Issue 02, Vol. 01 Summer 2008
|WELCOME FROM CELES DAVAR||MANITOBA'S BEAR TRUTHS||TIPS FROM THE PRO|
|FALL INTO DIGITAL DELIGHTS||THE MAGIC OF MIGRATION||SUBMIT A STORY TO WIN|
|Welcome from Celes Davar|
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
EMAIL CELES DAVAR
Welcome to the season of gold and the colours of late summer outdoor festivals in Manitoba. From the Winkler Harvest Festival (August 8 - 10), to the ever-growing home-town grown 3rd annual Harvest Sun Festival in Kelwood August 15 & 16, to the 45 cultural pavailions at Winnipeg's Folklorama, outdoor experiences in August in Manitoba is a well-blended cocktail of colours, harvest, music, wild nature sounds, and festivals.
September brings the smell of high bush cranberries, the sights of purple asters in the meadows or long-nodding tops of goldenrods, and the strident sounds of elk bugling at Riding Mountain national park, and Spruce Woods and Duck Mountain provincial parks. This is the month for a long, slow sail along the edge of Lake Winnipeg, or taking in lake-front activities at Whiteshell, Gimli, Hecla, Lake of the Prairies or Clear Lake. In all these locations, the sunset photograph with your family or friends brings home one of the reasons that more than 80 percent of Manitobans take their holidays in Manitoba to celebrate family time together.
This September 19 - 28, Sonics and Sojourns will take place. It is Manitoba's newest fall festival in Onanole, a 10-day celebration of learning and music. It features a closing act with Winnipeg's Juno award-winning singer-songwriter James Keelaghan, a new season opener of the Home Routes house concert series, song-writing in the schools with James Gordon, and including kite-building with Winnipeg kite-designer Sharon Musto, workshops about climate change and alternative energy, and presentations by Canada's national weatherman David Phillips. This is one of the first experiential festivals in Canada. It's right here in Manitoba. And, the festival organizers are intending to make it as carbon neutral as possible.
Fall into Digital Delights
Our world has changed. I can remember a conversation that I had with Dick Toews at Photo Central in Winnipeg well over 10 years ago. Dick is a talented collector of vintage cameras, and is a master of the black and white dark-room fine art image production process. We were talking about these new "digital cameras" that were coming out. We both agreed (like TV arm-chair critics of a football game) that there was no way that digital cameras could ever achieve the resolution, contrast, and beauty of film. And, that was that. That was 10 years ago!
To capture a few images your trip along a Manitoba road or trail this fall in a park or walking along the Red or Assiniboine River, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, you have a stunning choice of digital cameras with features and resolution that provide you with the ability to take the photo, control its presentation, and then incorporate it into a world of online possibilities for printing or sharing. Home printing technology has emerged and we now see the photographic image being used in more ways than we ever contemplated 10 years ago.
Why not take that camera that has been sitting there with 200 low resolution pictures on its disk storage, that you have not yet downloaded to the computer, and quickly download them now? If you don't know how, ask your teenager or your neighbour's teenager to do it for you. It will take them a few seconds. You are now ready with camera in hand to have some fall fun. Just make sure to get rechargeable batteries and charge your camera's battery before you head out.
Here is what I propose to every Manitoban for this fall, in preparation for 2010, our Homecoming Year. Let's go back out to Manitoba's great outdoors just once more in September or October for one day or overnight, to a new spot that we have not been to before - it could be a B&B in Minnedosa, or a hotel at Gimli, or a a lodge in the Whiteshell, or camping near a lake. It does not matter - it could be at a friend's place at Dauphin or Carmen or Boissevain. Just do it.
And, here's the digital delight part. We ask you to capture only five photographs, with each one highlighting one of the following:
1. A fall moment a friend or family member,
2. A Manitoba fall colour,
3. The fall sky,
4. The texture of something traditional in your area, and
5. Something about harvest that delights you, as you travel along the road.
That's only five photographs. When you get these five photos, you can upload them, along with the story behind them, to Travel Manitoba's contest website: www.itsmymoment.ca for a chance to win a trip to Churchill to kayak with beluga whales. You can also:
+ Download the photos to your computer and print them off.
+ Share them with five other Manitoba friends by email;
+ Put these five photos on Flickr, Facebook, your iPhoto Gallery, or any other online photo-sharing utility ((if you don't know what the heck I am talking about, ask your teenager again, to show you how to post them.it's really quite simple.);
+ Print them and put them into a card to give someone at Christmas-time to remind them of what a beautiful place Manitoba is in the fall.
To return to the musing that Dick Toews and I were doing back 10 years ago, I would like to say that technology has changed at a rate we never imagined. But, it remains only technology. The taking of a Manitoba photograph is much more than the use of technology.
It is really about expressing our care for a landscape and people that are part of our cultural traditions and the fall season, in Manitoba. Canadians have expressed in poll after poll, that the environment today is a top priority in the face of over-whelming evidence about global warming and the impacts that it is having on climate change. Let your photographs be the images that your grand-children look back upon and say, "my grand-parents had the information about climate change in 2010, and they acted on that information. Where did they find the moral courage to help protect this place we call home?"
