One of my main goals last year, photographically, was to shoot more ‘bears in the landscape’ style shots; images such as this one were what I was really after. Of course, that doesn’t mean I would pass up an opportunity to fill the frame with a bear like this, either.
This kind of image is all about the bear; power, size and vitality. The bears in the landscape speak a little more about place. Fascinating subject, place.
I just got back from a trip to Denali National Park and Preserve, where I spent some time in a cabin in the woods, by a fire, trying to stay warm. The day we skied in to the park, the temperatures plummeted, from the 0 to – 5 degreeF range to minus 40 and minus 45. The experience of the Alaska backcountry at that kind of temperature is something else.
It was a cool experience, hanging out with my friend, Erik DeLuca, music composer from Virginia, while he concentrated on doing some soundscape recordings and trying his best to experience a ‘sense of place’ in a landscape like this. We chatted a lot about what that means, what it does for us, and why it might be important. I commandeered Erik’s book, “Place: A Short Introduction“, (author: Tim Cresswell) and read over it during the long dark nights. It’s interesting stuff.
Place isn’t about location; it’s about a culture. A life. Lives. A set of experiences. This image above is all about place. The place of the grizzly bear; the top of the food chain. Lord and sovereign of the wilderness. And this bear put me in my place.
It’s a humbling experience to see, so clearly, something so much greater than ourselves. I still haven’t sifted through half of my photos from this fall’s photo tour to Katmai National Park, the bears’ place, and I can’t wait to go back to the realm of the great bear.