Rolling Along and Roaming w/Bison »» Alberta Wildlife Photography

We all have photography lessons — sometimes we seek them out and other times, they are handed to us, whether we want them or not. My lesson of late has been what to do with your time and passion when you are unable to photograph the subjects you care most about in this world? As a few folks close to me have known, I was unable to shoot much of 2013, especially wildlife, because it required longer lenses, generally heavier gear, farther distances and varying weather conditions. To be blunt, I was unable to lift my gear or even take very many steps for many, many months. Trip after trip was cancelled; potential gigs / bids were cancelled, etc. It left me with the scary question, what do I do now? How can I consider myself a wildlife photographer, passionate about conservation, documenting our wild species and fading rural structures if I am not out there doing anything about it?

wildlife environmental portrait, bison bison bison, Plains Bison, conservation, buffalo, ungulates, Alberta wildlife, herbivore, Elk Island National Park, winterwildlife environmental portrait, bison bison bison, Plains Bison, conservation, buffalo, ungulates, Alberta wildlife, herbivore, Elk Island National Park, winter

These images are definitely not my best, but it’s what I could muster up for the brief time I was with these animals. Does this make me a failure? Go to sites like and one might automatically assume so. I know I did so too many times, and the end result made me feel even worse. So I stopped doing so. What made me feel better was first of all, to be in the vicinity of wildlife to begin with, image or no image; camera or no camera. It’s extremely therapeutic and because I wasn’t able to do so very often, I would find myself turning to other resources I knew to stir my soul, and while hard at times to watch or read, I was always left inspired, educated and waiting until I could be out in the wild again.

My top go-to wildlife resources were as follows (I link y’all up below under my favourites):

  1. My library of wildlife and nature books. I have 28 wildlife books alone, and while it’s not a lot to some folks, these pages are filled with information about the biology and behaviour of our wild species. Stories of conservation triumph and failures, challenges, frustrations and more left me counting the seconds until I can be more involved in the field. These books are so crucial to my research and education of our wild world and I never tire of reading them.
  2. YouTube. There are a number of ethical wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife photographers and organizations who post either behind the scenes footage or the end results of their wildlife pursuits. Even the older videos are excellent.
  3. Conservation organizations. There are a number of orgs I follow, especially those in Canada and specifically, Alberta. The amount of data and passion these orgs have available to us are worth their weight in gold many times over.
  4. Local tv. Shows like Alberta Primetime have started to tackle more topics regarding the crisis our Alberta wildlife often face. It’s so wonderful to see this show do so and I only hope we see a lot more of this in the future.
  5. Wildlife photographers and filmmakers. Ah, ethical wildlife photographers bring much more to the table than just interesting and beautiful photography. They bring experience, a true, heartfelt passion and loads of education acquired in the field for the animals they document. If we’re lucky, they will share their passion with us with more than just the images and footage they make.
  6. My own inventory, much of it never shared (boo, I know), and my own memories, research and experiences. I never forget a wildlife shoot. Ever. So it’s always good while my memory is this sharp to go back and recall why I was out in the field to begin with, what I’ve learned, how I’ve both succeeded and failed. There’s much to be learned from this alone.

Read on..

Oh, Those Canadian Rockies »» Southern Alberta Landscape

Posted in: Canadian Rockies, Discover Alberta, Landscapes, Rural Alberta on January 23rd, 2014

I don’t know about you, but when the weather warms up and the roads are in good shape, as they have been this past week, all I can think about is hitting the open road and heading to our Canadian Rockies with my camera in hand … and quite possibly a GoPro strapped to my head. Swoon.

It’s been far too long …

Canadian Rockies, Lewis Range, southern alberta, rocky mountains, alberta landscape

The updates to the galleries should be complete sometime in March and hopefully this will prove to make the process of searching, viewing and inquiring about images a little easier for everyone. I’ll even update my galleries too … Ooh, progress. 

Update: galleries won’t be changed over until sometime in April because I broke my SmugMug! Whoops!

See you in the field!

Ordering Prints + A New Year

Posted in: Black & White, Business Schmissness, Clients, Discover Alberta, Gallery on January 8th, 2014

Hard to believe we are already on the 8th day of a new year … I haven’t been posting much to the blog because I’ve been working on some stuff behind the scenes and at times, the blog loses its rank. It happens, right? Something I’m hoping to improve on this year. I am making some big changes to the galleries in order to make them more user friendly and easier to control the inventory for both myself and any potential / current clients. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while; I’ve also had a few requests to do so and I’m finally getting around to it, but it will take some time. I appreciate everyone being so patient. There will also be some changes to ordering prints and it will be easier for clients to choose how they want to carry out and complete the transaction. For the present time, please contact me at [at] shaw [dot] ca to inquire about any print requests. This of course goes for any licensing, assignments and other requests! I continue to appreciate each and every one that comes my way.

Alberta landscape, Canadian Rockies, rocky mountains, agriculture, sunrise, farmland, fields, gravel road

Once I’m done, I’ll update the site here and blog, as well as Twitter, etc. Stay tuned, y’all! I’m hoping by the end of March, as I’m weighing different gallery options and testing things out behind the scenes …

With regards to this photo — I made this image when I was in Southern Alberta late last summer. This is near Waterton National Park, and though I really like the colour version of another image very similar to this, I thought I’d experiment and run this through Silver Efex Pro 2, tweaking the Triste preset. I think I like it and I’m going to print it up this week and see how it looks at 12″x18″.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and are already enjoying a new year! A big thanks to my clients in 2013 and here’s to working together with repeat clients and many more in 2014!

See you in the field!