June Serenity Blog Circle - Back Country Drives

Something I used to do more of was hop in my car and go explore the back roads in the area around Calgary. It’s truly amazing how if you just get away from the main thorough fares, you find a quieter and slower pace of life. You don’t have to go far to find that serenity and peacefulness.

Calgary and Alberta are known worldwide for our Rocky Mountains, but there is so much beauty in our foothills and prairies as well. This is one of the things I love about where I live - if I drive in one direction I can be in the awe inspiring Rocky Mountains. If I head in another direction, I can explore the rolling hills of ranch land and green pastures. Head yet another way and I can enjoy the patchwork of farming fields and the huge blue Alberta sky.

Last week another photographer friend and I had plans to head south of the city to see what views we could find during golden hour. We strongly debated whether to stick to our plan as a big storm had rolled through around the dinner hour and we didn’t know what kind of light we’d get. We decided to go for it hoping the remaining storm clouds would provide some sunset drama.

As we drove, I spied some red barns around a turn, so we backed up and followed that road. When we stepped out of the car, the peacefulness hit us. No sound other than bird song and cows calling to us. Serenity found!

These friendly locals greeted us upon our arrival.

Our reason for stopping!

Close to sunset we tried this location. Just a simple pullout on the road to give us the views. It wasn’t looking hopeful, but then the sun gave us a little show.

Rocky Mountains in the distance

Layer of foothills stretching out to meet the Rocky Mountains

And across the gravel road, more of the friendly locals!

I’d say it was worth taking the chance on the weather. The calm felt as we took in our beautiful, amazing world so close to home was good for the soul.

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, a South of France photographer.

Click the link to see what serenity looks like for her this month! Thanks for being here.

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.