September Update – Wolves, Lynx and Leopards!

Posted on 08. Sep, 2009 by in Equipment, Everything, Locations, Monthly Updates, Wildlife photography, Workshops, Tours and Courses

September has returned all the daytime wanderers (school folks, their parents, folks on holidays, etc.) to their regular routines and my errands today took half the time they did during the summer. It was the beginning of August when I noticed the first leaves starting to turn colour here in Edmonton, and while the full fall colour season is still probably a few weeks away, the trees seem well aware that winter is on its way.

I’m very excited about my upcoming Spirit Bear trip. The trip is sold out and I know we have a great group of people going. I’ll be super happy if I can come away with just a few usable images of the Spirit Bears but will be happy with whatever I get. For the first time in a long time, I’ll actually be out of email/Internet contact for a week or so. That’s going to be interesting and I’m kind of dreading the mountain of email that will be waiting my return.

After the Spirit Bear trip, I have my Fall Wildlife Photography Workshop (also sold out) at the Triple “D” Game Farm in October over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Fall is an excellent time to visit the Kalispell, Montana area because of the cooler temperatures we should have timed the workshop to take advantage of the fantastic fall colour in the Flathead Valley in Montana.

In November I’m off to Churchill, Manitoba to scout out a location for a 2010 Polar Bear Photography Workshop. Where many people do trips to Churchill to photograph the bears from Tundra Buggies, I’m looking to do something a little different where our group will be able to be down on the ground (safely) and photograph the bears from their level, instead of 12 feet above them from a Tundra Buggy. Stay tuned to my workshop website for more details or you can contact me to be put on a list to be directly informed when full details on this trip are available.

When I look at my workshop and tour schedule for 2010, it is starting to look like a busy year. So far, here’s what the year looks like:

If you’re interested in getting more information on any of those events, please contact me.

As noted above, this coming January I’m back in Kalispell, Montana for my Winter Wildlife Photography Workshop. There are still a few spots available for this workshop held during my favourite time of year at the Triple “D” Game Farm. Why is winter my favourite time? Glad you asked. Winter has the animals looking their best with awesome fur coats. The temperatures are cool which helps the animals work for extended periods without getting hot or tired. And the final reason has to do with fraidy cats. Fraidy cats are the people who don’t consider going outdoors in the winter because they don’t like the cold temperatures or snow. The benefit of all the fraidy cats around is that it means that those people who choose to venture into the cold and snow end up with unique pictures of beautiful animals in winter conditions that a lot of photographers will never get because they are fraidy cats.

And speaking of winter wildlife, I thought I’d share a few images from last winter at the Triple “D” Game Farm.

There are few animals that exemplify the idea of a beautiful winter fur coat like the Red Fox.  (Remember that you can view larger versions of the images by clicking on them)

Red Fox portrait - CA

Red Fox portrait - CA

Red Fox walking over the top of a snowy hill - CA

Red Fox walking over the top of a snowy hill - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/800th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 190mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with no compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Did you know that silver foxes are just red foxes with silver fur? I didn’t. The fellow in the following image had siblings who were both red in colour. It isn’t hard to imagine why their fur was/is so sought after for fur coats.

Silver Fox walking through some snow - CA

Silver Fox walking through some snow - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/640th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 210mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with no compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Wolves in the winter are a lot of fun too. These giant canines love the snowy conditions and are very much at home in winter conditions. The one thing I always look for when making wolf images is the intensity in their eyes. I think the following images capture that intensity pretty well.

Grey Wolf watching intently from behind a tree - CA

Grey Wolf watching intently from behind a tree - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/500th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 210mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with no compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Grey Wolf walking over snow, watching intently - CA

Grey Wolf walking over snow, watching intently - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/500th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 210mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with +2/3 compensation due to preponderance of snow in the scene
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

An animal that I’ve never previously had the pleasure of photographing before was the Fisher. These ferocious weasels are one of the few predators that will consider a porcupine as a source of food. While this small forest dweller looks cute, I assure you that his bite is worse than his bark.

