Missed Autumn

Missed Autumn

Hello friends,

Welcome to 2020! I hope your year has started of fantastic! We (Nugget and myself) have been a bit slow rolling with the new year and the new starts and all, hence why this is my first post.

This year I decided to not make any resolutions. I know, oh my what? No resolutions?

Yes, no resolutions for this gal. Instead I have decided to create a few goals for myself regarding ideas I have been wanting to work towards for a while now, just never dedicated enough time, energy or research into. I am quite excited and beginning to get into a decent groove over this last week. I always feel there is an extreme amount of pressure regarding the fresh start and resolutions, so I will be keeping mine to myself and quietly hustle away. Obviously, if any major goals get achieved I will write a post to keep you all in the loop of my life!

Even though I didn’t post really at all last year, I still feel like the family we have created here is a close one and I am excited to share my 202 with you all and grow this family!

So to start the new year off simple, I have put together a few photos from one of my fall drives to the more “Northern” part of Ontario. I hope you enjoy them! It was a very gloomy fall day so keep that in mind, raining on and off as well!

So in closing out, I am going to make it a priority to post on here at least once a week this year. That is a goal I will share with you guys πŸ™‚

How has your new year started out? Do you have any resolutions or goals you would like to share with me? Tell me down in the comments below! Let’s start the new year with positive vibes together!

Until next time,

xoxo

Picture of the Week #8

Picture of the Week #8

Hello friends,

If you didn’t know I had a facebook page where I share pictures and links to my blog anytime I a new post goes up! You can click the link to like and follow the page if you want!Β πŸ™‚Β https://www.facebook.com/phoenixraayphotography/Β 

You can also follow this blog by going to the home page and clicking the 3 dots in the top corner and hitting follow!


Here is my picture of the week!

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We have recently gotten our first little snow fall in Ottawa, ON, but I did not get any pictures of it so I thought I would bring back an old picture with a bit of snow! I love the first snow fall, it gets me all excited for winter! And with winter comes Christmas! haha I know its early, but its the best time of the year!

Have you gotten your first snowfall yet where you live?

Recent Posts:

Spooky Halloween Tag 2018

Picture of the Week #7

Exploring Haunted Houses at Saunders Farm!

Until next time,

xoxo

Peaceful Mornings in Small Towns

Peaceful Mornings in Small Towns

Hello friends,

Have you ever just woke up one morning and gone for a little wander? I have and that is what this post will be about today.

At the end of August I was visiting my grandparents, parents, etc. at camp. Now I call it camp, but I know most people refer to these places as cottages. I always felt like cottage was too fancy to describe our camp. Camp is a place where we hangout outside, go fishing, swimming, biking, etc. and just have a great time.

This one particular morning I woke up and it was still so foggy and misty out so I decided to grab my camera. I was up pretty early so it was still quiet – all the loud ones were still sleeping. I know my mom was up and in my grandmas camp though because I could see her sitting in her corner spot on the couch with a fresh cup of black coffee – in her words the only way to drink coffee is black or you ruin it. (My dad and I like a wee bit of cream in it though)

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Of course the puppies need to follow me around anytime im doing anything. They are always so curious. This one here is Molly. She is ten and grows random lumps that shrink and increase in size whenever they please. We have gotten them checked out and its nothing to worry about the vet says so don’t be alarmed!

Another fact about Miss Molly here is that she brings her ball everywhere. She has multiple tennis balls and eventually we have to throw them out because she plays with and chews them so much they break. So here she is in her natural habitat watching dad come out of the boat house with her ball of course.

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Eventually I wandered down to the dock. The clouds hung low this morning as I crept through the dewy grass in my moose pyjamas and bright teal gwacks (crocs for normal people – my dad has us all in a habit of calling them gwacks and to be honest it took me a few second to remember their actual name).

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Next I try to get an artsy shot of our 20+ year old boat called Bike. He is the real deal. He has pulled more people behind him then you could ever count. Countless trips back and forth with someone strapped to the wakeboard or waterskis, or trying to hold on for their dear life on the tube whilst being peed on by whomever is on top.

Such a great majestic boat. Anyone, mostly the younger cousins, who come to camp and sees Bike in the water knows that a good time will be had. Cold or hot, rain or shine, Bike the boat will still take you for a ride.

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Now this tree is beautiful. It is hanging right beside the dock. When I was young it did not look like this. The river water has increased for many years now and with that the bank has eroded and has become unstable. It needs to come down in pieces soon because once its in the river it will be much harder to get out!

