Imagine if all your favourite foods were taken away and every evening you wondered how long this could go on? Perhaps then you can begin to understand what I just experienced.
Back in early November, I took a few shots of elk in snow on a trip out to the mountains. Little did I know then how long it was going to be before I took my next wildlife shot.
While archived wild animals kept appearing on my blog, I was wandering back roads and coming up empty. Even the magpies were playing hard to get.
The winter wildlife drought was not entirely surprising. It isn’t the best time to find living creatures on the prairies. It turns out people aren’t the only snowbirds heading for warmer climates. The rest of the creatures also seemed to disappear to a warm place.
And there was also this tiny factor of photographer comfort. I told a guy once that canoeing in the rain didn’t work that well. He pointedly told me that canoes were all weather but some canoeists weren’t. Clearly, I’m not an all-weather canoeist or photographer!
I’m not a psychologist but it seems that when you’re in a bad spot, the sensible thing would be to avoid counting the days. I did for awhile but somewhere past the 60-day mark I really wanted to blame my grumpiness on something. After 70, I feared triple digits. It was hard to muster much sympathy when a wildlife photographer complained to me about getting skunked one day in a row. I went back and double checked my count.
Last week I was driving home when I noticed a coyote in a field. I raced home and got my camera.
And then it came to pass. I found myself parked at the side of the road with cars whizzing in front of my lens. The camera was toasty warm in the truck while half my lens was half frozen from sticking out in the -24C air. The coyote was ridiculously far away, the light was wrong and I knew it was highly unlikely I would get good shots. But I was ecstatic to be photographing wildlife again after 78 days.
It only seemed appropriate to celebrate with food. I wonder if that’s how the last drought started …