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
By now, all going according to plan, I should be almost getting back from the Katmai National Park Grizzly Bear Photo Tour; here’s an image from last year’s tour, just in case we don’t have much luck this fall. 3 gorgeous young cubs slipping down to water’s edge for a look around, before slinking back to the forest.
Next photo should be from 2011. See ya soon.
Next up in this series of news of the month pieces.
This month, I haven’t been spending as much time in the woods, and even less reading the news. Mostly, I’ve been grating sandpaper over my eyeballs … more commonly called “working on website updates”. I need to take about a year off, and learn how to do this properly, then start over from scratch and rebuild everything (yeah, that’s gunna happen).
Below I’ve compiled various bits from around the web that held my failing attention long enough to actually read through the piece. Feel free to add your own stuff of note, I’d love to see some things I’ve missed.
In a completely random order: Continue reading
So, another year drips by, eh? And what a year it’s been! The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Katmai National Park, Denali National Park, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, etc, etc; Alaska is simply an amazing place to explore.
My favorite photo trip this year was undoubtedly the Grizzlies in the Fall Photo Tour. That being the case, I’ve selected my “photos of the year” from that trip. 2 great weeks of grand grizzly bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve, amidst the beauty of fall in Alaska. Unbeatable! Continue reading
Just to post something for while I’m out of town – a brown bear photo from the grizzlies in the Fall photo tour. Edit: Well, I had initially posted this ahead of schedule, planning on being out of town this week. However, 7″ of snow and more on the way put paid to my motivation to drive through the Chugach Mountains to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, so I’m still in town. Maybe next week I’ll get gone.
On to things that matter.
The inspiration behind this post is this rather unfortunate piece. An excerpt:
Conservative preacher Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association writes “One human being is worth more than an infinite number of grizzly bears. Another way to put it is that there is no number of live grizzlies worth one dead human being.”
I wonder if he feels the same way about, say, cigarettes, or motor vehicles. Even something as commonplace as fast food diets are responsible for far more human ill health than any grizzly bear (or grizzly bear population) ever has been. When he cries for their riddance, he’ll have some integrity.
He goes on (and on); “If it’s a choice between grizzlies and humans, the grizzlies have to go. And it’s time.”
More ignorance. It’s already BEEN time, Mr Fischer. Grizzly bears were virtually wiped out, via human hands, from the vast majority of their former range years ago. Lots of years ago. Continue reading
This is a sow grizzly bear, or brown bear as they’re often (and correctly) called. She had 4 cubs, and worked hard (I mean, REALLY hard) to feed them all. Whenever I saw her fishing, she was 100%.
Most other adult bears rarely race around chasing salmon; they tend to walk up and down the river, either in the water or along the banks, and look for an easier dinner. Conserving energy is the name of their game.
This sow, with 4 extra hungry mouths to feed, was constantly running and racing through the water, chasing fish every which way. And if she saw another, smaller bear catch a fish nearby, she’d race after that bear, too, trying to force it to drop it’s catch. Rarely did that method work for her, but she never quit trying. Continue reading
I’ve finally added some new grizzly bear images to my website – after way too much time. I’ve just added nearly 250 new grizzly bear images from my trips to Katmai in 2009 and 2010. Check them out, starting at row 6, image 09_SEP0345.jpg; some of the images have appeared on the blog in the past, but many of them have not; especially those whose file names start with 10_JUL … those photos are from this most recent trip.
So, how about this particular photo? We were shooting 2 other bears when I saw this scuffle start to erupt behind us. Time to move and move fast, these little eruptions (usually) don’t last too long. So we shouldered the tripods and heavy gear, and moved quickly through the long marshy grass to be in position to shoot this ‘fight’.
Knowing what might happen is a big help when you’re photographing wild animals. It can make all the difference between being ready for something awesome, and completely missing it. (See my recent blog post on Expeditions Alaska about how often we miss).
We saw these 2 young bears playfight several times during the 2 weeks I was down there.
Here’s a young spring bear cub photo from the recent photo trip I led to Katmai National Park and Preserve. This youngster had 3 siblings, and it was a real treat to get to see them play and tumble together. Catching a photo of one by himself, without the others in the frame, was more difficult than one might guess it would be.
Last year, for some reason, there were not too many spring cubs in the area at all, but this year the area was home to quite a few. They’re such a blast to photograph, and oh-so charismatic. Each has his/her own character, and some of them are unbelievably plucky little critters. We watched one take quite a dunking from his mother, after he tried to steal a salmon from her. She grabbed him in her mouth, shook him back and forth like a rag doll, and literally buried him in the river. I thought ‘well, that’ll teach the little guy a lesson’ – Hardly! He came up growling louder than before, grabbed the fish in his mouth, and took off with it before his mother could even snap at him. They’re just way too cute!
These little baby bears are born in the dark of winter, tiny and defenseless. Their mothers-to-be enter a den in late fall, usually anywhere from late October through November. Brown bears almost always enter their den during a snow storm, or immediately before a snow storm. The theory most folks ascribe to is the snow storm will cover both the entrance and the tracks leading to the den, hiding both the bear and the den’s location.
Late January or early February, though sometimes as late as March, the cubs are born, blind and virtually helpless. Continue reading