Grasslands National Park

Images from Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan

Dramatic storm cloud passing through the Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

Posted by on 9. February 2014 in Grasslands National Park | Comments Off on Dramatic storm cloud passing through the Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

Dramatic storm cloud passing through the Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

Dramatic shelf cloud formation on the leading edge of a rain storm passing through the West Block of Grasslands National Park. Val Marie, Saskatchewan. Back to the Grasslands National Park photo gallery....

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70 Mile Butte at sunset, Grasslands National Park

Posted by on 7. July 2013 in Grasslands National Park | 3 comments

70 Mile Butte at sunset, Grasslands National Park

Sunset at 70 Mile Butte in the West Block of Grasslands National Park. I took this image on the last day of a week-long trip in mid June of 2013. Although the weather was very unstable, I did not get too many days with interesting skies or cloud formations. Most of the time it was gray and uniformly overcast. That evening, everything came together and I was awarded with a glorious sunset. A composite HDR image made of 3 separate exposures. The location is just a short walk from the parking lot leading to the 70 Mile Butte hiking trail. Back to the Grasslands National Park photo...

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Winter on the prairies – Grasslands National Park

Posted by on 31. December 2012 in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan | Comments Off on Winter on the prairies – Grasslands National Park

Winter on the prairies – Grasslands National Park

Snow-covered hills in Frenchman River Valley – West Block of Grasslands National Park. This photograph was taken after a late spring snow storm south of the old Larson’s homestead (this is an older image from the archives). Friends told me that they got a “lot of snow” in Val Marie so I went south and spent a weekend photographing in the park. It does not looks much, but for this (very dry) part of Saskatchewan, any moisture is received with joy. Back to the Grasslands National Park photo...

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Winter in Grasslands National Park

Posted by on 22. November 2012 in Blog / Journal, Grasslands National Park | 1 comment

Winter in Grasslands National Park

Canadian Prairies were hit by a strong snow storm in early November. We received between 20 and 30 cm of fresh powdery stuff. I happen to be in Grasslands National Park as the storm was passing through and spent two days photographing snow-covered prairies. I have photographed in the park during winter before. However, I have not seen the park so white and pristine. Snow storms come and go, and in this part of Saskatchewan the fresh snow cover does not last too long. It is either blown away by strong winds or partially melted by warm chinooks arriving from Alberta. Driving conditions were so bad that we decided to stay at home until the storm was almost over. I wanted to photograph the snow fall with something dark in the background (so I can see individual snow flakes). The first place we visited were large cottonwood trees growing along the Frenchman River south of Val Marie. Weather was not cooperating – it snowed heavily while we were driving south and then stopped soon after we arrived to the park. I will have to get my “snow storm in the grasslands” images some other time.   It was still foggy and overcast the next morning and we just wandered through the park. The scenery felt eerie stark and desolate. An endless snow desert; the only other living creature I was aware of was my buddy Larry, appearing as a small speck on the other side of the hill. Clouds cleared out later that day and we were able to see further out in the valley. Our world expanded; Seventy Mile Butte on the west horizon, Frenchman River meandering through the pristine white landscape.  I have not seen the park so clean and beautiful before.       On the way back to Val Marie we saw a coyote hunting at the black-tailed prairie dog colony. The animal did not seem to be alerted by our presence. It continued sitting in front of one burrow, listening intently to any signs of movement below the surface. The scene reminded me of the iconic image of a lone polar bear in the Arctic by Thomas Mangelsen, “Born of the North Wind“.     We returned to the park later that evening for more photography. Here is one image from this set that conveys the feeling of isolation and frigid environment that can be experienced on the prairies in winter. Temperature dropped to -28 C over night. A bit too cold for early November....

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Photographing blue moon and bison in Grasslands National Park

Posted by on 16. October 2012 in Blog / Journal, Grasslands National Park | Comments Off on Photographing blue moon and bison in Grasslands National Park

Photographing blue moon and bison in Grasslands National Park

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days. Since every month except February has at least 30 days, there is a possibility for 2 full moons to occur in one month if the first is close to the beginning of the month. If there are two full moons within a month, people often refer to this phenomenon as a ‘blue moon’. The name ‘blue moon’ first  appeared in the article  “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett published in Sky and Telescope magazine in 1946. He simplified a definition that appeared in a 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac. He wrote “Seven times in 19 years there were and still are 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.” The term ‘blue moon’ also refers to the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, instead of the usual three. This September we had two full moons rising in one month. I happened to be in Grasslands National Park over the Labour Day long weekend and tried to photograph the full moon rising (or setting) over a stark prairie landscape. Unfortunateluy, the weather was not cooperative – dense storm clouds obscured the moon at the time when available sunlight still illuminated foreground, to allow for balanced capture of bright moon and subjects on the landscape. Clouds cleared out one day after the perfect date I was aiming for. Not a big problem, I just will not be able to use a long lens to get a big moon with brightly lit foreground (it is going to be too dark by the time the moon rises, or too bright by the time it sets in the morning).     There is a small group of male bison that often hang out along to the Ecotour Road near the north entrance to the West Block of Grasslands National Park. I was lucky enough that a few animals crossed the road and started grazing between my car (which I used as a mobile blind) and the setting moon. I managed to take few shots before the surrounding became too bright and the moon faded behind a thin veil of clouds.     The bison did not move too fast and I was able to position myself to capture a few interesting images. Here are two from this set. I like the first one as it has an interesting composition with repeating elements. I even managed not get the bison heads visually touching or overlaping.     For the second image I positioned my moblie blind so I can get a Black-tailed prairie dog framed by the large body of a male bison. I was quite happy to be able to photograph these two species that are found together only in this part of the Canadian prairies.  ...

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