Jeep and the Photography Nut

By Jeep, I mean the real thing: the Wrangler. This isn’t to disparage other Jeep models out there, but when people think about what a Jeep is, they usually think of the Wrangler. In any event, if you look at my photos with any regularity, you’d be well aware that nature photography is a big thing for me and the more nature the better and this is where the Jeep comes in.

A few years ago, we wanted to do some Crown Land camping in Northern Ontario, specifically the Nippissing Crown Game Preserve. For Canadians, this is perfectly legal, no permits required, you can camp for 21 days in any spot before you have to move on (prevents squatters rights from kicking in I suppose). So, back then, we loaded up my Dodge Dakota with all of our camping gear and headed out. Well, I’m here to tell you that a rear wheel drive pickup truck and the incredibly unmaintained roads of Nippissing do not go together well at all. In fact, I got royally stuck and had to be pulled out by a tow truck from North Bay. A rather expensive lesson.

This year we went back to Nippissing, but this time I’m driving a Jeep. Ah, sweet revenge as I conquered the trails and not-trails of the game preserve. This is, in a sense, the point of the post. With the Jeep, I was able to get deep into areas that I never could before and, in Nippissing, we were clearly in places that hadn’t seen much in the way of humanity for quite a few years. I didn’t take a lot of pictures there, I was behind the wheel, but knowing that I can get in there opens up options as, after all, we definitely saw some wildlife including a black bear, some moose, and others.

Now, I’m not going to suggest that you must have a Jeep if you’re going to try and conquer an area like this, but a 4×4 is a necessity. I did see some ATV trails closer to the main road areas, but as I got further in, the roads and trails basically disappeared and you had to look to see the remnants of what was once there from the logging days. The paths through the trees got very narrow, so I do think there were areas that other 4×4 would have turned back, but at any rate, it’s better to be able to drive in than to try and slug all my camping gear, plus camera gear, 15km into the bush. You could try, but I don’t advise it!

So, knowing that I can handle the Jeep in tougher conditions, my vistas for photography have opened up. It’s gonna be fun.

For the curious, I’ve modified my Jeep with the following:

  • Warn m8000 winch
  • Rugged Ridge XHD winch mount bumper
  • Rugged Ridge quick release mirrors
  • Bestop two-piece soft doors
  • Dirty Dog rollbar netting
  • Bestop instatrunk

I have a few more mods I’d like to do with it, maybe next year, but other than small gadgets and things, that’s the running set on the vehicle. I generally prefer driving with the top down and the doors off, it’s a lot of fun.

Opinionated Photography