A different wildlife experience

_MG_7090, snow, drifts, winter, Saskatchewan

Pure, driven snow – a beauty all its own.

An easy wildlife experience? That’s definitely the goal. Sometimes it happens but there’s often a wrinkle so it turns out different than I expect.

I was bemused by a comment from fellow blogger 23thorns who was teasing me this week. He said:

“It’s tempting to think your photography must be easy in winter, what with all your subjects being conveniently located at the end of a nice, easy-to-follow dotted line through the snow.”

Funny guy! I’m guessing he has far more experience with humour than with snow in South Africa! But it sounded like an excellent theory. I headed out to the country and sure enough I found snow. Lots of snow. Whole fields covered with deep snow. The trouble was I was missing the one thing necessary to test his theory – wildlife tracks. I couldn’t even get to the beginning of the process! The crazy part is I don’t think I have ever seen such a vast expanse of undisturbed snow.

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As far as I could see in any direction there wasn’t a single wildlife track. How was that possible?

Prairie photographers learn to adapt and hope for good things to happen. I started walking out on the snow wondering if global warming was ever going to send us polar bears. Sinking in the snow quickly brought me back to the present. It reminded me that the snowshoes were safely stored in the garage.

_MG_7079

The wind created interesting designs with the snow on top of an unplowed country road. I took the photo in the middle of the road and you can see where it goes between the trees at the top.

Undeterred, I plowed through more snow that was up to my knees and, occasionally, nearly to my waist. My wandering led me to some interesting formations in the snow. The fun part was that when I wanted a lower perspective, I just flopped down in the soft snow.

One time the snow was deeper and softer. With my camera in one hand, I tried to stand up but the snow felt like quick sand. I struggled to get my feet underneath me with the aid of only one arm. This turned out to be my wildlife experience – a momentary feeling of helplessness like a flipped turtle on the beach. Thankfully it didn’t last long.

Tomorrow I’m hunting for dotted lines.

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I like the intricate design in the overhang on these snow drifts.

_MG_7105 _MG_7108

_MG_7115

The requisite sunset photo at the end of the post. In this case, yellow snow is good!!

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Latest Comments

  1. Lynne Ayers says:

    Ahh, yes, don’t eat the yellow snow. Beautiful sculptures in the snow.

    Like

  2. melmannphoto says:

    Sometimes these are harder image to make. You really have an eye for forms and structure. I particularly like the 3rd on that shows not only the shape of snow but the surface texture as well.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I appreciate the thotful comments. I saw the third image first and that drew me in to the others. It is hard to find the image sometimes when there is so much form and structure all around.

      Like

  3. doraiswamyganesh says:

    Dear friend, I loved the serenity of the yellow snow after the fearsome hollow created by the force of the wind, and the shark teeth look alike Which probably would frighten my young friends here.In my opinion it is beautiful photography.Regards, Ganesh.

    Like

  4. melodylowes says:

    Beautiful, even the yellow snow!! I’m going to close out my day picturing you waist deep in snow, trying not to let your thrashing ruin the tranquility of the shot. (Does it sound like I’ve been there, done that?) 🙂

    Like

  5. livliveslife says:

    I’m getting chilly just looking at the snow. I admire your bravery going out in that cold! The pictures are just beautiful!

    Like

  6. MikeW says:

    These unique snowscapes are unique, one-time sculptures of the wind. And you have preserved the art of the winds.

    Like

  7. mflahertyphoto says:

    Beautiful semi-abstracted snow pics Lyle. Good luck next time finding the critters. No snowshoes or skis?

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. Yes next time we brought the snow shoes and that worked a lot better. Critters will come but there always seem to be dry spells that make the encounters that much more fun.

      Like

  8. Kodiak My Little Grizzly says:

    Love winter and LOVE SNOW!!! Nice photos!

    Like

  9. Gunta says:

    I love looking at snow here where I don’t expect to ever have to shovel it again! I’ll take my biting cold winds overlooking the Pacific any day over tromping out in the white stuff. But your images are wonderful to look at! 😀

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Glad you liked the pics. There’s lots of people who live here that share your dislike but I’ve been won over by the beauty.