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The next spot I wandered to in my now grass covered gwacks was in front of my parents property. The water was like glass and if you only look at the reflection it would be hard to tell which way was up or down.

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Now, as I was bent down petting the puppies I noticed some undisturbed blades of grass with water droplets still in tact. So, I decided to attempt for pictures. It was a bit difficult because when you get right low the dogs swarm you with love and puppy morning breath. I was battling the wagging tails away before they knocked the precious droplets to the ground.

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Next I was just playing around with focus and ended up capturing a few pictures I liked. I enjoy how the yellow is so vibrant against the darker morning mist in the background.

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Now by this time I have been wandering around for a while. As I venture back to the boathouse to put my camera away before heading to grandmas for coffee and breakfast, I can see the lost boy (aka my boyfriend) talking to my dad asking where I am. I just look at them and laugh.

The warm cup of coffee fills my cold body with caffeine and then the pancake making commences.

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Picture of the Week #3

Until next time,

xoxo

A Once in a Life Time Opportunity | Ice Road

A Once in a Life Time Opportunity | Ice Road

Hello friends,

I am sorry this post has taken so long to come out. Its almost as if I have been trying to hold onto this experience for myself. As if I share it, the magic will go away. However, today is the day where I write this for you, so we can all share this amazing experience.

This post will be the last part of my long Ice Road trip series. I will link all of the other parts below so you can read them if you are new!

We drove on Ice?! |Part 1

The Journey to Fort Smith Continues | Part 2

Exploring the Northwest Territories | Part 3

The Tiniest Town You’ve Ever Seen! | NWT

Was that a Lynx?!

Traditional Dog Sled | Fort Chip

Holy! To be honest I didn’t realize there were so many! Anyways, lets get to today’s post!


I sit here today writing this on my balcony, drinking a cold one and listing to the whizzing traffic in the background. It’s overcast, with a light cool breeze making for a great outdoor office if you will.

The Ice Road trip was a short trip, thinking about how it was only 3 days in total. Most of this trip was spent in the car with my parents though… so you could say if felt longer then it was (love you guys lol).

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If you have been following me for a while, and read a few of my past posts featuring my parents, you know that my mother loves cattails. So, of course what do we pass by on the way home? A massive field of cattails!

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Casually my mom asks my dad to go get her some, and of course he does because by know we all know he will do anything for his bride (they have been married for a long time and he still calls her that – too cute). So there he is, in waist deep snow, examining the cattails and picking the best ones for her that he possibly could.

I have made my way out of the truck now to look around and take some pictures of all this action, when I look down and realize what myself and the heavy truck are standing on! Ice! Super cool , but equally still terrifying!

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Shortly after we start driving again is when the magic happens.

A fox appears.

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Graceful as can be, this little guy was absolutely stunning to look at and watch. I am so happy we (meaning my mom probably) spotted him. My dad stopped the truck and I got a few pictures. My mom asked him to back up because she thought she saw something else further back, but it turned out to be nothing, so we drove past this fox again. I asked my dad to stop, even though I already had 100 pictures of the little fox (no exaggeration).

I got out of the truck this time and walked a bit closer to the fox because it was farther away from the road now. My parents were both sitting in the truck like amazing people and being patient while I froze my butt off taking a hundred more pictures.

To me its all worth it if I get one good picture.

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All of a sudden I start to notice that it looked as if he was hunting something under the snow. I have never been lucky enough to see any animal hunt in real life while I was standing so close before. It was literally like what they film on those animal documentaries.

I knew in the back of my head that I would probably not see any action since hunting takes a while, but I thought to myself just wait a few more minutes and see what happens.

Let me tell you, it was the best decision I have ever made in my tiny amature photography career.

So I will let these next pictures explain what I saw and then I will conclude at the end πŸ™‚

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Yes I know … Oh My God.

I caught this beautiful fox hunting! Holy crap was I ever awe struck. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! After his little action was over, I stuck around for about another minute or so; then I raced by to the truck with the biggest smile on my face ever. I started blabbering away to my parents, “Did you see that?! Oh my god did you?! It was so cool!!”.

They were like see what? When I finally looked out the window I realized their view was blocked the whole time by bushes! And I was so sad for them haha like oh my gosh they missed such an a amazing moment!

Once I finished showing them the pictures on my small display screen, we finished the drive home without anything too exciting happening – or else there would of been another post!

