Animals of Montana Winter Tour 2012

Brenda and I prefer to drive to our photo tour destinations. Three days gets us from Ontario to Montana. On this occasion we were joining a tour group of 8 enthusiastic and experienced photographers in late February in Bozeman Montana. The tour was scheduled for 3 days plus a fourth, optional ‘weather day’ where, each day, we photographed at least 4 wildlife model predators, big and small, North American, Asian and European subjects, in natural settings near Troy and Tracy Hyde’s ranch. This was the winter of 2012, unusual in that many areas of the continent were experiencing warmer than normal temperatures and less than normal snowfalls. Ordinarily I would welcome such conditions, having experienced many long brutal winters in Northern Ontario, where -30 is not uncommon. But, on this occasion we were worried. It was the ‘winter that never was’. There might not be sufficient snow. As we drove through Billings, our ennui increased as we encountered miles of brown terrain. Fortunately Bozeman, and the high areas around the Hyde ranch had plenty of snow. The weather was finally cooperating!

What followed were four days of exciting, intense, fun-filled animal photography. Grizzly bear brothers duking it out in a meadow. A pack of wolves running down a hill toward us. The snow leopard posing and charging in fresh, falling snow. The Siberian tiger charging toward us in a snowy field. Skunks, raccoons, foxes and fishers. And of course, Charley the cougar. Charley walking towards us. Charley charging towards us. Charley in our faces. Charley up a tree. There were bobcats and two species of lynx, all in pristine snow and natural surroundings. All handled expertly, with the utmost safety concerns, by Troy and his two capable assistants Dimitri and Ben. Motor drives chattered. Memory cards filled rapidly, even the big ones. Participants were able to receive instant feedback on their captures as they downloaded and displayed their pictures in Tracy and Troy’s living room.

Click on this link for a full set of selects. I will be leading a fall tour in October (5-8), where I expect we will have more great animal photography experiences in the Montana wilderness!

Niagara School of Imaging

I have been chosen to be one of the instructors at the prestigious Niagara School of Imaging, based at Brock University campus in St. Catherines Ontario. My course is entitled ‘Nature Photography in the Digital Age’.

Spring wildflowers.

Students will have the opportunity to make pictures during field sessions and process them for sharing and critique during classroom sessions. In the field I will offer advice on composition and technique and image critique as well as providing guidelines, tips and suggestions for getting the most from your digital SLR. In the classroom I’ll discuss managing and optimizing the images with your computer.

Autumn bueberry leaves with frost (multiple exposure)

Autumn bueberry leaves with frost (multiple exposure)

The course runs from Sunday August 19 to Thursday August 23. NSI has a website and registration link. Cost is 750.00 CAD + 13 % HST. There is a meal and accommodation plan which is 440.00 + HST extra.

American bison (Bison bison) Walking near Grand Prismatic Spring outflow

The campus is close to world-famous Niagara Falls and other natural areas as well as attractions such as a Butterfly Garden.