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Michael Francis Photo February 2014 Newsletter

February 2014

Hello Friends!

It has been a long winter with record snows here in Billings, MT. About time to quit hibernating and pull out cameras and go on some photo trips!! Speaking of winter and cold I have been testing out NEOS brand over-boots the past two seasons. These are weatherproof boots that go on over your normal hiking boots. I have found them to be comfortable and because I have two soles my feet were never cold during even the most frigid days in Minnesota (-17F) & Yellowstone (-30F). Many times on snowcoach trips in Yellowstone it is the feet that are cold even in the coach so here is the answer to cold feet!

I recently found myself having to purchase a photo backpack when my old pack just plain wore out. After checking with a number of photographers I purchased the Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Backpack. So far I have been very impressed. It will actually hold my 600mm along with several camera bodies, a 70-200mm and wide angle lens.

I'm not offering quite as many trips this year as I have in the past. I know several photographers have been disappointed that I pulled a couple of trips from my site. The reality is that for some trips such as Canada polar bears the lodge where we would have stayed were able to sell all their rooms long before I received deposits. Same for Madagascar... I need to reserve rooms almost a year out and this time round some folks held off with deposits, thus I had to cancel the trip even though we were months out. In the future I will try to give a heads up by having a date when deposits are due listed right on my site.

I am happy to announce a new photo tour this fall: 2014 Incredible Raptor Models Photo Shoot in Colorado. This trip is limited to 13 photographers. We will have an incredible photo shoot with both rehab birds as well as free flying raptors for three days!

I am also taking a group back to Texas for the most incredible whitetail photography I have ever been involved with! These are giant antlered deer! This ranch also has bird blinds set up as well as some incredible exotic wildlife species. This photo shoot will be limited to 8 photographers.

After visiting the Chobe River in Botswana in 2013 I knew I would be going back as soon as possible. This is the Africa trip you will not want to miss in 2015. About half the group I took last time has indicated they want to go back for another go. This time we will spend time at Sabi Sands in South Africa, Etosha in Namibia, and Chobe River in Botswana. I have space for only 10 photographers on this trip. I personally added more than 40 new species on the last trip. The Chobe not only has the largest concentration of elephants in Africa but we photograph from a specially built photography boat and spend all our time on the river with the most amazing population of African bird life!!

Keep an eye out for trips in the planning for 2015 including, Wild Horses, Yellowstone Winter, Madagascar. I'm also looking at Australia/ New Zealand for 2016.

Stay safe. Looking forward to seeing many of you in the field!

- Mike

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