Close Encounters of the Four-legged Kind

Grey wolf on ridge above Bow Valley Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Grey wolf on ridge above Bow Valley Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Encouraged by my success from this past weekend, I returned to the mountains today hoping that my luck would continue.  I left Calgary at 3:45 am to attempt a sunrise at Morant’s Curve, outside of Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Parkway, with the plan of continuing on afterward to shoot bears and other wildlife.  Morant’s Curve was a bust thanks to low-lying clouds so I took the opportunity to prepare my gear and get an early start on the Icefields Parkway in search of wildlife.

While cruising the Icefields Parkway north of Saskatchewan Crossing, I spotted something cross the road and duck into the trees at the opposite end of a long straight stretch.  I took a landmark of where the animal appeared to enter the trees and slowed my progress until finally pulling even with the location.  Fully expecting the creature to be long gone by this point, I was shocked to find a very light colored wolf with a white radio collar staring back at me through 10 feet of brush.  The wolf began walking through the forest parallel to the road and realizing that I was not about to get any clean shots by pursuing, I carried on down the road a short ways to find a clearing.  I sat quietly hoping that my car would suffice as a blind and that the wolf would continue on its path but it apparently had other plans.  Figuring that the wolf may use the nearby river to avoid my presence, I continued to a nearby access point to the river.  Immediately upon stepping out of my vehicle, I realized that the wind was working against me as I was now upwind of the wolf but I continued to the riverbed nonetheless where I sat quietly in vain before reluctantly pressing on.

I covered many kilometers up and down the Icefields Parkway finding little of interest so I returned to Lake Louise to try my luck on the Bow Valley Parkway.  My plan of exploring mid-week was working out perfectly considering I was able to cruise the Parkway at slow speeds without having to worry about other park users; however, I also wasn’t finding any wildlife, until suddenly I rounded a corner to find myself staring at a large grey wolf.  I snatched my camera off the passenger seat and the wolf began up a nearby ridge.  As soon as the wolf begin its climb two black wolves came into view just up the road.  Since the black wolves were on my passenger side, so I concentrated on the grey wolf, shooting as it traversed the ridge.

As I shot the wolf on the ridge, one black wolf pursued the grey wolf uphill while the third wolf jumped over the guardrail and seemingly disappeared.  Soon I was sitting alone wondering what my next move should be when the black wolf that had disappeared over the guardrail suddenly reappeared and walked up to my open passenger-side window.  As calmly as possible, I raised my camera and managed a burst of five exposures before the wolf thought better of its surroundings and joined the others on the ridge.

I made my way down to a nearby field and positioned myself downwind, hoping that the wolves would continue their last known course and right past my lense but after a stream of vehicles pulling beside my vehicle wondering what I was looking at, I decided that the wolves were unlikely to make an encore appearance.  Unsure of what I had actually captured, if anything; I took a moment to review my shots.  I was pleased to see that what appeared to be several usable shots but that could not be verified until I got home.  I was particularly concerned about the portrait shots of the black wolf that approached my passenger side just feet away.  I had been using my 400mm lense, which is not purposed for such tight quarters, so I was afraid that the photos would be out of focus.

 

Scarred Wolf Portrait

Scarred Wolf Portrait

 

I continued to patrol the Bow Valley Parkway and Icefields Parkway into the evening.  I did locate one grizzly bear that was eating roots on a steep downhill bank that had already drawn a large crowd, so I watched from a distance until the bear inevitably moved on and the crowd dispersed.  I had an idea of which direction the bear had departed but never did manage to find the grizzly again.

In all, I covered 1,032 km in 15:19 of exhausting driving and finally arrived home at 8:25 pm but today’s wolf encounter was worth every moment!  I immediately uploaded today’s images and was happy to find that my wolf images were indeed usable and got to work preparing them for this post!  Upon reviewing the wolf portrait photo on my camera, I had noticed what appeared to be an eye injury or infection due to a large amount of matting and scabbing around its right eye.  Once on the large screen of my computer monitor, a very obvious cut can be seen on the upper and lower lid with a jagged scratch through the center of the eye.  I cleaned up the matting prior to posting because no one wants to see that but left the scars to uniquely identify this wolf.

 

1,330 km yields Grizzlies & Wolves

 

 

Boar walking along Icefields Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Boar walking along Icefields Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

 

I recently arrived home from my first extended trip into the field in far too long.  I have managed to pry myself away and retreat into the mountains several times but home and work commitments have largely taken precedence.  As a very long winter slowly released its grip and early reports began to trickle in that bears had begun to emerge from their dens, I began to get the itch.

