mallard ducks (pictured here) doing that head bobbing things that ducks do during spring mating season. The male common goldeneye shook out its wings as if to signal “no public displays of affection!” No PDA – is that still a thing?

mallard duck courtship

5. Love You For Always

I’ve been adventuring with Mr GeoK for more than 35 years now. Maybe we’ll be blessed with another 35 years of adventures here on earth.

He was a good sport about being the subject of a “butt shot” during our sunrise photo shoot at Vermilion Lakes one morning in February. He took his new tripod out for the first time and was very happy with the ease of set-up and stability.

man on hands and knees on ice photographing mountain sunrise

Bonus photo

As for me, I was happy that we actually got some sunrise colour. And grateful to all the photographers who work diligently to keep a couple of open water holes in the thick ice, for better foreground interest and beautiful reflections.

sunrise at Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park

That’s it for this month. It’s time to head over to A ‘lil HooHaa to see what everyone else came up with for the theme of Love.

And please – join us for March. The theme is Ten, to mark the tenth anniversary of this photo blogging challenge. Hard to believe our small and friendly community has been together for a decade! Thanks, PJ, for coming up with the idea. And for keeping it going. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Love

  1. You always take such lovely photos and your commentary is always so very thoughtful. So many things to love about life. You touched on a few of my favorites. 💜

  2. Butt shot, bahahaaahahaha! Thank you, Mr Geok!
    Denise, you took such wonderful pictures, and I would have chosen the trespassing path as well!
    I have never seen a rainbow this way! Awesome sight!

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