Red Rock Coulee, Alberta
Red Rock Coulee is a small area in southeast Alberta, approximately 50 km south of Medicine Hat on PR 887. It is a designated Provincial "Natural Area" for the kettle rocks found there. Kettle rocks are sandstone concretions that were formed millions of years ago in shallow, pre-historic seas and are considered a significant geological feature to be protected. As large as 2.5 meters in diameter, these concretions are among the largest in the world. The reddish colour is due to iron oxide in the soil.
Besides the kettle rocks which are interesting to photograph, this area also abounds in wildflowers and wildlife. While there recently, I had the opportunity to photograph both the prairie rattle snake and the bull snake. One evening while sitting on a rock watching a bull snake, a cottontail rabbit came by, between the snake and a kettle rock …the rabbit was virtually between a rock and a hard place. The rabbit, sensing the snake nearby, inched forward to investigate. The bull snake remained absolutely motionless until the rabbit was in range…the snake struck so quickly I barely saw it happen! The rabbit shot up diagonally into the air and managed to escape to live another day.
Action Photography on the Kakanaskis River, Alberta
Recently I drove down to a stretch of the Kananaskis River AB known as the Widow Maker Day Use Area to Canoe Meadows. A short walk down to the river from the Info Centre brought me a popular rapid called Santa Clause. I arrived there pretty late in the day but fortunately there were still a few kayakers playing in the rapid.
I brought down with me only my Nikon D200 with the 70-200 VR Zoom and very quickly filled a 2GB card before the kayakers took off. The action was all front lit...my camera settings were ISO 100, 1/800 second @ f8.0. I found these settings were able to hold the action and detail in the water. The camera was hand held with VR and Auto Focus Tracking enabled. For this sport I recommend using short bursts with the motor drive as the action can be very rapid (excuse the pun)...this increases the chances that at least one of the series will be a keeper.
I don't often photograph action but would definitely do this again!