Foggy Saturdays, an orange toque and deer hunters

landscape, forest, forest fire, fog, foggy, dan jurak, landscape, Alberta, deer hunt, deer,

My wife sometimes says to me that I don’t go out and take pictures anymore. I do.

After almost twenty years of obsessively going out at all times of the day regardless of the weather I can usually predict when the conditions will be good for photos and when it’s better just to enjoy the scenery and relax.

The past few weeks haven’t been anything to get excited about but I was chomping at the bit for a drive this weekend.

I’m an early riser. Maybe it’s old age? When I was younger I would often sleep past noon during holidays or when school was out. These days my around 4:30 a.m. I usually find myself laying in bed trying to fall back asleep for at least another hour. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

By 5:00 a.m. I was out of bed while everyone else was in dreamland. Coffee brewing I checked out the provincial highway webcams to see what the conditions were around me. The government forecaster had predicted fog but my cleardarksky website which is usually very accurate for astronomical photography said otherwise.

The webcams weren’t showing any fog, something that I love to take pics in. Hmm?

By 7:00 a.m things still weren’t looking good but half an hour later with the sky just starting to lighten I figured what the heck and put on my winter clothing, grabbed my camera gear and headed out into the dark.

As I drove away from home and into the country there was still no sign of fog. The snow was old and mostly melted away but onward I went. There’s a place that I usually go to that almost guarantees fog on mornings like this so onward I went in hopes of something good.

Twenty minutes later with the eastern horizon much brighter I arrived at my spot. Nothing.

It was then that I decided that I would make a nice drive back home and just enjoy the morning in the country.

Ten minutes later and a funny thing happened. As I was driving through an area that was used frequently by quads during the summer, full of pine trees and sand the fog or at least a thin fog appeared.

I knew the area well. It was only a few years earlier that I would take my two girls out here on weekends to learn to drive. The roads were two lanes, paved and twisty through the pine trees. Because the last few years had been very dry the once thick pine tree stand was now peppered with tall charcoal spikes pointing upwards.

Curiosity piqued I pulled over. Grabbed my gear and walked into the burned forest.

The sun might have been up but you couldn’t tell as the sky was so overcast but the eastern horizon was considerably brighter than twenty minutes earlier. I wandered around looking for interesting angles, kneeling in the snow, camera on tripod taking photos as they presented themselves.

That continued off and on for twenty or so minutes until I got back in my vehicle and found another spot that looked promising. I walked into the burned forest, took a few photos and was walking back to my vehicle when I saw a four wheel drive truck driving towards me. There is a lot of oil field activity out this way so its not unusual to see service trucks driving by.

As the truck approached I stayed out of my SUV to talk to the driver. There is always vandalism around these places so I usually say hi and make it clear that I am there for photos and not to steal anything.

As the vehicle pulled up to me and stopped the first thing that the two men inside said was, did you see anything? Puzzled I told them that I was out for photos in the fog.

It turns out that they weren’t working but were deer hunting that morning. That close to the city deer season goes late into the fall but hunters are required to use bows or shotguns which limits their range to about thirty or so meters. It was then that I remembered that I had put on a blaze orange toque which stood out like a sore thumb in the morning light. Bright and blazing against the dark background.

Even though the season is bows and shotguns there are still people who will illegally use rifles to hunt deer. It was then that I realized the wisdom of picking that coloured toque.

Not that it saved my life but when you are crouched in the snow on a dark morning who knows what some guy with a rifle is going to think that he is looking at?

With a few images on my memory card I headed home as the sky brightened.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on December 4, 2018.

3 Responses to “Foggy Saturdays, an orange toque and deer hunters”

  1. Nice mood and love the purplish cast. At least with that bright toque you won’t be mistaken for a deer, unless its Rudolph. I don’t know the difference between shotguns and rifles, except for the rifling etched into the barrel, thinking it may make the bullet travel faster and/or further.

  2. Hi Jane and thank you.
    The main difference between rifles and shotguns is that after thirty or forty yards a shotgun isn’t usually lethal whereas a rifle can be deadly to a few hundred yards.
    That is why in Strathcona County the deer season is for shotguns and bows. There is very little chance of someone being hurt by either as a hunter has to be very, very close to the animal in order for either to be effective.

  3. Thanks, Dan. I never stop learning.

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