No Animals – No problem. Nature always provides beautiful photo opportunities

October 15, 2015

waterfall4Wind is nature’s bully, boasting an ability to force its way ‘all up in the grill’ of every facet of the landscape. With no regard for the delicacy of life in the fall, it rips through the vulnerable leaves that cling to their mother’s arms in desperation. Wind thrives on bowling over the weakest of mother nature’s structures. When the wind collides with a stronger opponent, like a building or a mountain – watch out! The big bully throws a temper tantrum, releasing a high-pitched, demonic wailing on par with what I imagine Armageddon would sound like.

I grew up in Lethbridge – I know strong winds are part of the Southern Alberta landscape. But nature’s bully annoys the heck out of me when I’m out looking for wildlife, especially bears. With their sensitive noses, I’m sure bears dislike the wind even more than I do. I equate strong wind with less of a chance of seeing animals – this was front and centre in my mind on a morning drive to Waterton this past Thanksgiving morning. The more my car rattled with the force of the wind, the more annoyed I got.

Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to become conscious of the lunacy of being mad at nature and find myself opening up to the possibility of seeing more of my surroundings, not just the animals. Thank god this sanity emerged during my drive through Waterton…

I remembered a cool little water fall area just off the road on the way to Cameron Lake that I attempted to photograph last year. I knew it was somewhat hidden, so I tuned my eyes to watch for flowing water through the trees instead of bears. Success!

waterfall2The small waterfall created a swirling effect with the yellow leaves in the pool, and I was able to capture this with a 6 second shutter speed and my tripod awkwardly positioned close to the ground.  I could still hear the wind roaring above me, but this little spot was sheltered and completely calm. Bears were the furthest thing from my mind as I experimented with different camera settings, angles and positions.

waterfall6Another angle

waterfall5I left with enormous sense of satisfaction from this non-animal photographic opportunity. I have had many of these encounters, and each time I learn to appreciate a new aspect of nature’s glory. Some of my favorite images were taken on wildlife treks where there were few animals to be found.

I captured this crystal castle on one of my many quests for the white-tailed ptarmigan last winter (2014)


This clothesline of dew was from a painfully dry run (animal wise) on highway 1A, near Banff, AB last fall (2014)


This frosty fall leaf was from this past fall, again on highway 1A near Banff (2015) leaf

This dandelion dew was from a run out west in the spring of 2014

dewI’m so grateful that I’ve had a chance to witness such beauty. I’m quite sure I’ve also missed a lot by being too focused on finding animals. I just need to remember, mother nature always provides something beautiful to photograph, I just need to keep my eyes open.

Until next time, continue loving life and all things wild 🙂


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