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New Puzzle – Rawson Lake

The Fall of 2015 was a beautiful one here in central Alberta. Summer slowly waned as Fall approached. We were delighted by the warm temperatures sticking around, and our family went on many hikes saying “this is the last one of the year before it gets cold”, only to be surprised the next weekend by more mild temperatures.

On October 17th that year we drove down to the Kananaskis region and hiked up to Rawson Lake.

Map from

We had lunch at a lower lake, skipped stones, and made the hike up to Rawson Lake. We barely made it to the lake in time! The sun starts setting pretty early this far north by then, and it dipped behind the mountain peaks by 3:30pm, and we only got to the lake at 3:07. The end of the lake at the end of the trail was cluttered with logs, and sun was fading fast. The air was still and ice was forming on the other end of the lake making the reflections softer.

With the sun shining straight into the lens, the dark area at the base of the mountain, submerged logs dark under the water, it was a difficult scene to capture in its full beauty. One single photo would lose a lot of what could be seen.

I decided the only way to go was with bracketed exposures and I ended up using 3 exposures (one over exposed, one under, and one normal exposure).

There was so much I wanted to get in an image, I put on my widest angle (14mm) and turned the camera sideways so I could get more of the logs that I was standing on. I guess this is why I always go hiking with the full camera gear even though it weighs too much. You never know…

These images were processed to compress the dynamic range (light to dark) so that I could include the highlights without being overblown (sun lit areas) as well as the shadows without being too dark (trees on the mountain sides, submerged logs). The resulting images are more like what your eye can see as you look around.

The High Dynamic Range (HDR) images were then then combined into one giant super wide angle panorama of the sun slipping behind the mountain over the lake.

After this picture, the sun was gone, and my son was soaked, having slipped off one of the logs. High elevation mountain lakes in the Fall with ice starting to form are pretty cold, apparently, and we couldn’t get him to smile for a family picture.

This image of Rawson Lake was selected by TCG Toys for printing as part of their 500 piece Puzzlers Choice series, which should be available Fall 2020.

I’ve been informed that the puzzle will be available at: All Brands Toys (Australia), Famous Toys, Friend-Smith & Co, Menards, Tuesday Morning, CRG Toys South America and Grupo Foster South America.

This is the second puzzle of mine by them, the first one being of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. I hope you enjoy making this new one if you can find it.

Lunar Eclipse 2019

On January 20th, 2019, we enjoyed a total lunar eclipse during a so-called supermoon, meaning the Moon was closer to the Earth and therefor spent more time in the shadow.

At the distance from the Earth to the Moon, the Earth’s shadow is approximately 2.6 lunar diameters, or around 9,000 km wide. The photo above has three images taken about an hour apart.


Reviewing my photos of the eclipse, I realized I had captured  double eclipse. Technically called an occultation of a star, the Moon passes in front of a magnitude 8.5 star called SAO 97665, just before the deepest part of the eclipse. You can see it in the lower left. One photo every 20 seconds. Best viewed full size.



In 2017 I was approached by TCG Toys about using one of my images of Peggy’s Cove in a puzzle, and last week I received my samples! The first image they have used is one I took a few years ago of a small fishing boat in the harbour, with rope and seaweed around it. This puzzle is part of their Coast to Coast series of 500 piece Sure Lox puzzles that are being sold exclusively at Michaels arts and craft stores in Canada. We found four of the series at a Michaels store near us. (Visit my profile at TCG Toys)

This is an HDR image – multiple images of different exposures stacked to get the full view of the scene. A regular photo would miss either the details in the sky or in the water, but with HDR, you can see both.

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, so we took the new puzzle along for everyone to work on. We can certify that, despite being a 500 piece puzzle, it is very challenging! Thankfully, there is a rope in the image that goes from the white boat in the foreground all the way to the right side of the image. Otherwise, that is a lot of water. The sky portions were quite challenging too!

Please stop by a Canadian Michaels store and pick up my puzzle!




Night Sky Photography – ISS Flyover

Not my usual kind of nature photography, but I do enjoy studying the night sky. On a whim I recently decided to see if I could catch the International Space Station passing between the Moon and us, and sure enough, less than a week later it was predicted to transit the Moon, and I could see it from my own back yard! So, on September 27th, I set up my small telescope and camera to try and photograph the ISS flyby.

This is a composite image of 12 frames I captured of the ISS transiting the Moon.

This enlargement of one image shows the ISS passing between the Moon and us. My kids said it looks like a TIE Fighter from Star Wars.


Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia

A few years ago we were on a family trip to the Maritimes and wanted to spend some time along the coast. We spent some time in Halifax and headed down to Peggy’s Cove. This is one of the most photographed locations on the East Coast, and we were travelling with family, so I didn’t initially want to take a lot of time to photograph the area. While my extended family and my kids were exploring around the Lighthouse, my wife suggested I head down to the harbour and town to get some pictures. I said there wasn’t really any point, as it has been photographed so much, but she replied “But no one has done it in your way”. Perhaps so, and I walked down from the lighthouse, and captured some of the best images of my career.

The sky was amazing that day. Peggy’s Cove is near the flight path to Halifax’s International Airport, and the contrails made great patterns in the sky.