I had planned to stay at St. Mary Lake for an additional day and a half to practice what we had learned during base camp. Having some free time to decompress and practice what Moose and Jake taught us was actually more beneficial than I thought it would be.
One of the themes Moose was harping on me all week was not to take too many “head shots” and to think about how to present the animals in their environment when communicating with your viewers. I tried to practice this much of the day.
But the highlight of the day for me came right at sundown when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a Coyote targeting a meal. After working the spot I was able to get this shot when he came out of the brush!
Today was a bitter sweet day for all of us. This was our last “official” day together. You never know how these events will turn out as you usually get many different personalities, some of which mix like oil and water. We were fortunate to have 8 people that not only got along but enjoyed each others company. As for the shooting we had 3 cars in our daily caravan. This morning our car had the critter jinx. The only wildlife we saw was on other photographers monitors. That being said, Alex Mike and I made the best of our time together and tried to get some other shots that were not “big game” in nature.
Our day ended with a great 3 hour discussion and lecture about the business of Wildlife Photography and a great dinner at Many Glacier Hotel. We all couldn’t thank Moose, Sharon and Jake enough for their hospitality assistance and patience over the last 5 looooong days. If any of you are interested in learning about Wildlife Photographers Base Camp, check it out here (www.moosepeterson.com/basecamp.html)
Another early morning start for the group, one that was not very receptive to finding let alone photographing wildlife. As the morning rolled on clouds rolled in and we had some rain. Just as we were getting ready to leave for breakfast at the local “cafe”, we were treated to a beautiful rainbow.
The afternoon brought sunshine and skies with cotton ball clouds. We couldn’t wait to take another shot at photographing wildlife. This time (with some help from a white food cooler) we were up to our camera lenses in Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep. It made for a great afternoon!
Our next stop was Sunrise at Swiftwater Lake at Many Glacier. Many Glacier became one of our favorite and most productive stops for wildlife throughout the week. This shot would be the view from the restaurant and several rooms in the Many Glacier Hotel. If you plan on visiting the east side of Glacier, this is a hotel to consider.
This afternoons education commenced with a lecture outside. This was the first afternoon we had plenty of sunshine and temperatures approaching 70 degrees. The afternoon shoot was an exercise. Our subject, Columbian Ground Squirrels. I know, some of you are saying squirrels? Yes, but these are not the gloomy grey squirrels we have back east. The purpose of the exercise was 2 fold. First practice your approach to animals, slow and steady wins the race. I think Jake said it best when he asked his father what was the best way to teach patience. Patience is something we all have to work on, not just to be better photographers but better people.
The second purpose to the exercise was to help us be mindful of the objects in our foreground and background that can make or break an image. Often we are so excited about getting the shot that we fail to control the various elements within the frame. This was clearly the best lesson that was reinforced all week and one I will continue to practice in the future.
Our second day of Base Camp had us up at 4:00 AM. We were on our way to Two Medicine which is one of the most beautiful places you could imagine. It is one of the places you should not miss if you are heading to Glacier NP.
Our afternoon shoot was tainted by poor light and bad weather. However Moose practiced what he preached and “followed the light” all the way to the Canadian border. This is what we came back with.
Its fitting that my first trip to Glacier NP coincides with my first blog post. I traveled to Montana to attend the Wildlife Photographers Base Camp hosted by the Peterson family, Moose, Sharon and Jake. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from an icon about the business and techniques of wildlife photography.
Moose wasted no time getting us going as sunrise called the first day and we were out at 6:00 AM (this was our latest start of the week).
Our afternoon shoot was even more exciting as we had the chance to photograph Black Bear, Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep and Elk.
I will post more images as time allows these next few days. Construction of my website is almost complete so please look around and let me know what you think!