The first week of August we had the opportunity to spend a week on a sailboat exploring the coast of British Columbia from the Johnstone Strait to the Northern tip of Vancouver Island. What I enjoy about this trip is that each section of the ocean we explore seems to bring a different photographic opportunity, and we never knew what to expect.


This is the third time I have been on this trip, and this year it provided many different highlights than the previous two trips.

 

Of course a staple of visiting this area, is the opportunity to photograph the Orcas (both resident and transients) that travel these waters.  We had a few days where we were able to photograph them, with the highlight being when there was a triple breach of three different orcas in succession.  But besides the photographs it is always just amazing to be around such magnificent creatures (and ones that I don’t have the chance to see everyday living in Alberta).

 

 

Pigging Out

Another highlights of the trip were the Sea Otters.  Not only are Sea Otters adorable, but this year they provided us with a great deal of variety in the photographic opportunities.  We were able to capture them wrapped in kelp, moms with pups, gathering and eating sea urchins, and even a brief attempt at mating.  It doesn’t matter how many times I see Sea Otters, they still give me the “awww” factor, and I get bored.

 

We also had a great time attempting to photograph both Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, and Dall’s Porpoises as they rode the bow of the sailboat, it is incredible how fast they are able to move.

 

In addition to the above we also had many Sea Lions, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, and Black Oystercatchers.

 

There was certainly no shortage of wildlife variety on this trip, and there was hardly a dull moment.  This trip continues to rank up there with one of my favourite trips that we offer.

 

There are still two spots available next year, and a priority booking list for 2020. Feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information about this trip.

The first week of August we had the opportunity to spend a week on a sailboat exploring the coast of British Columbia from the Johnstone Strait to the Northern tip of Vancouver Island. What I enjoy about this trip is that each section of the ocean we explore seems to bring a different photographic opportunity, and we never knew what to expect.


This is the third time I have been on this trip, and this year it provided many different highlights than the previous two trips.

 

Of course a staple of visiting this area, is the opportunity to photograph the Orcas (both resident and transients) that travel these waters.  We had a few days where we were able to photograph them, with the highlight being when there was a triple breach of three different orcas in succession.  But besides the photographs it is always just amazing to be around such magnificent creatures (and ones that I don’t have the chance to see everyday living in Alberta).

 

 

Pigging Out

Another highlights of the trip were the Sea Otters.  Not only are Sea Otters adorable, but this year they provided us with a great deal of variety in the photographic opportunities.  We were able to capture them wrapped in kelp, moms with pups, gathering and eating sea urchins, and even a brief attempt at mating.  It doesn’t matter how many times I see Sea Otters, they still give me the “awww” factor, and I get bored.

 

We also had a great time attempting to photograph both Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, and Dall’s Porpoises as they rode the bow of the sailboat, it is incredible how fast they are able to move.

 

In addition to the above we also had many Sea Lions, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, and Black Oystercatchers.

 

There was certainly no shortage of wildlife variety on this trip, and there was hardly a dull moment.  This trip continues to rank up there with one of my favourite trips that we offer.

 

There are still two spots available next year, and a priority booking list for 2020. Feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information about this trip.

Death Grip

 

Due to a cancellation, there is now one spot available on the 2018 Into the Great Bear Rainforest trip.  More information is available on my photo tours page.

 

There are also two spots available on the 2019 trip as well, more information is available here.

 

As always, feel free to contact me for more information, contact@wildelements.ca.

 

PS – I promise we only serve fresh fish on the boat, unlike the one being carried by this Spirit Bear.

Loving Life

Our 2019 Photo Tours are now available for public consumption.  In 2019 we have some new and exciting trips focused on the coast of British Columbia.

 

All trips can be found on my Photo Tours page.

 

As you will notice a number of trips are already sold-out, this is the result of people who were on the “Priority Booking” list for these trips, and received the first right of refusal to sign-up for the trips.  If you would like to be added to the Priority Booking list for 2020, or if you would like to be placed on a cancellation list for an already sold-out trip, please contact me at seminars@wildelements.ca.

 

These spots probably won’t last long, so contact me at seminars@wildelements.ca if you are interested in getting more information or if you are interest in signing up.  Sign up now and you will be Loving Life like this Sea Otter.