Anyways, lessons I have learned from this insane experience:

  1. Never take anything for granted
  2. Always say yes to road trips (even if you’re trapped in a truck with your parents for 3 days)
  3. Take your time and don’t rush, because amazing things happen with time
  4. Foxes are adorable

I hope you have enjoyed this little Ice Road series, I sure know I have enjoyed reliving it with you all. So many memories and pictures, and the best of all, amazing experiences.

Have any of you watched any animal hunt up close before? I would love to know!

Until next time,

xoxo

Was that a Lynx?!

Was that a Lynx?!

Hello friends,

** I just wanted to let you all know that I have made a facebook page for my photography! (Click hereΒ www.facebook.com/phoenixraayphotography/) I would love for you to like and follow the page, this way you will be able to see what this new project brings in the future! Let me know in the comments if you joined the fam! **

I have never seen so many grouse in my life. On our drive back from Fort Smith every 20 minutes or so there would be a patch of grouse in the middle of the road. We beeped at them and slowed right down to a crawl and then they would finally hobble off the road – some of the more athletic ones would fly.

This particular bunch were just out for a leisurely stroll in the middle of a shear ice road and they weren’t concerned with our big truck coming their way. I actually got out and walked right up to them to get some pictures haha a few of them were sassing me as I was trying to make them get off the road so we could pass!

 

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Pretty early on in our drive home my mom spotted something. We were all so excited and then we realized what it was and got more excited! I quickly whipped out my camera hoping to catch this amazing lynx running across the road and into the bush.

Once he was in the bush we watched him. He stayed far enough away, but still within eye shot. I was attempting to take pictures but as you can see the brush was quite thick. We think he was eating something he had buried there previously because he had his head in the snow a lot. He was absolutely magnificent to watch in his natural habitat. The picture of the tracks in the snow don’t do them justice, they were huge!

 

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Once we calmed down from the lynx all we wanted to see was a wood bison – sadly it never happened.

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Driving down these beautiful wintery roads was relaxing. Looking into the forest on the hunt for our next animal sighting while chowing down on leftover pizza from the previous night and other snacks!

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Just driving across some ice, no biggie

When we got to our next ice bridge I took a picture of the gps. For most of the time we were driving on this trip there was no roads for the gps to show or pick up haha we were just driving on water as far as it was concerned!

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This day did turn out to be beautiful though. As you saw in the map picture, it was only -7 outside! The sun was shining through all the scrub brush and it made these ice roads look more friendly, which I wasn’t mad about!

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There was frost all over the brush near the water almost as if it were crystallized onto the branches.

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I hope you enjoyed this shorter post. I have two more posts about my ice road trip and they are probably the most exciting of them all! Lots of really cool pictures to come so stay tuned! πŸ™‚

Other parts to my Ice Road trip:

We drove on Ice?! |Part 1

The Journey to Fort Smith Continues | Part 2

Exploring the Northwest Territories | Part 3

The Tiniest Town You’ve Ever Seen! | NWT

Until next time,

xoxo

 

Exploring the Northwest Territories | Part 3

Exploring the Northwest Territories | Part 3

Hello friends,

Click the links below if you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 yet!

We drove on Ice?! |Part 1

The Journey to Fort Smith Continues | Part 2

So, the adventure continues. Today was our only full day to explore the Northwest Territories and we definitely did just that. Once we all woke up, we headed downstairs to the same Chinese restaurant for breakfast. And no, we did not have Chinese food for breakfast I know all of you were thinking that, we had normal eggs and other breakfasty foods. It actually wasn’t too bad, except my mom tried multiple blueberry jams for her toast and they were all rock solid! Good thing I like raspberry jam on mine! haha

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Passed through a four way stop on our way to the other side of town. I had to take a picture because I though it was really unique that they had all the local languages on it.

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With full bellies and a charge camera battery we were off. First we drove around the town of Fort Smith, mind you its not very big so it didn’t eat up too much of the day! We came to the “far” side of town (literally 2 minute drive from the side we were on) and came up to this beautiful view.

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Looking off into the distance you could see how the ice wasn’t completely solid, which kind of sketched me out thinking that we have to drive on ice to get home! haha

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It was still snowing this morning however the sun was trying to peak through the clouds, which it eventually did later in the day.

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The place we stopped at was also where the kids come to snowboard, which I thought was pretty cool! They made a little terrain park for themselves and had it all set up nicely. I guarantee those kids would come home dead and exhausted after being here for a few hours. Snowboarding down would be loads of fun, but if you haven’t noticed yet there is no chairlift or magic carpet to bring them back up to the top!

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They set up a pretty big jump at the bottom of the main hill here, and if you picked up enough speed I think you would launch right into the bush!

