Saturday, September 5, 2015

Catch Me If You Can

Lake Clark National Park in Alaska is a very special place for brown bear. The bears are treated with the utmost respect, most individuals are recognized by their distinctive appearance, and the few people who live there feel a strong sense of responsibility for the bears' health and safety.

I saw all of this firsthand last week during a wonderful 4-day stay in the park. Each day was filled with fantastic photographic opportunities along a beautiful stretch of the Cook Inlet. Our guide drove a 4-wheel drive ATV with a cart attached that seated 4 photographers and their gear. With his experience and skill, plus a powerful pair of binoculars, he spotted bear and took us to their locations. In addition to being a top-notch guide, he knew how to get us into position for the best lighting angles to best show off the bears in their environment.

At this time of year, we saw mothers and cubs, plus lone females. The males have already retreated back into the mountains in search of food and a place to hibernate for the rapidly approaching winter. The females will head into the hills in a few weeks to hibernate with their young.

This lone female was chasing the abundant silver salmon along the tidal pools and water's edge. She caught this beauty and seemed pleased to show it off to all of the onlookers.

We always kept a respectful distance from the bears, but they did not seem concerned about our presence and often walked toward us with no malice or fear. As they approached, we would retreat so they could pursue the path of their choice.

Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec.  Aperture f/9.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 100-400mm set to 247mm.  Camera: Canon 7D Mark II.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Bears are made of the same dust we are, breathe the same winds, and drink the same waters. A bear's days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain."  --John Muir

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