Jumping for Joy

Update, this spot has now been sold, however there are still spaces available on the 2019 version of this trip.  More information can be found on my Photo Tours page.

 

Good news for anyone that is looking to explore and photograph the Johnstone Strait area of British Columbia, we have one spot available on the trip 2018 Marine Mammals Instructional trip from August 1 to 10, 2018.

 

Details can found on my photo tours page.

 

Or you can view more details in the trip brochure.

 

This Jumping for Joy Image was photographed during my 2016 trip.  If you would like more information, or would like to join me this summer, contact me at seminars@wildelements.ca.

Breathtaking Breach

Are you looking to capture stunning images like the one in this post? Are you looking for a great photography adventure in 2019?

 

We are currently working our way through the priority booking list for all those that requested “first right of refusal”, and once that is complete we will be posting the trips online, hopefully in early February.

 

For those of you who are not aware, we allow clients to sign up to our priority booking list, more details can be found in the Priority Booking section of the Photo Tours page.

 

Once 2019 is available, we will begin to take names for our photo tours in 2020.

 

To see many of the great images that I was fortunate enough to capture on our trips over the years, visit my Journeys gallery.  Feel free to contact me for more information on any of our photo tours contact@wildelements.ca.

Breathtaking Breach

Are you looking to capture stunning images like the one in this post? Are you looking for a great photography adventure in 2019?

 

We are currently working our way through the priority booking list for all those that requested “first right of refusal”, and once that is complete we will be posting the trips online, hopefully in early February.

 

For those of you who are not aware, we allow clients to sign up to our priority booking list, more details can be found in the Priority Booking section of the Photo Tours page.

 

Once 2019 is available, we will begin to take names for our photo tours in 2020.

 

To see many of the great images that I was fortunate enough to capture on our trips over the years, visit my Journeys gallery.  Feel free to contact me for more information on any of our photo tours contact@wildelements.ca.

Good news for those that are looking for a late November trip, we have added a new trip to the roster for 2018 the “Kluane-Haines Explorer”, and there are spaces available.

 

View from Above

This trip starts off in Whitehorse in Canada’s North, and splits time between exploring Kluane National Park, and photographing the Dall Sheep that traverse the mountainside in this breathtaking environment.  This is followed by visiting Haines, Alaska, where you will spend several days along the river that is still open, and photographing the thousands of Bald Eagles that migrate to these open waters.

 

More information about this trip is available on my Photo Tours page or contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

 

We are in the process of finalizing all the details of 2019 trips, and will be contacting those on the priority booking list soon about securing your spot.

Good news for those that are looking for a late November trip, we have added a new trip to the roster for 2018 the “Kluane-Haines Explorer”, and there are spaces available.

 

View from Above

This trip starts off in Whitehorse in Canada’s North, and splits time between exploring Kluane National Park, and photographing the Dall Sheep that traverse the mountainside in this breathtaking environment.  This is followed by visiting Haines, Alaska, where you will spend several days along the river that is still open, and photographing the thousands of Bald Eagles that migrate to these open waters.

 

More information about this trip is available on my Photo Tours page or contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

 

We are in the process of finalizing all the details of 2019 trips, and will be contacting those on the priority booking list soon about securing your spot.

I’m just arriving back from the Great Bear Rainforest trip of 2017, and it was another one to remember.

 

Carryout Dinner

We were treated to the opportunity to spend time photographing three different Spirit Bears, which is always a highlight of the trip. These bears are quite rare, and exist in only a few places along the Coast of British Columbia, so the fact that we were able to spend time (more than just a glance) with three of them is really lucky.

 

We go to the Great Bear Rainforest for more than just Spirit Bears, we also hope to see Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Humpbacks, and whatever else we come across along the way.  This is why the trip is named “Into the Great Bear Rainforest” instead of Spirit Bear Trip.

 

We had the opportunity to see a Grizzly Bear with two cubs, and quite a few Black Bears, all of which seemed to be taking advantage of the salmon (alive or dead) that were in the rivers, or that have washed up on the shore during high tide in some of the inlets.  We even saw a very unique looking Black Bear that seemed like it’s fur had a bit of white and black in it, it was a very interesting looking bear.

