Monthly Archives: December 2015

Plans for 2016

Tetons Crop2The first workshop is going to be in the Grand Tetons, a repeat of the 2010 nature trip. Details are expect to be finalized by the second half of January. As of timing, without fixed dates as of yet, we’ll visit the Tetons in the latter part of May. By then weather conditions will be fine but we’ll still beat the vacationing crowd that will follow later. We’ll be based in Jackson Hole in a fine lodge and will conduct our daily outings from there. The duration of the workshop will be five days. Weather permitting one day will be allocated to a side trip to Yellowstone. Please contact me well in advance for information and availability. Provisional bookings will be accepted from now on. Final cost is to be determined upon chosen accommodation but I can give you a very close estimate immediately. This is a great destination for both scenic and wildlife photography.

Scotland, Scottish Borders, UK, Storm, Nature, Landscape, Heather, Sheep, Travel Scotland, Travel UK, Travel GB, Back Country, Stormy Weather,There will be a Backroads in the Scottish Borders workshop in early spring. I have had a trip to the area in 2015 to find some interesting places to stay and visit. The Borders area is full of character, daffodils and tulips flower here abundantly both wild and cultivated as early as mid March. I had my exploratory trip hire in the third week of March, the weather was often drizzly but mild and great for photography. I did most of my driving on country roads to see what the regular tourists miss while driving in the fast lane of the motorways. I found even the most common farmhouses and scenes full of character and exciting for the nature photographer. The dry heather mixed with emerging green and dotted with sheep on the hillsides is extremely picturesque.

Moose in Bog 04Two workshops are planned for Algonquin Park. Camping style like this year which was great fun. The camp sites have electrical hookups and a clean and convenient shower and bathroom facility is available. We’ll spend five nights in the park and will conduct daily treks that will allow us for both scenic photography and wildlife encounters. Moose sightings are frequent and the odd fox or bear might be spotted too. The trails and canoe routes will be chosen based on the capability of the group, so nobody will be left behind.

The first workshop will be in mid June, the second one is planned for late September. Exact dates will be decided in January when the park’s reservation site gets activated for the year.  The summer workshop is great for wildlife, butterflies, flowers, and all sorts of close-up photography. The September one is for fall colours and scenery with bull moose getting into their prime shape. Please contact me for further info and planned dates. Provisional bookings are accepted now.

Workshops 2016

Tetons1

Details for the late May Grand Tetons scenic and wildlife trip have been finalized. It seems that pre-bookings for the better lodges are strong for the second half of May. So contact me very soon if you still consider this trip. See further info on the blog page under 2016 plans.

This workshop is fully booked now.
Original post was published Dec. 02  

Please contact me for future workshops in the Tetons.

Creek around Langholm

I’ve received confirmation on available accommodation for the spring 2016 Scottish Borders trip. I can finalize the trip itinerary now. This will be a backroads and off the beaten path trip, staying at a working farm B&B that I fell in love previously.  Accommodation at the farm is excellent but limited. Therefore, this will be a very small group trip with four participants only so contact me ASAP if you wish to join.

Fully booked.
Original post was published Dec. 02
Please contact me if you would want to be notified if one couple will cancel.

Two workshops are planned for Algonquin Park. Camping style like this year which was great fun. The camp sites have electrical hookups and a very clean and convenient shower and bathroom facility is available. We’ll spend five nights in the park and will conduct daily treks that will allow us for both scenic photography and wildlife encounters. Moose sightings are frequent and the odd fox or bear might be spotted too. The trails will be chosen based on the capability of the group, so nobody will be left behind. Canoe trips will be optional based on the need of participants and weather conditions.

The first workshop will be in mid June whereas the second one is planned for the later half of September. Exact dates will be decided in January once the park’s reservation site is activated for the year. The summer workshop is great for wildlife, butterflies, flowers, and all sorts of close-up photography. The late September workshop will concentrate on the scenery  of fall colours and bull moose getting into their prime shape. Please contact me for further info and narrowing down dates. Provisional bookings will be accepted from now on.

Fully booked as of March 16, 2016

Scottish Borders 2015

Scotland, Scottish Borders, UK, Storm, Nature, Landscape, Heather, Sheep, Travel Scotland, Travel UK, Travel GB, Back Country, Stormy Weather,

Approaching storm over heather covered hills

I had a trip to Scotland in mid March to discover the backroads in the Scottish Borders. Some would think that mid March is a bit too early for such excursion. Well, not quite. My wife is of Scottish heritage, she was born in Glasgow, and we visited Britain in early March before. The weather never was cold for a hardy Canadian, it was misty and drizzly but very enjoyable in general. Typical weather that one would expect from the British Isles in March. The countryside had a bounty of daffodils growing everywhere.

My wife and I flew into Manchester, rented a car and drove to Chester where she settled in with her relatives. I left to Scotland the following morning to find some off the beaten track places in the Borders. I had done some research and booked a B&B for a week in advance, a farm that seemed like rugged but full of character. Well, it turned out to be a great choice. It was a working sheep farm tucked away in the hills, the building was dated back to the early seventeen hundreds. I got a lovely room and a very good breakfast and dinner arrangement. The farm was huge and my hosts even warned me not to get lost. It happened to visitors before and they had to be tracked down by their hunting dogs late in the night. There were dense woods up in the hills and boggy areas in the valleys. I crossed pristine creeks by jumping from boulder to boulder causing some scare to the trouts. What to say? I was in my elements and felt like that I was going to meet Rob Roy in the woods.

