Practice makes perfect, I hope!

I acquired a new camera a few weeks ago, and made the switch from Canon to Nikon.

It’s true that they are both great brands, but alas, this Nikon has been borrowed, so I can’t be picky and stick with the tried, tested and true Canon.

This summer, I am also embarking on a 2 month long trip (thank you teaching job!) to several national parks in the USA and Canada, then over to Vancouver.

My main mission?

Animal photography!

So to help me learn all about Nikon’s, I turned to an expert in this field – my boyfriend.

He took me out on the weekend to test out this Nikon while using his 70-200mm 2.8 lens, which he is also so graciously is letting me use all summer.

Our subject?

Trains! With a few animals here and there as we encountered them.

Here are three of my favorite practice shots from the weekend:

Craziest animal encounter – my dog Peabody!

The train! Only took 1 hour to get to our spot…

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Pronghorn Migration – Grand Teton

Amazing – read this article about pronghorn migration. Just fascinating, and reminds me of my time in Grand Teton National Park last summer (minus the snow).

These animals are simply beautiful.

Fantasy Friday – Madagascar

Natural history travel. That caught my attention, plus my boyfriend mentioning meeting a former resident of the country and the love they have for their homeland.

Listen to this description of Madagascar:

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The world’s fourth-largest island contains an immense diversity flora and fauna Of 12,000 plant species identified here, 10,000 are endemic to the island including seven of the world’s nine species of the iconic Baobab tree, some Renowned national parks and World Heritage Site.

Madagascar travel takes you through diverse habitats from 5.000 km of coastal line, 220 small islands to Bio-diversity hot spot. We seek out some of the 40 different species of lemurs, a primate group found only on Madagascar, and identify many species of chameleons in their wild habitat as well as some of the world’s most bizarre creatures on Earth like the nightmarish hissing cockroach, so-called Dracula ants, and the Giraffe-necked weevil. Rich and fascinating culture, heritage today is composed of 18 different ethnic groups that derive from a long history of trade and migration from throughout Indonesia, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, all united today in a common Malagasy culture and language. Legendary hospitality of the Malagasy population. Madagascar have a lot of precious stones as well.

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I would love to visit for my personal enjoyment of viewing the amazing wildlife. On the other hand, I was informed of the terrible environmental strife facing this country, that cannot be ignored.

Environmental Issues:

Madagascar is among the world’s poorest countries. As such, people’s day-to-day survival is dependent upon natural resource use. Most Malagasy never have an option to become doctors, sports stars, factory workers, or secretaries; they must live off the land that surrounds them, making use of whatever resources they can find. Their poverty costs the country and the world through the loss of the island’s endemic biodiversity.

Major problems:

  1. Deforestation and habitat destruction.
  2. Agricultural fires.
  3. Erosion and soil degradation.
  4. Overexploitation of living resources including hunting and over-collection of species from the wild.
  5. Introduction of alien species.

I urge readers to look into these issues, at least, just to be informed.

Terrible enivornmental ‘disasters’ are occurring all around the world, in every country. Education is the first step!

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Un-bear-ably Cute

On my adventures this summer (US and Canada National Parks), I came across some amazing animals. Check out the extremely adorable and enamouring wildlife I stumbled upon. This is just a beginning, I am currently in the editing process with the over 3,000 photos I took on my trip.

Alpha female wolf in Yellowstone (Hayden Valley)

Bison drinking in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

Beaver in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone

"Sedgehog" in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

Marmot in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

Elk...I think this one was in Yellowstone. Better one in Jasper to come!

A black bear we call 'Scruffy', Yellowstone

Grizzly bear #610 and her 2 cubs in Grand Teton

I have way more pictures to add in the future. This is really just a beginning. Shooting pictures in RAW format takes a lot of time to sort, as I have discovered! Stay tuned for more bears and their cubs, wolves, proghorn, river otter, coyotes…way more!