 

Some of the “whatever else” that we had the opportunity to photograph this year was some time spent photographing Humpback Whales (even seeing a few distant breaches), Transient Killer Whales, seeing an Elephant Seal in the distance, and a short time with Harbour Seals.   We also saw a few Bald Eagles perched in the trees,  a few Great Blue Herons, and several Pine Martens that were feeding on leftover salmon along the river.

 

This trip was like none other that I experienced in the past, and that’s why I keep going back. For the first time in the last four years I was tortured by sun, pretty much 7 full days of sunshine, with very little cloud. Which made photographing whales or bears along the water at certain times of the day very challenging. I guess all those years that I wished for a little sun while sitting in a downpour came all at once.

 

As always I was joined by an excellent group of people and welcomed by the terrific crew of the ship, these trips would never be the same without them.

 

To stay up-to-date with my latest images, including ones from this trip, visit my Recent Photos gallery.  If you would like to join us on a Great Bear Rainforest trip in the future contact me contact@wildelements.ca.

Nature’s Bridge

I’m getting excited for my fourth trip into the Great Bear Rainforest located on the coast of British Columbia.  While the Great Bear Rainforest is home to the rare, and unique, Spirit Bear, we don’t only focus on them. Instead we spend our time touring the Great Bear Rainforest for all the different species that call it home.  This includes Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles and sometimes even Coastal Wolves if we are lucky, and of course the Spirit Bear.

 

Spirit Kermode Bear Great Bear Rainforest

Balancing on the Rocks

What I enjoy the most about this trip is the diversity of the species that we can photograph, and that we never really know what to expect.  One year can be very different from the next.

 

I am also looking forward to trying out the Canon 400 f/2.8 L IS II lens for the first time in the Great Bear Rainforest.  The f/2.8 aperture can really come in handy on some of the low light days, due to the rains and cloud cover that are common in the rainforest this time of year.

 

To see the images from past trips (which highlights the diversity of species) check out my Great Bear Rainforest Journeys Gallery.  If you would like to get your name on the list to experience this unique location for yourself, contact me, contact@wildelements.ca.

 

Stay tuned for a post trip update.

Nature’s Bridge

I’m getting excited for my fourth trip into the Great Bear Rainforest located on the coast of British Columbia.  While the Great Bear Rainforest is home to the rare, and unique, Spirit Bear, we don’t only focus on them. Instead we spend our time touring the Great Bear Rainforest for all the different species that call it home.  This includes Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles and sometimes even Coastal Wolves if we are lucky, and of course the Spirit Bear.

 

Spirit Kermode Bear Great Bear Rainforest

Balancing on the Rocks

What I enjoy the most about this trip is the diversity of the species that we can photograph, and that we never really know what to expect.  One year can be very different from the next.

 

I am also looking forward to trying out the Canon 400 f/2.8 L IS II lens for the first time in the Great Bear Rainforest.  The f/2.8 aperture can really come in handy on some of the low light days, due to the rains and cloud cover that are common in the rainforest this time of year.

 

To see the images from past trips (which highlights the diversity of species) check out my Great Bear Rainforest Journeys Gallery.  If you would like to get your name on the list to experience this unique location for yourself, contact me, contact@wildelements.ca.

 

Stay tuned for a post trip update.

I’m just arriving back from the 2017 Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku where we spent five days along the river photographing just that (grizzlies fishing the Taku River and its tributaries).  The 2017 Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku sure stood up to its name, we had many grizzlies that were fishing (one we photographed for over an hour fishing in front of us).  This year the river was full of salmon, and unlike last year, we weren’t competing with a crazy good berry season, therefore it drove upwards of 20 different Grizzly Bears to the rivers in order to pack on the pounds with high-calorie fish.  Not only were the Grizzlies fishing, but the tended to grab the smaller Pink Salmon which they would then enjoy right in front of us (even if it took them 20 minutes, like one bear called Pablo). When they did catch a Chinook (or King) salmon they would often take it into the woods because it was like a three course meal the fish are so big, as these fish average up to 20 pounds and measure an average of 36 inches, so you can see why they would need to take it away to eat it all.

