When I saw the subject of this week’s challenge, I thought of many photos but ended up choosing this one from a 2012 trip to Alaska. We had just landed and set up camp for a week with the Brown Bears in the Katmai. We took a short walk from our camp and watched as some of the bears grazed in the field. We eventually followed this bear as he made his way to the stream, plopped down, and immediately dozed off. He didn’t seem to mind at all that the 5 of us were nearby clicking away with our cameras – He was much too relaxed to care…
I’ve posted a few photos from our 2013 trip to Alaska but haven’t used my first picture taken at dawn at Silver Salmon Creek. I think this fits the theme “Early Bird” perfectly. The sun was just coming up across the inlet with the sky and mountains on the other side showing their colors. The Bear that was out on the tidal flats was still just a silhouette but I love the mood of this photo. Every time I look at this one, it brings me back to that early, but perfect, morning.
Its been a while since I’ve posted any bear photos. I’ve been thinking a lot about our bear trips lately as we’ve had to cancel for this year because our guide has been fighting a lengthy illness. We are already planning our trip for next year but I’m really missing our time with these incredible animals. With that in mind, I’ve been looking at some of the shots from last year and reprocessing some of them to improve the images. This was another that we took at Silver Salmon Creek in Alaska. This bear was the only persistant fisher while we were there but he wasn’t very skilled so we never did see him catch a salmon. That didn’t diminish the thrill and enjoyment of watching him charge after the fish while only a few yards away from my friend Ross (the Scot) and I. My wife Dee was often just a few feet away and she always has a great time watching the wild photographers watch and photograph the Bears. Here’s a good example of what we are missing this year but also preparing for next year.
I should also mention that I watched the movie “Ted” last night and even that made me miss our bear adventures…… 🙂
I thought I’d post a photo in honor of the opening of the Disney movie “Bears” in theaters this weekend. If you haven’t seen the trailers for the movie it looks like another amazing Disney animal movie which follows a Brown Bear family in Alaska. Having spent several weeks with the Bears in Alaska, I can’t wait to go see this one – Today! Hope that this photo motivates you to go see more of these wonderful animals at the movie – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!!
This photo was taken at Silver Salmon Creek in Alaska during an early morning clamming session. The cubs were “learning the trade’ and also trying to beat the gulls to any leftovers from what mom found……
As soon as I saw this challenge subject I thought of this photo that I took a few years back. I’d say this Brown Bear was either at, or just past, the threshold as he jumps into the stream after a salmon breakfast……
Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words…..
Earlier in the week I posted a composite photo called “Spirit Bear” which is also posted below. I also wanted to share the original photos that I used for that composite as I thought they were pretty good Brown Bear photos in their own right. The first one is a close-up of a bear we called the fishing bear as he seemed to be the most interested in a fish diet as opposed to just grazing in the sedge fields. He was actually standing in the middle of a salmon stream when this photo was taken.
To make the background of the composite photo, I applied an oil painting filter to the photo, converted it to a textured sepia tone and then applied a white vignette to give it more of a drawing look. The second photo I used was a photo of the same bear charging after a fish (he didn’t get it). I just overlaid that photo on the portrait in photoshop, resized it into the lower right corner and then masked out the parts of the photo that I didn’t want.
In case you forgot, here is the composite….
Its time for another Photoshop experiment. I am still enjoying exploring what you can do with this program without spending alot of time in trying to come up with perfect versions of my experiments. I thought it would be fun to combine a couple of shots of the same animal into a single photo. I took one of my close up views of a beautiful brown bear from Alaska this summer and used one of the creative filters to make it look like an oil painting to give it kind of surreal look. I turned it into a sepia toned portrait and added a vignette around the subject to fade out the details around the edges. I then superimposed an action photo of the same bear into the corner and masked out the extraneous details. While it is by no means perfect, I like the overall effect of the result. Hope you enjoy also…….
In approaching this challenge I just looked at how we approached the color palette for our remodeled master bedroom. The room has numerous french doors and windows looking out at our backyard which backs up on Balboa Park in San Diego. As you can imagine, green is the dominant color and then it is accented by some amazing built-in wood furniture that we had custom made for the room. Although it is a small room in has the feel of the great outdoors. Looking around the rest of the house, the theme is the same, greens and browns accentuated by wood accents – all very natural feeling. So I started to look for a photo also reflecting that theme and it became very easy as I had one of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Alaska on my desktop. The out-of-the camera version of this photo had very vivid greens from the sedge field that I wanted to tone down a little. To do that, I surrounded the adorable subjects of the photo with a white vignette. Interestingly, it very closely matches the colors in the room I am sitting in as I write this….
