Saturday Snapshot May 24: Yellow Bird

Here’s another encounter of the ‘ordinary’ yet not so ordinary. A yellow bird is very common for those living in warmer climates. But for me, it’s a rare sighting. I was so excited to see something bright yellow moving among the branches. Can you spot it? Something yellow among branches A better view as I quietly got closer: Getting Closer but just for a short few seconds, and then it was gone, fleeing from a lone paparazzo: Fleeing from a lone paparazzo I followed the yellow bird from tree to tree for well over a half hour. I did not know what kind of bird it was; I did not much care. That would come later when I got home. At that moment, I was too preoccupied with fixing my eyes on it, to whatever perils may come. I was stalking high and low among last year’s flood debris of fallen trees along a damaged landscape, trying not to trip without looking down at my feet.

Finally, a clearing: Caught in a clearingYellow, black and red contrasting fresh green leaves and a pale blue sky in the backdrop, a colourful picture.

Eventually, he seemed to appreciate my tenacity, and rewarded me with a couple of poses: Pose 1   Pose 2   Only after I’d uploaded my photos later and checked the features did I identify what bird it was: The Western Tanager. This one is a male in breeding season. “These birds live in open woods all over the West…” so says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They may be common, but this one is unique because it’s the only one I’ve seen. That makes it special for me.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. Click Here to see what others have posted.

Photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, 2014. Please DO NOT COPY or Reblog.


Saturday Snapshot Nov. 9: Fall or Winter?

This is what our neck of the woods looks like. Autumn still.

Snowy SunsetSnow or no snow, a gal’s gotta eat.

Snow or no snow, a gal's gonna eatEvening meal

Deer at evening mealAnd at the creek…

The Creek

Snow covered logWho’s afraid of a little snow?

Who's afraid of a lil' snowThis Chickadee flew right to me, ‘Welcome to my hood!’

Chickadee“Fall or winter, what does it matter?”

Would you like a tour?


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


Saturday Snapshot Nov. 2: Cool Blue

Blue is the most cool color for a photo background. Note: not the ‘coolest’ like in temperature, but just real cool as in awesome. We in southern Alberta are blessed with a clear, blue sky most of the time. Here are some photos I’ve taken in the past weeks. No color alteration have been done on them.

On a clear day, you can see the Rockies… like a mirage:

On a clear day you can see...Different shades of blue:

ShorebirdsThe sparrows on the roof enjoy the cloudless blue too:Sparrows nesting on roofCrab apples look more colorful:

CrabapplesSo’s the Northern Flicker:

Northern Flickerand the Pelican, more startling white:

Pelican overheadWe can even live with the snow when the sky is so blue:

God Is LoveWords on the frame of front door: “gud er kaerlighed” (Danish)… “God is Love”.

Which blue is most cool for you?


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

All photos on this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, 2013. Please do not copy or reblog.


Saturday Snapshot Oct. 26: The Woods in the Fall

We don’t have the colorful foliage which many of you are privileged to behold, but Beauty dwells within our woods too:

The Woods

Especially in the evening sun:

Trees in the duskTrees reaching for the evening skyTrees in the setting sunThe woods are lovely, dark and deep:

Dark and deepBut for these inhabitants, it’s time to eat:


WoodpeckerDinner timeAnd for some others, miles to go before they sleep:

Canada Geeseand miles to go before they sleep:

Miles to go*

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


All photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, Fall 2013.
Please do not copy or reblog


Saturday Snapshot Oct. 5: Wabi-Sabi (3)

I’ll wrap up my mini-series on Wabi-sabi with these photos. Yes, I’m saving the best for last.

By this flood-damaged bridge:

Broken BridgeI came across a rare sighting, for me anyway. For those of you who live near the coast, a Pelican may be as common as a Sparrow, but for me who call the Rockies home, spotting one in our neck of the woods is exhilarating:

PelicanI quickly followed her with my camera from afar. Against a backdrop of debris and damaged bank, she performed a few dance moves for me:

Dance 1Dance 2Dance 3After that, she turned around and swam quietly into the mythical scenery:

Mythical scenery**

I went back a few days later and was gratified some more by these two Cedar Waxwings, chatting away in the afternoon sun, oblivious to the damaged landscape:

Cedar Waxwingsquietly enjoying each other’s company:

Cedar Waxings 1but best of all, looking out together:

Looking out together**

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

Previous posts:

Wabi-sabi (1)

Wabi-sabi (2)


All photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, August, 2013.