 

This year the trip was action packed, and more than just photographing the bears fishing, we started the trip off with a beautiful, almost 45 minute, ride over the mountains and large lakes to get us from Atlin, British Columbia, to the Bear Camp.  It is one of the most stunning ways to see this unique landscape. Once we arrived at camp, we started seeing bears almost right away, and the action continued for the next five days. Watching, and more importantly photographing, bears fishing adds a new dynamic to the photos of a single bear when compared to a place like the Khutzeymateen where they are feeding on Sedge Grasses and doing the occasional clam digging.  You get to watch the bears splash around in the water, or dive in from the shore, and we even watched one bear completely disappear under the water (ears and all) and snorkel to find the fish – I would show a picture but all it looks like is a splash in the water.  You also get to see the bears battling the fish, either by trying to trap them in their paws, or keep a hold of them in their mouth while the fish try like crazy to get away, and the odd bear almost seemed to like to show his conquest to the crowd before enjoying it.

 

 

In addition to bears fishing, we were fortunate enough to have several bears rub on a rub tree that was right at the Bear Camp, and so close, that it was hard to get the entire bear in the frame even shooting at 100mm (the shortest lens I could put my hands on).

There were also a couple “battles” that happened among sub-adult males trying to establish dominance, unfortunately I was at a different viewing site when this occurred so I didn’t get any photographs, but the clients that were there were extremely happy. I did watch another once at a distance of two bears sussing each other out.

 

There were also a few different moms with cubs from cubs of the year two second year cubs.  The mom with the cubs of the year was still a little bit apprehensive about bringing her cubs close-by, so we had to enjoy them at a distance, but the moms with the older cubs had no problem walking right by us with them, and fishing in front of us.  It was interesting to watch how the different moms behaved with their cubs, with one mom being very greedy with her fish and smacking her cub around when it tried to steal her fish.  Whereas another mom would catch fish and bring it back to her cub to share, and let the cub steal it away.  I am curious to know whether one upbringing will lead to more successful adult than the other.

 

We had the opportunity to also photograph animals other than bears, there were Bald Eagles, although in fewer numbers than in the previous year, but more were coming in each day.  There were other bird life such as Spotted Sandpipers, Common Mergansers, Crows, and Dippers (again in fewer numbers than previous year), and squirrels and hares hanging around the camp.  A few of us were even lucky enough to see and photograph a Pine Marten as we walked back from one of the viewing sites.  And for anyone interested in testing out their cameras AF settings, lots of Salmon jumping out of the water.  There was certainly lots to see and photograph.

 

In addition to the many photographs that we walked away with, it is a unique experience just to sit alongside the river and listen to the river flowing, and the crunching of bones when the bear started eating a fish close-by.  Unlike some other places where you can watch Grizzlies fishing, this trip is limited to 8 guests, so there are very few people that are witnessing some of the unique things that you are.  It is just so calm and peaceful.

 

To stay up-to-date as I post more images, and to view images from previous trip visit my Recent Photos gallery.

I’m just arriving back from the 2017 Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku where we spent five days along the river photographing just that (grizzlies fishing the Taku River and its tributaries).  The 2017 Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku sure stood up to its name, we had many grizzlies that were fishing (one we photographed for over an hour fishing in front of us).  This year the river was full of salmon, and unlike last year, we weren’t competing with a crazy good berry season, therefore it drove upwards of 20 different Grizzly Bears to the rivers in order to pack on the pounds with high-calorie fish.  Not only were the Grizzlies fishing, but the tended to grab the smaller Pink Salmon which they would then enjoy right in front of us (even if it took them 20 minutes, like one bear called Pablo). When they did catch a Chinook (or King) salmon they would often take it into the woods because it was like a three course meal the fish are so big, as these fish average up to 20 pounds and measure an average of 36 inches, so you can see why they would need to take it away to eat it all.

