May 13th, 2016
Life and work has been a bit crazy lately. My wedding photography business is in full swing for the summer, and my husband and I are currently renovating our kitchen. So when my friends told me they were planning a somewhat last minute photography trip to Banff, I said SIGN ME UP! Of course what drew me there were the pristine alpine lakes set amongst the Canadian Rockies. A dream location for a landscape photographer!
After doing a little research, I also learned that June is the best time to photograph bears before they move into the high alpine. I knew we would be spending part of the trip searching for wildlife, considering two of my travel partners (Luis Solano Pochet and Alvaro Cubero) happen to be amazing wildlife photographers! So I decided to rent the Canon 300mm F4.0 lens and give wildlife photography a chance. On our first day in Banff, the guys took us on a drive around Banff town. We drove up Mt. Norquay to get a birds eye view of Banff town and the surrounding mountains. On our way back down the mountain, we just happened upon a momma bear eating dandelion right along the side of the road!
Luckily Alvaro had already given us some tips on camera settings, and conditioned us to always have our cameras in our laps ready to go. We rolled down the windows of our car and started shooting! It was a bit scary at first, being a mere 10 feet away from a hungry black bear, but she didn’t seem to notice us or care that we were there. Then I noticed some movement in the woods behind her, and we saw 3 little bear cubs scurry up a nearby tree!
They were really cute and kind of reminded me of puppies, so I enjoyed taking their photos (when I wasn’t shrieking about how cute they were). The experience of photographing bears actually had a lot of similarities to wedding photography so it felt somewhat natural. The bear cubs were so erratic and fast (not unlike flower girls and ring bearers) so I had to be ready to click away whenever they did something cute. It is also, like any type of portraiture, so so important to capture the eyes of the animal sharp and in focus. Not to mention the variable lighting conditions. You can’t really tell a bear to move out of the harsh sunlight, so you just have to make the best of it when they are doing something absolutely adorable like climbing all over their momma!
After seeing the bears, we saw and photographed all sorts of wildlife – squirrels, foxes, marmots, pikas, big-horned sheep, mountain goats, mule deer and elk. Many of the animals we saw and photographed from the comfort of our rental car. The others just appeared as we were hiking and checking out landscape photography spots. I even had enough variety to start a wildlife gallery on the site! Landscape photography is still my first love, but it’s nice to know there is something interesting to photograph after sunrise and before sunset. I might just have to pick up a Canon 300mm F2.8 lens. JUST KIDDING. I think my husband might have a heart attack when he saw the invoice.