Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kananaskis - My Wilderness Home

Canon EOS 20D - EF 300mm - 1.4 tele extender @ ISO800 - F5.6 - 1/125sec

Canon EOS 20D - EF 300mm - 1.4 tele extender @ ISO800 - F5.6 - 1/125sec

The morning started out not so good as I slept in and did not get out of bed until 5:00am, and a quick glance out the window put me in a foul mood as the skies were clear with nary a cloud. I had planned on heading out at 4:00am as I wanted to be in Kananaskis country by sunrise however it was not to be. A coffee to go and I was making my way west of the Calgary by 5:30am . My mood improved somewhat as I closed in on Highway 40 where I would make the turn south.

There was a fair amount of cloud hanging over the Kananaskis valley as I made my way deeper into this place that I probably love more than any other. I have been exploring this valley since my first visit in 1969 and long before K country existed. At the time it was an adventure just getting from Highway #1 down the Kananaskis highway to the lakes with a gravel road of sorts covered in jagged rocks that threatened your tires if you drove to fast and Bailey bridges at every river crossing. Of course don't forget the clouds of dust that hung in the air for miles. I would take it all back in a heartbeat.

Today all has changed and not necessarily for the good as Kananaskis country is one of the few remaining areas in Alberta with a Grizzly population that is threatened by us humans as we insist on over developing these areas with their fragile grizzly populations. I believe that the majority of the grizzlies found in this area have tracking collars. That is sad to say the least and this young Grizzly in my photos also carries a collar (6160) which I removed with editing so as not to embarrass him if he comes across my blog.

I had been in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park for just a short time with a rain shower making visibility poor, when I spotted this young grizzly up on a slope approximately 50 meters from the highway. I pulled my truck over and grabbed for my camera. He did not seem all that concerned and as usual I was on the wrong side of the truck so I got out of the truck and ( okay- I know, now I'm getting stupid) he still was not concerned with my presence. With the poor lighting and no time for a tripod, I had to set my camera up for ISO800 to get any decent photos and even then with my image stabilizer turned on the photos are on the soft side. He finally got bored with me and my noisy motor-drive on my camera and moved off into the trees. I must say that my day improved immensely from here. Very shortly after I pulled up at the top of the Highwood Pass (7215 ft) where I shot this photo of this moose as he grazed on vegetation to his liking. If you expand the photo above the photo of the moose, you will see Bighorn Sheep grazing. My next stop was Lineham creek (named after John Lineham the founder of Okotoks) where I have hiked in the area before and with my camera set up, I shot a number of photos including the one below. From here I made my way south to Highwood House at the junction of Highway 40, 541 and 940 where I stopped to check out the neat selection of books that I remembered they carried from my past visits. I made a selection for my library and headed east on the 541 to Longview located on the Cowboy Trail where I planned on having lunch. Of course I planned on making time for stops for any photo-ops that developed. Till next time

Canon EOS 20D with EF 10/22mm @ 22mm - ISO100 - f22 - 1/2sec - fill flash

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