By Françoise Gervais, photograher with Ascent Xmedia

When COVID hit, I was immersed in one of the most inspiring places on earth for a wildlife photographer, Antartica. Then, like many other people, it forced me to go back home, in an urban area where not much was happening, stuck in a day-to-day routine. Quarantine restrictions made me worry that I would lose my inspiration, my creativity, and to be honest, I did for a while. 

Fortunately, it didn’t take too much time for this unprecedented calamity to turn into a great opportunity. Being unable to travel to polar regions, I could finally explore (when the COVID restrictions lifted) this place I had made home, ten years ago, Canada’s Vancouver Island. One day, my friend asked me if I wanted to go on a multi-day hiking on the coast. Now that I was on the island for a prolonged period, I might pursue one of my long-cherished dreams, to photograph the elusive coastal wolf in his natural habitat. So off we went… heavy pack, heavy rain and heavy boots. After a three-day chase, the first glimpse of a coastal wolf instantly brought me back to this passionate vibe. Observing animals in their natural environment, without disturbing them, makes you feel part of nature, that has always animated me as a photographer. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic made me realize that these inspiring encounters can happen everywhere. 

Photo: Coastal wolf, British Columbia, Canada. © Françoise Gervais / Ascent Xmedia
Wolves in the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR), are different; they are genetically distinct from inland grey wolves.

One of the many lessons these past months have taught me is that passion is related to your state of mind rather than the place you are. Because your happiness depends on it, you will always get back to it no matter what. To face challenges, like the one we’re all facing at the moment, you need it. So, if like me, you always dreamed of observing your local wildlife but never took the time, or maybe have you heard about a curious behavior of a more common animal, now’s the chance to capture it with your camera. Read more about your local wildlife and go out there; connect with nature—in times like this, it is worth it more than ever.

Take On My BE.Creative Challenge!

Too often in wildlife photography people try to get a close-up of the animal and forget to include the natural habitat that surrounds their subject. Try to create a new point of view, adding your perspective (of your surroundings) to the photograph. To do so, create a blurry foreground. Pick a detailed foreground, for example, lots of leaves with different colors or shades and use a wide aperture (or portrait mode on your phone). 

About the Inspiration

Wolves in the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR), are different; they are genetically distinct from inland grey wolves. Rainforest wolves inhabit all environments along the mainland coast and adjacent islands, but not the offshore archipelago of Haida Gwaii. They are an expression of the unique biodiversity found in the GBR, but they continue to be killed through a variety of means, including legal recreational hunting and trapping. 

Discover the threats and how you can help protect the wildlife of coastal BC by visiting our friends the Raincoast Conservation, @raincoastconservation and Pacific Wild, @pacficwild.

About the Artist and Agency

Françoise Gervais is a polar expedition leader and a cold water diver. By taking people on journeys to the world’s most remote places, she hopes to help them to develop deeper interactions with our natural world. She strongly believes in our need for wildness and wishes to bring awareness to the wild places, species and interactions between them. Over the last decade, she has led numerous expeditions in the polar regions where she had the privilege to share her passion for adventure with many film production teams and explorers. Overwhelmed by the beauty around her and the fragility of these wild places, she found her voice through photography. BEfriend her @francoisegervaisphotography

Ascent Xmedia represents a collective group of visual artists from around the world. Founded by Philip and Karen Smith, the company has been crafting visual media for over thirty years. Their ultra light production team specializes in travel, lifestyle and adventure sports, their skills honed while hanging off ropes or thundering down mountainsides. BEinspired @ascentxmedia

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.