Explore & Photograph Manitoba!
by David Williams (Event Horizons Photography)
September 22, 2011
White-tailed deer taken in Birds Hill Park
If you stand in a field around Winnipeg, you can see forever without a single thing blocking your view. It's almost as though you are looking out onto a calm ocean. As a Winnipegger born and bred , I have long looked at the horizons around me, with a sense of wonder. Images from magazines, and television, permeated my imagination, with the sights and wonders that are said to be in the world just beyond my reach.This was before I even picked up my first “serious” camera about 5 or 6 years ago.
Since the day I went to the post office to pick up a second hand Canon Rebel XT, I have slowly become aware of the fact that wonders and marvels are available to me, here, now, within my own provincial boundaries! The ones I have already been to beckon me back. There are others that I have yet to see, still more that I don't even realize exist yet. I long to explore Manitoba!
Garter Snake Hibernaculum (Snake Dens)- Narcisee, Manitoba see link below for more information
In Winnipeg, nature has a habit of finding it's way into the nooks and crannies, just like any city. Let me tell you about a few Jewels.
Just South of the Assiniboine river lies Assiniboine park, 4.5 square kilometres of nature friendly habitat. Including a large duck pond, with many avian visitors, numerous gardens, of various types, forests, and meadows. Not to mention the nearby zoo. The park has recently had millions of dollars in upgrades, and looks fantastic!
The Assiniboine Park is the crown jewel of the Winnipeg parks, but there are many more of note in town. Sturgeon creek, St. Vital Park, Kings Park, Kildonan Park, just to name a few of my favourites. Many of the parks in Winnipeg have begun to maintain “Grassland Naturalization Areas”, which help to fight erosion along flowing water, and provide natural habitat for many wild species, within Winnipeg parks.
Just outside Winnipeg is Birds Hill Park. The 35 square kilometres of provincial park “features a mixture of aspen and oak forest with open prairie/savannah, spruce, bog areas and mixed boreal forest communities, not commonly found so close together.” If you want white tailed deer, this is the place to look!
Nearby to Birds Hill is Lockport. It has a dam that Winnipeg uses to keep the rivers navigable in Summer, and many types of birds congregate to feed on the abundance of fish that are drawn to the dam to feed.
Pelicans Lockport Manitoba
Then there is Fort Whyte Alive. A fee based enterprise, that does many things, including habitat preservation, education, and innovation, in a socially advantageous manor. It is well worth the price of admission. There is also a prairie dog town, and a plains bison ranch nearby.
Bison at Fort Whye
Directly North of Winnipeg is Oak Hammock Marsh. 36 square kilometres of wildlife management area.
To quote the official website:
“Oak Hammock Marsh is home to 25 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, numerous amphibians, reptiles, and fish, and countless invertebrates. During migration season, the number of waterfowl using the marsh during migration can exceed 400,000 daily!”
West of Winnipeg, is Spruce Woods. This is shocking terrain. It is kilometres of rolling sand dunes, cactus, and the hognose snake. You may start to wonder if you are in a desert. It is not a true desert, but it is beautiful none the less. Make sure you have good hiking boots that can keep out the sand.
Scenes from Assiniboine Park
If you are lucky enough to be in the Narcisse, Manitoba area around about late April, you must check out the snake dens. Think tens of thousands of snakes in the same place at the same time. It is UNREAL. The males seem to come out of the wood work, to converge into mating balls around the females. Watch where you step!
On the shores of Lake Manitoba, there's a place called Steep Rock, that has some really nice geological formations, combined with a Manitoba sunset, makes for some top notch landscape photography. The same goes for all of Manitoba's great beaches, but Steep Rock is one of my favourites.
Riding Mountain is home to wolves, cougars, porcupines, beavers, moose, elk, black bears, hundreds of bird species (including loons, and Canada geese), countless insects and a captive bison herd. The terrain is “unusual” for Manitoba. We are not used to a lot of verticality around here, but Riding Mountain and the surrounding area have a lot of altitude variation, and it makes for some interesting perspectives.
Riding Mountain park
700 km north of Winnipeg is Manitoba's highest dropping waterfall Kwasitchewan Falls. Pisew Falls can be driven into, but Kwasitchewan is supposedly a fairly easy hike (22 km round trip). I have not yet taken this hike, but it is certainly on my list. Pisew falls is quite impressive on it's own.
Pisew Falls Provincial Park
Pisew Falls Provincial Park
Churchill is famous for it's polar bears. Again, I have never been there, but it is definitely on my list. You can not reach it by road, but it has a port, an airstrip and snow machines routes. Also, something called a “tundra buggy” is available, for those who want to see and photograph the bears, but don't want to get eaten by them.
Kil-Cona Park located in northeast Winnipeg, Manitoba
The province of Manitoba is certainly on par with any other Canadian province from a photographic perspective. I hope I have given you some ideas for the next time you are in my neck of the woods.
David Williams has worked full time in the auto industry for almost a decade. He found his passion for photography relatively recently, and has devoted most of his spare time towards creating better images. He is in the process of building Event Horizons Photography a Winnipeg based photography business.
You can see more of his work at: eventhorizonsphotography.blogspot.com
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