Scotland, Scottish Borders, UK, Storm, Nature, Landscape, Travel Scotland, Travel UK, Travel GB, Stormy Weather, Stormy Spring, Melrose, Melrose Abbey, Abbey, Medival Medival Ruins, Cemetery, Storm Clouds

The ruins of Melrose Abbey, resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce

I took day trips from the farm base, always taking the backroads. Some of them were a bit hairy. Driving on a narrow road high up on the hillside that is not wider than a car and a half was quite an experience. No way to pass there. There are layabouts every mile or so. If one sees a vehicle coming from the opposite direction then the one closer to the layabout needs to drive back in reverse. I crossed my fingers that it would not be my turn for such an exciting venture. Fortunately I only met one car up in the hills and I was parked off the road. I found the ruins of an old abbey and a fortified castle nearby. There was a tiny parking lot for visitors. I wonder how many people could find that place other than the local sheep farmers.

Anyway, the discovery trip was enjoyable and worth the efforts. I charted out new territory and plan to organize a back country worksop in the area in the spring of 2016, then repeatedly in the following years. Drop me a note if you would consider joining me and I’ll respond with the planned itinerary.

Yellowstone 2015

The May workshop in Yellowstone yielded some good time for everyone. We had great luck with the weather. The day before our arrival the roads were closed into Yellowstone, courtesy of a heavy snowfall. Fortunately they were cleaned by the time we arrived and the mild weather melted the remnants of the snow off the roads. We could not tell that the day before conditions were treacherous. During our five day stay we visited three areas of the park for scenic and wildlife images.
Mother bison with calfThere was buffalo in great numbers around the hot springs, the young ones were especially lovely. Elk was present at several spots and we saw eagles fishing. A couple of trails were closed due to strong bear activity by the river. Of course we were itching to break the rules but the park wardens were bringing us to our better senses on short notice.Yellowstone is a place where it almost does not matter what the conditions are there is always something to photograph. The rushing meltwater of creeks and the Yellowstone river made the waterfalls forceful. The Yellowstone River gorge was at its best to photograph. We found bighorn sheep on the hillside of the northeast range. They were somewhat far but made for decent detail in scenic shots. All participants got a good number of scenic, elk and buffalo images.

Two afternoons were dedicated to sorting out images, discussing developing techniques with different RAW converters and image editing programs. We forged new friendships during the workshop and closed our trip with a memorable dinner. I got an invitation from one of the couples to visit with them at their Texas ranch during the early spring wildflower boom. No doubt that I’ll be there, I cannot pass on such an opportunity.

 

Algonquin 2015

I had two light workshops last summer in Algonquin park. They both were fun and very enjoyable. The term “light” refers to a camping style workshops with one or two trails conducted every day. Unlike the interior trips of 2014 these workshops were tailored to less hardcore type nature enthusiasts. There was no need for portaging and carrying four days worth of supplies on top of the camera gear.

The workshops were limited to five people, therefore, we were very mobile and there was time to discuss everything with everyone bot on the trail and at camp. We stayed at the Rock Lake site for five nights, enjoyed the convenience of warm showers and had electrical hookup. Nobody had to worry about camera and laptop batteries getting depleted. Camping in tents and discussing the day around the evening fire was great fun. We got up early every morning, had a quick breakfast with strong coffee and were on our way for the morning trail. I planned the daily treks for either two shorter trails, one in the morning and one later in the afternoon, or one longer and more demanding trail.

Algonquin, Nature photo, nature photography, mist, fog, canoeBoth workshops “got blessed” with rainy days mixing with the occasional sunshine. Fortunately the rain either fell during the night or it was quite tolerable. I personally like drizzly days, they yield nice close-ups and wildlife is moving around too. So we took close-ups, smaller vignettes of nature and watched for wildlife when it was overcast, and we were quite successful. The moist weather made the forest floor lush.  There was a plethora of various mushrooms, lichen, moss and flowers to photograph. We found moose on several occasion and a few spruce grouse were very cooperative too. We spotted red fox three times but hey were just in and out of thick undergrowth.

Getting up early benefited us with nice images of Rock Lake. The water was still with light fog over the lake, then in some twenty minutes time the sun started to change the cool blue to some early morning pink. A few ducks wobbled out to the lakeshore to take an early morning sunbath. It does worth to get up early, not just for the coffee. We had two canoe trips on the lake, there are some shallow marshy areas on the west side, often frequented by moose. We got two of them right at their breakfast time.

We were hoping to see black bear too but they eluded us. The year before I found a family of black bear frequenting a certain area, mom and two cubs. This time we found tracks, not older than half a day, but the bears were absent. Regardless, there was some excitement about finding the overturned logs, paw and scrape marks, so they must have been around close by.

We had two longer treks during the workshop, left camp before sunrise and arrived back around five in the afternoon. The Mizzy Lake trail was particularly successful, even the weather was cooperating. We found moose, blue heron, loones and all sorts of scenic and close-up opportunities. The trail had steep climbs here and there but we managed well, stopped for coffee breaks when needed. Everyone had a good time and upon returning to camp a hot shower and the evening campfire crowned the day .