Brown bear eating a Sockeye Salmon. Brown bears love to eat the fat rich skin first, consuming much needed calories for their own winter hibernation. The brown bear here has it's tongue poking out. Brown bear, Ursus arctos, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.
Just back from 2 weeks shooting brown bears here in Alaska, and I hardly have time to unpack before I’m heading out on my next trip, but I wanted to post at lease something from the bear photo tour before leaving.
This year I wanted to concentrate on some different kinds of images than I normally shoot, so I shot a lot less, and threw out even more than usual; but I did come away with some photos, I think, that I’ll be happy with. I still haven’t looked over all of them yet, but I know I made at least a couple I will like. Once I get down to editing I’ll try to post a few. Continue reading →
As I said in a recent post, on my recent trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve I really hoped to make some images that featured not only the great grizzly bears, but also the awesome fall colors of the boreal forest . The Black Cottonwoods of the area provide the perfect background for photographing grizzly bears, but rarely do photographers seem to combine the 2. Most folks come up to Alaska and shoot the bears in the summer, and I think they’re missing out. The classic shot of a grizzly bear fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls is nice, and only generally possible mid-summer, of course, but there are a lot of other opportunities around in the fall that can be equally exciting. Great fall colors make stunning backdrops, and can really bring a vibrancy to the image. Stepping back, zooming out, and letting the scene dictate the photos is often the key.
In this photo I enjoy the sense of relationship between subject and environment – the dichotomy is largely only a function of our thought processing. The idea that the “environment” is something other than everything is a little peculiar; the subject IS the environment, as equally as the environment is the subject. There is really no difference between the bear and his habitat. Continue reading →
One of the photos I wanted this year was some slower shutter speed blurs of grizzly bears chasing spawning Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) up the river. This kind of image is difficult to do with grizzly bears; well, not difficult to do, but difficult to manage a photo that works. More so, I think, than with most other animals. The result of this is that it seems to take about 5 times as many attempts to get a decent ‘panblur’ of a grizzly bear than it might, for example, of a caribou or wolf. What I’m calling a ‘panblur’, for those of you who aren’t certain, is a technique of slowing down the shutter speed when shooting movement, so that the subject becomes blurred, rather than crisp and sharp. You can see in the image above the spashing water and the legs of the bear are not to sharp at all. By panning the camera along with the bear as it races through the water, Continue reading →
They say 3 is a lucky number – so here’s my third grizzly bear photo in a row. This was one of the prettiest grizzly bears I’ve seen, a really light blond color, with darker bands around the lower legs and face – simply a beautiful animal. I spent a lot of time shooting this bear, and got a number of runs like this, the bear coming directly at me, great light, nice background – what’s there to not like?
So we’ve all heard that ‘the law of the jungle’ is ‘survival of the fittest’, right? Well, that might need a little qualifying, perhaps. Seems that here in Alaska, Survival of the Fattest might work better. This bear isn’t the biggest, most dominant male in Katmai National Park – though he’s certainly well up the list. But … I dare say he’ll enjoy a good winter’s nap, starting in a month or so, and he doesn’t look so ‘fit’ to me. 🙂 Something tells me he won’t wake up hungry – that’s a helluva belly. And one of the miracles of it all is .. no cholesterol problems!