I bet you all were wondering when I was going to get around to writing about the primary purpose of my trip, well other than visiting my friends. Well, I’m finally getting around to it. The phenomenon here is one that I’m very familiar with; you plan a trip to photograph one thing, and there’s something else that ends up exciting you more. Anyhow, let’s get on to the real topic here.
Much has been made of the Snowy Owl irruption this year and I’m sure you have heard much of it. One walk along the Boundary Bay dike will make it obvious to you that Boundary Bay has become a hotspot for interest in the owls. It is a well deserved reputation. Have you ever seen thirty plus owls of one species in one specific location before?
There are of course issues. Whenever, you gather this many people in one location, there will be problems. The biggest issue you hear about is photographers getting too close to the owls and thus harassing them.
This is a very serious situation, but like many issues isn’t as black and white as often portrayed.
Wildlife photographers need to get close to make good images. When pursuing this goal, everyone will a few times in there life get too close and disturb the animal. This is not to say however, that some people go too far with it. What makes this problem particularly problematic is the numbers of people involved.
In summary, I feel that saying that there are photographers who care about the welfare of wildlife and those who approach too close is a false dichotomy. There is a continuum of folks from those who are so concerned that they needlessly deny themselves opportunities to those that are so selfish about getting the images that they are irresponsibly damaging the resource necessary for their vocation or avocation. Where along that continuum is the line between ethical and unethical behavior is a difficult question.
By the way, you can click on the images in the slideshow and go their page. Another note, all images in this slide show were made from the dike.