Top 12 Most Memorable Encounters
Coming off a spectacularly lucky (photographically) year, 2017 was a no good, awful, downright miserable stretch of bad luck. Though we spent more time in the field than ever, we captured content only about 10% of the time we set out to look for wildlife. Yet for all the bad luck, we had some incredible moments – and, based on our last two forays into the Rockies, our luck also seems to be changing. Here’s hoping 2018 is the best year yet.
The Jasper Bighorn Herd
In February, we spent a prolonged period in Jasper National Park with the goal of documenting ungulates in the snow, namely bighorn sheep. For almost two weeks, we’d hike into the backcountry to observe a herd that lives in a setting second to none. The images were great – especially when a freak snow storm descended more quickly than anticipated and made the bighorn into instant snow-animals – but it was the chance to study the sheep in an environment free of people and cars that made it truly compelling.
Of course, we’re not unique in having this experience, but what was exceptional was our final encounter. The snow storm had stopped our entry into the sheep habitat for a short period and when we appeared in their line of vision, then entire herd ran down the hillside, stopped a hundred yards away and then each walked up to gives us a look, before returning to their grazing ways. It was uncanny and with recent research proving the facial recognition abilities of sheep, it was clear they remembered us and wanted to acknowledge our presence, almost as if we were lost members of the herd. For us, it was an encounter that will linger as long as we live.