Nature Photography in SouthWest Alberta

Field Tips from Photography Teacher Robert Pisko


Great photographer's can create a silk purse from a sow's ear...so to speak. The rest of us could benefit from photogenic backdrops that give us results we want to put on our wall. In some cases it's easy...point at the big rocks to the west. In many cases the details of nature, life, and living seen through a lens elevates our experience and gives us more connection to people and place. Southwest Alberta is a photo scene stealer - the biggest of mountains to the smallest of flowers to cast of shadow off 100 years of life in the corner building downtown. There's hundreds of trails, scenic drives, demanding peak-bagging in the Rockies, and urban stones to turn over with your shutter finger.

Wildlife viewing and photography is as easy as – well, being there at the right time. Fortunately that’s not too hard around here. Be certain, though, to remember that it’s not Disneyland – they are wild, powerful, and can be very dangerous if approached indiscreetly. The first rule of wildlife photography is common sense. Second rule – use a long lens!







There’s the not-so-wild life too, that gives the photographer who is willing an opportunity to make the ordinary extraordinary. Challenge yourself to make the moo of the cow "bovine," to capture cowboy spirit, to slow the camera to capture waving grain in late summer fields.

Pack Your Photography Gear

Alberta Southwest is close – a couple of hours from Calgary, Medicine Hat, Montana. Pack your photo gear, including spare batteries and a charger, extra memory cards, a chunk of white cardboard (or better yet a silver crinkle foil windshield sunscreen, $2 at your local Dollarama – for bouncing daylight around), umbrella, kneepads and elbow pads (visit the thrift shop) for crawling around on the ground – wildflowers and bugs, you know. A sturdy tripod will really, really help. Got a spotting scope or binoculars? Be sure to bring them. Prepare for any and all weather. The photography addiction is in the chase...that 1/100th of a second that captures a moment in time unlike any that's been captured before. The only thing we can guarantee is our scenery improves your chances....