World Travel Tales

Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada

Blood Moon at the Farm

The moon on September 27th, 2015 was a special one. It was a combination of three infrequent events, which means it only occurs every couple of decades, and even then, it's only visible from certain parts of Earth.

It was a supermoon, which occurs when the moon is at it's closest orbit to Earth of the whole year, making the moon appear slightly larger than we're used to seeing. It was also a "blood moon", which happens when there is a total lunar eclipse causing the moon to appear this deep red "blood" colour. And finally, it was a Harvest Moon, recognized in North America as being the full moon closest to the autumn equinox every year. It's a pretty rare event to have this supermoon combined with the lunar eclipse, and the next time this happens will be on October 8th, 2033, and even then, it will only be visible to certain parts of the planet.

I wanted to use the Harvest Moon theme and go out to the farm of a childhood friend and shoot some photos over their barn, pastures, and fields. I found a good spot here with a clear view of the sky and the barn in the foreground being lit up with their regular yard lights.

We were lucky to have a mostly clear evening and had fantastic views of the deep red blood moon. I caught this photo as clouds started to roll in and shortly afterwards the whole sky was obscured by thick, dark clouds.

Location: Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 50mm 1.8 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 3.0 sec at f/2.8.

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, near Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

The Witless Bay Ecological Reserve is home to North America's largest colony of Atlantic puffins. It's estimated that more than 260,000 mating pairs of Atlantic puffins nest in this island paradise during the summer.

The grassy tufts and wind-scoured trees above the rocky shore are prime nesting grounds for sea birds of all types, including Leach's storm-petrels, black-legged kittiwakes, common murres, and Atlantic puffins.

Location: Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, near Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 400, 1/250 sec at f/5.6.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Cabot Trail Cabins

Along Cape Breton Island's scenic Cabot Trail, where the North River flows into the ocean, there are some small cabins across the bay. We stopped for this incredible view after an already long day of driving the Cabot Trail.

Location: Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/30 sec at f/8.

Malone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

Mahone Bay

The picturesque town of Mahone Bay on the South shore of Nova Scotia.

Location: Malone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 160, 1/160 sec at f/8.

Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

Community of Peggys Cove

Peggys Cove is a small fishing community situated on the shores of St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia. It's most famous for the lighthouse at Peggys Point which draws a lot of tourism into the community, but it's still home to some fishermen and maintains its rustic rural fishing village feel.

Location: Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 160, 1/125 sec at f/8.

Smith's Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Iceberg Alley

Boat tours anywhere along Iceberg Alley will give you spectacular views of giant icebergs towering over your head. The icebergs are driven from the northern ice cap by wind and ocean currents. To give you a scale of reference, I'd estimate this iceberg to be somewhere around 20-25 meters tall.

This photo was taken at sunset on an evening boat ride near Smith's Harbour.

Location: Smith's Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 100, 1/125 sec at f/4.8.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Jelly Bean Houses

A couple walk hand in hand past some of the famous jelly bean houses of St. John's.

Location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/250 sec at f/8.

Burlington, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Quiet Evening in Burlington

The little town of Burlington lies on the Northwest Arm of Green Bay in Northern Newfoundland.

The sun was setting on a quiet town on the evening when I captured this photo. The violet sky was overlooking a little copper coloured river that was quietly tumbling into the calm waters of the sea. The large white spots you see on the horizon of the ocean are giant icebergs pushed there by wind and currents from the northern ice cap.

Location: Burlington, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/40 sec at f/8.

Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada

Schooner Sailing Past Lighthouse

This photo was taken from the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. As one of the most famous and influential Canadians of all time, Alexander Graham Bell spent a lot of time here working on various projects. He claimed that this site on Cape Breton Island on the shores of Bras d'Or lake was as visually stunning as any place on earth that he had ever visited.

Location: Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/160 sec at f/8.

Prospect Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

Prospect Bay

A short distance east of the famous town and lighthouse of Peggys Cove, the picturesque little town of Prospect lies on Prospect Bay. This is a charming and genuine little fishing village that you should try to see when visiting beautiful Nova Scotia.

Location: Prospect Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 160, 1/100 sec at f/8.

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Château Frontenac and the Governors' Promenade

The majestic Château Frontenac lies in the heart of Old Quebec. Leading past the Plains of Abraham, the Governors' Promenade is a long boardwalk that takes you along and treats you to fantastic views of the St. Lawrence River until you arrive at the Château.

Location: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 100, 1/200 sec at f/8.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament is visually stunning both inside and out.

It was spared from being burned on several occasions when there were fires on Parliament Hill, but a former librarian insisted that the library have heavy iron doors installed, and these doors isolated it from the blaze and prevented it from burning to the ground like the rest of the building.

The inside of the library has ornate wood work throughout and is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Ottawa.

Location: Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 100, 1/40 sec at f/8.

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Atlantic Puffin

The Atlantic Puffin is the Provincial bird of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve is home of the largest colony of Atlantic Puffins in North America. These puffins actually spend most of the year at sea but return to land in the spring and summer months to breed.

I shot this photo while on a whale and bird watching boat tour out of Bay Bulls, NL. These guys are rocket fast in the air and water and can be difficult to shoot while on the move. I really wish I had a faster long lens with me for shooting here, but since I was on a hitch hiking trip I was restricted in the weight I wanted to carry. Oh well, I'm pretty happy with this photo of this cute little guy.

