Grizzy Bear Cub – Kananaskis

Could this be the cutest bear ever?

Taken in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. What a stunning and wild part of Alberta to visit. Just awe inspiring – raw, beautiful, wild…

I would buy the stuffed animal of this lil griz.

Photos of the Day – The White Wolf Waits for Wistfully Wandering to Wind Up There

Ohhh too much… but the title is staying.

As I bounce off my seat itching to get on the road to Yellowstone, I was reminiscing about some of the great wildlife encounters I experienced there last summer.

Here are some of my favs:

First wildlife sighting in Teton – Elk on alert!

Grizzy 399 and 2 of her 3 cubs she had last year. Down to none apparently now 😦 although the rumour is they still survive – 1 with the grizzly 610, and 2 are lost, but well.

Awww Sedgehog (I don’t come up with these names 🙂 in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

The white wolf…hence the cringe worthy title of the post.

Mr/s. Marmot in Sheepeaters, Yellowstone

The lone bison walks the line

I could keep going and going, but I will stop at my favorites in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I also saw a large variety of wildlife in the Canadian Rockies, including big horned sheep, mountain goats, a cougar (such a rare and amazing sight!), elk with huge racks, and a ton of foxes, coyotes and a brief glimpse of black wolves.

CAN’T WAIT!

Practice makes perfect.

I really need to play around with this Nikon DSLR before I head out in less than a week to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Wildlife will of course be my #1 priority, I’ll attempt landscape when I can too.

Here are a few tips I have learned from the past 2 years practicing wildlife photography:

1. Always find something to stabilize your camera. 

From Amazon

I often roll up my window half way in order to rest my camera on the pane. I also often use a tripod, but sometimes it doesn’t work out, since some wildlife comes right up to the road, and I don’t want to take my chances out of the car.

My father also gave me a pad to help rest my camera on the window of my car.

2. Stay cool, calm and patient if the wildlife is near (just stay cool and calm all the time anyway!)

I’ve seen a few crazy tourists run up to wildlife and, thankfully, it has only ever ended up with the wildlife being chased off. It’s a bit disturbing and frustrating what tourists will do to get close to dangerous and unpredictable wildlife for a quick picture.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.

A funny experience happened as about 30 people were happily shooting photographs of a beaver in Yellowstone. And as they were all focused in the beaver, I was observing the surrounding area, when – ta daaaa – a white wolf popped out of the bushes and proceeded to swim across the river, where the beaver was posing, perhaps 8 feet away. I think I was the victorious one, capturing the wolf’s dip and then able to grab a few beaver photos after.

Plus – you should always make sure you are safe from sneaky animals. Those bison are so huge, yet so quiet when they saunter over toward your car…

4. RESPECT the wildlife!

It’s hard not to have an impact on the behaviour of an animal close to the road. Just make sure you stay out of the way, don’t startle it, and listen to the park rangers if they are around. Don’t be an idiot and feed them. I’ve seen that too many times in the very short months I have been photographing.

5. Time it right!

The beloved golden light that appears with the sunrise and sunset. The best time to photograph anything! And also the best time to spot wildlife, as most of these guys love resting in the day.

Teton’s at sunrise

Just can’t wait to get up at 4:30am every morning this summer, sans coffee. NOT!

6. Practice, practice, practice!

Check out these two photos of a grizzly bear in Kananaskis, Alberta. The first one was taken 2 summers ago, the second was from last summer. (not the same bear, but same lighting and location).

I hope this means that my grizzly shots will be 3D this summer! hah.

Much clearer!

With all I have picked up over the few months I’ve been photographing wildlife, I still have a long way to go. And I still need a great camera!

My dilemma

This summer I plan to head out on the long road.

The long road to…Grand Teton National Park and then Yellowstone National Park and then Waterton National Park and then Jasper National Park…and then civilization again in Vancouver. And then back to Toronto via ???

So here is my dilemma:

When I am in camping mode, I can pretty much ditch all those luxury goods and services, except one SIMPLE thing.

a shower, a toilet, a cell phone, a comfy bed, COFFEE!

