Nature snapshots that are one of a kind

In collaboration with the photographer Éric Deschamps.

Take a moment to marvel at the snapshots by Éric Deschamps, a young photographer with talent to burn. What makes his work unique? His authentic perspective, contagious passion, skill in capturing moments imbued with magic, and especially the deep respect he has for his subject: nature in all its splendor.

To our delight, he has agreed to share his best moments with us. Ready? Set? Go!

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

Kayak sunrise on Grand Lac Touladi

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

I had been on the water since 4:30 that morning and it was really great! The atmosphere was unique, and I was able to make dozens and dozens of bird sightings, as well as admire the sunrise. Do you recognize the bird we hear in this video?

Starry sky in the Chic-Chocs

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

For a few seconds, let yourself be transported into a completely magical bubble of time. This special moment was snapped during a windless summer night in the Chic-Chocs mountains. You can see the planet Jupiter setting to the right of the Milky Way and a vast array of shooting stars performing their magic in these skies.

The wealth of wildlife: a renewal resource

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

The summer season is a time when wildlife yields its richest returns. New denizens are emerging, such as young moose born between mid-May and early June. Have you been lucky enough to spot any newcomers?

The pups’ morning nap

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

Your state of mind really determines how well you succeed in your wildlife watching. As I approached this lair during the morning in question, the fox pups and the mother quickly came to trust me, with the mother making no cry of alarm and throwing me only a few furtive glances. At about 6:15 a.m., the sun was beginning to break through the forest, and the mother returned to hunting. As for the little ones, they hit the hay for a nap. The pup that you see in this picture lay directly on top of the burrow. He was about to head back underground for a snooze, but he trusted me enough to stay outside and rest. An ideal set-up for some snapshots!

The waxwing, an honest-to-goodness foodie

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

I was in the dining room of the Auberge de montagnes des Chic-Chocs when I saw a group of about 50 waxwings eating berries. So I put on my snow attire and went outside to photograph them. The waxwing is one of the most beautiful birds to watch in winter. This little creature can eat up to triple its weight in 24 hours to meet its energy needs. Impressive!

Gaspésie moose and frost halo

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

A unique December morning at Parc National de la Gaspésie… It was around 11 a.m. and the weather was very cold. This halo of frost was visible for only a few minutes. Let's test your eyes! Can you spot the hand? The heart? The second moose?

The moon at the crack of dawn at the summit of Mont Ernest-Laforce

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

On November 5, I went to another of my favorite places, Parc national de la Gaspésie. I started climbing Mont Ernest-Laforce before sunrise to make sure I could snap the moon at the crack of dawn. I reached the peak at the perfect moment. The view was absolutely superb. There was snow on the ground and the temperature was around -14 degrees Celsius. The sun was on one side and I could see the moon on the other. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and gave thanks to life for giving me the privilege of experiencing moments like this.

The female white-tailed deer

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

In early November, I traveled to Parc national du Bic to check out the white-tailed deer. The sunrise was superb and the light, simply perfect. The temperature was around the freezing point. I went to Rioux farm to hike around Cap-à-l'Orignal. After spotting a group of four females, I remained motionless, hoping that one of them would stop in a place where I could highlight the typical landscape of this park bathed in an atmosphere of warmth. With a little patience, I managed, I think. Parc national du Bic is my favorite place for white-tailed deer watching in all of Québec!

The black-and-white warbler

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

On that day, I wanted to photograph a waterway of Parc national de la Yamaska. I knew the landscape here was superb, but I also thought that there was a good chance of seeing some varieties of birds that like to hang out close to wetlands. I arrived early in the morning and rented a pedal boat to go wherever I wanted to on the water. For dinner, I went to a quiet yet magnificent place where there was a small deserted beach.

It wasn’t long before I heard the song of a bird that reminded me of the black-and-white warbler’s tuneful ditty. Right away, I reached for my camera. I then spotted two warblers who were only a few metres from me, eating. That was when I had the opportunity to snap the scene. Observing such small birds in a moment like this is a true privilege.

The intense and gentle gaze of a male moose

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

Moose are my favourite animals. They have very interesting behaviour patterns that resemble ours in a number of ways. I met this moose around 5:30 p.m. near Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs. I was quite far away and I watched him feeding on ferns and mountain maples. He got closer, but I decided to stay put because there were trees between him and me. When he got to the other side of the trees, he stopped and looked me directly in the eye. It was at this exact moment that I snapped the scene.

This moose has an injury to his left eye, which completely changes his look. Hide the left side of the photo and observe his gaze. Do the same thing but with the right side. You'll see that two completely different emotions can easily be detected.

The starry sky at Mines Madeleine

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

For me, connecting with the stars is one of the most beautiful gifts that nature has to offer. It's so therapeutic! In the immensity of Parc national de la Gaspésie, there's nothing to distract our attention from the stars. Not a sound, and above all, no light pollution. It's my favourite place to observe the majesty of the starry sky. I've also often seen satellites and shooting stars.

Female moose and her calf

Éric Deschamps | © Sépaq

It had been a while since I had last been to Mont Ernest-Laforce of Parc national de la Gaspésie. It’s a magnificent mountain famous for moose watching. This place is sort of like the local moose sanctuary if you will; it isn't uncommon to see several of the creatures at once. It's also a mountain that offers breathtaking scenery. I had the pleasure of meeting a few moose that evening, including a mother and her calf who were eating quietly.

At first, I had the reflex to “zoom” in on the animals to photograph them from up close. Then, by looking at the landscape behind them, I realized that including these huge mountains in my photo was the key to understanding the moose’s habitat. After capturing this instant for eternity, I realized just how magical such moments of pure connection with nature can be. I was there, on the mountain, listening to the wind and looking at two beautiful animals in their environment without my presence changing a thing.

About Éric Deschamps

After beginning actuarial studies at Université du Québec à Montréal, Éric Deschamps made a decision that would alter the trajectory of his life. He dropped statistics, said goodbye to the big city in which he had always lived, and packed his bags. His game plan? To set out on an adventure. So he moved to Cap-Chat in Gaspésie to teach himself photography. Nowadays, camera in hand, he criss-crosses the forests of Quebec in search of snapshots that are one of a kind.

You can also follow his adventures on his Facebook page Nature en vue.

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