This one was pretty easy. Besides getting my morning coffee as discussed in the post announcing this challenge, I often grab a camera and try to capture something during the morning “golden hour”. When we were at Silver Salmon Creek in Alaska, we had a very lucky morning with the convergence of good morning weather at sunrise, low tide, and some bears out for an early meal of clams. We got up about 5 am, grabbed some quick coffee, then headed out for the tidal flats. Here is part of greeting committee with a hearty “good morning”!
Here’s a shot that I took in the early morning at Silver Salmon Creek. It was on a beautiful morning out on the tidal flats. Mom was teaching the cubs how to clam. She once again showed her comfort with bringing the cubs near to us humans. Don’t ask me why I thought this might be a decent candidate for a B&W treatment. I kinda like it….what do you think?
We had some great opportunities for close encounters with a couple of bear cubs at Silver Salmon Creek, Alaska. This was actually taken during one of our first “sessions” with the Momma bear and cubs. This little guy wandered up very close to us (much closer than her mom) as he was grazing and then looked up and almost looked surprised that we were that close. I really liked the grass hanging out of its mouth – kinda makes it really look like a country bear cub.
Anyone who has been around here for a while knows I can’t pass up a good wildlife photo. You probably also know I can’t pass up a good reflection picture. So when those opportunities coincide, I am a happy camper. That is exactly what happened when we were on the tidal flats in Silver Salmon Creek Alaska and this very blonde brown bear was out clamming in the morning light. Her coat is very ragged (she hasn’t completely scrapped off last years winter coat), she was quite muddy, but she gave us this very nice photo op. For anyone interested in the particulars of this bear, she is about 4 years old and is quite small for her age. Our guide told us that she had only recently developed the skills to clam so he was hopeful that would enable her to add some weight on. Lightweight or not – she has a great career in modeling ahead of her…..
Another nice challenge. I often use the depth of field capabilities to try to capture the scope of the photo (for instance in wildlife, the numbers of animals in the frame) while maintaining a tight focus or point of attention on the main subject of the photo. In this photo I wanted to give the idea that there were two almost identical bear cubs in the frame but I wanted the attention to be clearly on the forward cub. I used a narrower depth of field than I would have to capture the same level of detail on both cubs. I also think this treatment gives it kind of a “ghost” image in the background to add interest.
Well, after a week of photographing eagles, otters, and the occasional moose, we finally got the opportunity to play with some bears. After our week long bear trip was cancelled, I started researching bear lodges and with the help of the wonderful people at the Homestead lodge at Silver Salmon Creek, we were able to book a two day stay in Bear country. We arrived at the site by air charter and were transported to the lodge by ATV – the lodge was incredibly beautiful and homey and the staff were tremendous – especially our bear guide Scott who gave us every opportunity to maximize our interactions with the local Bear population. You’ll be seeing alot of the local Bears but I thought I’d start with one of the first shots I took on our first morning. This mom and her two spring cubs were very hospitable and we were able to see and photograph them in a variety of environments. This particular moment captures the reaction on the Mom and one of the cubs as another bear came into the area. They immediately went on alert and departed the area. I hope you enjoy this series for the next several days (maybe even weeks) – we are still in Alaska and will have more to share but our bear adventures are probably over for now 😦
so this will probably be my last post for a little while. We’re off to go camping with Brown Bears in the Katmai Region of Alaska again – this will be our third year doing that and it is definitely one of the coolest trips we do. We’re going to a little different area this time and we are keeping our fingers crossed on the weather. Our bear guide called by satellite phone to tell us that for the last week the wind has been blowing at 60-80 mph and his guests for this week haven’t been able to get to the tent camp – in fact he has been unable to set up some of the camp because of the wind. The long range forecasts we’ve found seem to be improving so hopefully we’ll be able to get out there with those magnificent animals. In any case I thought I’d leave you with another shot of what we hope to see. I’ve posted this photo before but I re-procesed this one to make it more of an “art shot”. This is from 2 years ago – this little cub was following its mom along the beach near our camp. The cub was very inquisitive and kept standing up to see us over the wispy grass and bushes growing on the shoreline. I hope we’ll have new shots like this to share in the near future….take care.
