Subjects and Interest in Wildlife Photography

Gray Wolf Jasper National Park

A wolf is one of those reclusive and rare animals that is not often seen around here. So when I got a chance to spend a few minutes with this wolf in Jasper, I was very excited. It was watchful and curious, but most of all it was very purposeful – it had somewhere to be.

I’ve debated posting this picture for a while. I think I’m a fairly tough critic of my own photos, and I don’t think this is an amazing photo. I think it’s okay. And I don’t like posting okay photos. I’d like to be known as a really good photographer, not an okay photographer. But the kid in me says “IT’S A WOLF!!! I SAW A WOLF!!!!” And that’s hard to discount.

While an interesting subject helps a photo, I don’t think it can make a photo on its own. I still think it has to have some appealing aesthetic value beyond an interesting subject to be a good photo. This creates a bit of a conundrum for the wildlife photographer in me. While I have taken thousands of wildlife photos, I generally have very little control over the backgrounds, the lighting, and the locations of the animals. And I don’t want that control. I want the animals to go about their lives undisturbed by me. I don’t want to force them into new places and to do things that are uncomfortable for them. That kind of behaviour can threaten their lives and make them less likely to reproduce.

Every once in a while, circumstances will align just right (and knowledge of animal behaviour can make this more likely), and I’ll be able to get a good wildlife photo. The more I’m out in the woods, the more this will happen. But for me there is beauty all around – both flora and fauna, and I’m content being a photographer of opportunity. I get to share incredible landscapes with these amazing animals, and I’m thankful for the odd encounter, whether or not I get an good photo.

Thanks for a Great Evening!

Bighorn Sheep Sharing a Ledge in Jasper

Thanks to everyone who made it out on Wednesday night to the St. Albert Photo Club! We had a packed room — I got to meet lots of photographers, and see some familiar faces. I had a great time and appreciated all your comments and questions! Best of luck to all of you in your photography adventures!

Bighorn Sheep in Jasper National Park
210mm, f4, 1/640 of a second

St. Albert Photo Club Talk

Mountain in Jasper Rising Through the Clouds

On Wednesday, Jan 13th (yes – in two days) I’ll be giving a talk at the St. Albert Photo Club. There will be a lot of practical photography advice, plenty of photos to critique and enjoy, and hopefully some inspiration. It will include a lot of nature photography, as that is mainly what I do, and it will also include other photos that I’ve never shown before. This may be slightly embarrassing for me, and hopefully entertaining and educational for you. I hope to see you there!

Jasper National Park, AB
210mm, f4, 1/5000 of a second

Squeezing in Time For Adventure

This summer’s been busy and fall is getting even busier. Eventually you might start to see other types of photos besides my usual nature stuff pop up on this blog. But nature is always going to be my refuge — the place to renew my mind and spirit. And I find interpreting it through photography to be both peaceful and exciting at the same time.

Last week I managed to get away to Jasper for a day and a night. I got back from my first hike well after dark, and instead of heading straight to a campsite, I decided to go to Athabasca Falls. After midnight on a moonless night might be the one time (besides winter) when you get to be alone to see this spectacle. I don’t really have the proper gear to be doing astrophotography, but it was fun anyway. The foreground was briefly painted in with my headlamp.

19mm, f4, 20 seconds


From a recent trip to Jasper.

300mm, 1/2000 of a second, f5.6

A Bloomin’ Gallery Show

The Daffodil Gallery

This Saturday, August 13 from noon to 4pm is the opening for “Blooming“, a new show at the Daffodil Gallery. I’ve got two pieces in this show — one you’ve seen before if you’ve been to the gallery, and the other is new for this show. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be there for the opening, but even without me the gallery is a relaxing and enjoyable place to go and see new art.

Kasaa Gallery

Also coming up soon is the VAAA Open Photo Exhibition. The opening will be Thursday, August 25th from 6 to 8pm at the Kasaa Gallery in the Northern Jubilee Auditorium. I am excited to have two pieces in this show, which is a juried show open to all Alberta photographers. There should be quite a variety of photo styles there.

I may have to get a calendar up on the site to keep track of exhibitions and shows for those interested.

But where are all the photos from BC?

I’m getting there slowly. Everything else is pretty crazy right now, so they’ll start trickling out over the next week or two. To get started, here are some cracked rocks in Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park. This was taken after my first day on the road, which is always a very liberating experience.

Somewhat Abstract Reflections

My mind is whirling with weird scientific names and terms for animal-related phenomena. Who thought Haliaeetus leucocephalus would roll off the tongue nicely? And since when is plastron the bottom of a turtle and not a superhero name? So I’m going to take a quiet moment and post a couple photos.

Both photos are peaceful reflections in Horseshoe Lake, taken a few minutes apart.

Small Mountain Pond

I really wish I could have taken this photo from higher up. Maybe some day I’ll go back with a stepladder or something. But I still kind of like the photo.

Not sure if there will be photos tomorrow or the day after – my Wildlife Biodiversity and Ecology midterm is coming up quick, and lots of memorization is involved.

A small pond in Jasper National Park.