Nunatsiaq Online
FEATURES: Nunavut July 26, 2016 - 11:30 am

Nunavut photographer chases foxes and flowers

Sarah Meeko of Sanikuluaq never leaves home without her camera

JANE GEORGE
This young fox didn't budge when Sanikiluaq photographer came close enough to take this recent photo. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
This young fox didn't budge when Sanikiluaq photographer came close enough to take this recent photo. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Drops of water coat this dandelion, one of thousands to be found in Sanikiluaq. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Drops of water coat this dandelion, one of thousands to be found in Sanikiluaq. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Sweetpeas are among the many species of flowers carpeting the land in Sanikiluaq. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Sweetpeas are among the many species of flowers carpeting the land in Sanikiluaq. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Delicate Arctic cranberry flowers nestle against a remaining patch of snow. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Delicate Arctic cranberry flowers nestle against a remaining patch of snow. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)

If you fly over the Belcher Islands in the Hudson Bay, you might only see flat rocks and think that’s all there is to it.

But under the eye of photographer Sarah Meeko, the lands around Nunavut’s most southerly community of Sanikiluaq — sometimes referred to jokingly as the Florida of Nunavut — look like a lush garden.

Meeko always carries her small Fuji camera, with a zoom ratio of 20, when she’s out and about in Sanikiluaq, the Belcher Islands’ sole community of roughly 1,000.

That’s because you never know when you’ll see something worth taking a photo of, she told Nunatsiaq News in a recent interview from her home.

Like the baby foxes she saw the other day, which didn’t even run away when she approached them.

Meeko has also taken so many photos of snowy owls around the islands that these careful birds also allow her to approach them.

Meeko, 53, is a self-taught photographer who’s been taking photos of the Belcher Islands ever since her older sister gave her a camera — a 110 Kodak Instamatic — many years ago.

Since then, summer flowers have been among Meeko’s favourite subjects.

In Sanikiluaq, where average temperatures at the end of July range between seven C and 16 C, you can find flowers from May to October.

Generally, during the summer it’s warm, Meeko said, then it rains for a couple of days and then everything warms up again. There’s no question this moderate island climate is good for vegetation.

Judging from Meeko’s photos, flowers appear to carpet the land — perhaps even more than in the past, because, for example, dandelions didn’t grow in the islands when she was young, Meeko said.

“Now the whole town is covered with dandelions,” she said.

You can also find sweetpeas, fireweed and flowering oyster leaf plants by the shore as well as cranberry and akpik flowers that will produce a lush berry crop, just to mention a few of the many flowers Meeko has shot photos of this summer.

In August, mushrooms, some “as big as pancakes,” start to sprout.

Often Meeko will put her camera — or herself — on to the ground to get closeups that make it look as if she might be part of the landscape herself

“But sometimes it’s so sunny it’s hard to see what you’re taking,” said Meeko.

Then she just zooms in and hopes for the best.

Some of best shots have been published on Nunatsiaq News or on her Facebook page, The Beautiful Arctic (Canadian,) which numbers more than 3,000 members.

Meeko started that group in 2013 to share photos from Canada’s Arctic — but you’re also likely to see photos from Alaska as well on the page.

Meeko said she’d like to see more members from Canada.

As for Meeko’s future plans, these include taking more photos and maybe producing a calendar after the weather cools off.

You can find The Beautiful Arctic (Canadian) and see many more of Meeko’s photos here.

By the shore, an oyster leaf plant, in flower, reaches over the rocks. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
By the shore, an oyster leaf plant, in flower, reaches over the rocks. (PHOTO BY SARAH MEEKO)
Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share

 THIS WEEK’S ADS

 ADVERTISING