Friday, 30 December 2011

Congratulations Hans Blohm

Hans Blohm, Member of the Order of Canada
©Bob Davis, 2009

Congratulations to my dear friend, fellow photographer and author, Hans Blohm, for being appointed a Member of the Order of Canada by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.  The official announcement came early this afternoon from Rideau Hall.  The honour pays tribute to Hans' lifelong commitment to "preserving Canada's northern heritage through the lens of his camera".

For over three decades, Hans, an internationally acclaimed Master Photographer and author, has criss-crossed the North by floatplane, automobile, sailboat, snowmobile and dog team while in pursuit of capturing images and stories of Canada's Arctic and its peoples.  His iconic landscapes and portraits have graced the pages of countless books and magazines, while his photographs of the aurora, mountains, minerals, and pristine waterfalls have been honoured on numerous Canadian postage stamps.  In 2006, First Air chose his stunning Inukshuk image to adorn the pride of the famed airline's passenger jet. Blohm's photo exhibits have travelled the globe and been admired by thousands, while his 15 books, ranging from 'coffee-table' pictorials to a collection of essays from northerners, have sold worldwide and been translated into German and Inuktitut.

Hans is also hailed as one of the best computer microchip photographers in the world.  In 1981 he was commissioned by Mitel to photograph 1/25th of a 1/4" square microchip and have it enlarged 16 million times in area.  The murals were displayed in the front lobby of the Mitel Complex in Ottawa.   Hans  is also an accomplished architectural photographer.

Born in 1927 in northern Germany, and immigrating to Canada in 1956, Hans' charismatic character is infectious, his love for Canada's North undying and his commitment to hear and share the stories of the northern people unwavering.  All of these have gained him the trust, respect and friendship of Inuit and non-Inuit throughout Canada and around the world.

The honesty and openness of those relationships, and the shared respect on which they are built on, continue to inspire him.  And while it may be true that Hans Blohm's outstanding northern images have long documented the very essence of northern culture, it is the man's lust for life and the friendships he's formed in the North that continue to bring new joy and laughter to those who he meets.

The Order of Canada, one of our country's highest civilian honours, was established in 1967 to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Congratulations Hans on finally receiving the recognition you so well deserve!

For a more detailed look into Hans' life and accomplishments please check out HANS BLOHM WIKIPEDIA


Hans Blohm WEBSITE

VOICE OF THE NATIVES, one of Hans' many books

Monday, 26 December 2011

2011: A Retrospect

Happy New Year, Parliament Hill (Ottawa)
January, 2011

Crystal Palace, Winterlude Celebration (Ottawa)
February, 2011

Northern Lights dance over the Yukon (Pelly Crossing)
March, 2011

Return of the Swans, Tagish (Yukon)
April, 2011

Spring colours across the Yukon
May, 2011

Onboard HMCS Whitehorse, Skagway (Alaska)
June, 2011

Happy Canada Day, Museum of Civilization (Gatineau)
July, 2011

Whale watching, Cape Cod (Mass)
August, 2011

Grizzlies of the Chilkoot (Haines, Alaska)
September, 2011

Spectacular Autumn Days (Pelly Crossing, Yukon)
October, 2011

Bald Eagle Festival (Haines, Alaska)
November, 2011

Winter scenery (Pelly Crossing, Yukon)
December, 2011

Here's to new year filled with wonderful memories and endless photo opps.

Cheers and Happy Holidays

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Northern lights dance over Pangnirtung, Nunavut

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!  
Thank you for your continued interest and support over the past year.  I have appreciated your comments.
Here's to another year filled with health, love, friendship, adventure and endless photo opps - 2012 promises to be an exciting year.
Join me in the coming days as I share some of my favourite images from the past year - stay tuned for "2011: A Retrospect".
Once again, Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Grizzlies of the Chilkoot

Living in this rugged corner of our country certainly has its perks.  Whether you're into outdoor pursuits, photography, adventure, or simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, the Yukon is the place to soothe and satisfy the soul.  

Not only are we spoiled with breathtaking landscapes and vistas, we are also blessed with chance encounters with its wildlife.  I've lost count the number of times I've driven past moose, wolves, elk, grizzly or black bears while they were foraging on the side of the highway.  On one occasion, this past March, I was fortunate to have spotted a lynx sitting quietly in the snow as it was basking in the warmth of the late afternoon sunset.  Unfortunately for me that day, my camera was out of reach because it was buried beneath a mountain of gear in the back seat of our truck.

As a photographer, I also take advantage of the fact that I live within driving distance of Alaska - a State known for its coastal rain forests, untamed rivers, calving glaciers, majestic mountain ranges and plenty more wildlife viewing opportunities.

This past Labour Day weekend I introduced a friend to Haines, a picturesque fishing village sandwiched between the glaciated mountain peaks and marine waters of the Lynn Canal.  The highlight of that weekend was photographing grizzly bears fishing for spawning salmon in the Chilkoot River.

Each year, between the months of mid-August and early-October, a handful of female grizzlies and their cubs emerge from the surrounding mountainous brush and descend upon the narrow Chilkoot (translated by the Tlingits as a "basket of large fish") to feast on the thousands upon thousands of spawning pink and sockeye salmon.  With their winter hibernation looming, the burins spend countless hours fishing for salmon as they stock up on much needed energy reserves that will see them through the long winter months which lie ahead.

What a treat it was to photograph the bears in such a pristine environment.  Each bear had character and its own style of fishing.  For example,  one sow was a master at herding fish into isolated pools of water while another sat patiently in the milky waters waiting for an opportunity to plunge at an unsuspecting fish.  Others simply swam after the fish or snatched them with one powerful swoop of their formitable claws.

Many of us, who gathered alongside the shore to photograph the bears, chuckled as we watched the cubs try to imitate their mothers' tactics with little or no success.  After several unsuccessful attempts, the cubs simply gave up and darted for the riverbank where they frolicked in the shallow waters waiting for mom to deliver their next meal to them.  What fun!

By the end of the weekend we had spotted 12 individual bears of varying ages.  Photographing them was certainly one of my most memorable shoots of all times.  Never before have I seen so many grizzlies within a short period of time.  

The images above were captured with a Nikon D700 and a Nikor 300mm f/2.8 lens attached.  

Hope all is well in your corner of the world - thanks again for your patience in waiting for these images to finally make an appearance on my blog.