Dancing Lights! I am back at home after a week in Canada’s Northwest territories where we witnessed the Northern Lights. Some people arrive to the North and are lucky to have one evening when the lights show themselves. We were fortunate to have four nights of great viewing and great photography. Our second night was by far the most active. The lights arrive with varying degrees of activity, brightness, and strength. Although there were a night or two that were less than spectacular compared to our second night, each night brought a different experience.
Traveling around the area during the day we were scoping out various lakes where we could see the lights and change the foreground or background for our images. This image was taken near a lake about 30 minutes from town and gave us the best viewing for the week. you can view my entire portfolio of Images from Yellowknife, NT right here. Please share this post with friends and Family on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Pinterest. More to come, Enjoy!
Camping! Camping out waiting for the magic to begin. The night before last we started our vigil at 7:00 pm and watched the Northern Lights dance at about 1:00 am. Last night they began their activity at 9:30 and continued until 1 0r so in the morning. We had a wild idea at lunch the previous day to stage a little event along with the Northern Lights. Someone suggested we get a tent and set it up with an inside light to add to the splendor of the event. So, off to our friends at Wal-Mart and with a little help from Eureka we found an orange pop up tent that suited our needs perfectly.
We returned to our favorite spot from the previous night, set up our tent and began some test shots to see about the right angle, composition, and proper placement. When we decided the best spot, we went to work setting up our Hyper Focal Focusing distances on our cameras and then marking them on the lens using gaffer’s tape. We needed to know the proper focus distance and to be able to set it in the dark. A special shout out to my friend Mike who worked with me to get it right. Traveling with these people over the last ten years or so has truly been a blessing. Many years of photographic experience added to the willingness of all to share with one another has helped each of us advance in our craft. Today is Mike’s Birthday so we are off to a nice dinner out and some adult libation to celebrate. No Lights? Nope, cloud cover predicted all evening and rain in the forecast. Tomorrow looks good for a final viewing and then back to reality starting Friday with a final flight Saturday morning.
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Evening Fire! On our third night here in the Northwest Territories, we headed out early for a sunset shoot and then settled in for a long wait at a great spot to view the Northern Lights. 6 hours later, the magic began to happen. The shutters began to click and the lights danced across the summer sky. At one point our guide Kevin yelled, look up! Stop shooting and look up! The lights above our head began to move and swirl around like a ballet. They twisted and rolled and moved with grace like a gazelle. Everyone stopped to watch. It was a great show. The above image was taken during the third, or was it the fourth, showing of the lights for the night. This image brought out some magenta as well as the green color we have seen since we arrived last saturday. Many of the images I have captured seem like the forrest is on fire with a green glow and smoke rising from the landscape, hence the name Evening Fire.
Tomorrow night is supposed to be just as spectacular and we are off to the Aurora Village where viewing the lights is augmented by a unique experience. I will post those when I can. More to come, Enjoy!
Northern Lights 2! Here is a vertical image from my Northern Lights images from Saturday night. Sunday was a no show for the lights but we are hoping for a great night tonight. Today, we went hunting for the Bison Herd and went imageless again. We did have a brief sighting of two Wolves, however the light was poor and nothing to capture for the Blog. It was a first for me as I had never in all my travels seen a wolf in the wild. More to come, Enjoy!
Northern Lights! Our first day here in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories began with the first showing of the Auroras or Northern Lights. We had a long travel day and finished with an evening meal together renewing old friendships and making a few new ones. We retired for the night when at 10:30 the call came from our guides, Wheels up at 11:00 and we were off. I will try to keep posting as I can. Our days are full of travel and landscape photography. We were also out scouting for new places for viewing should the lights reveal themselves again this evening. Enjoy!