 

Spring Grizzly Bear, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Spring Grizzly Bear, Banff, Alberta, Canada

 

On Friday evening, I drove into the mountains planning to cover a lot of ground and scout the area to determine where to concentrate my efforts in the coming days.  I crawled through Kananaskis determining what food sources were available for bears but was disappointed that the recent warm weather and rain hadn’t rid the area of snow.  I had covered a lot of area and had explored the areas that had been productive in previous years, turning up nothing other than the usual dozens of deer and elk.  I was backtracking along Highway 40 when I crested a hill to find a parked vehicle and a dog trotting up the shoulder of the road in my direction.  I slowed, all along watching this particularly lanky dog.  Just as I pulled even with the dog it clicked; I wasn’t looking at a dog at all, it was a wolf!  I quickly pulled a U-turn and grabbed my camera off the passenger seat to hopefully get a couple quick shots off, if I managed to pull even with the wolf before it disappeared.  Unfortunately, the wolf ducked into the trees shortly before I caught up with it.  I was disappointed to miss an opportunity to photograph the wolf but left the park satisfied to have simply had the opportunity to see such an elusive creature.

 

Mount Kidd sunrise, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

Mount Kidd sunrise, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

 

The next morning I was on the road at 4:30 to photograph sunrise in Kananaskis and continue my search for wildlife.  I retraced my route from the previous night and turned up nothing or interest, which was disappointing but I still had a lot more ground to cover in Banff and Kootenay.  Not long into my planned Banff route, I passed a stand of trees to find yet another wolf standing in the center of a meadow hunting mice.  I managed to bring my car to a stop and get a number of shots before the wolf disappeared into the forest.  I continued on my route and found little of interest through the rest of the day.

 

Wolf on the Bow Valley Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Wolf on the Bow Valley Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

 

Sunday morning I once again hit the road at 4:30 headed for Castle Mountain for what turned out to be a lackluster sunrise.   I packed up quickly and began a slow drive of the route that I had laid out the night before.  The early morning shadows played tricks on me and I found myself braking often for bear shaped rocks and stumps.  Thankfully, not long into the route, I bagged my first grizzly of the season, which tolerated my presence as it dug up and ate roots.  This particular bear was not overly impressive in stature but looked healthy after its long winter and broke the shutout early.  After some time, the bear laid behind a screen of tag alders to soak in the early morning sunshine, which made for an interesting scene to watch but not particularly photogenic so I pressed on.

 

Camouflage Bear

Camouflage Bear

 

Within 10 minutes I came upon a large male grizzly wandering down the side of the Icefields Parkway.  Unfortunately, I had several vehicles piled up behind me and there seems to be no orderly way for several vehicles to stop at a bear sighting, so I continued up the road a short distance to find a safe spot to pull over.  Meanwhile, my pursuers awkwardly parked all over the road in an attempt to catch a fleeting glance of the bear, which was scared off by the commotion.  I patiently sat hoping the other spectators would grow restless and move on, which thankfully they did.  Within minutes of their departure, the bear reemerged to assess the situation and I was ready snapping photos.

 

Grizzly Bear emerging from forest, Icefields Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Grizzly Bear emerging from forest, Icefields Parkway, Banff, Alberta, Canada

 

Over the next two hours the boar would casually walk by my vehicle while I shot frame after frame, at which point I would advance up the road and reposition looking for a suitable, obstruction-free background and wait.  Other vehicles came and went but because they would attempt to keep pace, the bear would inevitably feel pressured and disappear into the forest only to reemerge once they left.  The boar and I leapfrogged each other until the road got busy and the constant caravan of camper vans and tour buses finally drove the grizzly away for good.  In all, I spent a couple hours with an impressive, healthy boar who seemed content to tolerate me and pose for my camera.

 

Grizzly Boar, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Grizzly Boar, Banff, Alberta, Canada

 

Boar portrait.

Boar portrait.

 

I drove back to Calgary very satisfied with my first major outing of the year, having seen a pair of wolves and a pair of grizzlies but it came at a price of 1,330 km with a drive time of 17 hours 34 minutes, according to my car.  I am heading back into the mountains tomorrow morning to hopefully spend some uninterrupted time with the animals before the weekend rush.