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While we were still in that area, we drove down the little road to the water. People do live on that island out there, and one would think hmm there are no roads to get there so how do they come into town? If you scroll down through these pictures you will see that there are little trees on the ice as markers of where the “safe” ice is to come across on. This also helps to mark their path when it is snowing heavily.

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Below you can see the path more clearly that people use. Everyone in these little towns drives quads or skidoos and things like that. Which makes sense to get across ice easier and drive around the small town.

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Once done exploring the town, we decided to drive down the highway looking for wildlife, hoping to spot something really cool….like wild wood bison (spoiler: the finding bison thing didn’t happen). I believe it was only like an hour and a bit into the drive and two massive wolves came flying out of the forest, bounded through the deep snow, crossed the road and disappeared into the bush on the other side. It was an awe struck moment and I didn’t get any pictures of them!! I was actually like a crushed kid on Christmas morning that didn’t get the toy they wanted. I stupidly tried shooting through the trucks front window with a million cracks in it (#Albertawindshield) and my camera freaked out, it was the first time in all my life getting an error message on the camera screen.

I kid you not, I have seen wolves before, but this was a whole new level of jaw dropping amazing. These wolves were probably around 160 pounds and their fur was absolutely stunning. They also bounded through the deep snow as smooth as a fish swims through water, just incredible. By this time the snowfall was clearing and their fur glistened in the sunlight. A moment I will never forget…but also wished I could have captured it.

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So with all of us being awe struck by those two beautiful creatures we continued the drive in hopes of coming across more beautiful animals.

Every turnoff my dad saw he took it, even though on his truck map you could see that it was just a loop. Every time he would get so disappointed that it was just a loop and not a road leading to somewhere cool. Eventually I pointed it out to him that before he turns he could see how long the road is and we all had a good laugh about that. Even after I showed him he kept doing it and then laughing when the road would end saying “oh well I guess I could have looked at the map”.

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At the end of our drive we came back into town to fill up the truck, since tomorrow morning we were heading out. And the back of the truck was covered once again in snow and sand from the drive. My mom and I went into this gas station while my dad was filling the truck up to explore. Inside they had a little Tim Hortons, which I though “of course how Canadian” and the rest looked like a pretty normal gas station just with extremely high snack prices. Now these snack prices didn’t deter my mom and I haha even though my dad wasn’t too pleased with us! Girls gotta have snacks okay!

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We finished the night off with literally the best pizza I have had in my life. It was so good, I could have eaten it for breakfast lunch and dinner. The place was called Berro’s Pizzeria. 10/10 would recommend. I was skeptical thinking oh just another meh meal, but was I ever wrong. They had all the awards he was given up around the restaurant, which was cool to see and they also had local pictures up too. Once the pizza was done and our number was called, we dug right in. There was no time for pictures because we were starving and salivating over it. We ate breakfast that day and then just some road snacks, nothing too substantial, so you could say we were hungry!

After that very satisfying meal, we headed back out for another journey before calling it a night, which will be where I start my next post. Make sure to subscribe if you want to continue reliving my adventures.

What is the bestΒ  pizza you have ever had? I bet it wasn’t in the Northwest Territories! Leave me a comment below πŸ™‚

Until next time,

xoxo

The Journey to Fort Smith Continues | Part 2

The Journey to Fort Smith Continues | Part 2

Hello friends,

Today I bring to you the continuation of my ice road adventures! If you haven’t seen part 1 you can click here!

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Alright so we left off right after lunch on the first day. We crossed back over the frozen stretch of water to continue north to Fort Smith, NWT. Still a very snowy day, but we were on the lookout for wildlife!

In this field, my mom spotted a fox, or something, moving in the distance. It was snowing too heavy for a good long distance shot, but eventually me and my dad both saw it! haha My mom has such good eyes for wildlife.

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This part of the drive was definitely more stressful then the first half and I wasn’t even driving! The road was much more narrow and the scariest part wasn’t that we were driving on ice, it was the fact that now we were driving on winding roads through forested areas. Now it was beautiful for sure, however there are large trucks that just barrel down these roads, so you had to be careful coming around corners.

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These pictures make the road look wider then it was! haha if you look closely though you can see that the majority of the tire tracks are all in the same spots and with the trees being so tall, you cannot see a thing coming at you.

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After driving for sometime, we crossed over another frozen body of water. At this point driving on water in a loaded down truck is getting less scary haha

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We could kind of see blue skies starting but it was still snowing constantly, which was fine because in the winter I love when it snows, but it also made it harder to spot wildlife!