Here is a quick post for the day. Hyena! Here is an image capture of a young Hyena moving through the grass in search of food. Hyena’s are carnivores and scavengers. They typically do not kill for food, but scavenge from food sources already killed by another animal. They are high up on the food chain just below the King of the Jungle, the Lion. Even the Leopards and Cheetahs fear the Hyenas. Leopards try to avoid them by taking their kills up unto a tree for consumptions. Cheetahs however, try to keep them away by hunting in multiples. One Cheetah will eat while the other watches out for roaming Hyenas who might try and take their food. Its an interesting thing to watch. Just another day in the African bush country. Enjoy!
Searching for My Brother! This image that I captured while traveling through Botswana recently, tells a story in its own right, but there is more to it. We were fortunate through our Safaris in South Africa and Botswana to locate a few of the Cheetahs who travel in these two areas of the African Continent. Both locations had Cheetahs in very small numbers. The fact that we were successful in photographing these in both locations was a huge win for us and for our guides. These two Cheetahs were brothers. We came upon them late in the day as you can see from the golden light of late afternoon and early evening. We thought they were searching for food, but our guide told us otherwise. We were told that there were three brothers and that theses two were looking for the third. They would stop every few yards and cry out with a high pitched mewing sound. Our guide said they were calling out to their brother who was not in the area. We followed them for some time and captured many different poses and different lighting scenarios. All the while they would stop and cry out for their other brother. Our guide thought he was out hunting on his own.
Later that evening we received a radio call from another Safari group. Indeed the third brother was hunting on his own and found an Impala just across the boundary into the next preserve. It was quite a ways from our location and into some territory where we were not allowed to go since the property owners were in disagreement. So we stayed on these other two brothers and watched as they continued to search for their brother. After a while they began to hunt for themselves. As the light was diminishing we were only able to watch them lay low in the grass and wait for a food source to come by. A medium sized Impala came close and we thought we were going to see a kill. This Impala was within 30 yards of one of the Cheetahs. He stopped and was making aggressive sounds and charging the area where the Cheetah was laying. We thought his days were numbered. We could not photograph any of this activity as it was extremely dark at this point and so just watched and waited. Eventually the Impala ran off ending the potential for a kill. Such is the life in the African Bush. Sometimes your food source comes to you, and sometimes it gets away to live another day. Enjoy!
Independence Day! Happy Independence Day to all my friends and family here on the world wide web. A special thank you to the Sylvania, Ohio community for a great celebration last evening including the fireworks and community celebration. A special Happy Birthday to the girl of my dreams, Elizabeth Kriner. Your Birthday month has only just begun.
Lilac Breasted Roller! Among the many different species that we witnessed in our tour of South Africa and Botswana were some very interesting and colorful birds. This image is a Lilac Breasted Roller. A very small bird but very plentiful in the southern portions of the African Continent. These birds were usually isolated from others and perched on a tree , stump. or branch out in the open plains. We were able to get pretty close to them to capture some great photographs. We tried several times to capture one in flight, but to no avail. They were a little skittish and always flew away from us rather than towards us. Remember to “like” this image on Facebook, “Pin It” with Pinterest, and give it a +1 over at Google Plus. Enjoy!
Mongoose! All creatures great and small. Although our main focus for Safari were predators, we found many opportunities to photograph many other species in South Africa and Botswana. One afternoon on our way back to camp, we came upon a termite mound that was habituated by what appeared to be small rodents. They actually were mongoose. These are very small creatures and yet very dangerous. They kill snakes for goodness sakes. They were a little skittish at first but came out to take a look at us after we sat for awhile.
In my past trip to Africa we didn’t see many of these little creatures. In Botswana we saw many of them traveling across the grassy areas surrounding our camp. This appears to be a dwarf mongoose. They eat all kinds of insects, earthworms, snakes, lizards, birds and rodents. They are terrestrial in nature and usually roam during the day. Some of these mongoose are solitary in nature hunting strickly for themselves, while others travel in packs. Since there were many of these animals in the termite mound we can assume they were not as solitary a figure as one might think.
Remember to “like” this image on Facebook, Pin-It on Pinterest, or give it a +1 on Google Plus. Enjoy!