 

 

Ethan’s First Big-Boy Meal

 

Ethan savouring his first meal

Ethan savouring his first meal

The time has finally come to begin easing Ethan onto solid foods and after several weeks of experimentation, I was ready to capture the moment with my camera.  After a tonne of photos and luckily no flash-induced, epileptic incidents, I have put together a series of photos for Ethan’s album.

Over the past several weeks we felt that Ethan had taken a particular interest in what we were doing at dinner time.  As we ate we could feel that we were being gawked at only to turn and find Ethan staring intently, watching our every move from his highchair.  When it came time for Ethan to get his turn at solid food off a spoon he seemed to know exactly what was about to happen.

Over the next several weeks we will be adding an assortment of pureed treats to Ethan’s meal plan; however, I am not looking forward to the idea of blended meats, so that may take some getting used to.

 

 

Ethan playing defence

Ethan playing defence

Ethan excited to try something new

Ethan excited to try something new

Ethan a little unsure

Ethan a little unsure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethan is getting more active by the day, the days of lying like a potato are gone for good, so stay tuned for more firsts!

Ethan’s Photo Shoot

 

Ethan's Baptism Invite Photo

Ethan's Baptism Invite Photo

 

I wonder where the past several months have gone!  It seems like it was just yesterday that our first child was born and I accepted a new position, nearly simultaneously.  Now six months later, after having had the chance to settle into my new routine, I finally managed to dust off my camera and take some photos of my little one.  I was never one for taking portraits of friends or family but seeing as Ethan is growing and changing on a seemingly daily basis I felt I had better get to work.

Ethan Crib

Ethan Crib

Ethan Bath Time

Ethan Bath Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always knew that portrait photos would require an entirely new set of skills to capture the personality of the subject but after years of photographing wildlife I thought I would have a good starting point.  After several attempts with lackluster results, I realized just how much I still had to learn!  After a couple weeks of experimenting, shooting and reviewing the results, I finally feel that I am starting to get some things correct and am much happier with the finished product.

Springbank Fall Fair Results

Springbank Fair Display

Springbank Fair Display

The Springbank Fall Fair has come and gone, ending several months of work and making arrangements for my first public showing. The show was a great success and I am very pleased with the attention and feedback that my photos received.  The event was busy, bringing in a steady stream of interested parties who enthusiastically asked questions, commented on their favorite photos and shared wildlife stories of their own.

My magnet designs were a hit; however, next show I definitely need to create a sign informing people that they are giveaway because a lot of people seemed hesitant until I offered them, confirming that the magnets were indeed free.  I will also need to make my pricing more visible because despite having 4 price lists strategically placed along the tables at the front of my booth I fielded many questions concerning pricing.  I would like to think that it was because people were so busy looking at my photos that they missed the price lists but in reality it was likely poor signage which will have to be addressed in the future.

Springbank Fair Giveaways

Springbank Fair Giveaways

The biggest surprise from the event was that my “cute sells” theory may not carry as much weight as I had originally thought.  I had included the identical three baby wildlife photos from our nursery into my display and they received relatively little attention compared to some of the other wildlife images.  They were admittedly at a major size and visibility disadvantage considering they were positioned low in my display and were a meager 8×12 compared to the monstrous 16×24 of the other wildlife images.

My website has experienced a flurry of activity from Calgary and area, which is out of the ordinary for a Saturday and Sunday period so I am confident the show has had an influence that extended beyond the event.  I hope the burst of momentum continues and that over time, as my giveaway magnets get placed on fridges throughout the area, I experience a steady stream of web traffic and correspondence from interested clients.

At the end of the event, I drew for a 12×18 canvas print of Moraine Lake and the appreciative winner was notified today and will take delivery tomorrow.

If you weren’t able to attend the show, you can still take advantage of my Springbank Show Sale that has been extended to September 19.

Springbank Show Sale

Cavell Pond Sunrise

Cavell Pond Sunrise

In celebration of my appearance at the Springbank Fall Fair, save 10% off your favorite prints through September 19th.  Can’t make it to the show?  Use the promo code “springbank” at checkout on www.caseyfisherphotography.ca or when you email casey@caseyfisherphotography.ca.

Be sure to check out my new Metallic, Diamond-Gloss Canvas product on my blog!  I was so enthused with the rich, shimmering color of the initial production that I have selected canvas to be my sole representation at the Springbank Fair.  Not only are the canvas gallery prints stunning but they are also the best value for a finished product.

