Sunday, January 27, 2008


Canon EOS 40D with 13mm - f8 - 1/8sec @ ISO 100 - fill flash

As I set up my camera on the corner of the Inverlake road and range road 274 the wind growing in force out of the northwest sent a shiver up and down my spine. The temperature at the moment was hovering at -10 Celsius, but that was not what what was sending shivers through me. It was what I knew was on its way that I had not experienced in some time. What would that be you ask? Before this day ended we would experience a blizzard not unlike the ones that I recall experiencing on the prairies of southern Saskatchewan. I could feel it coming as well as see the tell-tale signs in the sky to the east, giving notice as to what this day would bring.

This winter storm moving in to the area had its beginnings as a high pressure ridge coming down from the high Arctic, that ran smack dab into a low pressure ridge lying over Southern Alberta. I was now experiencing two of the three ingredients necessary to form a blizzard. The winds blowing out of the northwest and growing in strenght was the first and as I continued east on Inverlake road, I was seeing signs of the second in the form of rapidly falling temperatures as recorded on my truck thermometer, only slightly more accurate that the one used by Environment Canada.

Upon coming up on Highway 9 I made the turn south and quickly came up on Highway 1. I decided to stay off of Highway 1 as it would not be a good choice for photos that I had in mind as the wind had continued to pick up with ground drifting of snow. I proceeded across Highway 1 picking up secondary highway 791 and headed for Langdon to the south. By the time I pulled up to the four way stop at Langdon, the temperature had dropped to -15 Celsius. I made a brief stop for munchies to go and noted the winds were steadily increasing and getting downright nasty as I tried to keep the door of my truck from being damaged by the gusting winds.


As I headed east from Langdon on Glenmore Trail, the third and final ingredient required for a blizzard showed its face in the form of snow that had started falling as I left Langdon. Of course the snow was not so much falling as it was being whipped about by the wind now much stronger and making for poor visibility as I worked my way east towards secondary highway 817 where I would proceed north up the 817 to Strathmore.
The temperature continued to drop with my truck thermometer now hovering at -18 Celsius. I pulled over on a approach where I got out and measured the wind speed with my hand held anemometer which registered a wind speed in the 50-60 kph range. Back in the comfort of my truck cab with the heater blasting out comforting heat, I did the math and came up with -34 Celsius when the wind was factored in.

Visibility was now very poor as I came up on the 817 and caution was in order as vehicles were difficult to see through the blowing snow. As I turned north towards Strathmore I was glad that it was in the middle of the day, as by tonight the visibility would keep you off of the road. I noticed a slight respite from the snow upon my arrival in Strathmore and after a quick stop at the Tim Horton's drive-through for a coffee, I headed my truck down Highway 1 towards Calgary and home before the brunt of the storm arrived. I enjoyed my time capturing these photos and others on this day as nothing beats bad weather in whatever form it arrives for cool-ok neat photos. So my motto is-Never forget your camera when out in a Blizzard.

Canon EOS 40D with 200mm - f8 - 1/60sec @ ISO 100

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