Sunday, June 07, 2009

Chasing The Light

It's amazing how all in the course of 24 hours, the weather can make a such a dramatic turn-around. 24 hours ago, I was near the end of highway 66 chasing photos in heavy snow, and this on the 6th of June. I am sure that gardeners were worried that all the planting they have did in the last few weeks, would all go down the drain with the forecast for snow and near freezing temperatures. I had left Calgary at 6:00am in rain with a mixture of snow thrown in for good measure, and by the time I cleared the west side of town, snow was coming down quite heavy and accumulating on the ground. I saw no other vehicles on highway 66 west of Bragg Creek and would not for several more hours. Just after 7:00am, I had my truck parked near a bog, just off of the Powderface Trail in Kananaskis Country. I was hoping to see moose feeding in this bog, however with the snow coming down so heavy, I was beginning to think that I should have stayed home. Movement on the far side of the bog in the brush, had me reaching for my binoculars. Sure enough, a young female moose was browsing on vegetation on the far side of the bog. I knew that with the heavy snow , I would have to get in closer, if I was going to have any chance of getting any photos in all the snow. Looking through my telephoto lens made things worse as the high magnification, magnified the falling snow blotting everything out. I had been smart enough to throw my foul weather gear in the truck with me before leaving home. I soon was set and stepped from the truck into the snow. Actually, it was quite pleasant with the temperature hovering around +2 Celsius. I made my way down to the bog and after a few minutes, I was able to settle down behind a downed tree that allowed me to use my binoculars, while resting my camera across this downed tree that was partially submerged in the water. For a few minutes, I thought that I had maybe spooked the moose off and she would now be in heavy cover. Movement a hundred meters away, had me glassing the trees in that direction. Movement, brought the outline of the moose into focus in my binoculars. I quickly let go of them and reached for my camera that was covered in snow at this point. Fortunately, the lens-hood on the lens was keeping the snow off of the front element. It was tough to bring the moose in-to focus, as the auto-focus on the camera was having trouble locking on, due to the heavy snow coming down. I gave up on the auto focus and shut it off before manually focusing on the moose. After shooting several photos, a glance at the histogram on the LCD told the tale. The results sucked, and were not going to improve any-time soon with all the snow coming down. I finally gave it up and made my way back to my truck. Striping off my foul weather gear, I decided to call it a day and head back to Bragg Creek for a Chai-Latte before heading back to Calgary.

One sleep and 24 hrs later with the time just after 6:00am, I was east of Calgary where fog covered the landscape, due to all the humidity in the air from the last two days of rain and snow. I had left home early enough to see the dawn break on yet another beautiful day in Southern, Alberta. After yesterdays mud-bogging venture chasing after a most elusive moose in the snow, I was pleased with this day. I stopped at Tim's in Chestermere for a coffee and a bagel to go and decided to check out a few backroads that I had in mind as well as checking out the Bow to the south. I would not have enough time to do any fishing, as I was meeting my daughter for breakfast in a couple of hours. Before that happened, I had time to chase the light for a time. That came to mind, because at one point I was stopped overlooking the Bow, when a minivan stopped and a fellow photog made the comment that there were two of us out chasing the light on this morning. After a time he continued making his way down to the river where several fishermen were launching a drift boat for a float trip down river. I was using my 24/105mm lens with the replacement hood that I had picked up at the Camera Store, to replace the one that I lost in a beaver dam a week ago. I could have used it in the snow 24 hrs prior, as snow kept getting the front element wet, without the protection of a lens-hood. I also made another purchase while at the camera store that I had been meaning to for some-time. I purchased a wireless shutter release, that is a radio frequency type and I was pleased to find that I am able to get a 100 ft of range easily, allowing me to fire my camera from a distance. The transmitter allows me to auto-focus the camera and verify focus before releasing the shutter. Both the transmitter , as well as the receiver operate on a frequency of 433mhz, and if in close proximity to a similar device, I am able to switch the operating channel. This wireless shutter-release will be my new best friend in those situations that I find myself in from time to time. I stopped several times while driving to work a pass of the different amateur radio satellites that orbit the earth. I had been very active on them for a time, and then had gotten away from them. However I recently have become active on them again, and have made many new acquaintances as well as run in to many of the guy's that I used to work. I had forgotton how cool it is to be able to work a satellite with a footprint of 6000 kilometers, as it comes up over the pole allowing for contacts with other guy's within this footprint. I will be posting on this at a later date, but for now, its time that I head on in, if I am to be on time for my breakfast date with my daughter. See you on the birds.

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