Flower

 After the Storm Downtown Calgary
Downtown Calgary Hail Storm 2015: ISO 800, 15mm, f/5.6, 1/45

The wife and I went out for supper last night and we decided to be adventurous and try a new restaurant. The car I was driving took us to downtown Calgary. After supper we took a walk along Stephen Avenue, Eau Claire Market, Prince's Island Park and through Chinatown before heading back to the car.

We walked past a few of the Downtown Community Gardens that were set up for the local food banks. We were very sad when we saw what the August 4th Hail Storm did to these well intentioned gardens. As you can see there is basically nothing left of most of the plants.

Although we had a wonderful supper last night after seeing this damage both our stomachs were not feeling all that settled.

After the Storm Carnage
Downtown Calgary Hail Damaged Community Garden: ISO 800, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/45

Pulverized lettuce in one of the hail damaged Downtown Calgary Community Garden. It basically looks like mulch.

 After the Storm Prince's Island Park Calgary
Prince's Island Park Hail Damaged Black Eyed Susie: ISO 320, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/30

These Black Eyed Susans were under trees in Prince's Island Park. They still suffered damaged from the August 4th Calgary hailstorm.

Big Hill Springs Macro
Small Wild Flower, Big Hill Springs Provincial Park: ISO 500, 40mm, f/3.2, 1/500

Last week I decided to check out a provincial park that is close to where I live. Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is located north of Calgary between Cochrane and Airdrie.

It is a nice little hike through parkland and foothills. A large natural springs flows through the park. I was surprised by the abundance of wild flowers and birds singing. I will be returning to this nice oasis away from the big city.

Delphenium Bokeh
Delphinium Bokeh: ISO 800, 159mm, f/4.0, 1/4000

Delphenium Bokeh II
Delphinium Bokeh II: ISO 400, 145mm, f/4.0, 1/2000

I noticed this backlit delphinium in our garden late last month. I also noticed how the sun was hitting the large black patio umbrella in the background. Combine the two using a zoom lens and these are some of the results you get.

Hide and Seek Squirrel foraging for food Chris Bates Photography
Hide and Seek Squirrel: ISO 250, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/180

HIde and Seek Squirrel foraging for Food
Hide and Seek Squirrel II: ISO 250, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/180

I was cooking Sunday supper at the BBQ when I noticed something running back and forth along our garage wall. I turned around and this squirrel wanted to play Hide n’Seek or Peek-a-boo.

At the time I only had my iPhone in my pocket. I called into the house for Angela to grab the “Heavy Duty” camera. I thought I was too late as the squirrel had vanished.

A few minutes later he had come back to play his games with me.


Squirrel on old wagon wheel foraging for food
Squirrel on old Wheel: ISO 250, 80mm, f/5.6, 1/60

The shot above you can see that the tail is out of focus. He was busy twitching it. Warning me that he was getting agitated with how close I was getting.

The squirrels in the neighbourhood are busy foraging for food. They have been chewing off branches of the neighbour’s Mountain Ash tree to get the berries. Today, I watched another one busy carrying pines cones along the neighbour’s fence.

Orange Lily, nature, floral, Alberta, macro
Orange Lily: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/800

Our neighbour over the last couple of years has given us lilies to plant in our garden. I guess they multiply rapidly and she doesn’t like to waste flowers. I believe she sees them as a major investment.

This year they have finally bloomed and there is an abundance of them. I cheated by adding a little Miracle Grow a few times.

This was taken a couple of evenings ago as the sun was setting. I was trying to capture the shadows of the stamen and carpel of the plant. See Mom, I paid attention in science class!

Peony, bud, bloom, ant, ladybug, macro, nature
Before and After: Peony Bud and Bloom

We have a few peony plants in our garden. We notice that ants seem to love the bud heads in early spring.

After doing some reading the peony and ant seem to have a symbiotic relationship. The peony bud produces nectar to attract ants. The ants are protective of food sources which in turn will keep other pests away. The end result is well feed ants and beautiful and huge peony blooms.

flower, tall, blue, sky, clouds
Delphinium Sky: ISO 200, 15mm, F/8, 1/500

We are experiencing a lot of rain this spring/summer. Our gardens are growing fast with the July heat. These Delphiniums are almost as tall as me (6 Feet).

I thought I would try a different perspective using my wide angle lens. On my knees looking up to the big Alberta sky.

