Posts Tagged ‘Canada’s North’

Shooting Canada’s National Parks

Friday, January 9th, 2015

[by Fritz] I’m fortunate to often shoot in our national parks system, trying to capture experiences, moments and landscapes that make people want to visit these special places. Working with Parks Canada has been one of the highlights of my decade as a photographer.

Recently Parks Canada put their photography services out to tender. It was a competitive process – required 10 years of professional experience and fairly rigorous technical and portfolio qualifications. Excited to be selected by Parks Canada as one of six photographers shooting in the national parks and heritage sites system over the next couple of years. And a few parks are already queueing up shoots for summer 2015.

With warm summer thoughts in mind, here’s a selection from a shoot in Ivvavik National Park last summer with the team from the Western Arctic Field Unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gigapixels at Kluane National Park Visitor Centre

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

[by Fritz] Last weekend I attended the official opening of the new Kluane National Park visitor centre in Haines Junction, Yukon where I got to see the results of a commercial shoot I worked on over the past two years. The client was Parks Canada, and they first called me in 2010 about commissioning a series of gigapixel images for their new exhibit hall. Read an earlier blog post about Gigpan Epic Pro and Mars Rover technology.

My job was to follow the exhibit designer’s creative direction to create half a dozen wall-sized gigapixel images to be incorporated into interpretive installations. This wasn’t a photographer-driven beauty shoot – they provided detailed concepts and image sizes, and I scouted locations and completed the shoots to their specs. It was very time consuming and involved lots of technical challenges and computer time. We all had to stay flexible as the project evolved, and the results are impressive. Lots of photographers are creating gigapixel images, but few are fortunate to have them printed at their full size.

It’s exciting to see how veteran exhibit designer David Jenson and his team created an immersive space where you can experience being in the park. When entering Parks Canada’s exhibit hall, you first approach a ceiling-high mountain structure in the centre of the room draped with a gigapixel photograph of King’s Throne at Kathleen Lake. Hiding beyond King’s Throne is a 10-foot high photo of a wall of glacial ice: the toe of Donjek Glacier, with lighting that creates the feeling of clouds and changing sunlight. Other stitched gigapan images anchor habitat exhibits on the surrounding walls.

In the end we made 7 giant photographs, and many of my images from other shoots for Parks Canada are used elsewhere throughout the exhibits. Below you can explore and zoom into five of these gigapixel images of Kluane – click on bottom-left button for full-screen mode. Or better yet, visit the new interpretive centre in Haines Junction!

We’re a national tourism award finalist!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Fritz Mueller Photography is one of three finalists for the 2011 Corporate Partner of the Year award presented by Canada’s national tourism association (TIAC). It took us awhile to get our heads around what this means, especially since the other two finalists are Montreal Airports and Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation (…does TIAC know how little our business is?).

We love working with the tourism industry and are extremely honoured by this nomination. Here’s what TIAC said: Fritz Mueller Photography (FMP) is the passion of Fritz Mueller and Teresa Earle, two extraordinary Yukoners whose invaluable photographic and literary contributions to the tourism industry have captivated locals and visitors alike for over 10 years. FMP makes an indispensable contribution to the Yukon tourism industry with their passion and dedication to producing extraordinary images and stories showcasing Yukon. This creative team of two is known for their professional product and contagious enthusiasm for our territory, and as a result, literally millions of viewers and readers across the globe have experienced Yukon for the first time through Mueller’s lens and Earle’s words.

The national tourism awards will be presented in Ottawa on Nov. 24 … stay tuned!

Summertime photo shoot in Nunavut

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Mother Caribou

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

[by Teresa]  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about mothering and maternal instincts and motherhood. I’m going to lose my Mum to cancer, and walking this difficult path with her has brought on waves of introspection about what it is to be a mother. Having my own kids offers some lessons, but when you’re immersed in something you don’t always see things clearly. Plus, mothering is an incredibly tough job and, since my kids aren’t even in school yet, I figure I’m still on probation. Also, I’ve always known I’ll never be half the mother that mine has been to me.

I’ve also looked to nature for lessons in parenting. At this time of year I’m always reminded of incredible mothers I’ve witnessed during birthing season in the North. Feigning injury and putting themselves in harm’s way, nesting birds flutter about in front of predators to lure them away. Grizzly sows dedicate two all-consuming years to nurse, protect and rear their young. Tens of thousands of caribou cows cross half the Yukon Territory to drop their calves in a safer place. They’re all compelling, but it was the caribou mothers that made me cry.

My Mum and some insights about mothering converged on a knoll in North Yukon during one of my richest Yukon experiences. Fritz and I were spending much of June in Ivvavik National Park trying to find the Porcupine caribou herd. One afternoon Fritz fixated on a distant ridge, so we hoisted our packs and crossed a hellish patch of tussocks that followed us for hours, and as I stumbled in the ruts and mud I cursed his route and his impulsive ideas and his heavy cameras and his cheery mug. But we got there, and the site was glorious, and the tent overlooked a greening slope dotted with caribou.

For three days we watched thousands of caribou cows and calves graze and stream across our ridge. The exhausted cows had patchy fur and skeletal frames, while their calves were the picture of good health. The mothers grazed constantly, interrupted only by calves that nursed the nutrients out of them. Heavily pregnant, they’d migrated thousands of kilometres, swam icy rivers and dodged predators to reach their calving grounds, and they were already preparing to return south trailing young. In the caribou migration I found searing lessons about birth and death, survival, and the fragility and fortitude of nature. I pondered their capacity to endure horrendous conditions. I was awed by the instinctive, selfless acts of these mothers.