And since my boyfriend insists on dragging me out of my warm sleeping bag (with 2 layers of pants, 3 pair of socks and 5 sweaters of course), into the extremely cold and dark bowels of the morning – sans coffee, well, let’s just say – my extremely laid back self has daggers, no wait, chain saws aimed at his head. (I love you…..).

After we see the peek of a sunrise – as us two, the lone souls in the middle of a deserted road, along the majestic Teton mountain range, with the jagged peaks welcoming the rising day into it’s arms, waiting for that magic light to take breathtaking photographs of a grizzly bear and her cubs grazing amongst the golden backdrop… Ok – get the picture?

Well I NEED MY COFFEEEEEEEE!!!!

We tried so hard last year to find a way to make a nice cup o’ in the car; tried to find a gas station open early enough for a steamer; I sweetly batted my eyelashes at my boyfriend to wait for me to build a fire and boil some water (no time…lighting is money honey!); attempted to wane myself off the addicting brown stuff…

Nope. I NEED MY COFFEE!

So, here is the best I could come up with, which would produce semi-warm liquid water, in which I would throw in a Starbucks single:

Somehow, I don’t think this will cut it. I’m still trying and welcome and suggestions 🙂

Photo of the Day – Grizzly Bear 399

Welcome to Grand Teton National Park, home of the famous grizzly mom 399. You can see 2 of her 3 cubs at the time (down to 2 cubs now) following behind her with their heads in the bushes.

She was so much fun to watch from my car last summer, and I hope to see her again this summer!

grizzly bear 399

The Unsung Alberta Park

When people think of Alberta parks, they often list Banff and Jasper, in that order. Maybe Waterton, but it is sort of unsung in its own right.

Source

It’s not often that people recommend an area called Kananaskis, which is not at all far from Banff – a half an hour SE of Canmore. But after two summers of visiting Alberta parks, I must say that my favorite (so hard to choose) is Kananaskis.

For starters, K-Country, as it is known, is not the tourist trap that you encounter when you arrive in Banff and it has a unique, almost spooky feel to it when you drive over Highwood Pass, through the looming mountains.

In the winter, this place is great for skiing and people invade one of this large land-use area’s provincial parks – staying at the Delta Ski Resort (which once housed both 1988 Calgary Olympic events and a G8 summit) and head out on Mount Nakiska. I have only been in the summer, of course, for bear watching!

Kananaskis is fantastic for biking. There is an extensive cycle trail set up that covers much of the front-country wilderness, showcasing its numerous, beautiful campsites in the process. Watch out for chipmunks!

That all said, what makes Kananaskis truly special for me is the mountain range that just seems so eerie and peaceful at night. When I was staying at the Interlakes camp site, between Upper and Lower Lakes (absolutely gorgeous!), my favorite time of day was dusk. So quiet, so few people: just the smooth, calm lake and the sound of the loon….oh so very Canadian 🙂

Grizzly Bear 399

I miss bear 399 and her 3 cubs in Grand Teton National Park!

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton… I am daydreaming about this place right now. It was absolutely gorgeous there, when I went about a month ago now.

My boyfriend and I decided to head there first via Toronto, then work our way north to Yellowstone and then the Canadian Rockies. So my first glance of gorgeous mountain landscapes were the Tetons. What a good start to the trip!

For the 6 days we hung around the park, we saw so many amazing animals and scenes. One of the most fascinating shows we witnessed was a world famous grizzly bear, called 399 and her 3 cubs. They were, as predicted, out and about every day to greet us. Another bear, 610, who was a former cub of 399 was also out and about with her 2 cubs. So many great photos!

610 and her cub

Aside from bears, we were able to see elk, bison, coyotes, and wolves…and let’s not forget, the gorgeous scenery! Anything that is set in front of the Teton backdrop looks so majestic.

One other thing I should mention about Grand Teton is the PIZZA! If you go, make sure you test out Leek’s Pizza. Deeeelicious! Again, the setting of this restaurant is against the Tetons and a picturesque harbour. One of my favorite places on the trip.

The harbour at Leek's Pizza

Can’t wait to return to this place and check up on 399 and her cubs and gaze at the amazing mountains from Leek’s patio on the harbour.