Getting to know your host: Sandy Sharkey

When did you catch the travel bug?

My first trip abroad was in 2007, a European road trip that began in Amsterdam, and included adventures in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. My husband and I spent a day hiking the mountain slopes in Grindelwald Switzerland with hundreds of bell-wearing cows.  I still smile when I think about that.

Where was the last trip you took?

On a sailboat searching for the spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest, northwestern BC.

What’s your favourite photo from that trip?


Canon or Nikon?


What’s your favourite travel lens?

My Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 telephoto lens. I am always searching for wildlife, birds, movement. And I need the reach!

What else is in your camera bag?

Nikon D800, Nikon D600, wide angle Nikon 14-24 f/1.2, Nikon 24-70 f/1.2 , 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f1.8, 105mm f/2.8, and Nikon 80-400 f/5.6

Do you bring a tripod when you travel?

I do bring a tripod when I travel. It is super lightweight so if I don’t always use it, it’s nice to know it’s there if I need it.

What are your best tips for travelling with photography equipment?

After several trips where I lugged around a lot of gear that I never used, I am now trying to go with the adage ‘less is more’. If I am going somewhere quite remote I will still bring both camera bodies. I would hate to be stuck in a rainforest with a dead camera! But I have pared down the number of lenses I bring, usually four. 85mm prime, Wide angle, midrange telephoto, and the 200-500mm. The 200-500mm is a bit of a giant but it’s lightweight. Photographing wildlife requires the reach so that is one lens I can’t do without. When I am in the boarding area of the airport, I do my best to get on the plane as soon as I can so I have a better chance of getting my camera gear into the carry-on space!

Other than your passport and camera, what won’t you leave home without when you travel?

I’d say my collapsible cooler bag. I travel everywhere with it.   Grab some ice & drinks on the road, then when you find the most gorgeous place for a picnic in the middle of nowhere, you have everything you need.

What is your favourite genre of photography and why?

Horses, animals and nature.  I enjoy this type of photography because it appeals to my love of animals and the outdoors.  Following your heart and seeking new subjects also brings you to places you never thought possible!

What’s the best part about hosting a photo tour?

Being with like-minded people, sharing a beautiful experience. It always amazes me when a small group of people can be photographing the same subject yet the results are always starkly unique. That is the beauty of photography. We each see things in a different way. I love that.

Where can we see more of your work?

You can see my work on my personal website:

or on my two Facebook pages:

And you can follow me on Twitter @sablewildhorse

If you live in or are visiting Ottawa, you can see my artwork here:

– until Jan 8th at ‘The Table’ Restaurant, ‘Wild Horse of Sable Island’ photo exhibit (Holland at Wellington, Ottawa)

– ‘Wild Horse of Sable Island’ exhibit at ‘Arlington Five’ (5 Arlington Avenue Ottawa) from Jan 22 – Mar 18th

What’s your next tour?

‘Horses and Wine’ photography tour in May 2017, photographing the iconic horses of the Camargue region of France, gorgeous birds including pink flamingoes, along with experiencing the villages and wineries of the region!  Sign up to get an email as soon as information is available.

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