We carried a satellite phone with us for safety, but one evening, under the intense glare of the June sun and in the company of thousands of caribou, we dug it out for a couple of personal calls. We phoned our parents, who’d unconditionally loved and supported us through years of crazy adventures and dreams, and I stood on that remote ridge with tears streaming down my face as I described to Mum the spectacle around me. She listened intently – she knew satellite calls were precious – and in her voice I heard a mother’s empathy for these hardy caribou and their unthinkable journey. For years she would retell our conversation to others in great detail; she got a huge thrill from that call, and I felt so privileged to share my experience with her. Someday I will stand among the cows and calves with my daughters at my side, and we’ll remember my Mum – their Grandy – and all that she enabled us to be.

Let it snow! Lifestyle photo shoot at Coghlan Lake

Monday, March 21st, 2011

[by Fritz] Great to work with Tourism Yukon, Outside the Cube and Up North Adventures on a recent two-day winter photo shoot at Coghlan Lake, Yukon.

The Adventures of Boots, Goldie and Propane Bear

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

[by Teresa]  Thanksgiving is behind us and Hallowe’en is ahead, and the forecast says a snowstorm is rolling in. I’m reminded of a mid-October blizzard two years ago at the Arctic Circle where I sat at the edge of a river with my friend Phil Timpany watching drowsy grizzly bears plodding up and downstream along the base of Bear Cave Mountain.

Phil – and his partner, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation – runs what may be the most unique bear viewing operation on the continent. Grizzlies congregate here in wintry conditions to feast on a late run of chum salmon before hibernation. Within an hour of arriving by helicopter at North Yukon’s Ni’iinlii Njik (Fishing Branch) Territorial Park, I was seated in the snow on the bank of the Fishing Branch River a few yards from a sow named Boots trailing young-of-the-year triplets. Soon after, Mrs. Tucker presented her one-year-old twins, and Goldie brought around her cocky two-year-old, a stinky teenager that would test our – and his mother’s – boundaries on several occasions. It takes a lot to stun me speechless, but that afternoon I had few words to voice how it felt to be in the company of bears.

Fritz spent a month shooting at Bear Cave Mountain the previous year, so I knew that a confined, quiet routine awaited me: walk to a viewing site, watch bears, return to the cabins for meals and sleep. Imagine my surprise to be awakened at 1am on my very first night by terrific banging and shuffling around my tiny cabin. The building trembled and I sensed that a bear – surely that’s what it was? – had leaned against the wall I was curled next to. The ruckus continued for an hour, and I cursed the last cup of tea I drank before bed. Making a midnight dash to the outhouse clearly wasn’t an option so a spare bottle provided relief.

Turns out a mystery bear paid a visit to camp that night. It was the first time in years one came onto the deck, and this rogue fellow did a bit of redecorating. The clatter was an empty propane tank that he pried loose and batted about like a bowling pin, and we found a few other items scattered among the trees. But Propane Bear never came back. I was thrilled when we were weathered in longer than what was supposed to be a very short stay. When the snow starts to fly, I think about this unruly young grizz playing on the deck as winter took hold. Season’s short and sometimes a young fella just needs to blow off a little steam before hibernation, right?

Read our story about Ni’iinlii Njik (Fishing Branch) Territorial Park and Bear Cave Mountain in Up Here magazine.

Commercial Photo Update

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

[by Fritz] You probably know me for my signature scenics, but we do commercial shoots too. This year we landed some of the top commercial photo assignments in the North. Read on to learn about my recent commercial photography work with organizations like Yukon Economic Development, Outside the Cube, Parks Canada, Canadian Tourism Commission and Government of Nunavut.

Yukon Business Success Stories

To promote the Yukon as a fantastic place to live, work and invest, Yukon Economic Development wanted to showcase fifteen successful Yukon businesses and let their stories carry the campaign. Calgary-based Trigger Communications produced the creative; their direction was for journalistic portraits to accompany interview-based articles, and they wanted cinematic-style dirty edges. Fritz collaborated with Trigger’s art director on location: an airstrip, a lodge, a brewery, a studio and such.

Economic Development in Nunavut

This summer Fritz Mueller Photography partnered with Wildman Productions to complete an ambitious multi-community photo and video shoot for Nunavut Government. Over a three week period, Fritz and Phil and their Inuk assistant logged almost 18,000 km and shot stills and video non-stop in Iqaluit, Pond Inlet, Rankin Inlet, Igloolik and Cambridge Bay. It was a fast-paced shoot that focused on some of the companies, entrepreneurs, artists, resources and communities fuelling Nunavut’s growing economy. Though airports, construction sites, processing plants, ports and other infrastructure formed much of the shoot, environmental portraits of enterprising Nunavut residents was a core part of the shoot.

Canada’s North at Vancouver 2010 Olympics

It’s not every day you get to shoot the Olympics, and it’s also not every day that you get such a multi-layered assignment. We joined our colleagues at Outside the Cube during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games to help deliver the Canada’s North campaign. This was an intense 18-day shoot that saw Fritz juggle everything from social media coverage to grin-and-grips to long-term legacy needs for the three northern territories. He crisscrossed the Greater Vancouver area photographing Nunavut, NWT and Yukon artists and performers on the world’s stage. We’re proud to have been part of this landmark campaign that has been named one of three finalists for TIAC Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Kluane National Park Photo Collection

Parks Canada is building a new Kluane National Park & Reserve visitor centre in Haines Junction, Yukon, and planning new visitor publications, interpretive installations and multimedia. Over the past year Fritz completed several shoots in different seasons covering a wide range of activities and locations in the park. This was an ambitious, multi-faceted project involving complicated logistics, dozens of enthusiastic talent and typical Kluane conditions like -30° C temperatures, forest fire haze and high winds. Fritz worked closely with Parks Canada staff and an art director, and the shoot was guided by Parks Canada’s national photography guidelines.