 

This year the trip was action packed, and more than just photographing the bears fishing, we started the trip off with a beautiful, almost 45 minute, ride over the mountains and large lakes to get us from Atlin, British Columbia, to the Bear Camp.  It is one of the most stunning ways to see this unique landscape. Once we arrived at camp, we started seeing bears almost right away, and the action continued for the next five days. Watching, and more importantly photographing, bears fishing adds a new dynamic to the photos of a single bear when compared to a place like the Khutzeymateen where they are feeding on Sedge Grasses and doing the occasional clam digging.  You get to watch the bears splash around in the water, or dive in from the shore, and we even watched one bear completely disappear under the water (ears and all) and snorkel to find the fish – I would show a picture but all it looks like is a splash in the water.  You also get to see the bears battling the fish, either by trying to trap them in their paws, or keep a hold of them in their mouth while the fish try like crazy to get away, and the odd bear almost seemed to like to show his conquest to the crowd before enjoying it.

 

 

In addition to bears fishing, we were fortunate enough to have several bears rub on a rub tree that was right at the Bear Camp, and so close, that it was hard to get the entire bear in the frame even shooting at 100mm (the shortest lens I could put my hands on).

There were also a couple “battles” that happened among sub-adult males trying to establish dominance, unfortunately I was at a different viewing site when this occurred so I didn’t get any photographs, but the clients that were there were extremely happy. I did watch another once at a distance of two bears sussing each other out.

 

There were also a few different moms with cubs from cubs of the year two second year cubs.  The mom with the cubs of the year was still a little bit apprehensive about bringing her cubs close-by, so we had to enjoy them at a distance, but the moms with the older cubs had no problem walking right by us with them, and fishing in front of us.  It was interesting to watch how the different moms behaved with their cubs, with one mom being very greedy with her fish and smacking her cub around when it tried to steal her fish.  Whereas another mom would catch fish and bring it back to her cub to share, and let the cub steal it away.  I am curious to know whether one upbringing will lead to more successful adult than the other.

 

We had the opportunity to also photograph animals other than bears, there were Bald Eagles, although in fewer numbers than in the previous year, but more were coming in each day.  There were other bird life such as Spotted Sandpipers, Common Mergansers, Crows, and Dippers (again in fewer numbers than previous year), and squirrels and hares hanging around the camp.  A few of us were even lucky enough to see and photograph a Pine Marten as we walked back from one of the viewing sites.  And for anyone interested in testing out their cameras AF settings, lots of Salmon jumping out of the water.  There was certainly lots to see and photograph.

 

In addition to the many photographs that we walked away with, it is a unique experience just to sit alongside the river and listen to the river flowing, and the crunching of bones when the bear started eating a fish close-by.  Unlike some other places where you can watch Grizzlies fishing, this trip is limited to 8 guests, so there are very few people that are witnessing some of the unique things that you are.  It is just so calm and peaceful.

 

To stay up-to-date as I post more images, and to view images from previous trip visit my Recent Photos gallery.

I am just getting home from seven awesome days in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary located on the coast of British Columbia. This pristine estuary is located on the northern coast of British Columbia, and is the only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in Canada.  Visiting a location like this, really makes you appreciate all the hard work that went into setting this land aside as a sanctuary, because it is remote, pristine, and untouched.  Because the Grizzly Bears in this area cannot be hunted, most of them tend to not mind us photographing them from the zodiac (however there were certainly exceptions).

 

On Alert

This year, I was hopeful that we would get to see some Grizzly Bear Cubs given the amount of mating we watched in 2015.  Mother Grizzly Bears tend to not bring their cubs into the estuary until they are yearlings, because there can be some big males that make their way into the estuary, and therefore a big risk to the new (and very tiny) cubs of the year.  Well, I was not disappointed, and my expectations were exceeded.  We had the opportunity to see four different moms with cubs (while one we only saw briefly). In addition to just seeing them, we got to watch, and photograph, some really neat interactions between the moms and cubs, with one cub trying to learn how to dig clams while watching his mom, and seeing the cubs snuggle up with their mom to sleep, and even had the opportunity to have one of the mothers nurse her cubs right in front of us.

 

We also got really lucky with both the number of Grizzly Bears that we saw, and also lucky with all the different aspects of the bears lives that we got to photograph.  We got them eating grass, courting and mating, interacting with cubs, swimming, digging clams, napping, jumping, and so much more.  It was like we had the opportunity to see everything that the bears do all compressed into seven days.

