Wildlife and One Injured Photographer. What A Combo.

by on July 13, 2016

There’s nothing worse for an outdoor photographer who needs to carry a decent amount of gear to be injured, but here we go again. Doing some heavy lifting landed me at a hospital where my regular doctor’s sub diagnosed me with a severe neck and muscle pull, gave me some meds (hello muscle relaxants), attempted to send me for a C-spine x-ray, but since I couldn’t move my neck or shoulders even a little bit and the tears were starting to flow, the techs sent us on our way with the reminder I need to go back as soon as I have some range of motion. Awesome. Years of very heavy lifting, a bad MVA and overall wear and tear have caught up to me. More awesome.

Alberta wildlife, Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) ewe during a mid-autumn afternoon towards the entrance of Jasper National Park.

Why am I including this on a photography blog? Because she had the nerve to say these horrible words to me, “No more carrying a heavy camera bag.” Oh, sure. No problem. I asked her when I can get back to shooting and she said 1) after x-rays are completed and assessed and 2) when your body tells you it’s okay. Considering I have been in some of the worst pain I’ve experienced in my life, I’m going to listen to her. It took me about a week to recall my regular doctor told me the same thing 2 years ago in the same office. Shite.

Not carrying a camera bag is not an option, but since my health is more important, I am left scrambling for plans B and C to reduce the load. I’m working on it and ordered the most ridiculous old lady cart to …well, cart around my gear in my condo (parkade, hallways, etc.). I haven’t figured out what to do for when I’m actually in the field, but that will come. Hopefully. Until then, rest, medical treatment and from what I was told, massage & physical therapy will make a big difference moving forward. Fingers crossed.

Not carry my camera bag, she says. Yikes. It’s a good thing I have the somewhat little Fuji X-T1 for day-to-day stuff, but for now, the iPhone will have to do. A big thanks to my ever so patient printer chap and client for waiting for me. I deal with some good folks.

It’s that time of year again – the annual bison rut. My recent time in the field with Plains bison (bison bison bison) have been reduced significantly, so I’m going to try to get back out there as soon as I can. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, witnessing a wildlife rut is a ridiculously cool experience and I look forward to it whenever I can, hopefully with a camera in hand.

Speaking of bison … why can’t humans have the same incredible neck and shoulder muscle and power a bison does? They are an amazing species and right this moment, I’m envious of their strength. I’m not kidding.

Plains bison bull (bison bison bison) wallows during the annual bison rut at Elk Island National Park, Alberta wildlife behavioural and environmental portrait, extirpated species.

So now my question is – will the rutting bison hold off and wait for me to get better so I can get out there?


See you in the field. Probably with my old lady cart in tow. Fabulous.


Photographer. Podcaster on hiatus. Edmonton Oilers lovah. Cinematic Star Wars fan. Fond of wildlife conservation, animal rescue orgs, and all things Johnny Cash. Gen X. 

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