Melfort photographer captures P.A. National Park wildlife in published book

(Austin Macauley Publishers/Submitted)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

Three years after Michael Holmes began photographing Prince Albert National Park’s beauty, his work was published for the world to see.

The 51-year-old started snapping photos of a variety of wildlife there in August 2015.

“From otters to minks and beavers to black bears, not to mention groundhogs and wolf pups. There are amazing birds that one can see, from American white pelicans to belted kingfishers to the amazing fishing ability of the great blue heron, even ospreys, bald eagles and merlins,” said Holmes.

His love for the park has been present almost his entire life because he goes to Waskesiu often to golf.

“Walking around with a camera, the ones who work at the park, they’re always interested in seeing the pictures you take, so naturally I don’t just show the picture, I kind of tell the story that goes with it,” he said.

Michael Holmes is the author of The Amazing Wildlife of the Prince Albert National Park. (Michael Holmes/Submitted)

Holmes said one of the ladies gave him a pencil and a piece of paper to write down his experiences. Initially, he decided to follow her suggestion for personal purposes.

“I spent four and a half months (putting it together). It was a big project, and I showed it to my aunt and she said ‘Are you gonna get published? So again I kind of thought about it for about a month I guess and I thought you know, why not?”

He then sent his creation to three publishers, hitting the jackpot with Austin Macauley Publishers with headquarters in London, New York and Sharjah.

Holmes added they replied saying he really captured the beauty of the park, making it available for purchase at the end of September.

He described his experience connecting with the wildlife.

“It’s just the interaction that I see with the wildlife, like I had a great interaction with a mink there that was on the river. Once you read it, you’ll just see why it’s such an enjoyable experience.”

In the beginning, however, he had some questionable moments.

“I was on the Spruce River Trail, if I remember correctly. I came across a ruffed grouse and her nest must have been close by and she kind of chased me down the path, so I was retreating hurriedly,” he explained, but the situation turned out for the better.

“I ended up seeing a little bear, must have been I’d say a year-old bear cub, and I had a real fun time taking pictures of him,” he said. “And I guess after that experience I fell in love with taking pictures of wildlife. I’ve spent an awful lot of time doing it.”

The Amazing Wildlife in the Prince Albert National Park is available both as a hard copy, costing $61.95, and paperback, which costs $44.95.