Spring Shake Up House Sparrow fluffy bird
House Sparrow fluffing up his feathers: ISO 200, 320mm, f/5.6, 1/1500

Sitting on the Fence side profile house sparrow
Sitting on the Fence: ISO 200, 320mm, f/5.6, 1/1500

Spring feels like it is finally here. The birds are out playing and enjoying the new foliage.

The above shots are of the same male house sparrow. Enjoying the sun while sitting on our fence.


Tulips eaten by deer, Red Deer, Alberta, nature, nuisance
Half Eaten Tulips: ISO 200, 47mm, f/2.8, 1/500

This past winter the deers took a liking to our backyard. At first I thought this was pretty neat then I seen all the deer droppings.

I also noticed that the birds were no longer visiting our feeder. Even the magpies and crows were staying away.

I managed to get a shot of a deer at our bird feeder helping himself to the nice mixture of seeds and nuts early one morning. The quality is not the greatest. I was fresh out of bed and quickly set the camera settings to ISO 800 and shot with the lens wide open. I also had to shoot through our dirty back door window so that I would not startle the deer before he ran away.

This is why the birds have not been visiting. I will have to give the feeder a real good cleaning hoping to wash the deer smell off it!

As the snow started to melt and the spring flowers came up I noticed that they were also a tempting food source for our four legged friends as you can see by the picture above. I will not have many tulip pictures this spring as the deer have eaten most of them.

Deer at Feeder, nuisance, backyard, nature
Deer at Bird Feeder: ISO 800, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/13

Tip: When taking photos of wildlife I have learned that it is best to take your shots early and then move in a step and take another shot. Keep doing this in a slow steady action until the subject “flees”.

nature, bee, working, flower, Lakefield, Ontario
Busy Bee: ISO 400, 35mm, f/4, 1/500

Things have been a little crazy at work so my photography hobby has taken a bit of a back seat. I feel like a bee. Always moving and feeling like my work is never done.

This was shot with my 35mm macro lens in my parent's backyard a few weeks ago.

Tulip, Red Deer, Alberta, Macro, spring
Snake Charmer: ISO 125, 7mm, f/4, 1/100

The tulips have pretty much come and gone from our garden. Everything is a little late this year so most of our perennials are coming up at the same time. Can't keep up with the picture taking!

This was taken with a point and shoot camera. Looks like six "snakes" surrounding a single "charmer".

Spring Flowers Macro Red Deer Alberta Canada Chris Bates Photographer
White Spring Bouquet: ISO 200, 90mm, f/4, 1/3200

As mentioned yesterday we have a white version of the same flower posted previously. These white flowers with a blue strip are much more abundant in the flower bed under our crab apple tree.

This was shot using a dedicated Macro Lens.

Blue Flower Macro Spring Red Deer Alberta Canada
Sign of Spring: ISO 100, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Spring is finally here! These are the first of the flowers from our gardens to bloom from the long hard winter.

Not sure what these flowers are called. They are very tiny and come in blue or white. I took some pictures of the white flowers but since the last few images contained a lot of white snow thought I would stick to some colour!

California Poppy, flower, nature, backyard, Chris Bates, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Photography
California Poppy: ISO 80, 6.2mm, f/2.8, 1/125

This summer I planted some California Poppy seeds in some of our beds. One patch managed to survive without being mistaken for weeds. I am posting this shot now as they have shown to be pretty resilient to the cold fall temperatures. They flowered up until a week ago when Angela finally trimmed them back for fall hibernation.

This was taken with a point and shoot camera. I set the camera to Macro Mode and it took care of the rest.

Chris Bates Photography, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, nature, frost bitten, wilted flower, decay
Frost Bitten: ISO 200, 50mm, f/2.5,1/100

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. 

Stanley Horowitz

I have never done this before but I have seen users of Flickr add quotes to describe their pictures. I found one that that sums up my postings for the month of October.

clematis Chris Bates Photography Red Deer Alberta Canada nature flower macro
Purple Parachutes: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/60

clematis Chris Bates Photography Red Deer Alberta Canada nature flower macro
Purple Parachutes II: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/60

We have a variety of clematis' in our yard. But this is the only one that seems to explode with flowers this summer.

orange flowers chris bates photography red deer alberta canada nature
Fall Colours: ISO 400, 90mm, f/4.5, 1/640

orange flower nature chris bates photography red deer alberta canada
Warm Fire: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/100

End of August already. Our not so hot summer is coming to a quick end it seems. I know the end is near when these flowers bloom in our garden. Nature's way of saying I need to dig up the potatoes.

