Year 2022 is already coming to an end, it's amazing how quickly time flies. The last few months have been rich in emotions, with several significant events such as the international exhibition in Belgium, mind-blowing animal encounters such as the gray wolf or the Canadian lynx and to close the year, the printing of more than hundreds of photos that are now in your homes and work spaces.
It is important for me to express my gratitude to you for this constant support that you offer me. Your purchases not only allow me to continue to bring you new images of our rich nature and continue my mission to raise awareness, but they have also allowed me to donate more than $5,000 to Canadian charities working in conservation and the protection of nature. Thank you for everything.
Now is the time to introduce you to some of my favorite images of the year. Not necessarily the prettiest or most popular, but the ones that are engraved in my memories the most! Let's do this!
What a privilege to be able to observe this great owl in its natural environment, and even more to spend a few hours alone with it. While my first two days in its company were rather quiet, the very last evening was completely mind-blowing.
In total, it will have flown about 10 times and caught 4 voles in more or less 3 hours, it's so impressive! From tree to tree, it glides to approach its prey to make a final dive directly towards the "victim". A first encounter with this bird for me, and a memorable one!
Among the highlights of this year: spending an incredible night under the most colorful, vivid and bright northern lights I have had the privilege of seeing. On the territory of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James, even on the road, light pollution is completely negligeable, which means that while driving, one can easily see these northern lights.
It's pretty crazy! After about an hour and a half photographing the tall spruce trees, the colorful sky, and the green-tinted snow surface, it was the moonrise that stole the show. For a few minutes the clouds were orange as the aurora continued to shine just a little to the east. I would never have imagined seeing such a mix of colors, it was grandiose.
First, forgive the quality of the photo: I share with you a moment more than a piece of art. In the same area where I had just followed a Canada lynx for a few hours, I observed fresh tracks of a very large canine. I immediately tell myself that these are gray wolf tracks, being in their territory; the paws/tracks are huge!! My hunch was correct, they had just passed by and were still in the area at the same time I was photographing the Canada lynx, which is pretty crazy when I stop to think about it. Two of the most difficult animals to observe and photograph here in Quebec, in the same square kilometer, at the same time, I couldn't believe it!!
I decide to move about a kilometer north, and there I find the "jackpot" of wolf tracks, they were literally everywhere, I was freaking out (in a good way). The sun had already set, but I still put myself in “investigator” mode to try to fully understand the scene in anticipation of tomorrow morning; I walk briskly, my eyes as big as a lynx's when it watches us.
Arriving at a slightly higher point of view, I look at the edge of the forest and that's when I see this gray wolf, who looks me straight in the eye from a distance of about 50 meters . His light coat contrasts enough with the forest for me to spot him immediately. It was 45 minutes after sunset, in super dark conditions, I have already ruled out the possibility of taking high quality photos, but the moment remains etched in my memory. Two clicks later he's gone, just enough time for him to see me and understand what I am, as he must have smelled my scent way before. Needless to say my heart was beating fast, very fast.
The next morning, I head to the same site. I note that during the night, they once again walked everywhere: it is a small pack of at least 5 individuals, which is fantastic. I lie in wait, the wind facing me to avoid them smelling my presence, and I wait. About 30 minutes later, the pack starts to chant, I'm frozen and a little intimidated, which rarely happens to me in nature, and I feel like they're right in front of me, but I still don't see them. Silence returns and the hours pass, still no observation. I return to the truck, which I parked the same morning… there are fresh tracks all around. They even went so far as to mark their territory on my tire, bold gray wolves!
By far my favorite encounter of the year. I've told the story several times already, I even dedicated a full blog post to it right here. Promise, it's worth the read! P.S: the link is also at the bottom of this blog post.
Spring and early summer are always times of the year when wildlife is very active. Some wake up after a long winter, others give birth to the young, as is the case with red foxes! I always look forward to seeing them again and spending long mornings watching them playing around. In this image, curious as always, this fox will have come right to the edge of this puddle both to observe me and to smell the surroundings!
There are few places where it is possible to take wide angle photos of Atlantic puffins, or even wildlife in general! In this small Newfoundland village, the colony is extremely accessible and visited by thousands of people annually. With a good dose of patience, it is possible to position yourself near the cliffs even before the birds arrive and not move until they come to rest close to you without any stress or disturbance. It's a truly once in a lifetime experience to see them so close!!
Seeing the magnificent landscape surrounding us throughout the sessions, I told myself that it would be a real shame to only do tight portraits, even if they are so beautiful! So it was only the third day very early in the morning that I tried my luck for wide-angle photography and patience. It took about 45 minutes before an individual came to land exactly at the place I had imagined, right during sunrise.
During the same trip to Newfoundland, I had an encounter that I was hoping for, but still surprised me, with a mammal that is rather difficult to observe in our regions, the Arctic hare! Last year, during a hike on Gros Morne, I observed a lot to try to find them, but without success. This year was the good one!
In the mist, rain and fog, my expectations were low, but the friendly and generous local who accompanied us remained optimistic! After about 30 minutes of walking towards the heights, we see our first hare.
Already being able to see one, made me super excited and happy. First observation: they are much larger than snowshoe hares. Second observation: those ears!! The first left as soon as he saw us or almost, but the more the hike progressed, the more the hares became relaxed.
The last one we will have met will have been the most collaborative, he was very comfortable with our presence and that allowed me to make a very gentle approach and present this portrait to you. They are rather rare so far south, but still present on Gros Morne as well as Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon! A beautiful human encounter with our new friend and resident of the island, and a memorable wildlife encounter with this superb hare.
I am completely in love with Cape St Mary's in Newfoundland, a fascinating and truly unique place! On a piece of land that stretches into the sea, at the top of large cliffs over 500 feet high, there is a colony of Northern gannets and a bunch of other seabirds. Even if this region is in thick fog almost 2 days out of 3, when the light and the sun are present, it is magical.
There's a lot going on in this photo that you might not see in detail on a mobile device, but to me that's the essence of the vibe at Cape St Mary's (on a sunny day). The high cliffs and the whistling of the wind, the sound of waves crashing 500 feet below, hundreds of gannets in flight and even more resting on the rocks. I repeat it again, it is a magical place!
An absolutely incredible evening in Rimouski in Bas-Saint-Laurent. The months of September and October are always favorable for observing the Northern Lights, and let's just say we were served! See my full blog post right here!
Just recently and to end the year on a good note, I had the privilege of observing a long-tailed weasel, another first for me. A few years ago, I had the chance to observe its little cousin, the ermine, but never the weasel. Aside from the size (the weasel is larger), they are almost identical; both have black tail tips and white coats in winter, here in Quebec. We can see that camouflage is extremely effective... when there is snow!
This time, it entered a crack in the ice, to then come out completely soaked as you can see on its coat. It was the first time I had seen a weasel venture into the water. Although maybe it was as surprised as me by this dip as I couldn't see the scene.
Voilà! J'aurais pu vous présenter des dizaines d'images évidemment, mais j'ai choisi celles qui me parlaient le plus. J'espère que vous aurez apprécié les photos et les histoires associées si vous les avez lues. N'hésitez pas à aller en voir encore plus sur Facebook ou Instagram. Si vous souhaitez des impressions ou cadres, les liens sont sur chacune des photos lorsque celles-ci sont disponibles sur la boutique. N'hésiter pas à me partager vos commentaires dans la section ci-dessous!
Passez une bonne fin d'année 2022 et encore, merci pour tout.
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