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5 Myths About Ticks, Plus Tick Safety Tips

By Karen Ung

It’s tick season, so those of us playing in the great outdoors need to be aware of where ticks hang out, and cover up and do tick checks after hiking. Remember, not all ticks carry Lyme disease, so there’s no need to panic if you find a tick attached to you. Be sure to remove it, though!



Wildlife Viewing Tips in the Canadian Rockies

By Peter A. Dettling

Although archeologists have determined that First Nations used the Canadian Rockies regularly for 11,000 years, the idea that bears, cougars and other ‘predators’ were vermin to be eliminated was a European notion that arrived with the explorers in the late 1700s. As the non-Native presence in the Rockies grew, over hunting brought these large carnivores to the brink of extinction, and also depleted the ungulate population including elk and moose.

Thanks to the creation of protected areas, re-introduction efforts, hunting restrictions and changing attitudes towards large carnivores, we now find all pre-European settlement species in the Rockies, except free roaming bison. But don’t take a grizzly or wolf sighting for granted. Seeing large animals in their natural habitat is a privilege.

Since you are a visitor in their home, treat animals with respect by giving them space to decide what to do and where to go. When viewing wildlife from your car, pull off of the road, shut off the engine and silently enjoy the sighting. Stay in your vehicle, especially when watching wolves or bears. It will ensure a safe and pleasant experience for both you and the animal you’re observing.

Wildlife sightings in our mountain parks are frequent and widespread occurrences. Elk are common. In fall, visit Vermillion Lakes, Lake Minnewanka Loop or Golf Course Dr near the town of Banff, or Athabasca River flats near Jasper, to see bugling elk. Your best chance to see bears is in early summer north of Lake Louise on Icefields Parkway’s avalanche slopes and in roadside dandelion patches, or beside Jasper’s Maligne Lake Road (Map 5, 5P). Elusive wolves can sometimes be spotted early summer west or south of the Jasper townsite. Kananaskis Country often hosts moose, bears and wolves.

Try walking scenic mountain trails to feel truly connected with your surroundings and yourself. It is especially exhilarating to see animals on slopes and meadows away from the road.

Editor’s Note: Peter Dettling owns Canmore’s Terra Magica gallery and is the author and photographer of The Will of the Land. Visit TerraMagica.ca for details on his award-winning work.

5 Smartphone Photo Tips

An Instagram-ed image of Montreal's Tavern Le Normand. Photo by misspixels

Nothing beats the heft of an SLR lens or the cool of an artfully beat-up camera bag, but most trip photography these days consists of hastily snapped iPhone photos. A series of graphs on Flickr show that (a) the majority of the site’s photos are uploaded via the iPhone, not with digital SLRs or point-and-shoots, and (b) the iPhone beats the pants off of all other camera phones. Plus, the iPhone 5 is likely to arrive in the next few weeks; specs to be announced on Tuesday.

But no matter which operating system you pray to, there are some common tips for mastering smartphone photography:


Take Better Photos with National Geographic’s New Book

By Carissa Bluestone

Eighteen megapixels, four lenses and thousands of bucks later and your travel photos still lack pizzazz? You might want to preorder National Geographic’s newest book, Complete Photography, due out October 14. The hardcover contains 408 pages of advice from long-time National Geographic shooters and is splashed with several hundred of the magazine’s most arresting photographs. The tone isn’t terribly engaging, and advice like, “Photograph food near a window, if possible, where the soft, indirect light makes it look the most natural,” won’t impress experienced shooters. But the rest of us will find plenty of insider tips covering everything from camera basics to the peculiarities of underwater photography, all simply and clearly laid out. National Geographic is meting out some teaser tips on its blog leading up to publication.

For more travel-photo tips, check out Stuck in Customs, the most popular travel photography blog on the interweb, and Burn magazine, by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey.

Staying Healthy When You’re A Frequent Traveller

Photo by Catface3

It’s a no-brainer that travelling for business often takes a toll on one’s health—healthy options aren’t always available when grabbing a bite on the road; and when running from business meetings to catch flights, there isn’t time to squeeze in a gym visit at the hotel. Add to that stress and disrupted sleep patterns and you don’t exactly feel (or, lets face it, look) like George Clooney in Up In The Air.

A study by Columbia University looked at workers who travel frequently, lightly, or not at all. They found that those who travel frequently (20 or more days per month) are in poorer health than the other two groups. In light of this, the Calgary Herald spoke to a nutritionist about how to be more healthy when you spend a lot of time away from home for work. While the tips are focused on business travellers, they’re helpful for anyone who finds themselves heading out on a trip where their good habits might fall to the wayside.

– Bring nuts, fruit or a healthy sandwich with you on a flight to avoid indulging on unhealthy snacks.
– If you have to eat on the road, opt for smoothies (and make sure it’s fruit based, and not full of ice cream), salad or hummus and pita.
– Know what the healthy options are at food chains; Starbucks has a whole-wheat egg-salad sandwich, load your Subway sandwich with veggies, and Burger King has a lesser-evil veggie burger.