I’m not sure that I like this image as much as the other wide-angle brown bear image that I shared the other day, but what I do like is that this was created on a rare sunny day on the Katmai Coast. I’ve got a lot of images of bears in the rain with a telephoto lens. Yawn. I think that wide-angle images showing bears in their environment are much more interesting. Obviously, photographing bears like this requires a lot of effort in the field and being very close to bears. I do not encourage anyone without experience around bears to try creating images like this. However, many of the bears on the outer coast of Katmai National Park are not afraid of humans and under most conditions, do not perceive us as threats. It was a privilege to be so close to these wild animals. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII, 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard GND filter. I remotely triggered the camera using 2 PocketWizards, but I was sitting not too far to away. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
“Who’s a happy bear?” That is what I would say to a big-old male brown bear who was sitting by the river during my expedition to the Katmai Coast last August. The bears always seemed so casual as they waited for salmon to pretty much swim into their mouths. I spent a lot of time watching them sleep with one eye open, which doesn’t make for a great picture. However, every once in a while one would “do something”, like this bear sitting on its haunches itching a nagging scratch. I got down really low to the ground with my camera in order to render the distant trees as pleasing bokeh. I created this image with my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
I photographed this brown bear backlit at sunrise while visiting Kukak Bay on the outer coast of Katmai National Park last August. Kukak Bay is geographically oriented from east to west, so early morning light illuminates the bay whenever the sky is clear, which is not that often. In most cases, I prefer to photograph my subjects with front or side light, but this image is a good example of shooting into the light. I shudder to think what some HDR advocates would do to this beautiful silhouette. This large male brown bear was one of several that were wandering the tidal flats at low tide that morning. I kept thinking how casually the bears appeared to lumber along the shore, until I tried to keep up with them. I created this image with my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
As I have made progress editing my extensive backlog of unedited images, I have been discovering many wonderful photos like this one that have until recently been confined to my hard-drives. This image was created on my Katmai Coast expedition last August, during which I was able to photograph brown bears at very close range. This wide-angle image is a good example of what I mean. I love how this bear is casually strolling along the river’s shore and not paying any attention to my camera which I remotely triggered with a PocketWizard. The light was also really nice as this was one of the few nice weather days that I experienced during the entire trip. And just in case you are wondering, I was sitting on top of the rocks on the left side of the picture. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII, 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard GND filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
While visiting Seward, Alaska last month, I was pleasantly surprised to see my brown bear in lupine image on the cover of the 2012 Animals of Alaska calendar. The calendar was put together by Accent Alaska, which is one of the stock agencies that represents my photography. This image has never been one of my favorites, however, I have licensed it several times for many thousands of dollars. One of the things that clients tell me that they like about this image is that the bear does not look scary surrounded by the beautiful lupine. I took this image while visiting Lituya Bay on the outer coast of Glacier Bay National Park in 2009. You can read my original blog post here.
I am excited to share that my “Discover Digital Quick Tips” article is published in the April 2012 issue of Outdoor Photographer! OP’s Editor gave me this opportunity after telling me that he always considers my images to be among the most authentic and beautiful that he regularly sees. In my article, I offer my advice on what my top processing techniques are and how photographers can use them to make their own images look spectacular. Please let me know if you enjoyed reading it and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.
In other news, my regular readers, friends, fans, etc will probably have noted that I have not been online much in the last 2 months. I spent a wonderful, though, not super productive 3 weeks in Hawaii in February. I was barely home for a week before I flew down to Arizona to give 3 presentations about my Alaska photography at the Tucson, Paradise Valley, and Tempe REIs. (I will be at the San Diego, Portland, and Anchorage REIs in the coming month.) Last week, I moved my family into our gorgeous new house just south of Leschi. It is breathtaking to look out my windows anytime and see Lake Washington, the Cascades, and Mount Rainier. This week, I am finally settling into my new office which has its own separate entrance, new cork floors, furniture, and gallery track lighting. I have some large acrylic face-mounts being made by West Coast Imagining that will adorn my walls for when clients visit. Summer is also coming just around the corner. I have multiple trips planned to Alaska, plus my first trip to Tonga. This fall, I will also be joining a small sailboat expedition to South Georgia Island for 4 weeks. As you can see, I have a lot of exciting things going on and many new images to be created.
I was traveling all of December, so forgive me for not having posted any new blog updates for awhile. However, I am excited to share that Outdoor Photographer published my “Discover Alaska Wildlife” article in the February issue! In my article, I give lots of advice about where and how to photograph many of Alaska’s most sought after animals. I especially like the opening full page image of the lynx that I encountered while leaving Denali National Park last July. I have dedicated most of my last 5 summers to photographing Alaska, and look forward to another productive summer up north starting in May. Please let me know if you read that article and what you think.
This is my most successful wide-angle brown bear image from my August expedition to the Katmai Coast. I spent 4 days in Kuliak Bay trying unsuccessfully to photograph brown bears fishing underwater. For most of the day, my underwater camera system was submerged on a tripod with the PocketWizard antennae barely extending about the surface, but I had to pull it out of the river at high tide. While waiting for the tide to drop on my first full day ashore, I observed the bears fishing in the creek when the salmon migrated up to the lake at high tide. The next day, I decided to preposition my camera at the bottom of the falls before high tide and the arrival of the salmon and bears. It was nerve racking positioning my camera even though there were not any bears around at the time. They could emerge from the woods at any moment, so I quickly set it up next to some rocks and returned to the relative security of my viewing platform. This beautiful young bear was the first to arrive. Over the course of an hour, I observed this bear fishing and remotely triggered my camera every time that it appeared to be in front of my camera. Right before this moment, the bear caught the salmon on the far side of the creek. It then ran directly towards my camera with the fish in its mouth when it realized that there was a mother with 2 cubs coming down the creek from above. When I retrieved my camera several hours later, I was giddy with anticipation while reviewing the images and discovered this one was on my memory card. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkII housing with a Aquatech wide-angle flat port which I remotely triggered with a PocketWizard in an Aquatech PocketWizard housing. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
My August trip to the outer coast of Katmai National Park was pretty dangerous, but it allowed me to create some unique photos. I took my boat on the ferry from Homer to Kodiak and then used it to cross treacherous Shelikof Strait in order to spend several weeks living with the brown bears. I spent the entire trip as close to brown bears as anyone has ever been. This probably sounds insane to most people, but brown bears are not going to just run up to and eat you for no reason. However, they must be respected at all times. One of the new techniques that I employed was using PocketWizards to remotely trigger my cameras so that I could shoot wide-angle bear images. Guessing where to pre-position my cameras was the challenge, but I got better at it as learned the bear’s routines. While visiting Kuliak Bay, brown bears regularly walked past this location, so I placed one of my cameras on a tripod low to the ground and waited. I remotely triggered the camera whenever a bear walked in front of it. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII, 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard GND filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
I created this image while visiting Kukak Bay on the Katmai Coast in August. This brown bear was lazily sitting by the edge of a stream waiting for a salmon to swim past. Eventually, it sat up on its hind legs and yawned. When I saw this image on my camera’s LCD screen, I chuckled. I felt bad for the bear, since this was not the most flattering picture, but I doubt that the bear cares. The early morning golden light was an added bonus. I used my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens to photograph this moment. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.