Point and Shoot: Algoma Hunter Turns Wildlife Photographer

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Ron Gallagher- during the old days.

You never forget your many ‘firsts’ in Northern Ontario– your first moose, your first wolf, your first bald eagle. But sometimes, as we become caught up in our urbanized Northern daily grind picking up coffee on the way to work, grabbing groceries on the way home and chauffeuring kids around town, we forget that we are completely embraced by a gorgeous landscape and all around us- the magnificent creatures that inhabit it. Ron Gallagher is an avid outdoorsman. As far his memories extend he has always had a vibrant love for the bush and the wildlife within it. Ron began hunting as a youngster. “If there was a season for it, I hunted it,” he says. Three years ago Ron was compelled to re-examine his hunting hobby. “I don’t think you would be human if you didn’t feel some kind of remorse as a hunter.” The close of bear season was days away and Ron headed out to the bush to make use of his tag. His wife, Ang, came along for company, tucked neatly behind Ron on their four wheeler. It wasn’t long before a male came into Ron’s line of sight and he delivered his arrow clean and true. He cleaned the bear and loaded it on the back of the four wheeler. To spare it from the wheels as they dug through the bush back home, Ang held the bears head in her lap. “She was very emotional about it. And we kind of rethought things,” shares Ron. Ron had dabbled in photography for 15 years at that time. “After that experience, the wildlife photography just seemed like a good thing to do. But I have nothing against hunting. I love to eat wild meat and I believe there is a need for wildlife management.” Since that day three years ago, Ron committed to refining his shot with the camera. He’s mostly self-taught but has appreciated mentoring from other wildlife photographers from the Algoma District. He is humble about his work saying, “I’m doing this for the love it. Each shot is about trying to take a better picture than the last one.” As far as what’s left to shoot in the Algoma District Ron has captured it all. But he’s set his sights on a trip to BC in the summer to photograph killer whales in the wild and has a long-term goal to safari in Africa.

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American Black Bear. “I’ve taken pictures of bears and people tell me I shouldn’t get so close. Well, some people skydive- I take pictures of wildlife. I like being up close and personal.”

 

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Snowy Owl. “Today I walked about a quarter of a mile out to a snowy owl. You can see them way off because they are bright white. You try not to make eye contact or walk directly towards it. You kind of zig-zag so you’re not posing a threat. The one today let me get 15 feet from him.”

 

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Snowy Owl.

 

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Snowy Owl.

 

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Bull Elk, sparring. “I’m still hunting, I’m still going out in the field, I still sit in the blind, I’m still calling animals but now animals just get to walk away.”

 

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Bull Elk. “When I was a hunter, I was a bow hunter because I liked being that much closer t the wildlife. It was much more challenging than hunting with a gun. With taking pictures I have to be even that much closer yet. That’s the thrill of it really for me- watching the wildlife up close and personal.”

 

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Red Fox. “There’s the old adage that ‘they’re more afraid of you than they are of you.’ I kind of live by that.”

 

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Red Fox.

 

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Red Fox- pup!

 

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Great Blue Heron. “Sometimes my better shots are when I’m alone. It’s quieter and I’m more in tune with everything around me.”

 

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Ring Necked Pheasant.

 

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Bald Eagle. “I can’t pick a favourite photograph. They are all memorable in their own way. And all equally fun to photograph.”

 

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Bald Eagle.

 

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Great Gray Owl. “Sometimes it’s hours out in the field before you see anything. And sometimes you see nothing. It’s a lot of patient waiting and sitting in the bush.”

 

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Great Gray Owl.

 

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Canadian Lynx. “The closest I got to her was about twenty feet. She just laid there in the snow for about an hour while I was laying across from her taking pictures, changing lenses and calmly talking to her.”

You can view more of Ron’s beautiful photography by clicking here. If you’re interested in purchasing a photograph send an email to Ron at sidekick38@shaw.ca . owl_feather

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