I’m a morning person. Oh, I like to sleep in just as much as the next guy, but if I’m going to do something interesting I’d rather it was early in the morning. There are a few reasons for this.
First, here in Alberta at least the air tends to be fresher in the morning. Step outside, fill your lungs, and presto! – you’re awake. It’s like ‘add water and stir’ for the soul.
Second, early in the morning there are fewer people around. This is not an anti-social statement by any means – in my opinion, people are good – it’s crowds I can’t stand. Getting up early lets us avoid the crowds that always seem to ruin that perfect photographic opportunity.
Third, the scenery is nicer. Oh sure, there are long shadows at sunset too, but everyone sees sunsets because we all stay up late. Hardly anyone actually makes the effort to watch the sun rise. Sunrise is different somehow: the shadows are long in the other direction, and the light is clear and bright because no one has been churning dust up into the atmosphere yet. The air is cleaner, and the photo ops are unobstructed.
Here’s one from a recent sunrise in Calgary.
This is the very beginnings of spring time in Alberta. You see that the snow is thick, but it’s crusted on top because the daytime temperatures are rising and the Sun is getting stronger. At night the mountain air cools right down, freezing the surface melt into a high sheen.
It’s a very optimistic time of year. The summer is ultimately short around here, but anticipation makes up for that.
It’s my favourite time of year.
This watchful mountain peak from the Kananaskis Range always inspires me. There’s a sense of presence about it – an omniscience of sorts.
It’s as if it knows everything there is to know about valley life. As if nothing can escape its sweeping gaze.
It seems that every time I go to Arizona (sadly, not for a couple of years now) I wind up in this area.
This is Superstition Mountain, east of Phoenix and Mesa, in Arizona. It’s kind of like the Rocky Mountains for Phoenix, but smaller. That said, it’s very impressive and very photogenic.
I enjoy getting away from the City anytime – but making a run to a place like this is especially satisfying. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that blue sky is just intoxicating for us northerners.
Well, certainly for this one.
This western Canadian winter sunset speaks for itself and I watched it for a good fifteen minutes or so in late February. The wind was warm and strong, the air was fresh, the sky was clear and bright and the Sun was a sharp point of light on the horizon.
Such a beautiful evening.
This is a classic Chinook Arch in southern Alberta.
Briefly, moisture-laden air flows strongly from west to east toward the Rocky Mountains. As it blows it is lifted by the mountains. This causes a lot of moisture to be dumped on the western slopes, and the air dries out.
On the eastern slopes the air – which is now flowing even more strongly by virtue of Bernoulli’s Principle – descends quickly, and this causes it to dry out even more. The dry, warm air passing over snow packs east of the mountains causes those snow packs to melt and evaporate very quickly.
These cloud formations are what happens east of the arêtes when the air starts to descend. A Chinook Arch like this can be traced from south to north – almost as far as the eye can see.
Chinooks mean warm air for southern Albertans. For us they create a welcome respite to the long, Canadian winter.