I am so glad that the world of photography has allowed us to fall into digital delights that remind, that document, and that help us to appreciate many Manitoba moments. Now, let's use these photographs to help protect our Manitoba for the future.
Celes Davar is a Manitoba photographer and president of Earth Rhythms, an award-winning learning adventure company based in Onanole, just south of Riding Mountain National Park.
Manitoba's Bear Truths
Typically, visitors to Canada tour outside of Churchill, Manitoba in giant tundra vehicles during the bears' fall migration to the Hudson Bay ice packs. While that short season runs October through November, polar bears can also be spotted in summer and deep winter, too, usually with a different twist and vantage point.
Bears Outside, you Caged?
Walk with Bears-Very Carefully
In July and August, Paul Ratson's Nature 1st Tours, launches its heli-hikes, flying adventurers forty miles past the tree line to the Seal River or Dymond Lake to explore the world of permafrost, or to Knights Hill to begin a day-long hike back along the Bay's tidal flats to Churchill. There are three-thousand-year-old aboriginal tent rings and kayak rests here, dating from the ancient Dorset, Pre Dorest, and Thule people. Thousands of beluga whales sing underwater in the mouth of the Churchill River-and, oh yes, there could be a polar bear or two out here.
Summer's also peak season for Churchill Wild guides at the remote, fly-in Seal River Heritage Lodge for a "Birds, Bears, and Belugas" adventure, when the tundra is alive with flora and fauna: caribou, foxes, more than a hundred species of birds and a few bears.
Paddle Past Bears
Bear-Watch in Lodge Cozy Comfort
Sleep With Bears
Baby Bear Spotting
The Magic of Migration
Most of the birds that wing their way south through Manitoba every fall follow a general migration corridor known as the Mississippi Flyway.When the distinctive, noisy "V" flocks of geese fly overhead, very few of us can resist the urge to look up in wonder as we witness one of nature's true annual spectacles.
One-third of the world's birds are migratory. Weather and hunger force billions of birds to participate in these annual trips triggered by the changing hours of daylight. Some of the migrations are quite impressive. The Arctic tern flies almost from pole to pole (16,000 km flight) while the snow goose, often seen at Oak Hammock Marsh, is able to make the secondary hop from James Bay to the Gulf Coast non-stop in 16 hours, flying at an elevation of over 6 km.
Birds find their way using navigational clues such as the position and movement of the sun, moon and stars, landscape features including coastlines and mountains, as well as the earth's magnetic field. Wind and water currents can assist in speeding up a bird's movements, especially for heavy birds such as ducks and geese, but storms can also wreak havoc and destroy countless migrants.
Migrating is dangerous and exhausting, so why do birds take the chance? The answers appear to relate to higher levels of survival and numbers of offspring by traveling to other regions rich in food supplies and breeding territories. Perhaps this annual movement between summer and winter ranges became instinctive in response to the successive advances and retreats of glaciers and vegetation zones during the ice ages.
As one of the hottest waterfowl viewing destinations in the province, Oak Hammock Marsh is a major migratory stopover for many ducks, geese and shorebirds. It is a safe place for the birds to feed and put on fat for the next leg of their journey. Geese and ducks begin to show up at Oak Hammock Marsh in early September and remain until mid to late October. Estimated peak numbers of waterfowl (ducks and geese) during the last two weeks of September and the first week of October at Oak Hammock Marsh is approximately 400,000 birds.
Be sure make your own journey to Oak Hammock Marsh this fall for front row seating at one of the most amazing shows you can experience - the magic of migration!
Tips from the Pro: Five tips for a great wildlife experience
It's about behaviour
Take the photo
Approach slowly but stop once the animal shows signs of distress or movement
Close your eyes and memorize the scene
Itís My Moment - Your Story Could Win!
A chance to kayak with Beluga whales? Wow! Share your best Manitoba travel moment for a chance to win. Here's a recently submitted fishing moment from Lillian Tankard, from her experience in Churchill:
I TOLD YOU I DIDN'T LIE
Last July I had the privilege of escorting 5 Tour operators and one staff person from the Canadian Tourism Commission out of the UK to Churchill to see Belugas Whales.
These tour operators are defintely Manitoba supporters and they have for many years sold Polar Bear trips to their clients in the UK but they themselves had never come to Manitoba.
This trip was going to be different we wanted them to experience the Beluga Whales in Churchill, the very place that is known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World.
They weren't convinced that Beluga Whales were something that would capture their attention, keep in mind that all these people have travelled the world extensively.
They were under the impression that we would get in a big boat, be on the water for hours and hopefully see one whale.
Well they were wrong, not five minutes away from where we left shore in our zodiac we came upon hundreds of Belugas including many baby belugas.
They didn't know where to turn their heads to look, they were in awe and truly surprised. The most skeptical member of the group looked at me and said you didn't lie, there are really hundreds.
Actually over 3000 Beluga whales come to Churchill every July and August.
I am proud to be a Manitoban.