The Business of Nature Photography of Hälle Flygare
by Dr. Robert Berdan
June 30, 2013
Hälle Flygare has been photographing wildlife for over 40 years and he is still going strong. Hälle was born and raised in Sweden and his interest in nature and photography started when he was very young. He first moved to Canada to work as a forestry professional and then worked as a park Warden in Banff National Park for many years before starting his own photography business in 1989. Since 1989 he has lead photo tours and travelled to over 30 countries. His photos have been published in nature magazines and books throughout the world. For the past 40 years he has been photographing in the Rockies and now lives in Canmore Alberta with his wife Linda.
I came to know Hälle when he was seeking a new web site about 10 years ago. We soon became friends and have photographed together on many occasions most recently in the North West Territories in September of 2012. Hälle's preferred camera equipment is Nikon. What impresses me most about Halle's photography is the depth of his wildlife coverage - he has animals I have never seen like the Kermode bear, short-horned lizard, and Black-footed ferret to mention just a few.
Hälle photographing a red fox that came regularly to our campsite in Prelude Territorial Park.
As many stock photographers regroup and try to figure out how to make a living with their photography, most of them are offering photo workshops and or teaching to pay the bills. Hälle on the other hand started his photography business selling wildlife post cards over 20 years ago. He also worked with George Scotter to create a field guide to Wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies which was recently updated and republished. The book was the first to use a color coding scheme so hikers could quickly and easily identify the flowers based on their color.
More recently, Hälle published a series of laminated multifolding field guides that are light weight and consist of pictures where tourists and hikers can quickly identify the most common animals, birds and flowers in the Rocky Mountains (see below). These quick guides are bound to become popular as hikers and tourists can easily carry them along and identify the most common species they are likely to encounter.
Wildlife guide published by Harbour Publishing 2013
These easy-to-use laminated guides include information for identification on most commonly seen flora and fauna enhancing all outdoor activities in the Rocky Mountains. These field guides are available for $7.95 in stores throughout the Rocky Mountain region in Canada and the United States.
New Wildflower Guide Published by Harbour Publishing 2012
Wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies book published in 2007 by GW Scotter & Hälle Flygare
"The Definitive Guide to over 360 Species of Flowering Plants."
ISBN 1-55285-848-0 $29.95
What is unique about this flower guide book is that it was the first to group the flowers on the basis of their colour making it easy to find and identify certain species.
Hälle has also been interested in the early history of Canada and together with his wife Linda worked on Alexander Mackenzie's historic trail project from 1975 to 1986 supported by Parks Canada, British Columbia Parks and Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Hälle initiated the preservation of the 350 km (220 mile) long Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail from the Fraser River to Bella Coola, discovering sections of Mackenzie's 1793 trail route in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park while guiding big game hunters there in 1972. From 1975 to 1985 Halle was the field supervisor to find and mark out the old ancient trade route used by the First Nations for thousands of years.
In 1989 Hälle received the BC Heritage Award for his outstanding contribution towards the recognition and preservation of the trail. Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to cross the North American Continent reaching Pacific Ocean in 1793.
The Rock, near the water's edge, still bears Sir Alexander Mackenzie's original carved message which I enhanced for greater visibility. We visited this site in September 2007.
Hälle and Linda Flygare with John Woodworth at Mackenzie Rock, 1975
Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park is a small coastal park near Elcho Harbour on Dean Channel about 50 km west of Bella Coola. The park is located at the westernmost point in the journey of Alexander Mackenzie where, in reddish paint made of vermilion and bear grease, he wrote on a rock: "Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July 1793." (source http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/sir_alex/ ) . When I visited the rock it appeared the writing was carved into the rock
The 450 km (279 mi) Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail/Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail is British Columbia´s longest hiking trail. Sections of it are in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and can be accessed on a day hike. The full trail takes three weeks and should only be planned by expert backpackers (source Bella Coola web site).
Hälle Flygare on the right photographing Autumn colours in Kananaskis.
Additional Sample Photographs by Hälle Flygare
Mother Polar bear and cubs in Churchill
King Penguins in Antarctica
Female Leopard in Africa
White-tailed Ptarmigan in Winter
Sally Lightfoot Crab "Grapsus grapsus" Galapagos Islands
Kermode Bear from Princess Royal Island
Portrait of Hälle resting on the Tundra, Esker Bay North West Territories by Robert Berdan September 2012.
Hälle Flygare Photography
Box 8180, Canmore, Alberta
Canada T1W 2T9
Web site: www.natureinwildplaces.com