After spending several months in the field for each year of the past 10 years – and roughly half the year in the field for each of the last five – this year we probably didn’t even spend a full week in nature. Total. No joke.


After a bizarre, turbulent journey to fully capture the narrative story for Nature Labs, we finally reached our goal in October 2020. As a result, we’ve been focused on post-production this year, with just the odd jaunt into the wild to grab a bit of film we missed.

We’re going to highlight our six favourite (not to mention only) moments in nature this year. We won’t call it a ‘top’ countdown, but we do have some surprisingly fun encounters to share nonetheless.

Number 6: The White Grizzly

You know how we usually see a few bears in the wild each year? Yeah, well, this year Simon got to see exactly two bears – both grizzlies, both from the highway, both while in a rush to get somewhere else.

One of those grizzlies? The famed white grizzly of the Canadian Rockies. It was walking across the wildlife overpass and Simon, somehow, snagged a not-so-good-shot from the sunroof as we drove by. Not bad! Not bad at all.

Number 5: The Long-Tail Weasel

When we did leave the friendly confines of our Post-It note covered apartment, it was to do video work. One of our best subjects? This gal. She was super cooperative, giving us the few extra looks we needed to finish our weasel story for Nature Labs. She was so cooperative, in fact, that after we finished filming her, she even let us get a couple of shots in. Snazzy!

Number 4: The Boreal Owl

Best photo in the world? No. Really important video captured for our small owls story for Nature Labs? Absolutely. Cool to see the last Rocky Mountain animal species we were missing from our checklist? Most certainly. (Stop grumbling Simon: I saw a bobcat and it counts for us both: We’re a team, remember?!)

Number 3: Landscape Images!

Okay, we’re cheating here and selecting three images for #3. But we couldn’t choose between these photographs that showcase the beauty and wonder of Mount Robson Provincial Park – the heartbeat of Nature Labs stories (thanks BC Parks!). The first image is a nightscape at Yellowhead Lake and features the towering Mount Fitzwilliam. The second is of our new favourite place on Earth, the seldom-traveled Moose Valley. And the third image is also of Yellowhead Lake, but this time during a foggy sunrise. The image was also taken moments before we decided (decided? felt obligated?) to hike a 30km round-trip death march in one day to film our second to last virtual hike for Nature Labs, squeezing it in between forest fires and snow. Good times!

Number 2: Cross Fox Kits!

A cross fox male. A red fox vixen. Three cross fox kits. Two red fox kits. Wow. Just wow. What a beautiful family.

Of course, cross fox or not, they’re all colour phases of the red fox and that’s what made this family so helpful to us: They’re a perfect visual genetics lesson for high school students.

Look, we’ll blame our video obligations and short production timeline for why we didn’t get more and better images of this sweet family of foxes, but it was an unbelievable encounter we will never forget.

Number 1: The Great Grey Owl Nest

We were lucky enough to spend a few moments, across two days, with this great grey owl family – getting to watch feedings and the owlets fledge. The footage is unreal, but we’re pretty happy with the handful of images we got too. We had been getting panicky about the lack of great grey footage we had in the hopper and our approaching, self-imposed deadline to produce our Nature Labs great grey owl video. Thankfully, a good friend had our back and found this nest for us, helping us get the last clips of b-roll we so desperately needed. We’re forever grateful, Jamie!

Well, friends, all countdowns must come to an end. Who knows when or if we’ll get into nature to take photos this year? But rest assured, we have lots of images in the archives we’ve never shared and we hope as you enjoy them, you can be happy knowing the two of us are slowly going crazy as we quickly work to finish Nature Labs. 

Thanks for being a part of this adventure and for believing in what we’re trying to create through Nature Labs. We can’t wait to see what comes next; we can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to accomplish together.

Happy 2022!

  • Simon & Jill

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