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These are the signs on the other side of the frozen water. As you can see, there are strict bridge rules to follow! Even if there are no police out here to catch you! However, I assume most people respect these rules seeing as it would obviously only hurt you if you were to speed on this ice and god forbid break through or something….

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Oh and apparently this is also a public parking area, you know if you wanted to just chill and hangout here in the middle of nowhere for a while πŸ™‚ We saw one car parked there and it seemed like it had been there for a while! lol Not a hot spot for hanging out I guess.

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Anyways back into the bush we went! 172 km and we are in Fort Smith! woo lets go!

If you were driving normal speed we would have been there in no time haha funny story about this picture actually. I wanted to get the perfect shot (well as good as I could with what I was working with) and so I kicked a coffee cup out from behind the sign so there was no garbage in my picture. The fact that there was a random coffee cup laying on the ground out here really irks me though. Like who would think littering was a good idea instead of just keeping it in your car until there is a garbage can eh?

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I don’t know if you can see it, but there is a winding road sign as well as the speed limit through here is 40 MAX! “Take er slow boys!”

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By this time we are getting closer to our destination and our eyes were peeled looking for wood bison. We kept seeing all these tracks everywhere and then we saw this! A herd must have been all huddled up on this mound recently. Just seeing this was cool, but I wanted to actually see one!

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When we got to this sign, my mom was like “take a picture because its the only one we will see” haha So I did thinking that she may be right.

And low and behold literally 2 seconds later we saw this on the side of the road. At first, we pulled over because there was a couple trucks pulled over on the shoulder and we thought maybe there was some bison in this valley area.

Well, I am sure there was, but not anymore! What you see in those two smaller pictures above are hunters and a bison….yup I am sure you can guess what happened here. Now it was a unique experience to see this but I still would of rather the bison been alive! They do use literally every part of it though, and one of these bad boys will feed a small village! It is extremely interesting to see different cultures, especially when its just a few hours north of where you live.

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So shortly after seeing the hunters we reached our destination. Literally like the only hotel here haha The back of the truck was packed with snow from the road. My parents said that last year the entire back of the truck was covered with a good couple inches of solid snow. It stayed on there even after we opened the back up and closed it! haha

This night we had a lovely meal at the Chinese restaurant in our hotel. One of the few places to eat here. And they had vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce which was to die for.. just an FYI if you ever eat there πŸ˜‰

I will be back soon to continue the story of this very cool trip so stay tuned!

Until next time,

xoxo

A Herd of Elk in Banff | AB, Canada 2017

A Herd of Elk in Banff | AB, Canada 2017

Hello friends,

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!

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So of course I was like “pull over pull over pull over!!” and the boyfriend obliged and did so πŸ™‚

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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,Β  I was respectful to them and left lots of room.

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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 πŸ™‚ 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.

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One of my favourite pictures

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!

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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!

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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.

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This was the main little part of the herd that was showing themselves in the more open coverage.

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,

xoxo

Christmas Blessings | 2017

Christmas Blessings | 2017

Hello friends,

Todays post will be about all the many things I feel blessed for. Christmas is absolutely my favourite time of the year, even though it is snowy and cold outside! I got the post idea from Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride, click here for her post!

I thought to myself as I was reading her post, wow this is such a great idea to write about around Christmas time. I feel like so many people say what they are thankful for around thanksgiving, but during Christmas everyone is so busy it is easy to forget what it is really about. Now I love Christmas lights and decorations so I can get distracted by those around this time of the year, but it really is not about any of that. And believe it or not, Christmas is not about gifts either. However, I understand that giving gifts is a way of showing love towards another person, but we cannot get caught up in them!

Christmas is truly about being around your family and celebrating life and love and the joy that this season brings. So without any more delay, here are some of the things I feel very blessed to have in my life:

I feel very blessed to have my amazing family, boyfriend & friends in my life …

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My lovely older sister πŸ™‚

My man πŸ˜‰

My friends πŸ™‚

My parents of course!Β 

And you can’t forget about the fur babies too!

I feel very blessed to be in such good health

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And for the roof over my head at night and food in my belly.

I feel very blessed to be surrounded by the beauty of the rockies just an hour away

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And all of the wildlife I have been able to see my entire life.

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I feel so blessed that I have been able to travel even though I am so young and just starting out.

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I hope you enjoyed this little post and let me know in the comments below what you feel blessed for this Christmas year. Also, some of these pictures may not be the best quality, but that is not what this post is really about πŸ™‚

Until next time,

xoxo