Behind the image: Black Bear at Steep Creek
The past couple of years I have been trying to concentrate on photographing wildlife within their natural habitat as opposed to portraits. Not that I dislike portraits – portraits of animals are often very challenging and when everything comes together, the results can be quite magical.
I find it a bit more challenging to photograph wildlife this way. Basically you have to combine all the challenges of wildlife photography with the challenges of landscape photography. Often times, the animal is a relatively small part of a bigger picture, and can be enjoyable composing the photograph.
I was in Juneau in July of 2009 and was out photographing with Bob Armstrong, a dear friend and a wonderful photographer and naturalist. Bob has spent over 50 years photographing and documenting Alaska’s natural history and is a wealth of information. You can find his website here, and be prepared to be amazed!
I mentioned to him that I would really enjoy photographing a black bear with Mendenhall Glacier in the background. He took me to one of his favorite spots and within the hour a bear appeared and began fishing. Even though this bear is brownish in color, it is still a black bear (Ursus americanus). Black bears can be black, brown, cinnamon, or on rare occasions white or cream colored known as a Kermode or Spirit Bear.
We observed and photographed this bear for 15 or 20 minutes before it wandered down the creek in search of more salmon. It was a wonderful experience and photographing wildlife within their natural habitat has become one of my favorite aspects of enjoying our beautiful natural world.
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