Monday, May 24, 2010

One Year Later

Finally, I thought to myself as I backed off of my drive-way at 5:00am. The finally part was the fact that the skies were clear from horizon to horizon. The last two days had been overcast and I had been forced to do something constructive around the yard and that I could have did without, although I am the one responsible for going overboard with the landscaping, and now I am paying the price! Well its not that bad, and besides its actually kinda fun to mess about with the wild-area of my yard that I have set-up for wild bird photography from my rear deck. I could not have did to bad a job of it, as some years back I entered it in the Calgary Horticultural Societies garden competition for specialty garden and I placed 2nd for the City of Calgary. Southbound on Deerfoot Trail with the dawn rapidly breaking to the east was a treat as the mountains to the west took on their early pre-dawn multitude of pinkish hues. I was headed for Turner Valley where I planned on picking up the Sheep River Trail west. The winter gate just to the west that marks the boundary for Kananaskis Country had just been opened for the season on May 15th. I really enjoy this part of Kananaskis Country and make a point of getting out this way whenever I can, especially when the Sheep opens for fishing. The Sheep River flows through a deep canyon throughout the section from the end of the road where the Blue-rock campground is located, most of the way to Turner Valley. The only way to fish it is to hike and wade the river through the canyon and once you get away from the few spots that the river is accessible from the road, the fishing for Cutthroat trout is to die for. There's nothing that beats the thrill of seeing the flash of a cutthroat rising to your dry-fly. With the season still closed on the Sheep until the 15th of June, I had other things in mind on this day, and fishing for the cutthroat trout in the Sheep could wait a few weeks.
I had just passed the Sandy McNabb turn-off when I spotted a Black-bear that had been about to cross the road ahead of me until he spotted my truck that is. As I slowed to a stop he took a final look and turned back into the trees near the road. I could see him through my passenger side window off about 75 meters away working his way through the bush around me.I got the impression that he could possibly come out on the road behind me and cross over to the other side. When the bear did not do this and he was not visible from my truck any longer, I decided to get out and take a look back down the road a-ways. I mounted my long-lens on my camera and struck out down the road towards a draw that comes up out of the Sheep. As I gained visibility down the draw, I spotted the black-bear feeding on dandelions just behind some dead-fall. With way to many trees in my way for a clear shot, and the bear un-aware of my presence as I was down-wind from him, I decided to sneak in closer to a better position where I could possibly get a better photo of the bear. I shot several insurance photos as I made my way towards the bear, just in case he made his escape down the draw. I finally felt I was within range of the bear for a decent photo when all of a sudden he became aware of my presence. Looking up from his feeding and catching sight of me, he quickly turned and took-off down the draw, and was gone out of the viewfinder of my camera as I desperately tried to get a fix on him for a final photo.
I decided that I had pushed my luck far enough and turned back and made my way back up the draw to the road and my truck. Once in the truck, a look at the LCD on the rear of my camera told me that I could have done worse as several of my photos were acceptable.
A glance at the sun told me that I had better hurry as I had driven the Sheep River Trail for a photo-op that I had been waiting a year to shoot. Not only a year but I needed the early morning light from the East for the photo that I had in mind to shoot. Last fall, I had been shooting photos of a American Dipper working the bottom of the Sheep when I saw a photo-op that needed the light of the sun low on the eastern horizon to make it work, and with the end of the season at hand and the winter-gates about to be closed for the winter, I stored the image in the back of my mind for another day. I do this alot, and I suspect other photographers do the same. By this I mean that as I drive about on any given day, I watch for photo-ops. When I spot a scene that has potential, I store the location in my mind for the day that the lighting is suitable to the shooting of the photo. Weeks and months may go by, and then one day I look up and say this is great lighting for such and such a photo, and I am on my way to shoot it. Arriving at the location of the scene that I wished to shoot, I was pleased to see that I had timed it just right and grabbing my gear, I made my way down to the river where I set up in the spot that I had selected a year ago. Was I successful you ask? You be the judge.

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