Jul 24, 2009

Newfoundland Trip - July 2009

Back from a wonderful trip to Newfoundland. I saw whales and seabirds, beautiful scenery everywhere and met some of the nicest people. If you've never been.....put this on your list!

We visited Cape St. Marys, St. Johns,Bonavista,Trinity,Witless Bay.......each place had it's own charm.

This was taken in Bonavista as the last light of the day was disappearing. Stayed and watched them for a while throwing out a net to catch Caplin.

Jul 3, 2009

Montana Trip - June 2009

I'm back home after visiting Montana for a week to see Glacier NP and Triple D for the "Animals In Spring Workshop" and I have to say....I'm not happy about it! I have never seen a more beautiful place. Ever.

From the emerald colored lakes in Glacier, vast mountain views, stunning waterfalls and rivers, curvy roads built into the mountains,stunning sky and sunsets, working ranches, interesting history, friendly people and the abundance of wildlife. I really felt like I was where I should be.
I wish I was still there. If I ever win the lottery....you'll know where to find me!

I made the mistake of refering to our trip as a "vacation" to my husband. He's insisted that getting up every morning at 4 or 5am to get out and shoot is not a "vacation". He does admit that it was a great "trip" though. We had such a limited amount of time so I didn't want to waste a minute of it. Get up early and stay out late. But now that I'm home.....I see lots of sleep in my immediate future.

This view is St. Mary Lake in East Glacier. My attempts at landscape photography don't do this beautiful area justice.

The Last Best Place

Day 1: Arrived in Montana early in the afternoon....picked up our rental SUV and went to the Rocky Mountain Outfitters to buy bear spray. I'd heard that there was a huge number of bears in Glacier NP and wanted some protection...just in case. I was so excited about the possibllity of seeing a big Grizzly appear in front of me on a trail. But I also wanted to be prepared just in case we were charged.

Two days before we arrived a jogger was charged by two Grizzly's. Unfortunately he was alone and had left the spray in his vehicle. He was bitten twice but I hear that he's recovering well.
I believe in responsible photography....I would hate to think that my actions disturbed the normal behaviour of an animal or possibly made them more aggressive for the next person they encounter. While I like to get close, I also try to keep an eye on their behaviour for any signs of fear or aggression.

That happened with this Moose. After watching her for about an hour in West Glacier...I hadn't realized how much closer she had come to my position. At one point she raised her head, gave me a nasty staredown and started peeing in the water. I don't know a lot about Moose but I heard that could be a sign of aggression. I moved quickly around the SUV to put it between myself and the crazy moose. I decided that the photography session was over and left her to do what Moose do.

Oh Barf....Another Tourist

Day 2: The day started EARLY....or at least early for me. Had a meeting at Triple D at 7am to go over the itinerary for our shoots and met Rod Barbee who was leading our workshop. Then we headed out to our first location to shoot this Red Fox Family.

Right away I noticed how Triple D pays attention to every detail. From waiting for the right light, choosing the perfect location for the animals and customizing it based on the groups suggestions and providing the most wonderful photographic oportunities I've ever had. (In addition to that, they are all amazing people that are very focused on making everyone happy.)
We also had two more sessions on this day....a young River Otter and a Grey Fox. We also saw a wild Bald Eagle on the way back to Triple D.

Then after the shoots we rushed out to explore West Glacier again and were lucky to find the same female Moose from the day before in the same spot. This time she appeared to be in a much better mood and we hung around for at least 2 hours watching her.

I enjoyed driving and stopping along Going To The Sun Road and exploring some of the trails on the way. We could only get as far as Avalanche Pass because they still hadn't cleared the snow after that point.

On my next trip out there I'm going to go later in the year so we can experience Logan's Pass and drive all the way through.

Got back at about 11pm and realized that we wouldn't be getting much rest since our shoots the next day were going to start at 5:15am. Seriously??!!! I thought the meeting at 7 was early!

Fox Family

Day 3: Morning came WAY to early....could hear my husband muttering about how getting up at 4:00am is bordering on abuse. Poor Guy.

We all met up at Triple D and then drove over to our first location of the day for a Cougar shoot. A rocky ridge up a very steep hill, lucky I had my Sherpa there to help with my equipment.
We also had the opportunity to photograph an adult Bobcat, Bobcat Kittens and this beautiful Wolf without any barriers between us and the animals. Chris loved the Wolf session since we had to drive across a small river to get there....glad we didn't rent a car, it never would have made it across. We go all the way to Montana and what thrills him is driving across a river?!!! Men are weird.

Close Encounter

Day 4: Got to sleep in until 5:15am on this day.....at least it felt like sleeping in compared to the day before.

Our sessions included Lakota the Wolf, Rose the Grizzly Bear, Pipsqueek the Otter and Lynx Babies. This was the last day of the "Animals In Spring Event" and I wasn't ready for it to end! So I decided to do one of the optional shoots the next morning.

Went to Glacier to look for wildlife....lots of deer around. Still couldn't find any Grizzly's or Black Bear. I stopped the SUV at one point and told Chris to get out and start jogging. He looked a bit confused until I told him that the joggers seem to be the only one's seeing any bears. :P No surprise that he refused my suggestion!

Double Trouble

Day 5: First thing in the morning we went to do the optional session that I was participating in. Chris got to drive over the river so he was happy and I got to watch a Cougar bound around and swim.

Went to visit West Glacier for the last time and was rewarded with lots of wildlife viewing and stunning landscapes against stormy skies. The drive up to Camas Creek was amazing and I was shocked that we didn't come across any bears.

Double Take

Day 6: Early morning we took the long and scenic drive to East Glacier along Highway 2. It's a stunning route and I couldn't take my eyes off the beauty around me.

Just east of Essex about halfway between East & West Glacier we came to the Goat Lick....Mountain goats like to hang around this natural salt lick on cliffs that overlook the scenic Middle Fork of the Flathead River. We were lucky enough to see a few of the Goats and it's an area I would like to spend more time exploring on my next trip.

Just past that we came to the Silver Stairs. This waterfall is on the side of Highway 2. We spent some time there, climbing up the "stairs" and getting pretty wet. I was shocked at how cold the water was but it was a great way to cool down on a hot day.

Then you drive through the Lewis & Clark NF and across the Continental Divide....finally entering The Blackfeet Indian Reservation and taking 49 and 89 to East Glacier.

We had a busy day visiting St. Mary, Many Glacier and driving all over the park. We wore ourselves out doing the trails....stopping to relax when we got down to St. Mary Falls.

At one point we saw something large and brown at the side of the road and I got excited thinking it was a Grizzly. No luck....it was a cow belonging to the Blackfeet Indians. (note to self: make appointment to get my eyes checked!) Guess it just wasn't meant to be on this trip.

The drive out of the park was nerve-racking since it was past 10pm and getting pretty dark. There are no barriers between the lane going out and the huge drop down the cliffs. Not to mention that it's hard keeping your eyes on the road with so much to look at!

It was a perfect trip and I hope to go back early in 2010. One week just isn't enough...

Stairway To Heaven

More photo's from the trip:

Having A Chat

Mountain Wildcat

Reminder Of The Past

Life In The West

Where The Heart Is

Spring Baby

Bobcat Baby


King Of The Mountain

Making A Splash


A Spring Soak