Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia

Smoke in the Canadian Rockies

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When I look at my photo archive I’m impressed by how much we accomplished on this date in 2017, all of it accompanied by varying amounts of smoke from forest fires. The first picture shows a view along the Trans-Canada Highway as we drove east that morning from our hotel in Golden, British Columbia.

We continued on to two scenic and therefore much-visited lakes in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The photograph above shows Moraine Lake, with its richly colored water, later in the morning. The view below lets you see how sunshine radiated through the clouds and smoke over Lake Louise as dusk approached.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 8, 2020 at 4:12 AM

A colorful revisiting of Emerald Lake

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Hard to believe today marks three years since we stood at the edge of Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. Smoke from forest fires obscured the lake’s far shore but the turquoise color still came through to set off the slender red seed capsules of the fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) in the first photograph. On a different fireweed plant there I found the caterpillar of a bedstraw hawkmoth, Hyles gallii.

Although it was only a week into September,
so far north some foliage was already beginning to turn colors.

I was attracted to a bush with small white fruits and reddening leaves
that I take to be common snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2020 at 5:00 AM

Natural Bridge rock formations and waterfall

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A year ago today we stopped briefly for a second look at Natural Bridge on the Kicking Horse River in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The picture below shows the churning river as it flows downstream (toward you) from the falls.

But where, you might ask, is the natural bridge? A fair question. Here’s the stone bridge as I photographed it on our first visit two days earlier:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2018 at 4:53 AM

Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park

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A year ago today we stopped to visit the Paint Pots in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. The “paint” is ochre, which permeates the earth there. Parts of the ground are sodden, and in some places water flows over the ochred earth.

It was common to see dead trees fallen across the rivulets.

We followed the trail past the scenes shown in the first three photographs and ultimately came to a picturesque pond ringed with ochre. Notice—as if you could miss it—the approximate ellipse implied by the curved dead tree and its reflection.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 8, 2018 at 4:41 AM

Emerald Lake shore

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A year ago today we (and many other people) visited Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The smoke from forest fires dulled views of the surrounding mountains, as you see above, so for some pictures of the lake I aimed closer in. As an example of that approach take the second photograph, which plays up the tall trees while still allowing the color of the lake to come through.

The low plants along the water in the photograph above are sedges. Below is a close view of one taken from the shore looking back the opposite way. In “La Belle Dame sans Merci” Keats mentioned this type of plant:

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

 

And to counteract the pallor of any pale loiterers among you, here are some fireweed flowers (Chamaenerion angustifolium) that also grew close to the shore.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2018 at 4:46 AM

What I didn’t know about fireweed

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To tell the truth, before the trip to the Rocky Mountains in Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia, I knew almost nothing about fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium). In nature shows on television I’d occasionally caught a glimpse of the plants flowering, and that was about it.

In addition to yesterday’s strictly “vegetarian” post, three previous photographs showed you fireweed flowers and animals. In one case it was with a bumblebee, in another with a ground squirrel, and the third with a caterpillar. What impressed me about the plant in its own right was its seeds. The reddish seed pods are long and narrow, and when they open, which surprisingly often happens from the proximal rather than the distal end, they release seeds attached to silky strands, much like milkweed seeds. At the moment when I took the photograph above in Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29th, the newly freed seeds still partly preserved the alignment they’d had just a short while earlier when compressed inside their slender pods. That same temporary clinging to the past is visible in the photograph below, which is from near the shore of Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park on September 7th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 24, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Fireweed at the edge of Emerald Lake

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On September 7th, Yoho National Park‘s Emerald Lake served as a pastel backdrop for these buds and flowers of fireweed, Chamaenerion angustifolium.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Marble Canyon

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On September 8th we followed Tokkum Creek through Marble Canyon* in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. The photograph above captures the way we first saw the canyon.

The middle picture shows how high above the creek the trail takes visitors in several places. Notice that some leaves were already changing color.

The last photograph, taken at 1/800 of a second, gives you a view of the waterfall at the upstream end of the canyon. In the upper right you see some of the smoky haze that stayed with us for most of our trip (and that was thicker along the highway we took to get to Marble Canyon).

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* Coincidentally, Marble Canyon is the name given to a stretch of the Colorado River in Arizona. A couple of pictures from that area appeared here a year ago.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 24, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Bighorn sheep

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Not long after we set out eastbound along the Trans-Canada Highway from Golden, British Columbia, on the morning of September 7th, we spotted a group of animals by the side of the road. Naturally I pulled over and got out to take some pictures. I later learned that these are bighorn mountain sheep, Ovis canadensis. The adult males have thick, spiraling horns, so I assume these are females. More than once on the trip we saw bighorn mountain sheep browsing what seemed to be an area devoid of any vegetation, as shown here. It seems likely that the animals get salt or minerals by licking the ground.

And how about that collection of legs? I think I count 10 hooves when there ought to be 12.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 4, 2017 at 4:57 AM

Vermilion River

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A visitor to Marble Canyon in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park encounters the Vermilion River a short distance before its confluence with Tokumm Creek as that creek flows out of the canyon. Here from September 8th are two views showing that part of the Vermilion River and some of the picturesque rocks in it.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 24, 2017 at 4:37 AM

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