      Like

      • Gunta says:

        Way I figure it, I’ve had my share of blizzards growing up in New England and 14 years in the Utah Rockies. I’m very happy not to have to deal with it at this stage of my life. But you just keep on enjoying sharing it with the rest of us!

        Like

  10. outdoorpicturesOutdoopictures says:

    Stunning pictures!!!!! I like the winter with snow and ice !!!

    Like

  11. artsifrtsy says:

    I love the diamonds in the snow – I miss those from my time in the Cascades. It appears the only tracks in the snow were yours…

    Like

  12. Solveig says:

    Wonderful post! And your shots – amazing! You have talent. 🙂

    Like

  13. Kyle Kuns says:

    Snow without any tracks–fantastic. I look forward to the post that is just photos of animal tracks in the snow 🙂

    Like

  14. EhkStream says:

    Oh! to be a leaf and skitter
    over sweeps of drift snow
    scribble tracks in a tither
    and attest the airs flow

    Like

  15. Phil Lanoue says:

    That next to last pic just prior to the sunset almost looks like a shot from the air over the Antarctic or something.
    Very cool. Uh, I guess I mean cold. 😛
    Well this sure counts as wildlife to me. Looks plenty wild out there.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      It’s always interesting to get the impressions of people who didn’t see the scene. I had to go back and look at the photo a while to try to see what you saw because I knew that drift was only about four feet wide. And yes it was cold that day. I also discovered a minor opening between my ski pants and boots which reminded me that snow was wet, cool and melts quickly near skin.

      Like

  16. Honie Briggs says:

    I can almost hear the quiet. Nice post!

    Like

  17. Mike Powell says:

    The stark beauty of your images of snow really drew me in. There is a special feeling for me in being alone with nature, something very basic, almost primordial. I know that not everyone shares that feeling, but it is obvious that you do. I love the simplicity of the interplay of light and shadows, the beauty of the organic shapes of the drifted post.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Once again, you said it very well. There was a stark beauty there which definitely drew me into this wonderful natural setting. Even with just snow in every direction it took some effort to find the simplicity where light and shadows meet. And we certainly had the sense of being alone with nature out there.

      Like

  18. hannele says:

    Did you ever look back to see if the wildlife was following the big human tracks in the snow, keenly observing your behaviour?

    Beautiful shots – snow is wonderful. 🙂

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I don’t know why I keep forgetting to look back which is where the action seems to happening all the time!! I’m glad you said that snow is wonderful, not everyone agrees on that.

      Like

  19. photographybycalliec says:

    Lyle, these images are amazing,that all of them.I love the curves in the snow, the shadows, the red twig. All I can say is WOW!!! How cold is it when you are out taking these images?
    Cheers Callie

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. The snow formations there were quite beautiful. The temperature was about -20C when we were out but there there was no wind which is often the most important factor when determining the cold. We were bundled up pretty good so it was OK.

      Like

  20. Seenorway says:

    Hey Lyle,
    Snow formations combined with shaddows may be rewarding motives! Especially early in the mornings or late in the afternoon. As for tracks in the snow goes, it is an enormous help to know your games/tracks so that you may distinguish with certainty in what direction your pray is moving! 😎

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Both excellent comments and they expose some weaknesses. I’m not much of a morning person so that leaves late shadows and my knowledge of wildlife tracks leaves a lot of room to grow!

      Like

  21. rprtphoto says:

    Wow Lyle. I’m almost hoping you don’t find any more animals! I love these images. I esp. like the first one, totally abstract, reminds me of long exposures of water flowing over rocks…
    And the fourth image, where the snow drifts along the road look like frozen waves. Very trippy.
    Nicely done! 🙂

    RPRT Photo

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I appreciate that … but I still haven’t given up on wildlife! The first one was my favourite as well. The shadows from the trees just added a finishing touch to an abstract, dreamy look. Thanks for the feedback.

      Like

  22. vanbraman says:

    Untouched snow can be very beautiful. Especially if it has been blown around. You will find many interesting formations that really show the power of the wind.

    Like

  23. rachel bar says:

    Beautiful photos. I could not figure out whether that was dangerous or not?

    Like

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