May Serenity Blog Circle - 4 AM wake up calls

At the end of April, I attended my very first destination landscape photography workshop. You know, the ones where the entire workshop is centered around chasing the best light, so mornings are early, evenings are late and sleeping and eating are secondary to the shot? And at the end, you are exhausted, yet exhilarated.

The workshop was held in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon with Don Smith and Gary Hart, both seriously talented landscape photographers. Sunrise shoots meant waking up extremely early! I am not a morning person and when that alarm went off at 4 am, I won’t lie, it was hard to get myself up and dressed! I had myself extremely organized with all my gear and clothing set out for the morning, so I could spend as many precious minutes under the covers as possible.

Our first sunrise location was Trout Lake, with snow covered Mt. Adams (actually a volcano) in the distance, standing tall and reflecting in the calm water. As we waiting for the sun to rise, we were treated to the sounds of birds, geese and ducks waking up and starting their day. The colours of the sky slowly changed and as the sun rose higher it painted the volcano and the foliage with light.

This is one of those locations, that if I had access to it regularly, I’d want to shoot in all 4 seasons, as I can imagine how different it would look in each season.

Once that initial shock of the 4 am wake up call wore off and I was standing in nature, watching and listening to the world awaken, I could appreciate the serenity of an early morning.

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue our circle to to see what has brought my friends serenity this month.

Next in the circle is Nancy Armstrong, Kansas Photographer. Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

March Serenity Blog Circle - Finding Serenity in Nature

As I logged in to write this blog post, I saw that my last one was from January and I had written how we’d had a mild winter and I’d been getting outside as much as I could. Well, that was January, then February hit us like a freight train! February seemed to be a miserable weather month all over North America. Here in my part of the world, we had ridiculously cold temperatures for the entire month, we set records with how long it lasted. I was lucky enough to escape to California for the Click Away conference for 5 days, but even California was having unseasonably cool and wet weather in February.

So, while I had been getting lots of time outside before February, during February I barely left the house. Part of the reason for that was that I had bunion surgery mid month, but my timing with the weather couldn’t have been better - I simply hibernated for a couple weeks! Because of this, I didn’t go out in search of serenity, but I went back into my archives of unedited images and remembered times of serenity from warmer seasons.

As I worked on this image, I remembered how I felt sitting in this beautiful spot and it made me realize how calming just being in nature is. Have you heard of Forest Bathing? It originated as a Japanese practice, but the main premise is simply that spending time in nature, using all your senses to take in the sounds, smells and sights is beneficial to your health. And apparently, it is scientifically proven to improve blood pressure, boost mood, decrease inflammation amongst many other things. I totally believe in this premise - who doesn’t feel better after spending a little time listening to the birds around you, putting your feet on the green grass, smelling the refreshing scent of pine trees and watching the clouds float by in the sky? I know I do.

My daughter and I stopped at this location on the way home from the mountains of Banff National Park last year. It’s a short walk in to the river and when you get there you are greeted with this iconic view of the Three Sisters (the three peaks) reflecting in the slow meandering water. As we sat there we listened to the bird song, the sounds of the water and admired the view. THEN we heard the bugle of an elk from across the river and shortly after a female and her young one walked across the stream off in the distance.

Click on the image for a larger view.

I think this is why I love landscape photography so much. There is definite serenity to be found even when good photography isn’t!

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue our circle to to see what has brought my friends serenity this month.

Next in the circle is Jillian Baudry, Photographer in the South of France. Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

January Serenity Blog Circle - A warm winter walk

Here in Calgary, Alberta we have had an unseasonably warm and dry winter. In October, we had an early, large snowfall putting a quick end to the beautiful fall season we often enjoy here. We received about a foot of snow. Since then, we’ve had minimal snowfall and mild temperatures. While it makes for a comfortable winter and good driving conditions, I know it is not good for the farmers or our lawns and gardens or the wildfire season.

I’ve tried to take advantage of the mild conditions and have been getting out walking with my camera. This week, I headed out to one of my favourite local urban parks and enjoyed temperatures of +9 degrees celcius while soaking up the sun. I encountered numerous people on bike or foot, taking advantage of the weather - here in Alberta, we could be up to our knees in snow again by the next day, you just never know.

All pictures in this post were taken using my Lensbaby Sweet35, a lens I don’t use often because I’m not sure I love it. I always see images that someone else takes using the same lens and fall in love with them, so I keep trying to use it.

Click on the images to see them larger.

Every Christmas season, someone decorates this little tree at the entrance to the park.

There is beauty to be found in all seasons.

I think one of the reasons I love this park is all the water elements - pathways wind along the river and around ponds where birds, waterfowl, beavers, deer and coyotes all live. There is just something about water that draws me in.

Ice and light patterns

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to to see what has brought her serenity this month. Joan Showers of Joan Showers Photography is up next. Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

November 2018 Serenity Blog Circle - An Early Morning by the Ocean

In early September, my daughter and I took a short trip to Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. It was the first time either of us had ever visited the area. We stayed at the lovely Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa which was just the perfect spot to relax. We explored, spent time at the spa, enjoyed the ocean and the beautiful gardens at the resort.

I will always find serenity by the ocean. Each morning during our stay, I would get up to check what the sunrise looked like. The first morning we were there, I got up and wandered down to the beach in front of the resort with my camera gear to wait for sunrise. It was absolutely serene sitting there, mostly by myself, listening to the loons as the sun rose. After a while a seal popped his head out of the water close by and off in the distance I could hear the otters playing. At this point I texted my daughter to get out of bed and come enjoy it with me. She spent hours beach combing and exploring the beaches like a little kid.

The sunrise did not disappoint that morning and I sat in awe of what I was seeing.

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to to see what has brought her serenity this month. Iris Nelson Photography in Arizona, is up next. Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

July Serenity Circle - Serenity in Sunrise

I am not a morning person - I really really wish I was.  

Earlier this month, I found myself awake at 5 am and happened to look out the window and see all the misty fog laying low over the ground.  I had a short internal debate with myself about whether to crawl back into my cozy bed or grab my gear and head out to the back field to try and capture the beauty of the foggy sunrise.  The sunrise won! I could nap later. 

The fact that I could just go into my own backyard made the decision pretty easy.  I didn't even have to brush my teeth! No drive to a shooting location, fighting for a spot! 

It was worth missing a little sleep.  It was peaceful watching the sky change, listening to the birds and seeing the dew before it evaporated in the warmth of the sun. 

Click on the images to see a larger version. 

one of the old horse shelters, no longer used

Waking up and drying off.

looking away from the sun

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to Wendy May in Scotland to see what has brought her serenity this month.