Happy birthday photo safari!

As a boutique tourism operator, what do you say when a mother emails you and says, “We’d like to book one of your programs for myself and my daughter…it’s sort of a birthday present for each other. Both of us like taking pictures, but neither of us really know what we are doing.” I was honoured and immediately said yes. When anyone makes a date with their child, and decides to take them into nature on a photo safari, that tells me a lot about the commitment that they have in their relationship.

Customizing a photo safari

Photographing in a field of prairie flowersWe put together a number of elements – a customized GPS adventure quest in which mom and daughter guided themselves to some of my favorite photographic spots; I shared a number of stories about wildlife, birds, and showed them some of my wildlife videos on my iPad; they practiced using some of the features of their Canon Powershot cameras that they had not known how to use previously; we snacked on local muffins, blue giant hyssop tea (a local prairie wild herb) that I had steeped the previous day. We photographed late blooming canola fields and got a great shot of the two of them hiding in the canola.

From outside the park, we traveled first of all to a real Geocache (check out Geocaching, if you would like to learn how to find treasures all over the world using your GPS receiver); then to the canola field; and then straight to some wild prairie meadows. Along the way, we were birding – that is, looking for birds on prairie potholes and in small creeks. I shared with them my observation from the previous day of having seen a turkey vulture dining on a snack in the middle of the road – a young yellow-shafted flicker.

There is no excuse for not being there...” John Shaw, a well-known American nature photographer had once said at a photography seminar I attended in Edmonton, Alberta. Indeed. There we were, in the middle of the fescue meadows in the heart of Riding Mountain National Park, each photographing something slightly different. We heard a sudden bouncing movement. A spotted fawn white-tailed deer came to a crashing stop a mere 10 metres from us. Nobody knew quite what to do. A few seconds later, it bounded away into the sunlight, and the nearby forest. We all looked at each other, stunned. Nobody got the picture. But, we all took away the memory.

We finished off this adventure by quickly downloading mom and her daughter’s photos to iPhoto, and together they choose the photos to put into their own hardcover book to commemorate their adventure. We pushed SEND to order the book. Together, they were commemorating their relationship with each other. What do you suppose that they will do with that book?

Portrait of mother and daughter in a field of canola

How do you plan and book your own customized photo safari or wildlife watch at Riding Mountain National Park?

  • Have a date in mind, that you would like to come and how long you would have available ( I would recommend about 6 hours including travel time, photography, walking, and having a bit of a picnic).
  • Be prepared in your own mind that this could be a rain or shine event. If it is a rainy day, we’ll still have fun. We’ll organize things a little differently. Some of the best photos are made on a rainy day. You’ll see different things as well.
  • Identify why you want to do this photo or wildlife safari. A couple of quick reasons will do.
  • What kind of camera do you own? We’ll download a copy of the manual to our iPad and take that with us, in case we run into any technical difficulties.
  • Leave us your phone number and email.
  • We’ll call you back and start planning some of the details, give you a sense of the cost, and confirm if this is a go. The final price we quote you is dependent on how much we do to prepare, and how many are in your group.
  • We create your outing including a small photo tips booklet, identify some new places that are ideal for photography, and provide hands-on instruction to use your camera to its maximum capability – macro, action, exposure compensation, telephoto, using tripods, photographing wildlife, landscapes, and many other details. If you are interested in video, we’ll help you to learn how to shoot video.
  • We confirm final details by email and telephone. We take payment in advance by credit card.

Who are some friends or family members that you might wish to take on a customized photo or wildlife safari to Riding Mountain National Park? We’d love to hear from you.

Please Contact us:

Celes Davar, President
Earth Rhythms, Inc.
1.888.301.0030 Office
celes.davar@earthrhythms.ca (Email)
Facebook: Earth Rhythms
Twitter: earthrhythms
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This colour is sensual

There are certain colours that absolutely turn me on! Magenta (like when we have the first light of day and we have that beautiful colour for only a few minutes as reflections in a still boreal lake) and lime green (as in fresh aspen leaves) are two of my favorites.

Aspen leaves_Riding Mountain National Park

Today, I was out checking logistics for a customized GPS Adventure Quest in the townsite of Wasagaming, as well as meeting Lydia Sarna from the Clear Lake Golf Course restaurant, as we all prepare to welcome and provide unique Riding Mountain experiences for one of Rendez-vous Canada’s pre-conference outings in Manitoba. The new experience we will be delivering is called Riding Mountain Natural Wonders & Prairie Roots.

As I was heading home from my sojourns, I noticed the beautiful and subtle colours of fresh aspen leaves just beginning to emerge. I love this colour – there is something poetic and lovely about them. The smell of fresh aspen sap is heady; and, the resilience of these young leaves in the face of the snow showers that were coming down, made me realize how hardy these young leaves are. It’s a bit of a metaphor for Canadians who welcome spring – heady, slightly under-stated, hardy, and ready for a new adventure. We are looking forward to welcoming the world to  Riding Mountain.

Night adventure – wolves and elk

Guests learn about wolf feeding behaviour at Riding Mountain National Park.

Guests learn about wolf feeding behaviour at Riding Mountain National Park.

During the annual Christmas Bird Count a couple of years ago, everyone received notification by noon that wolves had just taken down a cow elk.  By 1:00 PM, we were observing an autopsy.

Diagnosis:  Lactacting cow elk; unlikely to have any TB lesions based on a cursory examination of in situ lymph glands; pregnant with calf; killed by wolves.  That was on December 22.

When we returned a few days later, the entire carcass had been consumed except for a the skin, ribs, muzzle, and a few other bits and pieces.  During that winter, we had the opportunity to guide many guests on a guided GPS adventure quest to discover the story of how wolves kill elk; find the site; try howling for wolves; and enjoy the night air.

This photo was taken with multiple light sources – an underexposed (-2 stops) flash on my camera, the headlamps on the snowshoers, as well as the red light from my own headlamp.  To take a photo like this, remember to take a ski or hiking pole that has a threaded camera mount in the top of the hiking staff.  These are available from Leki, as well as other sources.  Makes taking a photo which requires a fairly still moment for a slow exposure like night time quite possible.

Earth Rhythms provides guided night snowshoe outings.  

Call 1.204.848.4680 to plan your outing.