Zinnia, Mosquito, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada,  Chris Bates Photography
Zinnia and Mosquito Bokeh: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/500
Click on Image (Or Here) to see larger size.

Zinnia, Spider, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Chris Bates Photography
Zinnia and Spider: ISO 400, 90mm, f/5.6, 1/125

Zinnia, Macro, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Chris Bates Photography
Zinnia Close Up: ISO 400, 90mm, f/6.3, 1/100


Three shots of Zinnias. Took these during the golden hours just before sunset in our backyard.

I just want to make a point about backgrounds. The first two images are using natural backgrounds.

The Zinnia and Mosquito was shooting into the shadows of our potato and sunflower plants. The background is very undistacting and does not take away from the main subject.

The second one has our worn out picnic table as a background. The white background takes away from the flower by providing no real contrast. Then there is the edge where it cuts across the stem of the flower. The black along the bottom does provide nice contrast for the leaves of the plant. I could have easily moved the picnic table to get rid of the background but sometimes backgrounds can't be moved (ie: a House). I could have moved to the other side of the flower but I would have our deck as the background(Which can't be moved).

The last picture is the same flower as the Zinnia and Spider. I brought out my black Foam Board/ Foamcore to use as a backdrop. Like the first image, the background in undistracting and does not take away from the main subject.

Moth Mosquito Flower Macro Chris Bates Photography
Moth and Mosquito: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/125


Moth Spirea Flower Macro Chris Bates Photography
Moth on Spirea Flower: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/125


These images were taken the same day as the previous post. The sky was overcast which allows to camera to be able to get a more accurate reading on the colours. The highlights will not be blown out while trying to get detail in the shadows. To make a long explanation short; the best time to take pictures is on a overcast day when the sun isn't shining so bright.

I mentioned to my wife, Angela, last week that our flower gardens do not seem to attract butterflies. Then this week along comes this moth. I have not been able to identify it's name but there are a few of them in our garden.

The top picture you can make out a mosquito hanging out in the top right of the same flower the moth is on. The bottom macro shot looks much better when enlarged (Click Here to See it). The details are much clearer, especially the antenna. If you click on either picture it will take you to my Flickr set where more images of this moth can be found.

Bee Flower Macro Chris Bates Photography
Bee Still: ISO 200, 90mm, f/8, 1/60

Took a walk around our garden yesterday. The sky was pretty overcast with the odd break of sun shining through.

I came across this bee and she was pretty still except for once and awhile one of her legs would rise above her head. I think she was was waving at me to make sure I noticed and got some shots of her.

Air Traffic Control Needed


Air Traffic Control: ISO 400, 90mm, f/9.5, 1/350

Took this shot tonight. Bees were all over these flower collecting pollen.

Now that the birds are done nesting the telephoto is off the camera and the macro lens will be on for much of the summer.

Nothing Like Comfy Slippers


Lady Slippers: ISO 200, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60

Just got back from a trip to Ontario, Canada visiting my parents. I was hoping while we were gone that I would not miss the annual Lady Slipper bloom under our front yard's cedar tree.

Every year we get more flowers. This year we have 7 flowers pop up. Last year we had 4.

Reaching Out


Mother Nature's Hand: ISO 200, 90mm, f/10, 1/80

The rains have not let up for the last couple of days. I haven't taken my camera gear out as I do not have a rain jacket for them.

Here is a shot taken last week of a branch of our apple tree. It will have to do until the rains stop.

Centre of the Universe


Sun Shines Brightly: ISO 200, 90mm, f/6.3, 1/80

This is a macro shot of our crabapple tree blossoms.

The image reminds me of our brightly shinning sun with planets orbiting around it.

Apple Blossoms


Crabapple Bokeh: ISO 400, 270mm, f/8, 1/500

Skyward Apple Blossoms: ISO 100, 35mm, f/8, 1/400

Our two apple trees are blooming.

The crabapple has the nicest looking flowers of our two trees with the dark pink buds which open to reveal a light pink flower. The apple tree has the nicest tasting apples of the two. The buds from the apple tree are light pink which open up to a pure white bloom.

It's Fall


Snow is gone and we are back to normal seasonal temperatures. Leaves are starting to fall off the trees and there is a lack of colour.

Took this picture late September. This flower comes up every year just as summer is ending.

Wet Slipper

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Lady Slippers

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