Sometimes we saw these horses in burnt forest like in the previous post, but often we saw them in the open meadow lands where they were easy to spot. To see then running was a bonus. They just seemed so wild and free. There is estimated to be close to 1000 free-roaming horses in the Chilcotin. Close to half of these are found in the ?Elegesi Qayus Wild Horse Preserve declared by the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government in 2002. Further information about the wild horses can be found on the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley website.
Much of the landscape within the Brittany Triangle where these wild horses live has been burned by forest fires. While the burnt landscape in its entirety is not pretty, I found the contrast of the dark horses amongst the burnt trees in winter to be stunningly beautiful. One would hardly see these horses in a live forest.
While we did find one large band of over 50 horses, most were much smaller. I found it a compelling sight to see these wild horses living their lives within this vast landscape.
This week I had the great pleasure of photographing the wild horses of the Brittany Triangle and the Nemaiah Valley in the Chilcotin region of central British Columbia. A count of these wild animals was being made by the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley. The horses you see in this image were made as we drove west to meet the helicopter from which we were to count and photograph the horses. So this sighting was a bonus! Using the link above, you can read all about the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley as well as the wild horses that live there. The Brittany and Nemiah Valley horses have achieved iconic status and have become the focus of intense global interest because of speculation as to their genetic and historic origins.
I’ll be posting more images and information during the next few days. Stay tuned. I was able to make some fascinating imagery.
This California bighorn sheep took off as I was making images of a small band of sheep at Farwell Canyon. However, I am using this image to tell you that Rita and I are also taking off. Tomorrow we are heading off on our first holiday since meeting 14 years ago. Far from the rain forest of the Cariboo mountains, the craters of the Itcha volcanoes, and the icebergs of the Coast Mountains; Rita and I will be in Prague! That’s right, we won’t be sleeping in a tent! We are off for two exciting weeks of arts and culture in the most exciting city in Central Europe. Opera’s, concerts, ballet’s, museums, art galleries, restaurants and coffee shops…oh, and pubs too! We are both so excited. I’ll be bringing my camera and will post images to my facebook page so you can follow along if you wish.
As soon as I am back, I’ll be taking you all out to the wildest spots in the Cariboo Chilcotin once again. I can’t wait for that either!! Yahoooooo!!!
While exploring and photographing the Farwell Canyon area, Mike and I kept running into bands of California bighorn sheep. They seemed to be everywhere. That doesn’t mean they were easy to photograph, or at least get a half decent photograph. If they weren’t behind a Big sagebush, they would be over a cliff and out of sight.
I get a kick out of this image though. As I raised my camera, it dropped behind a snow bank. Ever vigilante, it slowly drifted off through the snow.
We arrived at Farwell Canyon to find the Big Sagebrush of the Lower Grasslands adorned with a blanket of fresh snow. By noon, the sun broke through providing each sagebrush with its very own shadow. To tell this story, I took out my wide angle lens, searched for the best pattern of sage bushes, aimed my lens downwards, and made this image. We walked through this landscape for hours, photographing as we found unique compositions. It was magical.
Less than an hours drive from Williams Lake, the Farwell Canyon grasslands in winter are a feast for those seeking beauty and a connection with the land.
Mike and I were on our way to Farwell Canyon early this morning so we pass through Williams lake. When we turn left on Highway 20, there are no traffic lights or Tim Hortons until we get to Japan! Better stop and fill up! That we did, and then we were off on another incredible day of winter photography. See you tomorrow in winter wonderland!
Our day of photography was over…or so we thought! While driving home, a full moon appeared above the horizon and the cloud formation was breathtaking. I was thrilled. We wanted to stop immediately, but I remembered this old Russell fence so asked Mike to keep driving. As soon as we reached it and were stopped, I jumped out, grabbed my tripod, and ran through the deep snow (I had taken my now boots off!) toward the fence. Quickly I set up my tripod, made several compositions….click, click, click…and then just as quickly, jumped back into the warm truck. What a marvelous way to end a wondrous day of photography. Enjoy!
The mighty Fraser River near the Gang Ranch once flowed north and the vast bench lands above the river were once huge lake bottoms. Today these bench lands are part of British Columbia’s renowned grasslands, the most endangered ecosystem in the province. When the ice dams further south melted at the end of the latest ice age, the Fraser changed direction, gouging a course toward what is now Hope and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. Now, some 8000 years later, the Fraser continues to flow southward, carving its canyon ever deeper.
Last week, on January 25th, the magnificence of the Fraser Canyon near Churn Creek and the Gang Ranch was as we see it in this photograph; impressive and stunningly beautiful.
It’s an easy drive here to witness the Grand canyon of the north. It’s less than 100 kms from Williams Lake or 70 Mile House.
Continuing on our photo expedition, we crossed the Fraser River on the Gang Ranch bridge. I asked Mike to stop so we could photograph and he sort of looked at me. Here? Then we both laughed…of course, there was no traffic out here!! The first thing I saw was the shadow of the bridge showing our truck parked in the middle. I couldn’t resist.! We just wandered up and down the bridge photographing and laughing; this was real Cariboo Chilcotin freedom!
The river was frozen with beautiful ice patterns and animal tracks everywhere. Fifteen minutes later we moved on to photograph further downstream. What a day. More to images to follow!