Do Research on Jasper Wildlife Behaviour Before Photographing
Most wildlife photographers and local Wildlife/Outdoor experts would tell you it takes at least months of research, studying an animal species or region before clicking a shutter. Wildlife behavior changes throughout the year, making many animals act very differently, from possibly even one month to the next. While planning a vacation in Jasper does not include aquiring that type of wildlife expertise, knowing as much as possible about animals you may encounter and possibly photograph is important for their, and your safety.
For example, Bears of Jasper National Park may seem fairly tolerant of humans, to an extent. Bear's behavior often remains calm as long as people stay at a distance while hiking, or stay in their vehicle when an encounter occurs along a roadside or trailhead. Knowing that, can you identify a bear that may be ill, stressed, or not used to seeing humans("outback bears")? ..let alone a Bear simply not in a good mood?.. Those with experience around Jasper's Bears will tell you that all of these things, among many others, are variables that require much more expertise to identify, if even possible at all.
more on Jasper Wildlife Encounters
If indeed you hope to view Jasper's wildlife and you don't understand their behavior, seeking out or travelling with someone who does will certainly add to a safer and more enjoyable experience.
Jasper Wildlife Tours
Hunting with a Camera: Capturing Jasper's Wildlife with Today's Technology
In 2019, almost every single person entering Jasper National Park carries a Media Powerhouse in their pocket capable of capturing and sharing fantastic photos or videos in mere seconds. Also in 2019, most people have likely taken more photos and videos of themselves and their families than ever before... unintentionally creating much more expertise on a broad scale than ever thought possible.
This is certainly a cultural change that is not only here to stay, but will continue evolving globally. Along with that, the pace at which people can learn and adapt grows exponentially, so it's very hard to stay ahead of the curve in places where protection, conservation, and education are of the utmost importance.
Today, Education is being organically delivered at an enormous rate. It is very easy to see for those working and/or living in Jasper, that those seeking education learn more rapidly about respectful wildlife photography each and every year.
Don't Interrupt Wildlife's Natural Behavior
Wildlife photography is certainly complicated in any natural environment as your subjects are typically moving and unpredictable. In a National Park, however wonderful it is to witness and photograph animals in their environment, we have to pay special attention to doing our best not to interrupt their natural behavior. At any given time, when animals of Jasper may be in your proximity, decisions you make will hopefully be proactive. Again, this makes it very important to know or learn as much about animal behavior before you visit, familiarizing yourself with the animals you may encounter and photograph.
If an animal begins to alter it's behavior because of your presence, it is simply time to move on. It may be a good idea to practice photographing birds, etc., in your neighborhood, so you'll know more and increase your efficiency when space needed is even more important, and encounters may be even more brief.
Do Listen Carefully for Wildlife
Try being very quiet and listen for that photo opportunity! Whether you are on a remote hike, or on a quiet road; when exploring Jasper's outdoors, you do not want to scare away your subjects. There is also a very good chance that you may also gain photography subjects just by being very silent. It is not only very pleasant to stop and listen to Jasper National Park's natural sounds just about anywhere, but it is also incredibly revealing to a trained ear.
Movement in the forest or lakes, Owls calling, or Howls in the distance are not likely to be heard unless you remain almost silent. Even your camera's shutter should probably be placed in silent mode(if possible) as this sound can spook a nearby animal. Most wildlife can hear from quite far away and something as simple as walking on loose gravel can unsettle many potential subjects you may have ordinarily encountered.
In contrast, If you know there might be a dangerous situation nearby, DO make noise. If it is revealed that a human is near, most wildlife will move off.. Safety first!
Don't Approach or Chase Jasper's Wildlife
It is tough to witness groups of people chasing a Grizzly Bear or a Rutting Bull Moose into the forest to get That Pic!
Please Don't. If Not for Your Safety, for the Animal's Safety..
1. The animal is either going to run away or..
2. It may attack in self defense.
Either way, you are not going to get that Pic and you are definitely altering that animal's behavior. If you've spotted the animal from your vehicle, your best chance of a great photo in most cases is to stay in your vehicle. In Jasper National Park, many animals are used to seeing vehicles, and this represents your best temporary "hide" for a good photo opportunity. Once an animal is chased away or provoked unaturally, all opportunity for everyone that may have hoped to capture a quick photograph is now not possible.
Do Fight Your Ego in Social Media
Human nature can be a tough obstacle as hoards of people gather, smothering an animal with their love and egos during a possible photo encounter.
In nature, there is no single more important piece of advice for wildlife photography than practicing patience. We know good wildlife images are not easy to get. If a crowd forms, especially along a highway or busy roadside, it can become extremely dangerous to continue thinking you need a "better pic" than your Instagram friends or competitors(?). Do your best to leave this behind and just enjoy the moment or move on after a quick couple shots so everyone can also have a moment.
Please be mindful not only of your impact on Jasper's wildlife, but also on the joy and experience of other fellow visitors.
Have a Great Time!
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