Serenity of a Yukon Winter

Moving from the City of Lights to the City of the Northern Lights?

For wildlife photographer Nicolas Dory, Paris was nice but the Yukon has a siren song that called to the nature in his blood.

“I started bird watching and then photographing them in Paris. With the density of animals in such a small area, it was easy to find them,” says Dory of his initial experimentation with photography.

“Birds led to landscapes, landscapes to animals, and I was fully engaged in capturing images of the natural world,” says Dory.

He grew up in Paris but felt an inexplicable longing to live in the North and experience the peaceful solitude of the Canadian wilds.

When asked why he moved to Whitehorse, he can only express how peaceful and quiet he finds it: “I have room to move here, and it has much less people moving around on the streets,” he says.

He has room to breathe and focus on his nature photography.

“Where else would you go and have the woods in your backyard?” he asks. For someone interested in animal photography, the Yukon provides a bounty of creatures as well as sublime landscapes.

Dory is a self-taught photographer with a keen eye for detail. He points to a photo of the Yukon River — blue, icy and serene — as one of his favourite photos in his current collection displayed at Baked Café, Yukon Winter.

In the photo, the river water is so blue it evokes images of swimming pools, perfect calm, and solitude.

He also points to a crisp photo of an arctic ground squirrel popping up from the snow, frosty and bright eyed, as another of his favourites. The squirrel is adorable and brings to mind the often-ignored smaller side of the Yukon, that sometimes it’s not about great rushing rivers or Woodland Buffalo — which happen to be present in another of his winterscape photos.

Clearly the Yukon has called out to Dory and he answered by moving from the great, busy cosmopolitan city of Paris and to our humbler and quieter city. While he acknowledges Paris is a unique and creative place culturally, Dory emphasizes that in the Yukon he can go three or four days without seeing a soul.

That solitude is special to him.

Dory plans to obtain his permanent residency and continue his wildlife and nature photography in the Yukon.

“Something that started out as a hobby in Paris is now something I must do,” Dory says. Lest he leave his France roots behind, he sends photos to an agency in Paris which then uses them in communications and PR. It’s a way to stay connected, as well as the occasional trip back to visit friends and family.

His show, Yukon Winter at Baked Café, runs until May 6. He has pieces up at the lounge at Mount Sima and hopes to showcase his work further in the Yukon in the upcoming months.

In the meantime, he has a website featuring his photography,, where viewers can see his works.

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