I hope to see everyone at the show on Saturday, September 11 from 9am-3pm where you can see my new product, enter to win a beautiful 12×18 canvas print and pick up a free magnet.  If you can’t make it to the show, there is still no better time to pick up your favorite prints at 10% off, on all orders valued at $100 or more before shipping!

For more information concerning the location and time of the event or to view my set and give-aways view the Springbank Fall Fair post on my blog.

Nest Complete – Where’s the Stork?

Nursery with Dresser and Quilt

Nursery with Dresser and Quilt

Big, Bare & Blue

Big, Bare & Blue

Despite some setbacks and frustration, our retailers were true to their word and both our dresser and quilt set were delivered this week.  I am very satisfied with the outcome of the nursery as the rich colors on the walls create a soothing atmosphere and the quality of the furnishings and bedding are top-notch.  With the recent additions, the room is essentially complete with the exception of a giant bare wall that is begging for some art.

My wife and I have begun the agonizing process of selecting prints to complete the room.  Due to the size of the dresser and wall we need to settle on either one monster or a collection of fair-sized prints.  Lynn wants to select photos of Bentley, our Golden Retriever and to save space for future baby photos.  True to my obsession, I want to select from my wildlife and landscape library figuring that if the kid wants to stare at himself we would be better off hanging a mirror.

The debate will likely rage on for a while and once selected we will still be several weeks away from a finished product.  Due to the interest in my last nursery entry, I am posting a couple more pics with all the furniture in place in the meantime.

Springbank Fall Fair

Springbank Layout

Springbank Layout

On Saturday, September 11, I will be showcasing my photographs at the Springbank Fall Fair from 9 am-3 pm at 32224 Springbank Road in Calgary, Alberta.


View Larger Map

I will be presenting 12 of my most popular photos on diamond-gloss, metallic canvas which need to be seen to be believed!   Also on display will be a portfolio and multimedia presentation of my other exceptional images.  Additionally, I will be drawing for a beautiful 12×18 canvas and giving away a limited number of fridge magnets developed for this event.

Come by, visit my display and enter to win this ready to display 12×18 canvas print.

Show Give Away!

Show Give Away!

Also be sure to pick up one of the following magnets developed for this event.  Supplies are limited so arrive early!

Castle Mountain Magnet

Castle Mountain Magnet

Blondie Magnet

Blondie Magnet

Moraine Lake Magnet

Moraine Lake Magnet

Moss Bear Magnet

Moss Bear Magnet

Emerald Lake Magnet

Emerald Lake Magnet


Bundle of Joy Edition

Nursery

Nursery

Crib

Crib

The past several months have been busy preparing for our first bundle of joy and the newest Fisher addition.  My wife thankfully did research during the day to be sure that we didn’t bring home any lead coated, choking hazards, which left our evenings for shopping, painting and assembling.  With the recent delivery of the majority of our selected nursery furniture, the space really started taking shape with the exception of bare walls.

Baby Wildlife Collection

Baby Wildlife Colleciton

To address the issue, I dug deep into my collection of images and developed a series of baby friendly photos that showed the softer, cuddlier side of Nature.  I had each of the selected photos finished in Diamond Gloss Canvas and have hung the first three above the crib.

To complete the room, we are still awaiting the elusive dresser that we ordered nearly 10 weeks ago but have been assured will be delivered this week.  Once the final piece of furniture is delivered my wife and I will reassess the space and select several more prints to finish the room until the last piece comes home from the hospital!

New Product – Metallic, Diamond-Gloss, Canvas

Canvas Gallery Wrap

Canvas Gallery Wrap

Gallery Wrap Corner

Gallery Wrap Corner

In an effort to offer a beautiful, finished product at an exceptional value, Casey Fisher Photography is proud to now offer Metallic Diamond-Gloss Canvas Gallery prints.

During production, the image is reproduced on canvas with a metallic finish, for rich, shimmering color and a nearly 3D effect, before being stretched over a frame and coated with a diamond-gloss finish.  The result is a finished, ready to hang, product without the necessity for custom framing.

I was so enthused with the results from my trial run of canvas products that I have ordered an additional fifteen canvases to be featured as my sole representation at an upcoming show and for my own collection.

Visit Casey Fisher Photography, if you are looking for a stunning print at an exceptional value, when compared to custom framing.  Please allow up to 6 weeks for delivery as the product is complex to produce but well worth the wait!

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