Saturday Snapshot June 22: The Two Faces of a River

Household items, children’s toys, swing sets, and the roof of a house should not be flowing down a river. And yet they did. It was painful to watch, even just from a TV screen. You probably have heard about it on social media and in the news, the unprecedented flooding of Southern Alberta, and right here in the City of Calgary.

Record rainfall downstream from the Mountains gathered forces into torrents so fast and furious that caught many off guard. In just a matter of hours, 26 communities in the City had to evacuate, that’s 100,000 people leaving their homes, some had to be rescued by emergency responders in boats. In other towns, many had to be plucked from the rooftop by helicopters.

No I don’t have snapshots of the devastation. Yesterday, I was tense but relieved I didn’t have to evacuate. I was in no mood to head out and snap photos, however rare and newsworthy they could have been. I didn’t want to add any more sensationalism to a dire reality.

The two faces of our rivers. I’ve been birding close to The Bow all this time, knowing it is the lifeline, home and playground for many species of shorebirds. But yesterday, I saw its ferocious side.

For my Saturday Snapshot, I’d like to remember its calm and peaceful face. These photos were taken three weeks ago by The Bow River.

Baby Mergansers’ Day Out with Mom:

Mother Mergenser & Babies

Mom Merganser and Babies

Babies day out

This Canada Goose family had also come out in that beautiful afternoon:

Family Time 1

Canada Geese outing

This is the face of the river I like to remember:

The Calm Face of The Bow


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


This is My Spring…

… and I’m fine with it.

I’ve seen lush green meadows, full bloom flowers, and fresh plump berries from many of your spring posts. I must share with you what I’m getting…

It’s a long process before green appears, but we’re used to that. Spring for us is a gestation of life, a long process. There can be false starts too, teasing us with more snow. It tests our patience.

First we wait for all the snow to melt:

The melting Bow River
Another view, another colour

A closer look only fascinates me more, the sight and sound of spring… a rythmic ploink… ploink.

Dripping ice water
Icy frame of a kaleidoscope

The slowness of spring allows me to cherish a while longer the sights of a season past:

Snow bank along the Bow
Remnants of a colourful fall

Meanwhile… the buds silently appear. No greens yet, but still a sure sign of spring. Brown tips burgeoning out everywhere, keen and strong:

Sure sign of spring

Before the greens, many colours have to parade by, nature’s processional. As a spectator, I can only applaud.

Spring will burst forth in all its glory…  in its time.


Looking for “Intrusions of Grace” in Nature

This may be the easiest to find, especially with our glorious fall this year. Not intrusions, but infusion of common grace. I’m amazed because everywhere I turn, I see beauty that’s out there and so accessible to me. Like their raison d’etre is for me to behold and enjoy. From the macro scale like these scenery at Banff National Park:


To the medium range, nature in our city streets:


To the micro scale. Last long weekend, I walked the Douglas Fir Trail. Again, I’m grateful for our urban parks:

And what an apt occasion, Thanksgiving Day, for me to discover all these minute wonders on the Trail. First, the colours:

Nature in the miniscule… the varieties of berries. Black against red:

Red against green:

And these pure whites like pearls in the undergrowth:

And the vibrant lives on two fallen twigs… I was mesmerized:

If we’re intruded by grace, I’m more than willing to give in.


All photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects in the fall of 2011. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Signs of Fall

The changing of the seasons is best captured in nature. Immersed in the glorious sunshine and unusually mild temperatures, I took these photos in my neck of the woods on the last day of summer. Yes, I’ve enjoyed my occasional trips out to the B.C. Coast, or my excursions in Toronto, where the sign of fall is the Film Festival. But I’ve been solidly grounded all these years in Southern Alberta.

Here are the reasons…

These are glimpses of Fish Creek Provincial Park, a natural sanctuary of 13.8 km2 (3,330 acres) right within our City’s boundary. It is one of the largest urban parks in North America. This is where I see the signs of fall, Alberta style.



I won’t see the red as in B.C. or the East Coast where maples are prevalent, but here our own golden, rusty shades are soothing and ethereal. Remember the colour scheme in that movie “Far From Heaven” with Julianne Moore, or Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven“?  Funny that both films have the same word in their title.




And with succulent fruits ready for the picking, here’s a sure sign of fall:



All Photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, September, 2011.


For more wonderful fall photos CLICK HERE to my post Looking for ‘Intrusions of Grace’ in Nature

A Sequel to Days of Heaven, Mr. Malick?