This is one of those coincidences that make it easy to make a choice of photos for the challenge. I looked this morning to see the subject for this week’s challenge and then I glanced at my wallpaper on my computer (which changes daily from one of my photo files) and up came this shot of our Bear Camp from last year at Hallo Bay, Alaska. This is certainly a foreshadowing “sign” as we are in the final stages of preparation for this year’s trip to photograph the Bears in Alaska. We leave next week for another fun and awe-filled week with the largest land predators in North America. I hope we get some more sunsets like this one but I also hope that the overall weather is better than we had last year when it rained the entire week. Lastly – I hope that the Bears are well-fed!!
We’ll be back on the salmon streams this year so get ready for more of this….
On the day that I drove up to Yellowstone, I passed through Grand Teton National Park on the way. It was a pretty rainy morning but there were a few breaks in the downpour. During one of those breaks, I drove up upon a large “bear jam” where there were probably 50-60 cars parked by the roadside. I, of course, jumped out my car with my camera and saw the bears a long way out in the field by the road. I took a couple of long range shots but the bears luckily turned around and came back towards the road. Between the crowd and the rangers it wasn’t easy to get a clear or close shot but I was able to get a few.
Another photographer next to me told me that this was Grizzly 399 and her 3 spring cubs and that they were making a fairly regular stroll through the area. He also told me that this was 399’s second consecutive set of triplets and she had also had many other multiple births over the years – she was definitely doing her bit to maintain the local bear population. The cubs were very well behaved other than the fact that it was near impossible to get a good look at all three of them and Mom in the same photo. In any case, I was thrilled to see Mom and youngsters for a short time period before the family ran off into the woods…..
It was a rainy day here in san diego so I had some time to kill. I stumbled across a YouTube video tutorial on how to use photoshop to make it appear that your images are jumping out of the photo – I thought I’d give it a try. Here’s the result of that tutorial on one of my Bear photos from our Alaska trip in 2011. This is a pretty quick and dirty experiment – I would have taken much more time (this took about 25 minutes) if I’d have wanted to do a “clean version”. Kinda fun – Hope you enjoy….
I wouldn’t say that these are my “best” but they are all photos that I love and that capture the local inhabitants of places we went this year. Happy New Years to all!
If you’ve been to this blog before, you know I love reflection photos. Here’s a few that I haven’t shared before that I like. I had previously posted a photo of this bear staring at his reflection but it was more of a closeup without the landscape behind. I took this one at the same time but wanted to “flip the horizon” and capture the surrounding landscape in the reflection rather than directly. I think it is an interesting composition….
The second photo is a more traditional reflection photo – taken at Homer Alaska harbor on a perfectly beautiful and still morning….I think the vertical posts with the diagonal of the docks make this photo.
The last one is from a lake at the Kenai Wilderness Lodge. I always look at this photo and think that there must have been spots on my lens causing distortions until I look closer to see that it is really just the misty clouds on the mountains being reflected on the still lake.
The Daily Post today featured this challenge which is supposed to be a photo of ME doing something which inspires me. I don’t normally have many shots of myself as I am always too busy taking other shots but this photo came to mind…. This photo was taken by Ross Forsyth a great Scotsman and fine photographer who shared last year’s Bear expedition with my wife and I and with Jamie, an Aussie and another fine photographer, who is also featured in the photo. It shows us walking up the beach in Hallo Bay Alaska after a hard day of taking Brown Bear (and Wolf) photos. Being out in the elements and enjoying all of Nature’s incredible creations is as inspiring as it gets.
I had a hard time thinking of which photos to use for this challenge since I spend alot of my photographic time out in the wild where the dominant color is green. The gallery above contains images from South Africa, Monterey California, Alaska (of course), and two of the greenest places that come to my mind immediately – Fiji and Machu Picchu. Hope you like the fairly random selections……
Hello again from Bellagio. Saw the challenge title and thought of at least a couple of photos to share. This first one shows that happiness is about being able to scratch that itch (whatever or where-ever it is).
Another definition of happiness could be the presence of a friend to share things with….like this.