An adult coastal brown bear in Kinak Bay after catching a fresh Silver Salmon in a small creek. Katmai National Park and Preserve, in Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.
Just returned from a week on the Katmai Coast, photographing the great brown bears of the coastal region; and about a thousand gulls along with them! We had a nice time, a mix of weather, some good and bad luck with the photography, but a good trip overall. The ladies from England were a blast to shoot with, tons of fun; we laughed and laughed for the whole week, enjoying some great time together; great food, great accommodation, scenery, wildlife and fun. Just what a photo trip should be.
This bear was one of a few we saw in Kinak Bay, just north of Geographic Harbor. The Silver Salmon were running thick in this little creek, and the fishing was at time fast and furious. Great to see. 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?