It has been over thirty years since you directed the cinematic “Days of Heaven” on location here in Southern Alberta. The four-foot tall wheat in the massive field near Lethbridge was the main attraction I understand. So it’s been decades now, lots have changed. But as to this relatively pristine province of Alberta, I can say the land is still wide and the sky still blue after all these years.

As I was driving through the open country a couple of weeks ago, I was captivated by, no, not the wheat fields, but the rapeseed farms (a better term is canola). The colour was brilliant yellow, equally cinematic as the golden wheat fields. A thought came to me…

Mr. Malick, how about coming back for a sequel to your beautiful film “Days of Heaven”?

Here are some sights I took in on that brilliant mid-summer day:

And if you need a location scout…


All photos on this post are taken by Arti of Ripple Effects in July 2011. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

To read my review of Days of Heaven, CLICK HERE.

To read my review of The Tree of Life, CLICK HERE.

The Royal Visit: William and Kate in Alberta

The whirlwind visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate to Alberta has come and gone. I’m glad that they cared to visit Slave Lake where 40% of the town had been destroyed by wildfire in May, but has now come under another disaster, flooding.

Arti is also impressed by the royal couple’s secret hideout July 6 near Lake Louise. Well, maybe it’s not totally their choice, but kudos to whoever that was responsible for the arrangement, they opted for the historic and secluded Skoki Lodge:

Skoki Lodge

Rather than the grand and monumental Chateau Lake Louise facing the world famous Lake:

At first sight, the Chateau is more fitting for a royal than the little rustic log cabin that’s Skoki Lodge. But this may well be a statement clearly transmitted … William and Kate are as unassuming as their down-to-earth mountain abode.

A day after the royal couple has left Lake Louise by helicopter to the Calgary Stampede, Arti drove a couple of her own visitors to the Lake. We encountered strong winds and drizzles under an overcast sky. But I hope William and Kate had had a brighter view of this magnificent natural beauty, and saw the glacier that was shrouded in low mystic clouds when we were there:


As for their Calgary arrival for the Stampede, it’s quite a moving story. The bright yellow dress that Kate was wearing as she got off the helicopter could well be the most appropriate attire (rather than Western wear), for she represented a real-life princess Diamond Marshall had wished to meet in person. Six year-old Diamond has stage 4 cancer. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, she was chosen to present flowers to Kate. Here’s her letter written to the Duchess of Cambridge:

Diamond Marshall Diamond Marshall And The Death Of Cynicism: When The Duchess Of Cambridge Made A Wish Come True

Diamond Marshall1 Diamond Marshall And The Death Of Cynicism: When The Duchess Of Cambridge Made A Wish Come True

The most authentic moment, Diamond dashed out to hug Kate and presented to her a bouquet of flowers and her own hand-made friendship bracelet in a heart-shaped box. What did she think of the other half of the royal couple?  “He was a little bit handsome,” she said.

CLICK HERE to read the story of Diamond Marshall.


Kate and William did have their chance to don a white cowboy hat (Calgary’s honorable gift to distinguished guests). On July 7, Wednesday night, two members of Arti’s household had the invite to a reception organized by PM Stephen Harper. Arti’s own CS (turned CG in June) had the very close encounter of extending his long arm to shake both the hands of William and Kate. In the frenzy, CG’s iPhone photos were a bit blurry.  But here’s a sharper view of the two royals at the Calgary Stampede:

Kate and William will have their all dressed-up, glamorous red carpet reception with the celebs, the rich and famous of Los Angeles at their next stop after Calgary. But I’m sure only here in Alberta can they relax in a Rocky Mountain log cabin, dressed in jeans and plaid shirts, and where Kate can receive an impromptu hug from a six-year old cancer patient who dashes out to show her excitement, and where sincere authenticity can be freely expressed and cherished.


Key: CS=College Student, CG=College Grad

Photo Source: Skoki Lodge from Travel Alberta, Calgary Herald; Diamond Marshall & Kate Middleton, Todd Korol, AP; Kate and William at the Calgary Stampede, Reuters Phil Noble; Diamond Marshall’s letter from this site; Chateau Lake Louise and the fog-shrouded Lake Louise, Arti of Ripple Effects.


Winter Wonderland

I caught this lone cross-country skier on a frozen creek in snow country.  Let this be my Christmas card to all:

May your Christmas be as serene and exhilarating as this magical moment.


And, thanks to a reader’s suggestion, may the following carol warm the winter chills and quiet the holiday frenzy.

‘In The Bleak Midwinter’



A Merry Christmas To All!


Photo taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, December 2010, All Rights Reserved.