 

The “and more” in the title is because I expected to see Grizzly Bears, considering it is a “Grizzly Bear Sanctuary”, but I didn’t expect to see some of the other species that we saw.  Most notable of course was the wolves that we saw on both the 4 day trip and the 3 day trip, and was the longest I have ever got to spend with a wolf in the Khutzeymateen (way longer than the few seconds I saw one for last year). In addition to the wolves, over the seven days I also saw a few Black Bears, Mink, and even a Porcupine. And among some of the birds and ducks we got to see were Harlequin Ducks, Bald Eagles, and more (although the birds, especially the small ones, can be hard to photograph).

 

I walk away from the seven days with in a state of awe over how lucky we were to get some of the things that we did, and with thousands of photos to go through and edit and get to re-live the experiences through the photos.  I’m looking forward to getting the chance to visit again in the future.  I was also very lucky with the two groups of people that I got to spend the seven days with.

 

To stay up-to-date with my latest images, visit my Recent Photos gallery, and to see the images that I have taken in my previous trips to the Khutzeymateen, visit my Khutzeymateen Gallery.

 

Now I have a couple months until I spend more time with Grizzly Bears on the Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku that I will visit in August.

 

Feel free to contact me, contact@wildelements.ca with any questions about this trip.

I am just getting home from seven awesome days in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary located on the coast of British Columbia. This pristine estuary is located on the northern coast of British Columbia, and is the only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in Canada.  Visiting a location like this, really makes you appreciate all the hard work that went into setting this land aside as a sanctuary, because it is remote, pristine, and untouched.  Because the Grizzly Bears in this area cannot be hunted, most of them tend to not mind us photographing them from the zodiac (however there were certainly exceptions).

 

On Alert

This year, I was hopeful that we would get to see some Grizzly Bear Cubs given the amount of mating we watched in 2015.  Mother Grizzly Bears tend to not bring their cubs into the estuary until they are yearlings, because there can be some big males that make their way into the estuary, and therefore a big risk to the new (and very tiny) cubs of the year.  Well, I was not disappointed, and my expectations were exceeded.  We had the opportunity to see four different moms with cubs (while one we only saw briefly). In addition to just seeing them, we got to watch, and photograph, some really neat interactions between the moms and cubs, with one cub trying to learn how to dig clams while watching his mom, and seeing the cubs snuggle up with their mom to sleep, and even had the opportunity to have one of the mothers nurse her cubs right in front of us.

 

We also got really lucky with both the number of Grizzly Bears that we saw, and also lucky with all the different aspects of the bears lives that we got to photograph.  We got them eating grass, courting and mating, interacting with cubs, swimming, digging clams, napping, jumping, and so much more.  It was like we had the opportunity to see everything that the bears do all compressed into seven days.

 

The “and more” in the title is because I expected to see Grizzly Bears, considering it is a “Grizzly Bear Sanctuary”, but I didn’t expect to see some of the other species that we saw.  Most notable of course was the wolves that we saw on both the 4 day trip and the 3 day trip, and was the longest I have ever got to spend with a wolf in the Khutzeymateen (way longer than the few seconds I saw one for last year). In addition to the wolves, over the seven days I also saw a few Black Bears, Mink, and even a Porcupine. And among some of the birds and ducks we got to see were Harlequin Ducks, Bald Eagles, and more (although the birds, especially the small ones, can be hard to photograph).

 

I walk away from the seven days with in a state of awe over how lucky we were to get some of the things that we did, and with thousands of photos to go through and edit and get to re-live the experiences through the photos.  I’m looking forward to getting the chance to visit again in the future.  I was also very lucky with the two groups of people that I got to spend the seven days with.

 

To stay up-to-date with my latest images, visit my Recent Photos gallery, and to see the images that I have taken in my previous trips to the Khutzeymateen, visit my Khutzeymateen Gallery.

 

Now I have a couple months until I spend more time with Grizzly Bears on the Fishing Grizzlies of the Taku that I will visit in August.

 

Feel free to contact me, contact@wildelements.ca with any questions about this trip.