Fisher peering through some spruce limbs - CA

Fisher peering through some spruce limbs - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/640th of a second at F5.6
  • 70-200 F2.8L IS @ 200mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with -1/3 compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Fisher portrait - CA

Fisher portrait - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/320th of a second at F6.3
  • 70-200 F2.8L IS @ 200mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with -1/3 compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

And, did I mention something about this guy’s bite?

Fisher snarling from the end of a branch - CA

Fisher snarling from the end of a branch - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/640th of a second at F6.3
  • 70-200 F2.8L IS @ 200mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with -1/3 compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Being Canadian, I’m rather fond of the Canada Lynx. One of the great attributes of these wonderful felines is their gigantic, almost cartoonish feet. When I photograph Canada Lynx, I always look for opportunities to show off their feet along with those wonderful long tufts of fur on their ears.

Canada Lynx walking down a snowy hill - CA

Canada Lynx walking down a snowy hill - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/2500th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 275mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with +2/3 compensation for bright snowy conditions with light toned animal
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Canada Lynx sitting on the snow - CA

Canada Lynx sitting on the snow - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/2500th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 330mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with no compensation
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Canada Lynx walking across some snow - CA

Canada Lynx walking across some snow - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/2000th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 235mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with +2/3 compensation for bright snowy conditions with light toned animal
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

The animal I’ll end off with for this update is the Snow Leopard. And yes, it is a coincidence that my feature animal this month is named the same as Apple’s newly released operating system for the Macintosh. These beautiful cats are simply beautiful to behold and have a special intensity in their faces. One of the interesting attributes of the Snow Leopard is that their tails can be as long as their bodies. Winter is obviously the optimal time to photograph Snow Leopards and they aren’t usually available to photograph at the Triple “D” during the summer months.

These Snow Leopard images were made at a new photography compound at one of the sites that Triple “D” leases land at and I was the first photographer fortunate enough to photograph the Snow Leopards at this site. This makes for some unique images and the setting pretty well mimics where they are found, at least the few that remain, in the wild.

Snow Leopard standing along a steep snowy incline in front of a mossy ledge - CA

Snow Leopard standing along a steep snowy incline in front of a mossy ledge - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/1250th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 190mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with +2/3 compensation for bright snowy conditions with light toned animal
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

Snow Leopard standing along a steep, snowy incline in front of a rocky ledge - CA

Snow Leopard standing along a steep, snowy incline in front of a rocky ledge - CA

  • Canon 1Ds Mark II, 1/500th of a second at F6.3
  • 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS @ 250mm, ISO 400
  • Evaluative metering with +2/3 compensation for bright snowy conditions with light toned animal
  • Gitzo 3541XLS Tripod with Jobu-Design Black Widow Gimbal Head

This last image was made when a Snow Leopard decided to take off down the hill after a piece of snow that had tumbled down the slope. While these are intimidating animals, I felt secure that the animal trainer standing right beside me would intervene if necessary. So, I kept shooting as the leopard galloped down the slope towards me. He stopped about 10 feet away and I managed the following image, which is one of my favourites as it really shows off the intensity and beauty of this spectacular cat.

Snow Leopard watching intently from the down-side of a snowy hill - CA

Snow Leopard watching intently from the down-side of a snowy hill - CA

That’s it for this update. If you have any questions about the images, how they were made, why I chose the settings I did, or anything else about photography, I’d be happy to answer them for you. Those sorts of inquiries along with questions about workshops can be directed to me through my contact page.

Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome and encouraged.

Please contact me if you are interested in obtaining the rights to use one of my images or to purchase a fine art print.

Best regards,

Paul

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3 Responses to “September Update – Wolves, Lynx and Leopards!”

  1. Elke Edwards

    28. Sep, 2009

    Beautiful young snow leopard!

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