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
Heading out again shortly to spend some time photographing the Alaska coastal brown bear. Should be a blast, as always, and I really am looking forward to getting back over to the Alaska Peninsula and Coastline there to see these amazing animals. It’s always a blast to shoot brown bear photos.
I haven’t seen as many bears this summer as what I typically might; I think with the (generally) warmer weather we had they tended to stay a little less active in the daytime than normal, but that’s just a hunch. Could be any number of reasons.
We’ll see how this week goes, and I’ll try to catch up when I return.
PS: Oh, and I FINALLY got this little Google Plus widget to work again (in the sidebar); if you haven’t added me to your G+ circles, now’s the perfect time!
Just a quick note here to say if you can,
check out this online radio interview (GONE) Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 9pm EST. I’ll be talking with photographers Greg Downing and E.J. Peiker, of Naturescapes.net, and host Dave Warner, from Lensflarelive. It should be a lot of fun to do, and hopefully interesting and useful as well. I know I’m excited about it, Greg and EJ are great photographers whom I’ve admired for a long time, and it’ll be nice to talk with them.
Well be talking about wilderness photography, backpacking and hiking and photographing, as well as some environmental/conservation topics that might be relevant to nature photography. Greg also had the idea of present a few images online and we can discuss those and present a little more context about the work. I’m not really sure all of what we’ll talk about yet, but the show is open to call in, and it’d be great to hear from you on air. Hopefully the conversation will be interesting.
The broadcast can be heard live here. If you miss the show, it will be edited and available as a podcast soon after – I’ll add a link to this post when that becomes available.
I hope you enjoy the show,
In honor of the recent decision (last week) by Judge Molloy of Montana to continue to have the grizzly bears listed under the Endangered Species Act (in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem), here’s a grizzly bear photo, from my recent trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. In September the Court ruling was for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to relist the bears, but the F&WS requested the judge to reconsider. He reconsidered, and turned down their appeal, so the bears remain, for now, on the ESA. I’ll write a lengthy post about it later; for now I’m going to bed.
I think September was a good month for the bears – Continue reading
NB: I’ve now added this trip to the main section of guiding website, Expeditions Alaska. By all means, browse this page, but please also visit the trip page here.
I’m excited to announce a Grizzly Bears in the Fall photo Tour for 2010. Details are posted on my Expeditions Alaska website but I’ll copy it here as well:
This coming year, 2010, I’m running a new phototour to Katmai National Park and Preserve; we’ll be basecamping in remote southwest Alaska, photographing grizzly bears, dawn til dusk, for a week. Katmai National Park is home to some of the largest grizzly bears (or “brown bears” as they’re often called in that region) in the world. Feeding largely on salmon from some of the richest salmon runs in Alaska, the bears are magnificent creatures and there’s no better time to photograph them than in the fall. This trip offers an unsurpassed opportunity to photograph wild grizzly bears in a remote and brilliantly wild setting and promises some simply incredible photographic possibilities.
– Trip #1: Sept 19-25, 2010.
– Trip #2: Sept 26-Oct 2, 2010
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
Photo above extracted via Nikon Capture NX2.2.2 Continue reading
Even though they might only be little, grizzly bear cubs are pretty bold – bold enough to climb on a stick and poke their tongue out at my camera. They know full well, of course, that their mother outweighs me by several hundred pounds, is a coupla yards quicker than my aged legs can carry me :), is quite a bit stronger, has bigger, pointier teeth, sharper, longer claws, and is a little more willing to get in a tussle than I am. Hence, they’re pretty bold.
These cubs were actually not doing so well – only days earlier there had been 3 of them. Continue reading