Location: Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Related Link: O'Brien's Boat Tours, Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 400, 1/320 sec at f/5.6.

Innisfail, Alberta, Canada

Calf Roping

Alberta is cattle country. In the Spring, the cattle farmers go through their herd one by one to make sure all is well with the animals. This farmer chooses to rope calves from horseback because it's much more efficient and far less scary for the calves than using an ATV.

There is often co-operation between farms for this big task. One or two farmers will help their neighbours one week, in return for their help the following week. This ensures that there are enough skilled hands around to make this as safe and quick as possible for both the humans and animals.

Location: Innisfail, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 400, 1/200 sec at f/8.

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Outdoor Skating

It doesn't happen often, but once in a while the lakes around Banff freeze perfectly clear. It's always a big deal with the locals who enjoy ice skating and playing hockey on the most beautiful outdoor skating rinks in the world.

This photo was taken on Vermillion Lakes, but I've also had these great skating conditions at Johnson Lake and Carrot Creek on other years.

It's quite unnerving to skate along the crystal clear glassy surface. It's difficult to tell how thick the ice is while you're standing, and you can clearly see the bottom of the lake with your shadow being cast well away from where your feet are. It feels like you're going to break through and have a cold swim at any second.

Location: Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 320, 1/80 sec at f/10.

Lake O'hara, Yoho National Park, BC, Canada

Subalpine Hiking

You really get spoiled when you live in the Canadian Rockies. This was taken while day hiking in the subalpine meadows above Lake O'hara.

Location: Lake O'hara, Yoho National Park, BC, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/250 sec at f/8.

Prevost Island, BC, Canada

North American Raccoon

Raccoons are as cute as it gets! They always look so mischievous to me, possibly because they are always in the process of stealing some food from you - and messing up your camp in the process.

We spotted this little guy while exploring Prevost Island during a summer sailing trip in the Gulf Islands. A bit later, one of his buddies showed up and we watched them play fighting like little puppies would.

Location: Prevost Island, BC, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 1600, 1/800 sec at f/4.

Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

Orca Breaching

Over the VHF we had heard another vessel mention that there was a pod of orcas near our position. We were under sail in really light air when we saw a couple huge dorsal fins breach quite a distance from us. We adjusted our course slightly and sailed slowly forward while watching for the tell-tale "blow" orcas always make when breaking the surface.

We were lucky to be in the right position with Mt. Washington in the background as this orca breached and showed us his tall dorsal fin. If you look just behind him you can see the mist from his blow still hanging in the air.

Location: Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/320 sec at f/8.

Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

Checking the Anchor

We were sitting by ourselves in a quiet anchorage in the Gulf Islands when this beautiful pilothouse ketch pulled in with an older couple onboard.

They chose their spot well and set their anchor with the well rehearsed precision of life-long sailors. After the boat came to its resting spot in the calm evening, the man came forward and stood at the starboard rail for a long time, simply peering down at his anchor chain disappearing into the dark blue water.

It's moments like these that make sailing so special. It seemed like at that moment nothing else in the world mattered to this man. He was just content in knowing that he was safely at anchor after a good day of sailing in the beautiful Gulf Islands.

Location: Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 1000, 1/5000 sec at f/4 ?!.

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Rundle in Paint

I came upon an art class and captured this photo of Mount Rundle and Vermillion Lakes being painted in oil by one of the students.

Unfortunately the camera was an old point and shoot that only captured jpg, so it's not the best quality image, but I still like it.

Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon CoolPix E950
Settings: ISO 80, 1/160 sec at f/9.

Mt. Indefatigable, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

View from Mt. Indefatigable in Autumn

We did an autumn hike up Mt. Indefatigable, and this is the view looking East at Mt. Jerram.

Location: Mt. Indefatigable, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon D80 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 100, 1/30 sec at f/8.

Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Moose in the Marshlands

It's not very often you see a big bull moose drinking at Vermillion Lakes. They tend to stay away from busier areas and are more frequently seen in Kananaskis Country, South East of Banff.

Location: Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon D80 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 800, 1/50 sec at f/5.6.

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Canadian Pacific railroad along the Bow River

The headwaters of the Bow River are North of Lake Louise in Banff National Park. From there, the river flows South to the Banff townsite before exiting the park and heading through Canmore and on towards Calgary.

Within the park, the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks follow the river for a few stretches, where canoeists are treated to great views of a passing train with a stunning mountain backdrop, or guests of Rocky Mountaineer which offers rail tours of the area, are treated to views of the beautiful Bow River (occasionally with canoeists on it).

Location: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS with 6-72mm lens.
Settings: ISO 50, 1/30 sec at f/3.5.

Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Early Autumn at Vermillion Lakes

Farther along the Vermillion Lakes chain visitors are offered a great view of Sulphur Mountain and Mt. Rundle.

This photo was taken in early autumn when the dogwoods are starting to turn bright red before shedding their leaves for the winter.

Location: Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS with 6-72mm lens.
Settings: ISO 50, 1/40 sec at f/8.0.

Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Winter Sunrise at Vermillion Lakes

Sunrise in the Canadian Rocky Mountains can be spectacular. This photo was taken on a warm January morning looking towards Mt. Rundle from Vermillion Lakes in beautiful Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Location: Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/30 sec at f/8.0.