Saturday, August 28, 2010

On the Road Update - Dempster Highway

Hi everyone. Well, the past two weeks have been interesting to say the least. In a nutshell, here are the gory details:

- a grizzly jumped on my car. And since I didn't know it was even there, it scared the living daylights out of me. It then got off my car and proceeded to march down the middle of the road.

- it rained for seven straight days, effectively turning the 730 kilometre long Dempster Highway into the world's longest mud pit.

- the caribou were indeed crossing, but it's not the main herd -- and the ones we did see are being heavily hunted. Still, there were days we got to see 200-300 caribou, which was cool. There were other days where we couldn't see anything because it was so rainy and foggy and snowy, which was not so cool.

- there are a LOT of grizzlies on the Dempster. Besides the one that jumped on our car, we also had two come and parade through the campground we were eating lunch in and another that ripped down a tent in the same campground the day before we got there. Needless to say, we did not tent.

- my car does not like mud. First, we got a flat on Day 6, right in the middle of one of the mud pits. REALLY fun to change a tire in mud. Even more fun to discover that the silt in the mud seized up the tire studs, meaning I had to snap one off to get the flat tire off. And even more fun to learn yesterday that the mud had completely caked under my car in every orifice, causing my car to drive with a severe vibration that I was unable to fix with an hour at a car wash spent hosing down the undersides of my car and insides of my tires from on my back in a muddy quagmire. When the mechanics in Dawson City tried to take the tires off to clean the mud up, five more tire studs broke off. But the real kicker? The worst of the worst of the worst, was that the mud completely and utterly destroyed my back brakes, to the point where one pad wore down to the rotor, and the other pad simply disappeared and was nowhere to be found. So right now I'm sitting in Whitehorse, awaiting an entire back brake assembly to arrive via air freight from Toronto on Tuesday night. Now that's fun!

I'll try to update again in the next week. I'm off to Kluane to see if I can find any big dall sheep rams for a few days, so please wish me better luck than the Dempster gave me!

John

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Abrupt Change of Plans...Off to the Dempster Highway!

I'm sitting in the Nahanni Inn in Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories. As of yesterday, there has been a dramatic change of plans...rather than heading north and east to Baker Lake to go out with Tundra Tom in Nunavut, we have been forced to revise our trip after Tundra Tom had his guiding license revoked by the Nunavut Government this week. So the Barrenlands of the Thelon are out, the Dempster Highway and Inuvik are in. Watch the tracker http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0PvNx0qjnH7LNj7QMHSS0z2kVcaOVno6u in the next few days as we embark on a giant pilgrimmage south, then west, then finally north on the Dempster.

Hopefully we'll find something great to photograph! I'll try to report from the Dempster, but until then, happy shooting!

John

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Canadian Geographic cover of Delinda wins national awards!

Writer Brian Payton, myself, and Canadian Geographic staff recently won a silver at the Canadian National Magazine Awards in Toronto for the 2009 issue "Wild Life," which featured six of my images and my cover shot of Delinda the wolf.

The "Wild Life" issue was also the best-selling issue in Canadian Geographic history!!

In recent months, you may have also seen my images in British Columbia magazine, Outdoor Photography Canada (watch for an upcoming article by me in the Fall issue), and the past few issues of Canadian Geographic.

John

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Off to Yellowknife and the NWT!

I'm off to Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories in about four hours to photograph and teach a nature photography workshop next weekend, August 14-15th.

You can track my progress across Alberta and into the Territories via my SPOT tracker at http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0PvNx0qjnH7LNj7QMHSS0z2kVcaOVno6u

I'm hoping to photograph wood bison, caribou, northern lights and maybe even a lynx. Wish me luck!

And on the 19th, I'm off to Nunavut again to photograph musk-ox, caribou, and the spectacular Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary west of Hudson Bay. I'll post the tracker link for that one next week for those of you that would like to see where the adventure leads me!

Happy shooting!

John