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. 

June Serenity Blog Circle - A morning at Reader Rock Garden

Life has been busy lately and I was feeling like I never had the time to just get out and explore with my camera on a walk or a drive.  So I booked off a Friday morning and headed to one of my favourite little places to explore, Reader Rock Garden.  The Garden is tucked into the hillside next to the Calgary Stampede Grounds, close to downtown.  The gardens were restored in memory of the man they are named after, William Roland Reader.  Mr. Reader was the Parks Superintendent for the City of Calgary for 30 years and started the Calgary Horticultural Society.  The gardens are located on the original piece of property that he and his family lived on and their home has been restored into a lovely little cafe.  I hope you will follow the links and read a little about this recently designated National Historic Site and the man who had a passion for plants and gardening. 

Wandering the stone pathways with my Lensbaby Sweet 35 and then my macro lens, on the beautifully sunny morning was the relaxation I was looking for. 

Double click the images for a larger view. 

The sound of a babbling stream is always so peaceful! 

A little bit of light leak on the peonies

Stone pathways guide you through the gardens

Lilacs still blooming here

Peekaboo blue!

Reader Rock Cafe

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