I am sitting here today in a coffee shop staring at my screensaver on my laptop. It is of the herd of elk my boyfriend and I spotted in Banff! This was on our very first morning there and it was incredible.
All throughout growing up I have seen so much wildlife. I was very fortunate to grow up on the greenbelt in Fort McMurray, AB (back when the city was still quite small) where we got to see a variety of wildlife through our kitchen window. It came to a point where my dad would say “Girls! Come down here there are deer in the backyard!” and we were like ya ya we know haha Its the same thing for the Northern Lights; I never realized that most people don’t ever see them in their life. We would get out of the old purple safari van coming home from gymnastics late at night and see the Northern Lights before we went inside the house! So casual and common for us!
Anyways, back to the elk! Like you would have read in one of my latest posts (linked here if you haven’t read it), we got up early to drive to Canmore so I could take pictures of the sunrise, but sadly it was snowing out and the sky was pure white all day. So we went driving around. On our way driving to Two Jack Lake we saw a car pulled over and we were trying to see if they were looking at wildlife, however we couldn’t see any so we just kept going. Now on the way back though, that same vehicle was parked there! They were probably parked there for 20 mins or so. And now I understood why! haha There was a herd of elk back in the trees all lying down and sleeping! It was so adorable and surreal to see!
So of course I was like “pull over pull over pull over!!” and the boyfriend obliged and did so 🙂
And voila! I got these pictures that you see! I am oh so happy I had my new lens with me or else these would not have turned out as good. Because if you know anything about wildlife, you need to give them their space. Now as a photographer, sometimes that is very difficult to do because you are so fascinated with everything and want all the pictures at every different angle possible. However, I was respectful to them and left lots of room.
Now I will tell you about this carload of people though… they were not too smart. So first of all, they had iphones as their cameras, which is all fine and dandy but the zoom is quite .. well shitty to say the least 🙂 So this lady got out with her little iphone and was walking towards this massive herd of elk, like so close I was actually scared for her! The herd was in the bush right, so we can only see however many they want us to see. There was probably so many more further back in the bush too.
Now in Banff, if you ever go, you will be one of these touristy people and maybe not from Canada too. Banff has so many tourists from all over the world who have no clue how to act with these very large animals. Which is more so sad for the animals then the idiot people. But I will just give you some advice if you are ever in this situation, go ahead and take pictures if you want but give them their space. Never go sticking an iphone in their face because you don’t know how they are going to react!
Anyways, I got back into the car and my hands were frozen so I had to sit on them and let them warm up before I checked if I got any decent pictures haha and I did so I was like okay babe we can go now. And he was like “no, I want to see how this plays out” haha talking about the iphone tourist!
But we did not end up staying, I made him leave eventually. After this adventure we went into town and got small gloves I could wear while taking pictures in -25 degrees because holy cow do your hands ever freeze! And I can’t wear my big knitted mitts when I take pictures or else I will hit every button on the camera.
I felt so lucky to have been able to see these beautiful animals in their natural state. If you ever do go to Banff and you go for a drive I guarantee you will see some animals so have your camera ready.
Have you guys ever been to Banff or seen elk where you live? I would love to know in the comments!
Until next time,